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Monday, March 28, 2016

The Channon Village Campground, The Channon, New South Wales.

From Rummery Park Campground we moved 21 km south west to The Channon Village Campground. 

The Channon Village Campground is essentially in the long front yard of a small farm with room to camp on either side of the driveway, however, this description does not do the place justice. The owners, Huge and Nan are very friendly and informative hosts. The facilities are clean and there are a few nice touches like a herb garden and recycling bins. As soon as we set up, we were warmly welcomed and we started to relax in the scenic rural surroundings. We enjoyed the campground so much that we ended up staying an extra night. 

We found the campground to be conveniently located. We did day trips to the Protester Falls and Mt Nardi sections of Nightcap National Park, as well as to Nimbin and Byron Bay. I will cover these excursions in future blogs. 

For market and craft lovers, it's worth noting that The Channon Craft Market is held next to the campground, on the second Sunday of the month.

Koalas were a highlight of our stay. We saw at least one everyday and on one of the days we saw two koalas; a smaller brown one near our van and a larger grey one across the road. These koalas looked healthy and were the most active we have ever seen; constantly moving around from one mahogany gum tree to another and climbing up and down ordinary pine trees. 

On dusk we could see a few Micro Bats flying about. One night we heard the pitter-patter of something dropping out of the tree next to our van and when we shone the torch into the canopy we could see three Sugar Gliders moving around. Nan told us they also had Feather Gliders nesting in the campground.

There is plenty of birdlife around the campground. Satin Bowerbirds were feasting on the fleshy orange arils of a  Maiden's Blush tree near our van and White-headed Pigeons flew in every afternoon. 

Fleshy arils of the Maiden's Blush tree, Sloanea australis 
Eastern Rosella, Pied Butcherbird, Wonga Pigeon and White-headed Pigeon.
I noticed the distinctive coppery head of a Wall Skink poking out of the gate post capping and waited for it to emerge. This skink had a double tip on it's tail. Skinks have the ability to regrow a lost tail and sometimes they regrow a tail from a wound as well; resulting in multiple tails.
Wall Skink, Cryptoblepharus virgatus
The Channon
From the campground we walked along the Channon Environment Walk to The Channon. In the village we found The Channon Tavern, Contemporary Art Gallery, General Store and Community Hall.

All around The Channon and Nimbin area, pot holes in the roads have been highlighted with spray paint. We quickly gave them the name "hippy potholes".

Wildlife List:
Sugar Gliders, Koalas, Wall Skinks, micro bats.
Butterflies: Orchard Swallowtail, Evening Brown, Blue Triangle.
Birdlist: White-faced Heron, White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Crested Pigeon, Wonga Pigeon, Galah, Australian King Parrot, Eastern Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, White-browed Scrubwren, Noisy Miner, Australasian Figbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong,Torresian Crow, Masked Lapwing.

Details for The Channon Village Campground.
Where: 18 km north of Lismore. 18-23 km south of Nimbin depending on route.
Address: 391 The Channon Road, The Channon, New South Wales, 2480
Types of Camping: tents, camper trailers, motorhomes, caravans
Camping Fees: $10 per adult per night, I believe children under 12 are free but please confirm this as I didn't think to check with the owners.
Bookings: It is usually ok to just turn up but if you wish to ensure a spot at busy times then you can phone 0428 886 335.
Facilities: Flushing toilets, cold showers, bins, laundry tub, town water. We had no problem getting Telstra phone and internet reception but this seems to vary for some people. I believe there is also TV reception. There are some constructed fire places. Pets are allowed on request but dogs must be on leash at all times because of the wildlife. (Koalas literally walk around the campground.) No dump point.
Of Interest: The Channon Craft Market held next door on the second Sunday of the month.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Minyon Falls, Nightcap National Park, New South Wales.

Minyon Falls Lookout

We drove to the Minyon Falls Lookout carpark from Rummery Campground early in the morning. There are gas BBq's, picnic tables and information signs. 

It was a short stroll to the lookout platform at the top of Minyon Falls. There were magnificent views of the morning mist just lifting off the mountains and the falls were spectacular after all the recent rain. The scale of the falls falling 100 meters over stunning rhyolite cliffs is hard to convey in a photo.

Minyon Falls Walking Track, 7.5 km loop, hard. This walk can be started from Minyon Falls Picnic Area or Minyon Grass Picnic Area. The loop can also be accessed from Rummery Park Campground via Boggy Creek Walk; an additional 4 km return. 

