Australia Off The Beaten Path Tips by iandsmith Top 5 Page for this destination
Australia Off The Beaten Path: 409 reviews and 632 photos
Colourful shop in Montville
Situated on the escarpment of the Blackall Ranges just over an hour from Brisbane, this town is made-to-measure for those who want to put their feet up, enjoy wonderful views towards the Pacific Ocean, sip some afternoon tea and then shop your little heart out.
It's one of those arty-crafty villages that has blossomed as tourists to the nearby Sunshine Coast (Noosa Heads to Caloundra) seek something different from the daily humdrum of going to the beach.
The slightly cooler temperatures as the wind wafts across the ridge and the large variety of wares make this a place to pinpoint on your Australian journey.
You should be warned however, that in holiday times it can get packed, locals love the place and with good reason.
View from Fan's Horizon walk
Just 30 kilometres out of Coonabarabran in western N.S.W. lies a wonderful cluster of old volcanic plugs.
These are the central remnants of volcanoes that dotted the area millions of years ago and have been left prominent after the softer slopes have been washed away and eroded over the millenia.
This area is popular with Australians who like to indulge in that wonderful Aussie pastime, bushwalking.
There are plenty of birds, especially in late winter and early spring when the wildflowers are in bloom, lots of wildlife, clear air and lots of scenic photo opportunities.
It is a National Park and it cost $7 per day per vehicle to get in unless you're a pensioner and it costs you nothing. There's also a modest $5 per person if you want to camp overnight.
In 2013 there were terrible bushfires that rent the area; among other things the information centre was razed to the ground. You need to check first before going there to see what is open and what is still shut. As of writing (mid 2013), 90% of the park was closed.
There are some lovely camping grounds in the park and heaps of accommodation both in the town and on the route out to the park.
This picture shows Belougery Spire (left), the Breadknife (in shadow) and Crater Bluff.
This shot was taken on the Split Rock Walk (see my Coonabarabran pages) but you can walk up to these on the Grand High Tops walk. It takes about 5 hours round trip and is not recommended in summer.
Fantastic Waa Gorge.
This rarely visited gem is one of Australia's hidden treasures. Located between Narrabri and Moree it's not that hard to get to but it takes time and you can't visit there when it's wet.
Having said that it rates in any list of Australian gorges, or should if people knew it existed.
The drive in from the Narrabri end is worth the detour alone. Visually panoramic, it compels you to stop every so often to take a photo.
On the final 19 kms after the turnoff, it simply gets better and better, and it doesn't stop until you actually reach the gorge itself. For anyone with time who wants to have an unforgettable moment, this place is a must.
For full details see my Narrabri pages.
This shot wasn't taken on the main track but scaling a hill on the other side. However, it gives you some indication of how good it is.
The walk takes about one and a half hours.
Even the cows think it's nice
On the newly paved road from Gloucester to Walcha, called Thunderbolts Way after and infamous bushranger, there are some camping spots the like of which you would see in your dreams.
One such spot is called Bretti Reserve and it sits idyllically beside a picturesque mountain stream. Well, it's actually in the valley here but you get the picture.
Located just a few kilometres north of the hamlet of Barrington it is one of three designated places. On long weekends and school holidays they are packed but, any other time you will have them pretty much to yourself.
For a get-away-from-it-all experience, Bretti is hard to beat though Gloryvale is really nice as well.
River near the camp site
The Nymboida River is known as one of Australia's wild rivers. White water rafting, canoeing and fishing are common activities on its surface but, just after it reaches its confluence with the Clarence it becomes temporarily impassable due to a sheer drop called simply "The Gorge" or "Clarence Gorge".
This place is where those wishing to escape the city and spend time bushwalking, fishing or canoeing will find happiness.
You can camp beside the river and listen to the soft rush of the waters as the moon rises over the glorious valley.
You can also overnight in "The Shack" where you'll need to bring your own linen. It sleeps up to 12 at a pinch and has bathroom and laundry facilites as well as a kitchen.
Access is via tar then dirt road and you need to allow about an hour from Grafton and it's not advisable while it's raining or immediately after rain. Otherwise it's not too bad by Australian standards.
There are properties either side of the gorge where you can stay. I've only been on the south side and that's home to Neil and Sue Winters.
I walked from their house all the way to the gorge and a little beyond. It's a pleasant flat walk and, it the river has some fresh in it, the falls can be spectacular.
