Saturday 18th March 2017
I’m not sure if it was because part of our room had a tin roof but for most of the night it sounded like we were in a ship on the high seas the rain was so bad and waking up on Saturday morning it hadn’t really cleared.
We attempted a walk along the beach and out on the jetty to Mutton Bird Island but the driving rain and really strong winds drove us into a local coffee shop and then back to the house fairly soaked. There wasn’t much we could do but settle in with a couple of bad films and update the blog.
Sunday seemed a bit better, and we figured that the waterfall way through the Dorrigo National Park should, with all the rain we’d had, be fairly spectacular. We stopped off in Bellingen, a really cute, artsy town for a coffee and to check with the tourist information office that our route was both open and safe before going to look at the bridge in the middle of town which we’d seen on the national news that morning was properly flooded.
Not wrong! The coffee shop had mentioned half their staff hadn’t made it into work because they were on the other side of this bridge and most of the village had come along to look at the bridge and the local playground / skater park which was completely drowned in several meters of water. It seems mad to have such a low bridge, but they must be used to it as the railings of the bridge are designed to fold down to stop snagging trees.
We drove on up to the rainforest at Dorrigo, stopping to admire the Newell and Sherrard Falls (and persuading a slightly nuts man that washing his hair in a full on waterfall that plunged under the road and then into a huge drop was a bad idea) before arriving at the Dorrigo Rain Forest Centre. The staff were a little surprised to see us as they hadn’t know the road had been reopened and told us that unfortunately the walking path to the Crystal Falls was blocked due to fallen trees but did give us info on a shorter walk and a list of all the other waterfalls to see in the area.
We tried out the skywalk over the valley before doing a short part of the Crystal Waterfall Walk which was lovely but full of really over enthusiastic leaches which sat on the path whipping their heads around trying to find some lovely flesh to latch onto. Having gained and removed several leaches each we decided to move onto the next waterfall.
We started with the Dangar Falls just outside of the town of Dorrigo, which has a viewing platform at the top and a short walking path down to the basin below where our hair washing friend was back wading out into what must have been fairly fresh water.
We then headed out to Ebor further along the waterfall way, where the team at the visitor centre said the rain should have made them spectacular. We stopped at Fusspots for a quick lunch then headed onto the falls which is a double drop falls on the Guy Fawkes River.
Heading back towards Coffs, we stopped again in Bellingen to see if there had been any change to their flooded bridge – and it had reappeared!
The water must have dropped about 3 meters, uncovering the bridge and allowing the kids to rediscover their skate park which was now covered in too good to resist mud. There were some really muddy kids having a great time sliding over the park.
So the rule in this area seems to be – if rain stops you going to the beach, seek out a waterfall or two, they are going to be at their best.