The Rainforest Way

Australia, New South Wales, Queensland Add comments

Minyon Falls in Nightcap National ParkThe picturesque rainforest campground at Rummery Park next to Nightcap National ParkWe actually started our tour of the Rainforest Way in-between our stay with Matt and Anna, and when we met with Gina back in Byron last Wednesday.  Our initial foray into the hinterland took us through Bangalow, the quaint hilltop settlement of Federal and through the magnificent Nightcap National ParkThe picturesque rainforest campground at Rummery Park next to Nightcap National ParkNightcap hasn’t had National Park status for very long, but the grandiose Minyon Falls crashing over 100 meters into the rainforest below has recently ensured the area’s conservation status for many years to come.  A scenic drive through the rainforest took us to Whian Whian Conservation Area and the Rummery Park campsite.  Rummery is a secluded clearing of green grass next to a creek in the Nightcap rainforest where we enjoyed a good campfire late into the evening.

Bringabong: one of the plethora of so-inclined stores in NimbinThe main street of NimbinMany years ago Byron Bay was one of Australia’s most prolific concentrations of marijuana-smoking hippies.  The more recent massive influx of tourists, high-priced restaurants and soaring real estate prices in Byron weren’t a welcoming set of circumstances for the hippies, so from Byron they all moved into the mountain rainforests to the enclave of Nimbin.  Although I have a few reservations when it comes to dope-toting hippies, Nimbin enjoys an almost mythical status in the Australian community The main street of Nimbinso we decided we really must take a look whilst in the area.  We took back roads from our Rummery Park campsite through the forested valleys around Australia’s macadamia capital of Dunoon, through The Channon and finally to the psychedelically-coloured main street of Nimbin.  I think I’d been out of the car for no more than 30 seconds before one of the locals tried to sell me a weed.  And another 30 seconds after that another high-as-a-kite tweaker started talking to me in a language that sounded like a cross between Aboriginal and Swahili.  We were walking past the suitably named Hemp Cafe when a passerby unrolled on the sidewalk one of the biggest stashes of marijuana buds either of us had ever seen in our lives, followed by the proprietor of the cafe screaming bloody murder at a passing logging truck for destroying the forests…  Definitely an eye-opening and quite surreal little spot, we had planned to have our morning coffee in Nimbin but only lasted five minutes before we were back in The Tank and scooting south toward Lismore!

Brushbox Falls in Border Ranges National ParkLismore Pie CartLismore Pie CartAfter another couple of days back in Byron with Gina, we again made our way into the hinterland and back onto the Rainforest Way.  A stop at Lismore, Our campground in Border Ranges National Parkmorning tea at the superb Lismore Pie Cart and we continued north to Border Ranges National Park and the Sheepstation The trail through the rainforest from our campground in Border Ranges National ParkCreek campground (S28°24.822’ E153°01.370’).  Border Ranges National Park forms the New South Wales portion of the dormant volcano caldera surrounding Mount Warning, a stunning area of mountainous rainforests almost all of which remains as wilderness.  The campground at which the three of us stayed next to Sheepstation Creek was a brilliant spot: we had a grassy clearing amongst the ferns and palms with an array of rainforest bushwalks at our doorstep.  Before the afternoon light faded we explored one of the trails leading to Brushbox Falls and further along the lush Brushbox Creek below the rainforest canopy.  It was spectacular albeit quite short walk, a great introduction to the hinterland rainforests for Gina.

