Dorrigo Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by iandsmith
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by iandsmith
  • Dorrigo labyrinth
    Dorrigo labyrinth
    by iandsmith

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Dorrigo

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    Gleniffer Falls

    by iandsmith Written Jul 24, 2014

    The third day dawned and it was the day I was going to Gleniffer Falls, somewhere beyond my campsite on Never Never Creek. I hoped he wouldn’t turn up on time (7 a.m.) as the winter chill penetrated my clothing but, lo, there he was and with two passengers. My hope of stalling him with a cup of tea dissipated and I hastily started packing.
    He had Ben, a P.E. teacher at Dorrigo who is his next door neighbour and, his grandson Charlie aboard. So we clambered into the 2WD and, soon after, wished we were in a 4WD when we drove up the track to Cliff’s place, a strange assortment of edifices in various states of disrepair strewn across a bare patch of land and accompanied by abandoned motor vehicles.
    Cliff, a man in his eighties, was there to greet us and was decidedly uninterested in my handshake and introduction as he sought to find out why Terry was a day early. That hurdle over, he later wondered why Terry was locking his car as he figured that if we didn’t return in a couple of days he could look forward to adding to his car collection.
    We set off downhill to the creek and then turned left and started clambering over rocks, an act that didn’t cease for the next 7 hours.
    There are no trails here, no tracks to follow, just a seriously stony river not anxious to give up its secrets. After a time I started asking Terry, he of the GPS, how far we’d gone and how long had it taken. It must have sounded like the “are we there yet Mum?” that children are wont to cry but Terry was kind to me. I was a bit shattered when I discovered that, after an hour, we hadn’t even gone a kilometre up the creek.
    As each succeeding hour passed and we digressed up a side creek my legs started to tire as I scanned the horizon for the famous gorge that everyone else swims through but Terry said we could circumvent. Finally it was visible and the nimble among us scouted ahead to see how bad it was. Turns out it was a little too tricky to navigate so we took Terry’s diversion up the side of the seriously steep bank and scrambled our way skyward.
    At times the virgin route seemed almost impassable but, encouraged by Terry’s assurance, we soldiered on and pushed upstream before descending again to what I thought was Gleniffer Falls; but, no, it was a point from which you can view Gleniffer Falls.
    I had been warned I may not be impressed but the opposite was the case. After scrambling up a side chute of what I thought had been Gleniffer Falls, I gazed in awe at the distant spectacle of multiple falls in succession cascading off the distant mountain range. There, indeed, were the hallowed cascades. I’d never realised just how high they were. Ben proffered they were the highest in Australia but I ventured that someone had done the exercise and, accordingly, Wallaman was listed as the longest single drop in Australia though Ellenborough is claimed to be by other sources. That still didn’t make Gleniffer any less impressive; for me, they are one of the best falls I’ve ever seen.
    Sadly, to get up close to them really requires an overnight journey by the truly fit or an abseil off the cliff, neither idea holding any attraction for me. All too soon it was time to head back, Terry of the time piece a little concerned that it had taken us 4 ½ hours so far and we’d only travelled a shade over 3 kms, which was a reflection on (a) how many photos I’d taken but, more seriously, (b) how rugged it was.
    As we trekked back, finding an easier route around the canyon, the pace was much quicker; after all, I’d already seen the gold I sought. It had been in the side stream and, later, in Never Never as well. The afterglow of the sun on high dashed itself on the gentle waters and there had been the enchanting gold, below the corrugation of ripples that fanned out from the base of a cascade.
    With the increased pace came fatigue and I was the first to stumble, something I did three times and Terry five; trouble was my first and third stumbles were worse than any of Terry’s and my shin and back suffered accordingly, the rocks having re-affirmed their lack of give. After not quite 2 ½ hours we were back, always with the feeling that Ben and Charlie could well have been home and showered in front of the telly if it hadn’t been for the old farts.
    Still, it had been another memorable day, one I won’t repeat, but that didn’t make it any the less unforgettable, and I had found gold.

