Bald Rock

15/7/2017

33 kilometers north of Tenterfield we come across Bald Park National Park, which offers a number of interesting walks – of course we are only interested in the main event on this occasion – Bald Rock.
There are two ways to get to the top, fast and furious or slow and steady. The rock is not slippery and so not hard to climb up if you don’t mind heights.
The other option takes you through some fantastic rock formations and natural Aussie bush. Probably a good idea would be to do both but we choose the steadier climb and enjoy the dramatic scene as we come up out of the bush onto the first section of the bare granite rock.


We are fortunate to have a perfect day to see views over NSW and into Queensland.

The rest of the way to the top is less climbing but for those who have a little trouble with heights it could be a little overwhelming. At one point the rock drops away each side of you, like you are walking out on a peninsula.

Bald Rock


The wind is blowing, my hair is being tossed about and I couldn’t be happier – it’s an exhilarating feeling to reach the top.

Boonoo Boonoo

19/7/2017

Driving into Boonoo Boonoo we find a good dirt road that was being graded so some larger vehicle hazards we were not quite expecting to encounter. The falls are first on the list of things to look at but clearly there are more walks out here than we ever expected. The Boonoo Boonoo River tumbles spectacularly over the escarpment somewhere into the valley below and I hope they will make a trail down to the base someday as it would fantastic to see the falls from that angle. The track is really good especially those that might be a little fearful of heights, not to mention any names, and has a handrail for the duration.

Boonoo Boonoo Falls


We also explore the pools before the falls and the river is really in its prime with the recent rains gushing and gurgling over anything in its path.

Boonoo Boonoo Rock Pools


Upon discovering a 13km return walk alongside the river we decide to give it a go with the hope of finishing around 4pm, starting at 12:30pm. Shane is keen to get back to town before the butcher closes for the day.
The walk is particularly lovely winding through the track some of which is lined with black and gold banksia shrubs (apparently called Banksia Black Magic) continuing into Cyprus Pine forests where the path is softened by the layers of dropped needles so is more like walking on carpet. We are travelling pretty fast over an undulating path, with glimpses of the river always close by, and reach halfway in good time – 1 ½ hours.

There is some concern that we had more downs than ups so our thinking is that our time back will not be that good. Shane leads most of the way back and is a man on a mission – those sausages are calling. We do make it back in the same time so very happy with that and Shane has his reward.

The Premier Butcher didn’t know what hit him with our sausage order – I must remember this incentive for walks in the future. The reward was deemed worthy as the chilli and Tabasco beef sausages are the best he has ever eaten – he even went back the next morning for more!

Tenterfield

17/6/2017 – 21/6/2017

You get the idea that Tenterfield is a friendly town when the guy on the street, fixing the pavers, starts up a conversation and happily chats about the great national parks not far out of town. Everyone we meet from the butcher to the lady on top of Mount Mackenzie speaks so proudly of the town and again we feel extremely welcome.
We just had to start with the Tenterfield Sadlery – of course! It smells of leather and saddle soap with stories, poems and anecdotes pinned on the walls to read at leisure. The fellow in the shop is also happy to tell a few tales and to give us a couple more tourist tips.

In the afternoon we opt for the tourist drive as our caravan neighbours tell us how beautiful the scenery is along the road. It is a lovely drive weaving in and out of farms, over rises, down along side lovely valleys all with extraordinary granite stones and boulders for an added pleasure. Little bald rock gives us a small glimpse of what to expect tomorrow when we head out to Bald Rock NP. The pinnacle of the drive is reaching the top of Mount Mackenzie to see spectacular views across the town and beyond.


Another treat for us was to go to Stannum House to enjoy dinner for the measly sum of $10. We liked it so much we went back the next night taking our lovely caravan neighbours’ out with us! The bargain basement prices probably don’t do this very prestigious building justice but it was a good meal and gave us a little taste of an era gone by. The owner invites us to come and have a look around the next day, which we do climbing all the way up to the tower. What a treat it would be to stay here in beds you have to clamber up on to and to sleep in a room that Banjo Patterson may have rested his weary head. Apparently Tenterfield was one of the places being considered for the capital of Australia and Stannum House was built with that in mind.

When we arrived here we thought 2 nights would be OK we ended up staying 4 nights and could of stayed longer. At the end of the day we have seen and enjoyed so many things but it definitely is the people who make a place memorable…..and the sausages says Shane, definitely the sausages, – best chilli beef sausages he has ever had!

Goondiwindi

13/7/2017 – 16/7/2017

Goondiwindi here we come and in my head the song that keeps playing over and over is “They cheered him from the grandstand and they cheered from the flat …………… a horse we’re really proud of the Goondiwindi Grey.” From all accounts the stallion, Gundsynd, was dearly loved not only because he was awesome at out galloping the other horses but because he was a bit of a character, responded to the crowd when they cheered him and loved to get his photo taken, even posed some say. Of course being purchased for the small price of $1,300 makes for a great story and we all love a bargain. He went on to win 29 races almost $300,000 in prize money and who knows how much was won through the bookies. Born of ordinary stock, the Aussie battler who rose to the top and became a champion adored by all.

