Waterfall Way (Bellingen Showgrounds)

The next day was our trip to the falls. The roads along the way were windy. If you had a small van it would have been ok but we were pleased we didn’t take ours.

We took the skywalk first. It is part of the Dorrigo Rainforest centre. The centre offers information on the rainforest and the usual gift come coffee shop. The skywalk offers a great view of the rainforest canopy. I am not a great one for heights but the view was so breathtaking you almost forgot you are standing on a thin piece of wood jutting way, way out from solid ground.

After the skywalk we were going to continue on to the Wonga walk down to the Crystal Shower falls but the round trip was 6.6km. The sign said it would only take 2.5 hours but I know me and I walk slowly so it could take me all day. We decided to give it a miss and took a short walk around the area instead. There were signs along the way letting us know what we would be seeing. Nice.

The rainforest is thought to be between 20 and 60 million years old. About 18 million years ago volcano Ebor erupted in the area. The eruption destroyed a large part of the rainforest. Over time the rainforest regained what it had lost and thrived on the rich volcanic soils.

The forest has a fragrance all of its own. Ok maybe fragrance isn’t the right word to describe the smell. We had read the information telling us there were over 450 different species of plants (with 150 of them being trees.) The information suggested the forest would be filled with lots of tropical flowers. That was not what I could smell. I would say it was more of an earthy smell, which hit me as soon as I made those first steps that took me under the canopy of green. So much for the fragrance of the tropical flowers I was hoping for.

It was a lovely walk. You could almost feel like you had stepped back in time. I looked out for all the animals and birds as well as the lizards frogs and spiders that were said to be found in the forest if you were quiet enough to hear and see them (especially the spiders). I wasn’t really going to stand still long enough for that to happen. You see along with all the wild life there was also some yucky blood sucking leaches. If I kept moving hopefully none would jump aboard to do its thing and suck my blood. Did I see any of the animals? Yes. I would have loved to have take shots of all the ones I saw, but they didn’t give me enough time to do that. I did get a snap of a grown bird and back at the information centre there was a bush turkey.

Our next stop was Dangar Falls. You can see the falls from the parking area or you could make your way down to the bottom. We chose to do both. Well worth the walk.

There is a labyrinth just before the start of the walk down to the falls. We stopped to have a look at it on our way back to the car. A Labyrinth is an ancient pattern, which dates back to about 2500 BC. (The earliest ones have been found around the Mediterranean Sea.) They are interesting. A puzzle that take you to the middle, then abundance finds you there. The Greek myths elaborate that the first structure was designed and built to hold the Minotaur.

Both Adrian and I walked the Labyrinth.

Then it was off to the next waterfall, Ebor Falls. The Guy Fawkes River flows over Ebor Falls and then eventually makes its way out to the sea via the Clarence River. Guy Fawkes River runs though one of the most important areas of wildness in northern New South Wales as it’s banks house some 28 threatened plant species and 24 threatened fauna species.

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Again the waterfall was close to the car park but the area offers some great walks as well. We took the shortest one, which took us along the ridge of the hill. The “Organ pipe” rock formation is created by molten lava cooling and shrinking. The vertical contractions crack creating the organ pipe look. Most of the time the columns are six sided but they can be only four or five. The passing of time has weathered the vertical joints to reveal the formation.

The walking trail hummed with life. Flowers and birds were everywhere.

No matter which way you looked, the views were amazing.

We looked back on our map of the area and noticed there was a road that lead to a picnic area close to the Crystal Shower Falls. The road cut off a good 3/4 of the walk. We checked the time and decided to take the walk to the falls.

We had saved the best till last. Ok the walk was all down hill but it was through the rain forest. The tall trees surrounded us and the hot afternoon sun barely made it through the canopy.

To get to the falls you will need to cross a suspension bridge. The falls looked nice but not overly impressive from the bridge. We then went under the bridge to the foot of the falls. You then get to walk behind the falls.

It was cold, wet and magical. I loved it. We stood there for about 15 minutes just soaking in the magic and the mist.

Then it was the long walk back up the hill to the car.

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I was so pleased we had made the effort. The Crystal Shower Falls were amazing.

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