    Gleniffer Falls Typical of the rocks you have to walk over How clear is the water Fig trees on the bypass Yes, there is gold in the streams
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    The labyrinth

    by iandsmith Written Mar 22, 2014

    Labyrinth comes from Ancient Greece or, more specifically, Knossos in Crete where the Greek hero Theseus got into the puzzle and slew the minotaur before heading off with Ariadne, the daughter of the ruler of Crete. Unfortunately, for her, he dumped her on the island of Naxos and sailed off home to Athens. However, in what may be termed just desserts, Theseus' father committed suicide when he saw his son's ship coming home with a black sail which meant the death of the owner. All that had happened though was that the white one had been torn.
    The labyrinth had been designed by Daedelus to hold the mythical half man, half bull called the minotaur.
    Christians hijacked the puzzle and utilized them as meaning a path to god whereby you walk around it and contemplate the meaning of our existence and things on a higher plane.
    There's such and example in my France pages and my Italian pages of another old one.
    This one is located at the back of the park where people go to view Dangar Falls and is generally overlooked by the masses.

    Dorrigo labyrinth Dangar Falls
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    Ebor Falls revisited

    by iandsmith Written Mar 21, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    .From my 2nd excursion - "I harboured a faint hope of getting to the lower falls, though it was tough getting back to the rim, up the chute and then walking along and plunging more deeply and steeply to get to the lower cascades.
    I didn’t rush, age precluded such things these days, but I worked steadily and thoughtfully down, over slippery tussocks, grabbing rocks and fallen trees where appropriate and surveying the route ahead constantly.
    Glimpses of the lower falls taunted me and I occasionally stopped for a picture but the thought of unpacking the backpack and setting up tripods limited my keenness. Going down required constant vigilance and always in the back of my mind was that a photographer had died here last year.
    Even when you reach the bottom it doesn’t get any easier. The large boulders that have found their their way to the river means you are constantly scaling them, trampling through blackberry vines and fording the waters in an attempt to make headway upstream.
    On this day the rewards were manifestly apparent as I viewed the results on the back of my camera from time to time. I kept shooting at every potential spot, well knowing the conditions were apt to change shortly. Fleetingly the sun pushed its rays through the moist screen but then the uplifted droplets would drift to close the gap.
    The rocks made sure you had to use all your motion muscles to make headway but I kept finding routes until you get so close that there’s a constant spray, droplets so tiny they’re almost invisible, borne on the wind created by the force of the upstream torrent. It’s a surreal environment where vegetation like moss and ferns find a permanent footing, rebounding at times from the floods that occasionally torment their home.
    The rushing noise, the sparkling droplets, the water etching its way through the boulders, the backdrop of lush foliage, the fog –laden sky and the cliff face that reflects its tortured volcanic past all combine down here to make you feel you are somewhere special. Martiam, “the great falls”, is what the aborigines called them and looking up at the basaltic columnar flutes, remnants of the long extinct Ebor volcano, it’s easy to detect an air of greatness.
    Using a more benign rock as a bench, I paused to reflect on more than the walk; I paused to soak up the thought of “being there”, to let the aura of the bush envelop my soul and flush out the madness of suburbia, I paused to rekindle the spirit, to dwell on the insignificance of man in a place such as this and let the mist scour any tension and take it to drift on the never ending convection currents of the gorge. As someone once remarked, “You can feel your worries rolling down the hill”.
    Thus refreshed, I had to return to the unenviable task of scaling the wall. Unable to locate the thin track I had used on the descent, I stopped frequently to gather my breath, constantly reminding myself that there was no urgency in my task but being haunted by the knowledge that it would be so much easier when I reached the flat sealed path on the rim.
    My hiking shoes that had served me so well from Tasmania to France literally were coming apart at the seams; slips occurred often and energy was being sapped at an alarming rate. Though I’d refilled my bidon from the stream it was empty again and I was thirsty, not helped by the sweat trickling from beneath my hat.
    When I made the track I collapsed and, using my backpack for a pillow, lay down in the forlorn hope that someone might come by and have some fluid to spare. It never happened."

