New England is noted for its autumn colours but, in reality, much of that fame comes from the streets of Armidale, the largest city in the area.I got some wonderful shots back in the days of film but could never transfer them over and so, for years, I tried to replicate them but years of drought made that impossible until around 2008 when they...more
With 17,300 hectares and over 100 kilometres of walking tracks there's more than enough here to keep any avid bushwalker occupied.However, if you add in the adjacent Washpool National Park at 27,700 hectares well, you'll probably be coming back for more.This diverse park which ranges from sclerophyll forest to rainforest, sometimes in the space of...more
One of the wonderful things about walking around in the bush is the variety of plant life. When you go beyond looking at the massive forest and start to see the trees then you also notice there are even smaller plants, some of which are quite fascinating.May I present to you some examples such as one of my favourites, the sundew seen in picture one...more
This is a National Parks controlled area just off the Gwydir Highway not far from where it starts its major descent to the coast. The road links Grafton to Glen Innes and beyond to Moree.It has well graded tracks and good picnic and camping areas and, as you can clearly see, several waterfalls. This area marks where the rainfall starts to decline a...more
I was keeping a keen eye on the time. Since I'd started later than I wished, it was fairly obvious I wasn't destined to get to the bottom of the main gorge this day. Still, it would have been nice to know just where I was. At each bend in the river I anticipated the major chasm would open up before me but, it never happened. Each bend brought more...more
As the rocks developed, so the way became more difficult. At one point I had to climb a little away from the water just to get around a crag. It wasn't impossible but certainly not the place for a family stroll either, as one can clearly see in the middle set of pictures.In between noticing the wildlife, wallabies and crimson rosellas particularly,...more
I had this urge. Let me rephrase that. I've had this urge for sometime. I gaze fixedly at the bottom of Chandler Gorge and have a cat's curiousity about what it might be like at the bottom.One thing for sure, it's nearly impossible to get down there. When you consider that fewer people have been to the base of Wollomombi Falls than have been to the...more
Having left the spot where I'd previously set up I had to race back, through the barbed wire fence (not easy to do when you're in a hurry), and into the area of the dead trees that made such a dramatic foreground, all the while taking care not to step in the cow poo.I just made it in time and had about 4 minutes to rack off a few shots before it...more
So there I was, rolling along the Gwydir Highway en route to Glen Innes when I suspected a sunset was about to occur.I unpacked my camera and waited. All that happened was a small shaft of sun's rays shone like a torch on one small section.I returned to the car, disappointed it must be said, but noticed the southern sky had a slight pastel tinge to...more
This is one of the three most popular falls in one of Australia's great national parks. The other two are Apsley and Wollomombi, covered in my "off the beaten path" pages.Though magnificent by any standards the downside to this park is that it's not on the Pacific Highway. Were it so, there would undoubtedly be ten times the number of tourists I...more
Ben Lomond was once a place of some importance. These days only the curious traveller will find time to divert off the New England Highway to bother with a visit It's reasonable to suggest that there's not a lot of highlights though it is a pleasant enough route if you have the time.In the old scale it's just under 5,000 feet (1520 metres) and is...more
This is some of a series of shots I took adjacent to the New England Highway just south of Tamworth. I remember ringing my mate Col, another keen amateur photographer, and tipping him off it might be going to happen that night.With the luck of the draw I was driving and found a lovely foreground that the whole spectacle worked around while Col,...more
Standing above gorges is something I find almost mesmerising. Here, almost surrounded by sheer rock faces on a blissful afternoon, your gaze transfixed on the panorama before you, the enormity of the chasm compells your senses to focus on your mortality; on your insignificance in the overall scheme of things.The torrent's echoing roar up the...more
Drought is a fact of life in rural Australia. Just about every year, somewhere in this wide brown land, there is a dearth of water.This shot was actually taken at the beginning of a drought. Three weeks before there had been a little bit of green shooting at the bottom of the grasses then the frosts came and knocked it off.Now, the only natural...more
This lovely building, once a bank I think, now houses a restaurant with delightful ambience and food to match. Pasta Carbinero (I think that's how you spell it). I have it every time I'm there because they always use fresh ingredients.They usually have some tasty lemon cake for dessert (amongst other things).more
This shop is just east of the mall on the southern side of the street and you can buy wool and wool products here as well as getting useful advice on knitting etc.