Neil also does boat trips that take you right up to the falls except if there's a lot of water coming d own and then it's too dangerous. He also has hire boats for fishing.
The property is over 8,300 acres and has over 10 kilometres of river frontage.
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/21affb/#ixzz1jyDZMlXP
A long suffering gum tree
This tree is more than just a tree. It is actually riddled with mistletoe. Mistletoe is a parasitical plant that may eventually kill the host tree by weakening it to a degree where it is vulnerable to diseases.
It is transported from tree to tree by the mistletoe bird. It's a pretty bird with a scarlet chest and black wings that make it instantly recognizable. The mistletoe bird eats the seeds of the mistletoe, can't get rid of them properly because they're sticky and so wipes its backside on the branch of the tree and leaves the seed behind.
The reddish colours in this tree represent the mistletoe so you can clearly ascertain just how far it has spread in this case.
John Hart Conservatory
Tucked away in the middle of the City Park (originally called the People's Park) in Launcestion is an attractive building that, for me, deserves more publicity, particularly if you're visiting in spring.
The reason is that inside is a glorious array of orchids in a multitude of colours and you can view them all for free.
The conservatory dates from 1820 which gives some idea of how wealthy Launceston was even from the early days. The Ciry Park itself was developed originally by the Launceston Horticultural Society and handed over to the city itself in 1863.
The John Hart Conservatory is open weekdays from 8.30am - 4.30pm and weekends from 9.00am - 4.30pm (April - September) and from 9.00am - 5.30pm (October - March).
River above the falls
. After recuperation I thought I’d duck down and see Stitt Falls; after all they’re right below the carpark, you can hear them roaring......or so I thought.
I only had my sandals on and what I thought would be an easy 100 metres was turning into a nightmare as I plunged on through the narrow boggy trail trying desperately not to dirty my clean feet. After what seemed an eternity I broke out next to a football field and wondered where to next.
Spotting a bridge I determined that must be it and wandered over. It wasn’t, but two locals walking their dogs laughed when I told them where I’d come from and said they’d taken that trail the first time they’d moved here but never again. “You just go across the bridge, up the road and turn right down the main road and you’re back at the park”. Mmm, it’s all very easy when you know how.
They also said the falls were a few minutes further down, past the footy field so I wandered down beneath the spectacular railway bridge and finally saw what turned out to be an excellent drop with bucket loads of water cascading over.
At some time it looked like someone’s clothesline had been caught in the torrent with a line and a couple of clothing items scattered far below on the cliffs. No wonder they hadn’t retrieved them.
Just a little bit wet...
I was reminded of pop music, “wet, wet, wet” came into my head as the sky darkened all across the horizon and here I was, nearly two hours from base.
Where once there were left over puddles from the morning showers, now there were ponds. In places I had to side step the trail to avoid them. Though I had a spray jacket it, too, slowly seeped moisture until I reached the two hours return sign again. By then I was saturated well and truly, no longer imagining how much smarter I’d been than those who left early.
There was a couple in their thirties there, wondering whether to proceed or not. They had only just finished the 5 day Overland Track 2 days ago and it had been fine the whole way. Now they were thinking of quitting this minor walk such was the weather.
Within another ten minutes my boots started to squelch. What does it matter when
everything including your underwear is wringing wet? It’s just a noise.
The track was a series of rivulets but luckily the rocks were grippy still so walking was still okay if a little uncomfortable.
As if to taunt me, just ten minutes from the motorhome it all stopped and the sun splayed on various parts of Fortescue Bay.
Every item of clothing went into the bath, hopefully to dry a little sometime in the next few days because I’ve since found it the bad weather is here for another day at least.
I later motored around to Remarkable Cave but the full power of the wind made photography nigh on impossible and the rain definitely cancelled that option out.
Feeling tired, I went to bed and woke about an hour later suffering hypothermia, even though I had had a doona over me. Was this really summer?
These days the track has had a makeover and is part of the Three Capes walk that has been funded and proper walking trails have been put in, initially to Cape Hauy.
Unfortunately time does not allow visitors to really savour some of the most wonderful parts of Australia and, sadly, tour operators only take you to pre-arranged locations. Some of them are very worthwhile but often you bypass some lovely country. This is a shot on the Golden Highway taken between Jerrys Plains and Denman looking across to Broke Range.
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