Thursday 11 June – Bellinger River
The annex panels were wet and a bit dirty, so needed to be wiped, however it was not raining when we packed up. Hit the road at 10 am and headed north in the direction of our next destination, about an hour and a half drive. Jen drove to find out how the van towed, and all was well. We picked the scenic route for the last 12 km and enjoyed a lovely tree-lined, slightly windy road. Along the way, we spotted a winery sign, which was immediately filed away in the memory bank.
Got to our campsite for the next 4 nights, right on the Bellinger River, which is quite wide and beautifully calm. The park itself is not large, and their interpretation of being COVID-safe means only every other site may be occupied. Geri & Michael are beside us, but 30m away 😄! We are also not allowed open fires, as they are worried too many people will crowd close together around; and their bathrooms are not open – so you need to be pretty much self-contained (or try your luck for a swim in the river, ha)! Anyway, we do really like it here.
After sorting the van, we set off for lunch at the winery mentioned and found a big shopping centre this side of Coffs Harbour where we stocked up on necessities. Lunch was fabulous, tasted some enjoyable wine, and sat on the deck with view on the (admittedly bare) vines.
We enjoyed somewhat of a sunset one side and the river view on the other… The sky cleared and Arno and Michael took some beautiful night sky pictures from beside the river.
Friday 12 June
It promised to be a dry, sunny day, and we planned to see some of the waterfalls in the vicinity. We also did some laundry to dry while we were out for the day…..
Well, they lied. It was plenty wet (and some dry) but we did see some gorgeous waterfalls. Dorrigo used to be a timber town, and rather cute with an elevation around 730m. The road there is called ‘Waterfall Way’, an indication of the beautiful surroundings. These days dairy and tourism are the main source of revenue.
As proper tourists do, we covered some of the falls, had the local pub’s lunch (definitely worthwhile), as well as some shops. We are so enjoying being able to just eat out again and browse the shops and support these businesses.
We walked to Dangar Falls (around 2km from town). These falls are wide, and not super high – a bit like a miniature Niagara Falls. and at one point in history, these were also a hydro-electricity supply for the area.
We then visited Dorrigo National Park – where we hiked to the Crystal Shower Falls. These were high, so quite a steep descent (and ascent!) through a really stunning rain forest, with Yellow Carrabeens, some interesting mushrooms, walking stick palms and many other palms we have not yet seen before. The misty air around all those tall trees in a super lush and green forest gave it a fairy tale feeling, a little eery as well.
On the way back we made a quick stop at Bellingen, another nice town, which we will return to. Today the weather wasn’t fantastic, and it was clearly getting ready for the weekend tourists, as it was far busier than when we passed through in the morning. When we got back, the laundry had not dried 😧.