New South Wales hinterland on the way into Border Ranges National Park Driving into Border Ranges National ParkGina and Lisa near Brushbox Falls in Border Ranges National Park Gina and Lisa at the top of Brushbox Falls in Border Ranges National ParkLisa working on dinner in Border Ranges National ParkGina in Border Ranges National Park

Lisa and Gina at one of the lookouts on the Lions RoadRoadblocks on the Lions RoadFrom Border Ranges National Park we continued north on the Lions Road, through the picturesque Northern Rivers area of New South Wales and into Queensland.  The Lions Road was reconditioned a few years ago by the Lions Club (hence its name…) to improve travel times for farmers living in the Northern Rivers wanting to travel to Brisbane.  The road traverses a dizzying number of creeks and rivers, Lisa and Gina counted a staggering 24 bridges along its length.  I also encountered a few road blocks in the form of cows through the northern Queensland valleys!  East to Lamington National Park: cascades along the track to Ballanjui FallsCanungra, a morning coffee (and pie for Gina and I) at the charming Outpost Cafe and we continued on to Lamington National Park.  Lamington is the Border Ranges National Park equivalent in Queensland: the caldera of the dormant volcano centered on Mount Warning.  Lamington is mostly wilderness, but the section around Binna Burra where we visited for the day is the starting point for hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails through the surrounding rainforest.  Lamington National Park: cascades along the track to Ballanjui FallsStrangler Fig in Lamington National ParkWe opted to explore the rainforest and escarpment via the Border Track, Daves Creek Walk and then a 4.6 kilometer (2.85 mile) out-and-back hike to Ballanjui Falls.  The Ballanjui walk was awesome, we lost count of the number of waterfalls and cascades we passed on the way to the main falls, which themselves roared down the escarpment to the rainforest hundreds of meters below.  All up we walked close to 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) during the day, it was a great tour through the rainforest and along the escarpment looking south into New South Wales.

One of the plethora of bridges along the Lions RoadLamington National ParkLamington National Park: looking south into New South Wales Lamington National Park Lamington National Park: cascades along the track to Ballanjui FallsLamington National Park: Ballanjui FallsLamington National ParkLamington National Park: Lisa and Gina at the end of our roughly 17 kilometer hike through the rainforest 

Greenmount with Surfers Paradise in the distanceGreenmount beachWe’d originally planned to stay at Binna Burra in Lamington National Park for the night, but due to the long weekend the campground was full (and good thing because it wasn’t much of a campground) so we instead headed down to the Lisa, Sam and Gina enjoying an amazing starry night by the fire in Mebbin National ParkGold Coast (S28°10.172’ E153°31.328’) at Our campsite in Mebbin National ParkLocked kookaburras in Mebbin National ParkCoolangatta.  A caravan park was the only patch of grass on offer amongst the metropolis of high-rise apartment buildings and hotels, we had a tough time finding anywhere to have a beer on Saturday night as most places wouldn’t let us in the door with thongs on our feet (so much for being a beach town…).  A swim at the beautiful Rainbow Bay beach on Sunday morning and we were again on our way back into the mountains, this time through Murwillumbah and on a scenic drive around Mount Warning to complete our almost week-long tour of the Rainforest Way.  We spent our last night with Gina in Mebbin National Park (S28°26.687’ E153°11.673’), a portion of which is World Heritage Listed.  It was a great spot: plentiful firewood, wallabies munching on the grass around the campfire and my famous chicken sandwiches for dinner.  It was a stunning clear, starry night as we sat by the fire sipping on some aged Muscat courtesy of my dad.

Greenmount with Surfers Paradise in the distance Driving around Mount Warning on the way to Mebbin National ParkSam working on the fire in Mebbin National ParkLisa and Gina enjoying the fire in Mebbin National Park Gina's last dinner: Sam's chicken sandwichesLisa, Sam and Gina enjoying an amazing starry night by the fire in Mebbin National ParkKookaburra in Mebbin National ParkLocked kookaburras in Mebbin National Park


This entry was posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2010 at 8:00 AM and is filed under Australia, New South Wales, Queensland. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “The Rainforest Way”

  1. Lynn Westoby says:

    This is the area where our friends, Frank & Maureen, live. We stayed with them for a week and went to a lot of these same spots. Brings back good memories!

    • May 2010
      S M T W T F S
      « Apr   Jun »
  • Next...

      A couple of months cruising up Australia's east coast...