Travelling through the Hinterland
Travelling South by car or campervan from Byron Bay to Sydney on the East coast of New South Wales gives you the chance to breath in the fresh ocean air and watch the incoming waves. If you are lucky with the weather, you can take your surfboard out and catch a couple of waves on one of the beautiful beaches around Coffs Harbour. One of our many stops was the town of Port Macquarie. We decided to stay the night at a locally owned Airbnb and discover the town that has been booming over the last 10 years and is becoming a blossoming city.
At that time I had no idea that I would return to this tranquil town and I would go inland to discover a whole new world where backpackers are no longer to be found: the hinterland of New South Wales.
Driving the Oxley Highway
Only two weeks after our visit, a job offer lead me back to Port Macquarie and into the mountains. If you made it already to the town of Port Macquarie it is only a small step towards driving onto the Oxley Highway into the stunning hinterland of the Mid North New South Wales. Follow the footsteps of John Oxley who discovered Mount Seaview in 1818 when he was exploring the Great Diving Range. Passing through the panoramic views of vast cattle farms and old rainforest reserves makes you realise how amazingly green Australia is. I travelled by car but a motor ride up the windy roads would be a challenging adventure for anyone ready to go off the beaten track.
Mount Seaview Resort
After only an hour driving I got to the Mount Seaview Resort where I would stay for another three months. The sightings of Mount Seaview’s steep hills covert in old dry rainforest with trees more than 400 years old surprised me every day. Far away from society and surrounded by nature, fauna and flora, made me very grateful to be there. In the evening the Laughing Kookaburras started to laugh with each other and the Wallabies were grazing carefully on the vast grass patches along the resort with their Joeys in their pouch. The clouds drifted away and as the moon climbed higher in the sky the dark night started to open up for a sky full of stars.
Off The Beaten Track: Waterfalls
I already knew where the Oxley Highway met the sea but I was curious where it went winding up inland. And so as soon as I heard of a trail that leads you to the various waterfalls along the highway all the way back to Port Macquarie I had to see what the locals were talking about. The Oxley Highway takes you all the way from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour through the hinterland of New South Wales passing by amazing hidden treasures where mostly locals come to visit.
Driving into the town of Walcha the first wonder of nature is only minutes away: the Apsley Falls. To reach the falls you cross a bridge towards the beginning of the National Park to amaze yourself at the cliffs around the waterfall from two different look out points. The best time to come is after a rainy day when the water capacity is enhanced. The second and third waterfall on the list is to be found in the Wollombi Gorge situated in the Oxley Wild River National Park, World Heritage Area: the 260meter high Wollombi Falls and the smaller Chandler Falls. The park is famous for its waterfalls as thirteen major waterfalls occur in or near the park. You can experience spectacular views of the waterfalls, vegetation and the gorges on the rim and slopes if you take one of the several walking tracks.
You would think that after seeing one or two waterfalls you have seen them all but I could not be more wrong. The Ebor falls, my next stop on the road after passing through Armidale, surprised me with a completely different scenery. A subtle waterfall in the shape of a stairway surrounded by a lush, green valley of ancient forest. A short walking track of 700meters takes you to the lower Falls lookout point. The Ebor Volcano erupted 19 million years ago and created a range of waterfalls. We pass by the small town of Ebor where we have a lunch break at a typically Australian country café, Fusspots Café. An absolutely tasty deluxe chicken hamburger for only eleven Australian dollars best to enjoy with a lime and bitter lemonade is definitely worth a stop.
Next we head up to the Dangar Waterfalls which are part of the Ebor Volcano eruption and worth a visit while passing through the historic town of Dorrigo. We just did a day tour but I could easily imagine myself staying at the Heritage hotel and go back in time for one night only.
Dorrigo Rainforest National Park
After all these waterfalls it was time to go into the Dorrigo Rainforest National Park and experience the wooden skywalk that leads you over the top of the rainforest trees and allows you to enjoy a 360 eagles view over the untouched mountain range of the Mid North New South Wales. I could even see the sea on this stunningly clear winter day. The Dorrigo National Park also has a very modern visiting centre with a small interactive museum where you learn more about the fauna and flora that can be found at the Dorrigo rainforest as well as about the geology of the rainforest. The Dorrigo Rainforest Centre does not charge income but asks for a golden coin donation. This means one or two dollar to visit the skywalk on top and explore the various walking tracks on the bottom of the rainforest.
Back to the Pacific Highway
Before heading back to the coast, to the Pacific highway, we honour the Australian tradition and have a stop for an afternoon tea. The best place here for when cruising the highway is when the highway suddenly changes into country road and you find yourself at Macksville town. We turned to the right towards Rosa’s Coffee shop and ordered a sugary cappuccino accompanied by home baked banana bread. I felt completely integrated into the local customs and above all I loved it.