Archive for February, 2013

301. Sunday 24th February 2013. Guyra to Forster to Norah Head and big storms with strong winds…

24/02/2013

Monday 18th February

Hugh & Shabari arrived home today. Their plane landed at midday, the same time as my brother Allan, his wife Rae and Grandson Josh arrived in Armidale to meet us for lunch. Josh was arriving for his second year at University of New England while Al and Rae were helping to bring his furniture and clothes to get him settled in.

Tuesday 19th February

We were packed and ready to leave by 10am. After saying our goodbyes to Hugh, Shabari and Toto the dog we hit the New England highway and drove towards Newcastle but turned left at the Hexham Bridge to join the Pacific Highway north to Forster. The drive took 10 hours…including me having an hour long snooze at Willow Tree where we had lunch.

The local hotel at Willow Tree has these wonderful accommodation cottages.

The local hotel at Willow Tree has these wonderful accommodation cottages.

Fence around cottages at Willow Tree.

Fence around cottages at Willow Tree.

Traffic became bumper to bumper from Musswelbrook all the way to Maitland but we arrived at Al & Rae’s home in time for dinner, showered and fell into bed totally exhausted.

Wednesday 20th February

Ahhh! It is so nice to be on the coast enjoying Summer sunshine and dressed in shorts and T-shirt … as I expect to be dressed in the summer. During our drive yesterday I said I would rather like to walk barefoot on a sandy beach, allowing waves to swirl around our legs, all the while the wind blowing in our faces.

Bennetts Head Lookout at Forster.

Bennetts Head Lookout at Forster.

Rockpool at Forster Beach

Rockpool at Forster Beach

 

I got that and more. A tropical low centered off the Queensland coast near Brisbane was whipping the seas into a frenzy and sending strong winds and heavy rain south along the coast. Today we enjoyed the sunshine, knowing the weather will change…for the worse… in 24 hours or so.

Fishing boat crossing the bar at the entrance to Forster rockwalls.

Fishing boat crossing the bar at the entrance to Forster rockwalls.

Donnis on rockwall braving the breaking waves.

Donnis on rockwall braving the breaking waves.

As always Al & Rae are good hosts and good company.

Thursday 21st February

The day started with Al, Rae and I taking a stroll around a few blocks near One Mile Beach. Later in the morning Al, Donnis and I walked over the Forster/Tuncurry Bridge to the Tuncurry side and then walked the length of the breakwater…and back again.

Forster - Tuncurry Bridge

Forster – Tuncurry Bridge

Composite photo of the Forster - Tuncurry Bridge. Note the arches on each end to allow boats to navigate in the channels beneath.

Composite photo of the Forster – Tuncurry Bridge. Note the arches on each end to allow boats to navigate in the channels beneath.

Although the sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds it was still a delightful day despite the strong wind and sea salt haze coating everything.

Waves breaking over rockwall at Forster

Waves breaking over rockwall at Forster

Waves beaking inside Forster harbour walls.

Waves beaking inside Forster harbour walls.

Fishing boat safely tied up at its berth at Forster.

Fishing boat safely tied up at its berth at Forster.

In the afternoon Donnis and I walked to the top of Cape Hawke (named by Captain James Cook in 1770) and the observation tower.

Booti Booti National Park and the beginning of the steep climb to the top of Cape Hawke.

Booti Booti National Park and the beginning of the steep climb to the top of Cape Hawke.

Of course the 880m return trip was steep going up and murder on knees and hips coming down.

If dinner and bed was on offer at the top of the tower I would have gladly stayed the night.

One Mile Beach and sand dunes at Forster as seen from the lookout atop Cape Hawke.

One Mile Beach and sand dunes at Forster as seen from the lookout atop Cape Hawke.

We then drove to Booti Booti National Park and parked at the extreme southern end of Seven Mile Beach and walked on the beach in strong winds, big confused seas and thick salt haze.

View of The Ruins on Seven Mile Beach

View of The Ruins on Seven Mile Beach

large stump found on Seven Mile Beach at a location known as The Ruins.

large stump found on Seven Mile Beach at a location known as The Ruins.

