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Friday, October 1, 2010

On the Road-Dorrigo National Park

On the Road- Dorrigo National Park

We are on the road moving south to Sydney! Our first stop was Coffs Harbour, a 3 hr drive from Lennox. Coffs Harbour was an interesting city that is noted for its Big Banana statue and of course the harbor that the city is built on. The Big Banana represents all the Banana plants that are located in this area. The Harbor was beautiful as expected!

We couldn't find a caravan park we liked in the city so we drove a few minutes out of town and found a nice quiet beach town, Sawtell, where we would set up camp. It was just what we needed after a long drive and the hustle and bustle of Coffs. We are officially back in the tent!

Our next stop was west of Coffs where we stayed in the town of Dorrigo. Dorrigo is located on the Great Dividing Range, a huge mountain range that separates the lush rainforest coast from the arid desert to the west. To get to Dorrigo we drove along Waterfall Way which was beautiful. Farmland, forest, waterfalls, and cute old western towns lined the streets.

Soon after arriving, we found out that you cannot actually camp in the National Park but at a place called Dangar Falls Lodge owned by Bill Gibson and Family. We did not know what we were getting into when we had to approach the owners house, a true farm house, and ask them if we can camp on the land in front of Dangar Lodge. Betty, Bills wife, answered the door and said that that would be fine to set up our tents in front of the lodge for 20$ a night! Awesome and we get to use the showers and bathrooms located below the lodge.

We drove to our spot and what a VIEW!!!

We overlooked rolling hills of farmland and in the far distance was Dorrigo Plateau. Cows mooed from every direction and right by us was the huge Dangar Falls! We were truly in for a treat. After setting up, Bill, the owner of the farmland, came by to meet us and check that we found everything. Nice man and the guys had a few other great conversations with him throughout our stay.

We took the 20 minute climb down to Dangar Falls,

a falls that was created from a volcano that erupted 20 miles from here. We were staying on a fault line! The guys went for a daring dip into the glacier water. We watched!!

Dinner on the grills, a camp fire by the moonlight, and no one around but us. We all felt this was something like a dream.

The following morning we woke to lots of flying bugs, harmless we come to find out, but annoying. I guess that is what you get in an open farm field with the sun shining! We packed for the day and were on our way to Dorrigo National Park and Rainforest Center. The Rainforest Center had some great information and pictures on the nature of a rainforest and of course on the indigenous plants and animals. We then made our way out on the skywalk overlooking the park.

It was amazing. Next on the agenda was the Wonga walk, a 5.4 km walk to Crystal and Tristania Falls. Yellow Carrabean, Walking Stick Palms, The Stinging Tree, Jurassic Park Vines, The Red Cedar, and The Gum tree were some of the 80 foot 200 year old trees that we passed. They warn you to watch out for the "leech" that is harmless but does often cling on. We all hoped that we did not encounter this leech and we made it out clear! The Stinging tree was also something to be aware of. The leaves have tiny furs on them that will sting the skin and last for weeks returning out of the blue. Fun Stuff!

Crystal Falls was our first stop.

If I could describe the perfect waterfall this would be it. It was crystal clear water in a thin line sprinkling into a tiny rock pool. It looked inviting and MIkey took the invitation. He said the water was ice cold so we all decided to stay dry and watch from the rocks.

Tristania Falls was much bigger and more water but still exciting. No one swam :) The walk took us about 3 hours. We had a blast and felt one with nature and satisfied with our waterfall experience. So back to the camp site it was. It was quite windy on the ridge that we stayed on so we all BUNDLED and had our fire going before dark. Tomorrow, off again to Port Macquarie, another harbor city on the east coast.



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