We had been looking forward to hiking the Minyon Falls Walk from the lookout but there had been heavy rain during the night, and over the preceding few days, making a walk already designated hard even more challenging so we made the difficult decision not to do the walk.

Minyon Grass Picnic Area

We drove to Minyon Grass Picnic Area where there are picnic tables, gas BBQ's and toilets. A lookout platform offers excellent views of Minyon Falls in the distance. 
We noticed a large collection of snail shells at the base of a tree but were unable to find the bird responsible; perhaps a Noisy Pitta.

Minyon Grass to the Base of Minyon Falls Walk, moderate, 4 km return.

We had already decided not to walk the Minyon Falls Walking Track from the top of Minyon Falls because of the wet and slippery conditions but decided we would try to walk to the base of the falls from Minyon Grass. The first 500 m of the walk drops 70 m before leveling off. It was slippery going but we enjoyed the walk through Scribbly Gums, wet rainforest and Bangalow Palms. The track was covered in the red fruit of the palm trees. On a side note, Bangalow Palms are known as Piccabeen Palms in Queensland.

Fungi was flourishing in the wet conditions. 

We saw Eastern Water Skinks and Blue-speckled Forest Skinks. Only a few birds were out in the wet.

Brown Cuckoo Dove and Eastern Yellow Robin.
After walking 2 km we were very disappointed to arrive at a sign stating that we had reached the base of the falls. Personally, I don't feel that arriving at a place with no view of the falls qualifies as arriving at the base of the falls! Somewhat stunned and incredulous at this turn of events we made our way to the creek in the hope of perhaps glimpsing the falls from there but there was no sight of the falls to be had. We could see where the Minyon Falls Track crossed the creek to where we stood and there was a track marker indicating a continuation of that track. We scrambled down the first set of rocks but the next set went straight up and were too wet and slippery for us so we returned to the carpark without seeing the falls.

We managed to get up and down this section of the "track".
 There is a track marker on the palm, top center. End of the walk for us.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Boggy Creek Walk, Whian Whian Conservation Area/Nightcap National Park, NSW.

Boggy Creek Walk is a 4 km return walk from Rummery Park Campground to Minyon Falls. The walk meanders beside beautiful Boggy Creek and swimming is allowed. 

There had been heavy rain around the time of our visit and one section of the walk was flowing like a boggy creek! 

There were majestic Brush Box, Turpentines and Blackbutts beside the track.

Brush Box Lophostemon confertus and Turpentine Syncarpia glomulifera

We saw a few Eastern Water Skinks and one Blue-speckled Forest Skink. The highlight of the walk was seeing a Rough-scaled Snake dashing across the path. Rough-scaled Snakes, also known as Clarence River Snakes, are listed as dangerous and their bite can be lethal but we always treat snakes with respect. We stood back and watched it proceed to the creek, no doubt, for a nice nighttime feed of frogs. The snake had quite a large tick attached but appeared to be in good health.  

Rough-scaled Snake Tropidechis carinatus
We came to Minyon Falls Road, just below the causeway, and saw a sign across the road for the Minyon Loop Walk, which is a hard, 7.5 km, walk that keen hikers could add to the Boggy Creek Walk but as we were intending to do Minyon Loop the next day we turned around and went back to Rummery Park Campground.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rummery Park Campground, Whian Whian Conservation Area and Nightcap National Park, NSW.

Rummery Park Campground, in Whian Whian Conservation Area, adjoins Nightcap National Park. There is a small (sloping) area for camper trailers in front of the camp kitchen, a few tent sites scattered about and a walk-in tent camping area across a small bridge. There is a group camping area across the road.

The trailer camping area at Rummery Park.
Electric BBQ outside the camp kitchen and wood BBQ's inside.
The walk-in tent camping area.
Goanna Campground for groups. Magnificent Kauri tree in the front. 
The first thing we noticed at Rummery Park was a couple of large goannas patrolling the campground.

Kookaburras were keeping an eye on things and Satin Bowerbirds foraged in the grass in the early morning.

Satin Bowerbird (male) and Pale-yellow Robin.
There were crows nests and Stag-horns growing Hoop Pines around the campground.

Two walks leave from the campground, Boggy Creek Track (2 km one way) and Peates Mountain Walk (3.5 km one way). It is possible to add the Minyon Loop Walking Track to the Boggy Creek Track. I will cover Boggy Creek Track in the next blog.

