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I have been in the process of planning my May 2011 holiday for some time - at least as far as finding a destination. The outline of this journey is basically that of my original idea, however, I had changed my mind to do a large section of the 'Tops to Myalls Heritage Trail.' This however was abandoned due to the poor and overgrown state of the trail. I then returned to this earlier holiday idea.

My thoughts had turned to the Cathedral Rock National Park during my 'Waterfalls Tour 2010,' when I drove past the national park and my thoughts went back to an earlier visit to the park. I had been thinking of perhaps a weekend trip to the national park then, but now that original thought has been transformed into the 'NSW North East Wilderness Walks 2011' trip.

 

What's on This Page:

 

ITINERARY AND JOURNAL

The holiday has now been completed and it became something of an ad hoc adventure, rather than anything really planned. I did however set out some rough ideas as to what I'd plan to do for a day on the preceding evening or on the morning of the actual day. Still, even these were subject to changes according to particular whims at the time. What follows are my journal entries for the trip, as well as links to Blog posts and other relevant URLs concerning the trip.

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Pre-Holiday Blog Posts:

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The Trip North: 2 May 2011

I picked up the car at Hamilton (New South Wales, Australia) and travelled the 77.6km back to Tea Gardens to pack the car and be on my way. I left Tea Gardens at 10.50am, heading for Cathedral Rock National Park. I had originally planned to complete the Cathedral Rock Track today, but there is no realistic way that I can achieve that.

I arrived at the Barokee Camping Area just on dark and managed to set up camp before it got too dark. However, the fire just wouldn't light - timber too damp. Eventually it took, but just in time for me to hit the sack (7.30pm).

Before going to bed I got a visit from one of the friendly possums living in the area.

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Cathedral Rock National Park: 3 May 2011

I rose early, the night having been long and cold. I got about 10 hours sleep I think, so that was good. The early night allowed for an early start, which I was keen to make.

First up I paid the camp fee at the self-registration station ($5.00 for the night) and packed up camp. It being a cold morning I ensured I was rugged up and ready for the walk. My toes were quite numb for the experience.

I got away for the walk (Cathedral Rock Track - 5.8km/2.5 hrs) at about 7.10am. The walk was off across the wetland and onto the circuit track.

The track was pleasant enough and not too difficult, at least until the final ascent of Cathedral Rock. Here it was necessary to use my hands, squeeze through gaps in the rock and make the final climb with use of the chain provided.

With the recent rains in the area, there was plenty of water about. All of the local streams seemed quite full and this was certainly the case in the national park. I passed many flowing, small streams along the track.

I spotted on the walk various birds, including a lyrebird with its full repertoire of mimics and in full display - very impressive. I also saw kangaroos and wallabies.

The walk was completed in about 2 hours. Sadly my camera died on top of Cathedral Rock - so the video camera was used for stills also.

Having completed the walk I drove to Ebor for breakfast, before returning to Cathedral Rock National Park - this time to Native Dog Creek Rest Area.

From the rest area I took on the Woolpack Rocks walk. This is a 7.4km return walk, which I was able to complete in 2.5 hours. The walk is reasonable, with difficulty only being increased with the final climb to Woolpack Rocks.

With the completion of the walk, I decided to make a dash for Coffs Harbour in order to get a new camera. This I was able to do for a very reasonable price I thought. I didn't spend too much, as I have plans for a digital SLR in the near future.

With the weather changing (to rain) I decided to book into a motel at Woolgoolga, to the north of Coffs Harbour. I booked myself in for two nights - $80.00 a night.

The following are Blog posts for the day:

 

The following is a slideshow of photos taken during my time at Cathedral Rock National Park:

Visit the photo album at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157626562579495/

 

The following are two videos that make up the first episode of my YouTube documentary series 'Australian Wilderness Adventures.' They focus on Cathedral Rock National Park and were filmed during my visit to the park.

