Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Blog 49 - 7th to 17th September 2014

Sunday 7th September - last Friday, we went through the small town of Kyogle, where I happened to purchase a footy jersey in red, white and blue (Roosters colours). So today we decided to leave the camper in Mullumbimby and drive the 90 minutes or so back out to Kyogle to watch the Kyogle Turkeys take on other teams in all 3 grades in their finals matches. I was proudly wearing my Turkeys jersey,
and we watched the Under-18's win, but the Reserves and A-Grades both lost. It was a great day out participating on a Sunday afternoon in a small country town, and we chatted to lots of locals. Back to Mullumbimby to the pub for dinner. And it rained on-and-off for most of the day, but we stayed dry under big umbrellas.

Monday 8th - the plan was to get up early and get packed before the rain starts, but just as we are about to start packing, the heavens open up, and we wait under the awning until it stops, and then pack away wet canvas. Then we wander across and have a shower, before leaving town and driving down the coast to Evans Head. We have arranged to drop in on Terry and Lyn, who we met back in Coober Pedy and Ayres Rock. We have a chat over coffee and cake, and then Lyn brings out lunch, and then Terry wants to know if we want to stay the night so he can get enough steaks out of the freezer. A wonderful offer, and we gratefully accept - a warm, dry night in a normal bed. We chat for hours and hours, and it is great to catch-up.

Tuesday 9th - up early to a cooked brekkie of bacon and eggs - we are spoilt. We chat a bit more and then we decide to head off and leave them in peace - was great to catch-up with another wonderful couple we have met on the road. We decide to head back inland away from the coast and the rain. From Grafton, we take the Gwydir Highway towards Glen Innes. Once we start the climb up the Gibraltar Ranges, the views are fantastic, and we stop at several lookouts along the way. We decide to camp at Boundary Creek Falls and collect some wood for the fire to keep warm - we are over 1,000 metres above sea level.

Wednesday 10th - another grey morning, so we pack early and get ready for a walk to the falls, and also to Lyrebird Falls, which are a 2.2km return walk away. We descend the stairs to the bottom of Boundary Creek Falls, and it is like a rainforest oasis, with green everywhere.
Back on the road, and we finally arrive in Glen Innes, where we stop at the info centre, and then have a wander around town, stopping for some lunch at a noodle bar. From here we decide to explore some of the surrounding National Parks, and set off towards Torrington SCA, where we go on another walk to see Mystery Face rock
and some other massive granite boulders (including the Boars Head).
As it is getting late, we decide to drive a bit further into the park and camp, where we have the entire place to ourselves. More wood collected for another fire as we are still above 1,000 metres.

Thursday 11th - we pack camp again, and drive towards Kwiambal NP - both the map we have got and the GPS say the track exists - but after driving through a farmers backyard and along very under-utilized tracks, we are sure that it may no longer be an access road. But we make it to the other end and re-join the highway. First stop once in the park is the Macintyre Cascade Falls lookout,
and then we walk down the 114 steps to clamber over the rocks at the bottom for a different view. Back at the top, and time for some lunch in the sun. From here we drive to the camping area at Lemon Tree Creek, where we grab a great spot with nice green grass, and set-up camp besides the river.
More wood collected for tonight. Then a short walk around the camping area to look at the water and the rocks. We then decide to have a quick wash in the cold water (several days since the last shower). The wildlife around the area is abundant, with kangaroos, wallabies, birds of all types, and a couple of grunting possums too.

Friday 12th - we decide to head into a town to do some washing (both clothes and ourselves). We stop in at Ashford, where the caravan park is only $13 p.n. and washing machines are by donation. After setting up, Di does 3 loads of washing, then we wander up into town (a short walk) where half the shops are closed and boarded-up. We are joined by chatty neighbours who are traveling with 2 birds.

Saturday 13th - we head back south east to Kings Plain NP, where we find a nice campsite besides the creek,
but the storm clouds deter us, so we continue on our way - it rains from this point on until we get close to Inverell. We stop in at the info centre, and then get some lunch while planning what we do. We decide to stay in town at the showgrounds, and wander up to the Bowlo to watch the footy and get some dinner. The Panthers defeat the Roosters in the dying seconds, and then the Cowboys smack the Broncos to finish the night. We chat to many of the patrons in the club who are celebrating the footy comp dinner and awards. Back to camp late in the evening.

Sunday 14th - a quick restock at Woolies, before driving to Warialda for a quick drive through town. Then turn south to Bingara, where we stop in at the Roxy Theatre and Cafe for a coffee / thickshake. From here to Narrabri via Mt Kaputar, and then to Coonabarabran and then into the Warrumbungles NP. We get to the visitor centre just before closing and book our site for 3 nights. We set-up in Blackman Camp 2, with beautiful views over the rock formations in the distance.
We didn't get to collect any firewood, so of course it is a freezing cold night, and we are inside early.

Monday 15th - we decide to do a short walk today, so set off on the Burbie Canyon walk, which is about 3.5km's round trip. We walk along the creek bed, and then around the back of the Split Rock. You can really see the extent of the bushfire last January, with most of the trees dead and black, but with lots of ground cover and smaller shrubs starting to make a come-back.
We then collect some wood, and return to camp via Camp Wambelong which is nice and grassy. After lunch, we wandered around the area, and relaxed after the big day driving yesterday. We get the fire going and drag the camp oven out of the Triton - roast lamb, with a mass of vegies - yummo.

Tuesday 16th - today is "big walk day" - we decide to walk to the Breadknife and back, which is about 13.5km's all up. But they don't tell you that very little of the walking is flat, so it is uphill to get there, and downhill on the way back - but steep enough that even coming back down is tough on the legs. We stop at Spirey View lookout, and can get a reasonable view of Belougery Spire.
But the further we walk, the better the views get. Then we climb the 242 steps (Di counted), and then walk around the base of the Breadknife formation,
before climbing for another 600 metres to reach the top of Grand High Tops, which has views over the entire basin both to the north and south. It is from up here that you understand why they call it the Breadknife.

And the views south to Crater Bluff and Tonduron Spire are equally impressive.
We even posed for a selfie - how very Gen Y.
Then a long, tiring walk back to the car, where we collect some more firewood, and back to camp for a well-earned shower - took just over 5 hours to complete the walk, but with many stops along the way.

Wednesday 17th - after the massive effort yesterday, we decide that today will be full of relaxation. After a sleep-in, and then eggs on toast for brekkie, we sit around camp and read a bit, while Di talks to her Apostle birds
- a firm favourite as they are very talkative and very cute too. Then we have a coffee, then some lunch, then read a magazine while Di draws and paints a bit, and then set the laptop up to write this blog. Only problem is it is very windy, which makes it cold too.

Tomorrow we might go to the Siding Springs Observatory and a few other lookouts, and then hopefully we plan to catch-up with Gina as she passes through on her way to see her mum in Qld.

More to come soon.

Di and Hammo

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