A journey into the dawn of time.

 

Where we are staying for this house sit, along the mid-north coast of NSW, the mountain scenery  is a spectacular backdrop to the pristine beaches along the coast. National Parks abound in this area. One in particular we have been told about is Dorrigo National Park along the “Waterfall Way”. The name alone tempts me to explore. So today with the sun shining we head inland.

It is a 65 kilometre drive from Nambucca Heads to Dorrigo and the road is a marvel of the grit and determination of the early road builders. It climbs and winds through narrow gorges cut from solid rock. In places the tight turns curl back on themselves. Then it will narrow to a one way cutting. It feels like driving a rally course and needs intense concentration. The spectacular scenery spreads away to the horizon.

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As I squeeze past the oncoming traffic I catch a glimpse of this waterfall mistily cascading down the cliff face, we pull over to take a photo.

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The rainforest towers above us.

It is lunchtime when we pull into Dorrigo the small timber settlement on the edge of the National Park.

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This grand old hotel built in 1925 by Michael Feros, is heritage listed and is still owned by the Feros family. It is a classic example of Australian hotel architecture of the 1920s. The meals had been recommended and they were good, but HUGE. After seeing the size of other diners meals, we ordered one seafood platter to share. 4 Large calamari that just melted in the mouth, 4 super size prawns, 4 pieces of fish a heap of chips and a delicious fresh salad, that was supposed to be a meal for one! Needless to say we enjoyed it…

Next it was a short 2 kilometre detour along the road to the Dangar Falls.

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It was a pleasant surprise to see so much water cascading over the escarpment as there has been no rain for weeks.

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  This fertile area was once covered in forest and the giant red cedar was the king, but the timber industry of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s soon cleaned out this precious timber.

Word quickly spread of the agricultural potential of the area’s deep basalt Soils, and with Government regulations requiring selectors to improve the value of their land, farmers immediately set to work to clear the scrub for pasture.

Rainforest clearing was backbreaking work. Trees were ringbarked or felled, and burnt in ‘great conflagrations’.

 “During the last twelve months it is estimated that fully 3,000 acres of timber have been committed to the flames so that at the present rate it will not be very long before the entire original scrub has disappeared.” (Agricultural Gazette, 1911).

The 1917 Guide to the Dorrigo Shire extolled the plateau as “an enormous area of splendid, delightfully, watered agricultural and dairying lands, upon which are many smiling homesteads and herds of well-bred cattle and adds “notwithstanding wanton destruction of enormous areas of timber, magnificent supplies yet remain for posterity”.

However, the luxuriance of the rainforest growth exaggerated the fertility of the underlying soils. Most of the valuable plant nutrients were derived from the rich and constantly recycled litter layer of the forest floor, and after forest clearing and subsequent burning,these nutrients were quickly depleted.

It was a hard life for early settlers, with distant markets and decreasing soil fertility offering poor returns. However, many were successful and dairying, beef cattle and logging are still major industries of Dorrigo today.”  (information from the Dorrigo community web site)

Leaving the fertile farmlands behind we drove on to the Rainforest centre.

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This word brings to me the vision of an ancient land, with dinosaurs roaming through the rainforest. But this is the twenty-first century and fortunately remnants of these prehistoric rainforests have been preserved as National Parks.

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This 75 metre long “Skywalk” takes you over the rainforest canopy to magnificent views to the distant mountains and on a clear day as far as the ocean.

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After seeing life from a bird’s eye view it is now time to go down to ground level.

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Another board walk takes us down into the bowels of the rainforest.

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As we walk through this heritage listed park the track winds through the luxuriant tropical vegetation. Trees, with large buttress roots,  tower above us, palms fight for space as thick woody vines encircle every thing. Epiphytes and ferns are also common and add a profusion of multi-layered confusion.

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This describes the atmosphere so well. Much better words than I could ever think of to describe how it feels, with the rustle of the wind and the abundant call of birds and, surprisingly, no one else on the track, it felt as though we had been transported back to the start of time.

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There is so much more to see in this spectacular area and I make a mental note that we will come back again and follow this “Water Fall Way” right along its 165 kilometre length from the ocean at Coffs Harbour to Armidale on the New England tablelands.

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This is my contribution to “Jo’s Monday Walk”.

Categories: Australia, Dorrigo National Park, Jo's Monday walks, National Parks, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 72 Comments

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72 thoughts on “A journey into the dawn of time.

  1. Absolutely gorgeous! ❤

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  2. Interesting and inspiring walk… 🙂

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  3. poppytump

    Such time scales are hard to comprehend Pauline …. 60 million yrs ago .. and Australia all covered in dense rain forest … Love those sky scraping trees and canopies … did Jack find a tree to hug 😉

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    • I also find it hard to imagine our Aboriginal people having survived all those thousands of years. Jack is a real nature boy Poppy.

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  4. Cindy Naidoo

    What a spectacular place!

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  5. grandioso e affascinante scenario!
    sono rimasta incantata
    felice giorno

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    • Translation by Bing… “grandiose and fascinating scenery! I was enchanted, happy day”

      Thank you for this very encouraging comment. I appreciate you visiting my world. I hope you have had a happy day too

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  6. Love the quote you photographed by Janette Turner Hospital. Is she a well-known writer in Australia?

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    • I thought those words were so appropriate. I Googled her and she was born in Australia but spent most of her working and creative life and career in Canada and US

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Joan and Terry Watson

    I think you were actually in heaven.