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Dorrigo National Park: 4 May 2011

It was another reasonably early start, though I didn't arrive in Dorrigo until well after 7am - due to roadworks on the Waterfall Way (it is quite rain damaged in parts).

Today I planned to reach the Never Never Picnic Area, off Dome Road (about 8km from the park office) and complete the various walks that start from there. These walks would take me to Casuarina Falls, Red Cedar Falls and Coachwood Falls.

The walk began about 7.40am from the picnic area and followed the Blackbutt Track along Sassafras Creek. I followed the track until Casuarina Falls, before heading back to the Rosewood Creek Track.

 

The following slideshow is of photos taken at Casuarina Falls:

Visit the photo album of Casuarina Falls at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157626694849458/

 

I then followed the Rosewood Creek Track from its junction with the Blackbutt Track until the Red Cedars Falls Track. I then visited Red Cedar Falls, before walking back to the Rosewood Creek Track and continuing on it to Coachwood Falls.

 

The following slideshow is of photos taken at and around Red Cedar Falls:

Visit the photo Album of Red Cedar Falls at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157626597290899/

 

From Coachwood Falls I continued around the track until I reached the Never Never Picnic Area again.

I think all up I walked in excess of 10km and about 5 hours on this walk. There were some fairly steep and more difficult sections on the walk. Parts of the tracks were very muddy, had water flowing over some areas and some parts were very slippery.

The walk overall was exceptional I thought and I very much enjoyed it. More time to explore Sassafras Creek and Rosewood Creek would have been greatly rewarding. This is an area of great beauty and true wilderness.

I did manage to pick up a few leeches along the way.

I have now largely walked the main tracks in Dorrigo National Park, though I am still to see Callicoma Falls on Blackbutt Track. There is still more to experience at Dorrigo National Park.

Having completed the walks I visited the national park visitor's center and the Skywalk. I then went to Griffiths Mountain Top Lookout, with the views over the Bellinger River National Park.

It was then back to Woolgoolga and a good rest. I was thankful for the motel room as a very strong southerly change had just arrived.

The following are Blog posts for the day:

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Coffs Coast: 5 May 2011

Today was a day for the coast, with visits to several coastal nature reserves and national parks.

First stop was the Moonie Beach Nature Reserve. Here I stopped and visited an area currently being rehabilitated by locals, but it is still sadly overgrown by weeds. A boardwalk is currently being constructed. The scenery from the Look at Me Now Headland at Moonie Beach was fantastic.

From Moonie Beach Nature Reserve I travelled to Coffs Harbour Jetty and visited Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve. Here there was opportunity for further panoramic shots of the coast.

For something a little different, I then went to the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House at Bonville. The entry fee was $16.00, which I thought was excessive for the experience. I enjoyed the visit, but the price was too high in my opinion.

I then went to Sawtell and took some photos at the headland there.

From Sawtell I was off to Bongil Bongil National Park. Here I visited the Bongil Picnic Area, which would be a great place for a family BBQ and/or picnic.

After Bongil Picnic Area I went to Tuckers Rocks. From the car park I walked to Bundagen Headland through remnant littoral rainforest and part of the Bluff Circuit. The walk back to Tuckers Rocks was along North Beach. This walk is a 6km return walk that takes about 2 hours to complete.

After Bongil Bongil National Park I travelled to Urunga and the Urunga Lagoon. Here is a fantastic raised walkway and boardwalk through the wetlands and mudflats. It is a great place to walk and experience this type of environment.

From Urunga I travelled to Scott's Head and stayed the night at Scott's Head Caravan Park in a cabin.

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Return Trip to Tea Gardens: 6 May 2011

 

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GOOGLE MAP

I will embed a Google Map of the trip here. This map will include the route taken, places of interest and attractions, etc.


View NSW North East Wilderness Walks 2011 in a larger map

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UPDATED: 15 May 2011

kevinswilderness.com 2011