    View of the lower falls
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    Cathedral Rocks National Park

    by iandsmith Written Mar 17, 2014

    I have no idea how long it had been since I last visited this park but, since I was involved in a project that required photos of the area, I decided to go again.
    Early 2014 was a dry time just a few kilometres west but, just a few kilometres east, though it had also been dry, 4 out of 5 days it had rained the previous week.
    Cathedral Rocks was on the borderline as I stepped out on the 5 km loop that takes you almost to the top. The first part of the trail is sandy just before you cross a swamp. Then it's onwards and upwards.
    Steps are inserted where the trail gets a little steep and then you reach THE INTERSECTION.
    This is where you need to make a decision. If you're fit you might choose the option to climb to the top. WARNING - it is steep!
    If you're unsure of foot, this option is not recommended. Near the finish you have to skip across granite boulders and grab chains. It's arduous and tortuous but very rewarding when you reach the summit; just try and avoid being there in a thunderstorm like I was about to encounter!

    Dramatic face of Cathedral Rocks Scene in the park Dramatic shapes are a feature Made it to the top Making the climb
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    Cascade of another kind

    by iandsmith Updated Jul 20, 2013

    North of Dorrigo, on a forlorn drive along a dirt road, we rolled past two what-were-once-towns based on timber mills. Briggsvale hove into view first and we stopped, Lorraine pointing out what used to be before we moved on to Cascade where she was born and raised. Both villages, for that is all they are these days, three houses and four residents each, are the last remnants of a once vibrant timber milling industry.
    It was hard to believe that the railway used to pass through here.
    The now abandoned stations, such as they were, are now overgrown, as clearly shown in the pictures and a potential savior in the form of the Dorrigo railway fell apart about 30 years ago.
    Most of the area is national park these days and visitors are few though you can take the through road and end up at Coffs Harbour if you just want a drive by.

    A swimming hole just down the road Abandoned timber mill office and railway station Overgrown Cascade railway station Disused machinery at Briggsvale Local humour at Cascade
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    Another day of fungi

    by iandsmith Written Mar 11, 2013

    It had been raining; lord knows, for weeks. Flooding rains across the coast of Queensland and N.S.W. Most people see only misery; I immediately think of two things, waterfalls and fungi. How happy was I when my partner Lorraine suggested we head to Dorrigo after the road opened on the first day when hardly any rain fell.
    We got our shots, sometimes going off piste, on the most popular walk at Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, the Wonga Walk loop encompassing Crystal Shower and Tristania Falls. It takes about 2 1/2 hours; took us nearly five with all the pictures we were taking.
    The track is all sealed bar about 100 metres and the walking easy. Best way is to go via Tristania first then the uphill section is easier.

    Fungi at Dorrigo NP Crystal Shower Falls at Dorrigo NP There were all shapes and sizes Pure white fungi of different types was abundant On one tree there must have been 2,000
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    Woolpack Rocks, reaching the top

    by iandsmith Written May 9, 2011

    continued -
    "We moved on up the climb though I sidetracked down to a streamlet that gurgled attractively enough to lure me to its cool splashing waters, drooping ferns and decaying branches. It wasn’t a permanent stream but it was nice when it did run.
    It sits at the bottom of the granite outcrop called Woolpack Rocks and the trail immediately begins its uphill transition though it takes less than ten minutes to ascend the trail, at times through narrow clefts and up ladders.
    On high it’s a different world. The vegetation is negligible; it’s the rocks and their endless variety of shapes that grab your attention. On the exposed portions the wind was noticeable, its cooling effect in contrast to the sweat I had exuded on the climb. There was no life save for an eagle that appeared and soared around the outcrop on the updraft, eyes keenly focused for the possible movement of prey below, its tufted wingtips flexing in the breeze.
    Your mind starts to drift in places like this. Life’s problems take on a different dimension; the vastness of the continent is clearly visible from on high; there’s time for reflection as you recharge your mind.
    After about 45 minutes on top it was time to leave, but the memory lingers still of another place in Australia’s wilderness where the scars of time are there to be seen yet, somehow, the granite seems timeless."