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  8. I usually feel a bit of vertigo coming on when I see/hear the word “skywalk”, but the views from yours might make me try once again to overcome the dizziness. We’ve had a bit of a dry summer here and our waterfalls don’t have much flow to them.

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    • This is a very secure structure I’m sure you would feel ok Violet. It has been very dry here too but that area seems to get any rain that is passing.

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  9. wow!

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  10. What a great atmosphere you created with this post….I love the back story, and then those beautiful shots walking where dinosaurs once roamed….great start to a Monday 🙂

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  11. Pommepal, you’ve educated me – I tend to think of sparse eucalyptus when I think of Australia, not dense rain forest like this! Curiously, the lead character in Richard Flanagan’s, The Narrow Road North, is Dorrigo Evans. If this is where the author got the name from it’s very apt – especially when so much of the book is set in the jungle. And what a fantastic vantage point on the boardwalk. Thank-you for taking me on this walk with you, brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m always amazed at how life pops up with coincidences, like the name Dorrigo, it certainly is an unusual name for a person. I was also quite surprised that entry to the board walk was only a gold coin donation.

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  12. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : The Drummer Boy | restlessjo

  13. Wow! I was there a little bit later than this last year and loved it! I came across from the other side, inland, and loved climbing up to the cool climate of Dorrigo. Your pictures and words capture it beautifully.

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    • Did you visit any of the other NP and waterfalls on your way through?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I ended up staying in Bellingen and then drove back up the hill for some walking. Not sure the name of the tracks I was on but ended up on a couple of different ones for about 5 hours. As for waterfalls, I found one on one of the tracks and although it was cool, I’d built up a sweat and jumped in. I live in the NT so was nice to be somewhere I didn’t have to worry about crocs! 🙂

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        • That sounds like a fantastic trip. Bellingen is a lovely town. I am getting a post ready about it. Wow you must be fit, 5 hour walk is a real trek, well done. Would be much cooler, and safer, that the NT water-holes…

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  14. Delightful! I’m not a heights person, and get dizzy, so I was a lot safer letting you take me on this trip! Having just watched a documentary series on Gondwana, I now feel like I know it even better! =D

    Which is good, since Australia’s a little far from the States….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I loved this walk, Pauline. I’ve been there before, but this reminder of the beauty of the place really took me back xxx

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  16. Thanks for the tour, Pomme – I’ve been wanting to get there since I began planning my return to Oz – Dorrigo was on my ‘list’ as possible new homes for quite a while (until I decided I couldn’t manage the rain … 🙂 ).

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  17. Love these shots- especially the skywalk. Adding this to the itinerary in January.

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  18. Beautiful place. We are so blessed in this country. Enjoy the rest of your stay. I am off to sit at Hervey Bay for the next week. Looking forward to the sun and sand and water.

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  19. I’ve also enjoyed some fantastic boardwalks through rain forests. The quote you have here, really does perfectly describe the experience. Great pics, Pauline. 🙂

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  20. Another lovely place to visit PP. I wish we did boardwalks and skywalks and trails as well as you seem to do over there. I think I would be a much fitter person.

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    • Yes our National Parks are very special Jude. Try to fit in the Blue Mountains and 3 sisters lookout when you are in Sydney

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      • I have been there, but OH hasn’t so we will definitely visit. It is a tour offered by the conference organisers, but we can do it cheaper by train and as he doesn’t have a head for heights I can’t see him wanting to go on the skyrail!

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  21. Nice one Pauline not only do you drive me to wonderful places.
    You record then for future reference sharing the joy with everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Well, this looks quite a place…I’d be alright with the roads having experienced similar in France and Italy. But the skywalk? I’m not great with height s, my legs were wobbling just reading about it! 🙂

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  23. loved this – I will be back later to leave a comment – have a great day Pomme ❤ <3<3

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    • Pleased you dropped by Yvette looking forward to “talking” to you later…

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      • Hey Pomme – well enjoyed this walk with you – love the different bridge shots – and sad about the trees – it is sad that anyone would cut them down – but to then just burn them up and not use it for furniture or fuel is even more sad. anyhow, I read what you shared about the soil in Dorrigo and it sound rich and wonderful – just cool to learn about a place like this – and the dinner you guys shared – mmm and mmmm ❤ and then I loved the mixed collage at the end with all that green – just gave a nice feel for the place – have a great week

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        • Good morning Yvette, it was a very special place and I guess that back in the pioneering days they only had wood to build things and back then there was so many trees the waste meant nothing to them, they couldn’t see into the future and didn’t comprehend how long it would take for the trees to grow, it just meant survival. Thank goodness and people with vision who created National Parks.

          Liked by 1 person

          • thanks for that reminder – you are so right – people were not thinking it was waste – hm…. and I forget that it was a different mind set –
            and I agree on the national parks move – whew – so glad too.
            have a nice day ❤

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            • As I visit these places and read about how difficult life was back then I often wonder how I could’ve coped, and thank my lucky stars I live in this day and age.

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  24. I could stay up there on the sky walk forever! (well, I might need a snack or two 🙂 ) Thanks for sharing all this beauty, Pauline.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well if we knew what the Aboriginals knew we could probably find enough bush tucker to sustain us. But could we survive without our wine, coffee, chocolates and all those other goodies????

      Liked by 1 person

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