Day 37 – Bellingen & Dorrigo National Park

Trip Start Jan 11, 2012
Trip End Apr 14, 2012

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Where I stayed
Johnny's House

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, February 16, 2012

We are out in the country and it is fabulous. This morning I woke up and took my laptop to the deck and sat out there and watched the sun rise over the tree tops and listened to the many varieties of birds.  There were several colorful species of parrots circling around and the kookaburras were entertaining me with their crazy laugh.  I could not here cars, trucks, planes, barking dogs or people only the occasional cow bellow.  It was awesome. 

After breakfast we took a scenic country road to the town of Bellingen.  This was a quaint little town that reminded me a bit like a small Boulder.  Everyone was dressed like a hippie and half of the population had dreads. We walked around the shops for a couple of hours.  The crafty shops were eclectic and interesting but the clothing shops were a tough mix.  There were several Op Shops (op is short for opportunity and is Australian for thrift store) and then there were really expensive high-end shops where sundresses cost $350.  There was nothing in between and everything looked like grateful dead show attire.  We didn't buy anything but it was fun to see.

We ate lunch at a brew pub in Bellingen and continued on to Dorrigo National Park. To get to Dorrigo you have to drive along a curvy mountain road, called waterfall way, through the rain forest.  Most of the waterfalls are right next to the road and have big pipes that run them underneath the road and they continue down the side of the mountain.  Unfortunately, there were not a lot of pull-offs to take pictures. 

On top of the mountain is Dorrigo National Park which has a sky walk that overlooks the rain forest canapé.  It is over four stories tall and has beautiful views.  We also took a 3k hike on the "Wanga Walk" trail through the rain forest which is home to 140 types of tree species and 58 different types of vines.  It was a beautiful walk but it was kind of close to the road so we could hear the cars and trucks going past a few hundred meters away.   We could also here a ton of different types of birds but could not see them in the tree tops.  Eric and I commented to Lesley that we did not really expect to visit a rain forest while we were in Australia, but apparently there are several along the coast.

We then drove a little ways past the park to Dangar Waterfall.  It was a little strange approaching the waterfall.  We were driving through a giant meadow with a small creek running through it.  In what seemed like the middle of nowhere there was a parking area.  We got out of the car and we could hear the rush of water.  We walked over to a viewing platform and somehow that sleepy little creek had produced a massive waterfall.  It was really beautiful and worth the extra few kilometers of driving to go see. 

By now it was 3:30 and we had an hour drive to get back to Johnny’s so we decided to find our way home.  Lesley pulled into a water treatment facility and said “you must get a picture of that.”  At first we were really confused as to why we needed a picture of the sewage and then we looked up and saw the rare Australian Lavatree.  We all had a good laugh and snapped a photo and headed down the road.  We stopped at a fruit stand and bought bananas, apples and macadamia nuts from a woman that was so old,she may have planted the first apple tree on Earth herself. 

We made it back to Johnny’s and showered and relaxed for a while before heading over to a neighbors for snacks, wine and sunset.  Tracey and Steve were very accommodating and fun to get to know.  They live in a flood zone and have experienced five floods so far this year.  None of the floods reach the home but the fields behind their place become a lake which they canoe around.  They have two cows, Kelvin and Stanley and a black lab named Raleigh, all of which live in the back yard and were quite entertaining.  

We had another fun-filled day in Australia. 
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