    Cool, splashing waters Rocks at the base Dylan doing his thing Spanish moss clinging to a lifeless tree A different aspect of Woolpack Rocks
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    Woolpack Rocks

    by iandsmith Updated May 9, 2011

    To visit Woolpack Rocks you travel on the Ebor-Guyra Road before turning off onto the road to Native Dog Creek Rest Area. There are both camping and picnic sites at the rest area, fees apply.
    The following is from my first trip to the walk:
    "It had rained; lord it had rained. The portents in the form of thunder had been around for hours before it finally arrived but arrive it did, some time in the middle of the night.
    I awoke about 4 a.m. and wondered if I’d be able to drive off the area I was in at, wait for it, the local cemetery. Though the rain was heavy and noisy I wasn’t bothered by neighbours.
    I later learned from a guy who stayed at the local caravan park just a few hundred metres away that he’d had to slosh around in mud. Me, I had the grassiest field in all of Dorrigo.
    Still, it looked like my mooted walk to Woolpack Rocks, a place I’d never seen before, was in serious jeopardy. I’d been to Cathedral Rocks twice before but Woolpack had eluded me. I stayed awake and watched the European football featuring yet some more Messi magic before I had my bowl of Weetbix just as the heavens took pity on me.
    The sun was desperately trying to shine and push the clouds away and it eventually succeeded, thus opening the door to the day’s expedition. Dorrigo was where I had a cup of hot chocolate, meeting the Argentinean with the exotic bike collection and a wealth of life knowledge that he was only too happy to dispense to you, whether you wanted to hear it or not. Why his life had led him so far away to a secluded village atop the Great Dividing Range would be a story I had not enough time for so I headed off as soon as I’d downed the beverage.
    At the start of the walk I met up with Julie and her son Dylan, both of whom were familiar with a bushwalking site I was on and we walked off together through the bush and swamp land that alternated until we started to climb and it was here we came across two National Parks workers, one of whom had taken the famous photographs of Ebor Falls when they had iced up completely a few years ago. The pictures made the front page of all the local papers, with good reason, as the event is an extreme rarity."

    Nearly at the top - Woolpack Rocks View from Woolpack Rocks Julie and Dylan meet the rangers Lost giant This tree reflects its trials
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    A cow of a life

    by iandsmith Written Jun 18, 2009

    Dairy farms have always been a part of the scene here due to the high rainfall producing verdant pasture so there'll always be a rural component to the area.
    The lush green rolling hills are something I always remember about Dorrigo and in these pictures I hope it gives you some idea of why I like just simply driving around the area.
    Most of these were taken on the highway heading west of Dorrigo.

    On their way to be milked A couple of silly old moos Gorgeous country side
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Side trip

    by iandsmith Written Jun 4, 2009

    There are a few loops roads around Dorrigo and they take you past some picturesque rural scenery to say the least. Rolling fertile hills with cows grazing contentedly make for pleasant viewing at the worst of times and here is no exception.
    These are some shots I took on a short loop road, only about 8kms or so.

    Part of Yarrum Creek Falls Yarrum Creek Eye candy Silly old moos Jerseys stretching out
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    Photography unleashed

    by iandsmith Written Jun 4, 2009

    To get shots like these of Rosewood River you'll definitely be heading off the beaten path. In fact, you may well be treading on places where no man has ever set foot before.
    You'll suffer from wait-a-while vines, slippery footing and tight situations but, the results, for me, are worth it. I hope you agree.
    All these are taken about 2 kilometres above Cedar Falls.

    Clear waters of Rosewood River Subtle hues One of the many small falls There are cascades everywhere Fungi on the forest floor
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    See the craft people at work.

    by unravelau Updated Aug 26, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just off the main road in Dorigo you will find the unusual and beautiful furniture shop. The entry is marked by this wonderful carved wooden image. It says in a way that if you think this is amazing you haven't seen anything! Go inside and marvel at the works of these artists that create not only functional furniture of high quality but also the most unusual pieces of art to be found anywhere.

    Timber carving
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