Shane enjoys some more not catching fish but this time in the Macintyre River – at least he did get a few bites to make it a little more interesting and like he says, “lots of fresh air”.
The walk along the river is very pretty with lots of birdlife to keep us entertained trying to work out what bird is that! Lookout, I think we are turning into Twitchers!


We stayed at the Goondiwindi Caravan Park, which has the most amazing artesian spa pool so lovely, so hot, and a nice place to have a chat. The damper nights are great too, freshly cooked, served with a cuppa around a nice warm fire with plenty of travellers to swap stories with.
Loved it here, loved the friendly, helpful people and had a pretty good haircut as well.

The Balonne River

9/6/2017- 13/6/2017

After Carnarvon Gorge we have drifted down through Roma, Surat and St George and Shane has especially enjoyed being close to the Balonne River – allegedly full of fish. The Condamine/Balonne rivers, one and the same really, catchment is one of the largest catchments in the Murray–Darling Basin but that’s not the important thing which is – it is allegedly full of fish! The water is muddy, the colour of iced coffee so I am not so sure I would like to catch anything at all as it probably would take on the flavour but it doesn’t stop us trying because it is allegedly full of fish.


We were hoping to catch the same Murray Cod I caught last time at Surat being a couple of years older it would be big enough to keep. I have to say we tried every angle, bait and spot we could but to no avail. We did enjoy our visit to the bowling club again – only place I know where a beer and a rum costs under $10 a shout so perhaps too well enjoyed.
On to St George, touted as the inland fishing capital of Australia, and we have prime position at the Riverside Camping Ground – powered sites that back onto the river – Shane can just throw a line in, relax and ………. not catch a thing – not true he did catch a tiny little yellow belly which of course with a little exaggeration ends up being just short of legal – tongue firmly in cheek!
So for those who care: the river claiming to be full of fish has been, sadly, left in the same condition – full of fish – there is certainly none on our dinner plate!

Carnarvon Gorge

6/6/2017 – 8/6/2017

Its been a couple of years since I heard about Carnarvon Gorge from friends travelling up here so it is very exciting to be here at last. The road is now sealed all the way into the camping area and almost through to the visitor’s information center so the access is much easier. Camping is not cheap $38 for unpowered but the surrounds are beautiful and the platypus pool is a good selling point.

Azure Kingfisher


We don’t want to waste anytime so its time to put in some serious walking. Mickeys Gorge, Warrumbah Bluff, The Rock Pool to the visitor’s center and Baloon Cave are on the hit list. All the tracks have something different to offer and it’s always nice to be back in the bush walking. An added bonus is seeing a platypus in a pool along the way to the visitor’s center – an absolute delight.

The late afternoon talk at the Takarakka reception area is a necessity if you want to get the most out of any walking you do here – very informative and the option is there to join a guided walk.
Our big day of walking begins early and the plan is to walk through to the Art Gallery and work our way back to explore the gorge’s optional walks. – Wards Canyon, Amphitheatre and Moss Garden then if I have the energy Boolimba Bluff.
We do go past the Art Gallery to the 9th Carnarvon Creek crossing, which means we did 18 crossings all together, and are amply rewarded with the sound of a flock of Currawongs in full song echoing around the gorge.

The Art Gallery

The Art Gallery


Wards Canyon

Amphitheatre

Bottom of the Amphitheatre


Moss Garden

Moss garden


This is a very special place and every path opens up to something new and unique to be appreciated – truly another natural wonder.
My climb up to the Bluff is the last off shoot to the main track and is extremely hard, the last 300m is virtually straight up following a series of ladders and steep steps (937 of them apparently) so not for the faint hearted but awesome views and another amazing perspective of the gorge.

Our last morning is mostly spent down at the platypus pool waiting, waiting and waiting for the elusive creature to reveal himself. It is a chilly 0 degrees but patience, in this instance, pays off with not one but two platypodes – right now I am so happy that Shane got out me of bed at 6:30.

Springsure

4/6/2017

Springsure may just have been an insignificant dot on the map but we found it to be a great little spot to spend a day and could have stayed more. We were inspired to venture here due to the lady at the Information Centre in Emerald and it is certainly seeped in history albeit a little morbid.
The Springsure Roadhouse Caravan Park is a great place to pull up with reasonable rates and if you stay for 2 nights an extra bonus of breakfast thrown in so not a bad incentive.
We head to the information/craft shed and the local lady is full of stories and a bit surprised we are wanting to find out about walking tracks after all we have a perfectly good car!
Although small, Springsure is really good at helping tourists make the most of their stay and have a list of interesting tours of the area. All are self-drive tours with maps and brief notes to cover areas of local interest.
A massacre of 19 early settlers who clashed with local aborigines occurred here in 1861 and the fall out from this led to terrible and excessive violence against them. Its interesting to note that the son, Thom Wills, did not take part in any retributions. He was a founder of Australian Rules football and coached an Aboriginal cricket team from WA.
Shane and I opt to head for the hills or to be more exact the Minerva Hills National Park. The track leans towards being 4WD but a 2WD could handle the main track into the park and as we also wanted to walk we parked and walked into the look-out areas where the roads are more challenging. Jagged peaks and deep gorges with views for kilometers, almost 360 degrees from Mount Zambia, out across the plains and over the famous Virgin Rock – all beautiful to see.