What to buy: Anything with wool in it!
What to pay: It depends so much on the quality of the wool, an aspect you can readily gauge by feeling the fabric.
Mostly you'll be paying between $100 to $300 Aussie dollars.
Country shows are a part of rural Australia. They give the country folk a chance to display goods, get together and have a few rides in "sideshow alley". Almost any weekend in Australia, somewhere there's a show.
In recent times they are suffering a bit as country towns decline due to more efficient larger farms and a concentration of people to the larger rural centres.
One thing you'll always find homage being paid to in the New England Area is sheep. It is one of the better producers of fine quality merino wool in Australia.
This shot is taken of one side of the entrance gate to a rural showground.
This one, taken at Armidale looking south, also happened on the same week as the preceding one. About two days before in fact. I thought the curling cloud on the right was particularly interesting and, seeing I was in the open, had serious thoughts about whether I should be even out there taking the picture but I was overwhelmed with awe.The second...more
Sometimes when you're travelling in Australia you run into thunderstorms, or, perhaps more correctly, they run into you. This particular one happened late in 2005 when I was travelling from Bingara to Tamworth and it loomed up from the east. It was so impressive I thought I'd stop and take a few snaps. Initially it wasn't spectacular but, over the...more
Henry Falls represent one of the, in my opinion, misguided directions that the National Parks and Wildlife have taken. Decisions made by people who, most often, haven't even visited places they're making decisions about leave those who have been there wondering just what the thought processes are.Henry Falls comes into this category. Locals don't...more
We eventually parked in the middle of a paddock and were fairly obviously near the falls as you could ascertain there was a canyon not too far away.Trevor alighted and led the way down a steep spur which is really the only access route to the falls. It's rugged country and jagged rocks jut from every wall you can see.One surprise that confronted me...more
"Have you ever seen Henry Falls?"The question stopped me. I'd heard of most of the better known cascades but this one had obviously missed my radar."No, how do I get there?""If you're around on Monday I could take you," said the ranger."Pencil me in, I'm up for that."As it turned out, I parked my motorhome at his place on the Sunday night and took...more
The waterfalls around Armidale were the original climbing areas for climbers of the University of New England Mountaineering Club.
Because they were popular tourist destinations, access was generally easy and the possibility of climbing these faces was obvious.
Most waterfall routes were multi-pitch, making them a serious undertaking, especially in the early days when protection equipment was very primitive.
Rock climbing in the Armidale district is believed to have commenced around 1960 at Dangars Falls. Two climbers, John (Action) Lindsay and Hugh Spencer, at that time, climbed the waterfall face right of the water-course. This is of course the climb known today as Action. At the same time it is believed that they also climbed the orange pinnacle right of Action.
Equipment: It almost goes without saying that the above should only be attempted by those who are experienced in this field. This is not a place for the faint-hearted.
The University of New England has an excellent site covering all the different routes in the area and would be the ideal initial contact if you want to participate in same.
The New England area is one of the best in Australia for bushwalking, a fact it is only now becoming known for. Within easy distance of Armidale you can do Dangar Falls, Wollombi and Chandler Gorges and Gara Gorge. These are all fairly dramatic canyons. Some over 1,000 feet near vertical. Walking around the rim or delving into the valley floors...more
Okay, so I'm using a little poetic licence here but it is springtime and it is the granite belt of Northern N.S.W.Every year along the New England Highway there are wonderful splashes of colour. Usually white but some yellow and some purple as well. This is a spot I go past a lot not far from the Ben Lomond turn off and every year the paddocks all...more
Keen viewers will note the ring of dust around the car, slowly accumulating every time I bumped the car. The car had more dust on it than any other vehicle I had ever been in. Everything I touched sent a puff of beige drifting through the near still air. As the spare dropped from beneath the chassis or as the affected wheel nuts were turned,...more