Gibraltar Range National Park
December 16 - Clothes washed, we drove to Gibraltar Range National Park via Nymboida and South Grafton, arriving for lunch at Dandahra picnic area. After lunch we parked my car at the off highway carpark beside the Platypus picnic area and drove to the Granite Picnic Area in Washpool National Park to start the walk. This was probably the best walk of the trip, as the park is in good condition, few weeds and has a huge variety of environments. From Granite Picnic Area we walked Pidcocks Trail through rainforest with walking stick palms, then along Fern Walk where we pick up water for the night on a tributary of Little Dandahra Creek.
After enjoying views of a cascade over Christmas bells in a swamp, we spent sometime finding a campsite with views. We found one with a south-west outlook across the broad swamps of Little Dandahra Creek to Avil Rock and Dandahra Crags. The weather held off, and we had a comfortable night at 1000 metres.
December 17 - Next morning we “discovered” another cascade on Little Dandahra Creek on a short side track, and then followed the creek upstream before crossing a slight watershed between swamps to Mulligans Drive.
Then its an easy road bash south for 2km to down packs and climb Anvil Rock. Another short walk beside the large swamps of Surveyors Creek and reach Dandahra Crags.
These Crags give excellent views of the escarpment above Mann River to the south and beyond towards Guy Fawkes National Park. If you are short of time, then do the Crags and skip the Rock, although both are good rock scrambling destinations.
The rest of the walk is straight forward track downstream beside Surveyors Creek then up Little Dandahra Creek to the Platypus picnic area once more. Its an easy drive back to Grafton where we settled for the Imperial Hotel on the Clarence River. Ask for a room on the verandah with an on-suite. The food was excellent, so was the beer.
December 18 – 5am start for the drive back to K-town. I broke up the drive, and my first stop for breakfast was Urungah, just off the motorway after Coffs Harbour. Urungah is nestled in amongst the wetlands of the Bellingen River delta. Just south of it is the surfing mecca of Hungry Head where you can limber up for the long drive. Then belt down motorway stopping at Taree for lunch and then one more stop before the maze of Sydney toll roads etc, and before you know it you’re home for dinner. After a few days, you wonder if it happened at all, holidays are like that.