There are more walks in Nightcap National Park. Minyon Falls Lookout is a few kilometers from the campground and a walk leaves from the lookout carpark. Another walk leaves from Minyon Grass Picnic Area. We will explore Nightcap National Park in the coming days.

We planned on doing Peates Mountain Walk on our last morning at Rummery Park but it was too wet and we ended up packing in the pouring rain.

This Magpie was as wet as we were.
Driving out of Rummery Park.
Bird List
Topknot Pigeon, White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Noisy Miner, Logrunner, Eastern Whipbird, Eastern Yellow Robin, Pale-yellow Robin, Satin Bowerbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Red-browed Finch.

Details for Rummery Park Campground:
Directions: In Whian Whian Conservation Area, North Coast Region.The campground can be approached via Rosebank, Dunoon, or if coming from QLD, from Ewingsdale via Coolamon Scenic Drive. Then drive north along Minyon Falls Road, past Minyon Falls and turn into Peates Mountain Road. 
Types Of Camping: tent, camper trailer site, camping beside vehicles.
Camping Fees: Minimum daily rate of $23 for 1 to 2 people plus 2.5% booking fee.
Vehicle Fee: No vehicle fee.
Bookings: Book online:
Book by phone: 13000 PARKS (13000 72757). There is no phone reception at the campground. There is phone reception at Minyon Grass Picnic Area and 2 km south on Nightcap Range Road.
Facilities: Non-flush toilets, Electric BBQs, wood BBQ's, camp kitchen, some tables, tank water, walks. No phone reception.
Prohibitions: No smoking, no pets.
Contacts: Alstonville: 02 6627 0200 8.30 am - 4.30 pm Monday to Friday.
Cautions: leeches, narrow roads.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Wildlife at Mulligans Campground, Gibraltar Range National Park, NSW: Part 4.

Along the Gwydir Highway we moved camp three times even though the campsites were very close together and it would have been possible to base ourselves at one campground and day visit all the others. Where possible we like to camp in a National Park rather than day visit because we really enjoy sitting in the campground and observing the local wildlife. Early mornings and late afternoons, as well as after dark, are usually the best times to observe wildlife and it is easier to be there at these times while camping.

At Mulligans Campground our every move was observed by a Satin Bowerbird and at one point it tried to steal our morning tea by darting at us while making loud noises. We've never thought of Bowerbirds as being aggressive but this one was very pushy. We were also watched by a couple of Pied Currawongs but they appeared to be intimidated by the aggressive Bowerbird and stayed sitting in the trees.

In the late afternoons, Red-necked Wallabies would wander around our campsite.

White-throated Scrubwrens, Eastern Yellow Robins, Brown Thornbills, and Bassian Thrush were also common around our campsite.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fern Tree Forest Walk, Mulligans Campground, Gibraltar Range National Park, Part 3.

Fern Tree Forest Walk covers a section of the 45 km Gibraltar-Washpool World Heritage Walk.
Fern Tree Forest Walk is a medium grade, 8 km circuit.

We made our way from Mulligans Campground to Mulligans Hut and the start of the walk. It wasn't long before we came to the turnoff to The Needles but we decided to do that leg of the walk another time and continued on. The track was bordered by a lush green understory of ferns before leading through a fairytale avenue of Fern Trees.

However, there is a lot more to the Fern Tree Forest Walk. We continued on through a dryer forest of eucalypts and Grass Trees before climbing across granite with magnificent views.

Plants along the track.
The last leg of the walk follows alongside Little Dandahra Creek where we saw a number of butterflies such as Orchard Swallowtails, Meadow Argus and Evening Browns.

We thoroughly enjoyed this walk and its constantly changing scenery.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mulligans Hut. Gibraltar Range National Park, New South Wales, Part 2.

Mulligans Campground, or Mulligans Hut Campground as it is sometimes called, gets its name from some interesting history in the area.

Information sourced from a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service sign near Mulligans Hut:
William Mulligan (1862-1953) was from a local grazing family. He was an engineer and he proposed an hydroelectric scheme for the area. The scheme was never developed but he and his partners built two concrete weirs to measure water flow and they can still be seen today.

Concrete Weir
Eastern Water Dragon at the weir.
William Mulligan built two slab walled huts here. In the 1960's a fire destroyed the smaller hut and damaged the other. The National Parks and Wildlife Service rebuilt the hut in 1968.

Mulligans Hut
Even if you are not camping at Mulligans Campground, Mulligans Hut is a nice place for a day visit. It is a scenic area with tables and fire rings at the waters edge. There are even two tables and a fireplace inside the hut.