Friday 22nd February

After saying our goodbyes to Al and Rae we took off from Forster in strong winds and heavy driving rain. Al and I got soaked hitching TERIOS to WWWGO. We could see the rain coming and predicted it would arrive in five minutes. It arrived in three minutes!

Three hours down the road we arrived at Toukley and set up camp at Norah Head Holiday Park. The wind and rain increased during the afternoon and evening. The worst of the weather is still yet to arrive during the night or early morning. The strong wind and scuds of rain continued during the night. I know, I woke several times.

Saturday 23rd February

I woke to the incessant strong wind. Still dressed in shorts and T-shirt I walked the National Parks pathway to Soldiers Beach.

Pathway to beach is bounded by Banksia's which form a canopy.

Pathway to beach is bounded by Banksia’s which form a canopy.

Banksia flower. Pathway to the beach is bounded by Banksia.

Banksia flower. Pathway to the beach is bounded by Banksia.

Old Banksia flowers.

Old Banksia flowers.

Almost empty carpark on the day of the big storm.

Almost empty carpark on the day of the big storm.

About twenty vehicles were in the car-park with the occupants doing the same as me. They were watching the huge swells crashing on the rocks and pounding the beach. A thick salt haze obliterated the view of the lighthouse at Norah Head.

In the morning we visited several houses and viewed another two after lunch. Although both places presented well we both came away with the feeling they are not for us.

In the afternoon we took a drive to The Entrance on the other side of Tuggerah Lake. It was about this time the rain decided to increase in volume and continued to bucket down well into the night. It was still raining when we went to bed. The winds became stronger early in the night as WWWGO was being rocked. We both commented how it almost felt like being on our yacht ASTARIA (now sold) and being buffeted by wind, swell and tide.

About 10pm I went to the ablutions block for a shower. Both hand dryers have not worked since we arrived yesterday. While enjoying a hot shower and listening to the sounds of heavy rain and strong winds, I heard a hand dryer turn on. Huhh! I had not heard anybody come into the block, no opening or closing doors, no footsteps yet the dryer turned on. Hmmm! A few moments later it turned on again. As I left the block I put my hands under both dryers…neither turned on!

Sunday 24th February

We woke to a light wind, no rain and a hint of sunshine through the cloud cover.

We spent the morning drying out raincoats and clothes which got wet during yesterday’s heavy rain. After lunch we walked to Soldiers Beach and watched the boardriders and boogie boarders reveling in the heavy conditions.

Anboard rider.other Boogie

Anboard rider.other Boogie

Boogie board rider on wave formed by storm swell.

Boogie board rider on wave formed by storm swell.

FrankieG at Soldiers Point.

FrankieG at Soldiers Point.

carpark the day after the big storm.

carpark the day after the big storm.

We then drove around looking at more real estate to the point of becoming disillusioned.

A house we viewed today is nade from sandstone.

A house we viewed today is nade from sandstone.

Late in the afternoon another storm rolled in from the north. This one included thunder and lightning with a spattering of rain.

Fingers crossed the weather is better when we leave Norah Head tomorrow.

 

 

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300. Sunday 17th February 2013. A very trying week and our last Sunday in Guyra…

17/02/2013

Let me start by saying NO PHOTOGRAPHS THIS WEEK.

In fact there is not much of anything this week but I will start at the beginning and explain.

Hmmm!

Which beginning?

The beginning of the week?

When Donnis arrived?

When the world came crashing down?

OK OK. The beginning of the week.

Monday started out much like any other day in Guyra. The weather either promised to be good or bad and we got a bit of both.

I started writing my diary notes as usual and made plans as usual.

Tuesday came and went much like Monday.

Wednesday was a sort of same again image as the previous two days.

Thursday Donnis arrived by air into Armidale and when I went to collect her she complained of a sore throat and a blocked nose.

Uh Oh!

Within minutes of entering the house her allergies stepped into overdrive and she went to bed early.

I got all my notes up to date, turned off the laptop and went to bed.

Strange dreams inhabited my night. Dreams which played on a loop over and over. I could not sleep so sat in the recliner and finally fell asleep until daybreak whereupon I turned on the laptop.

It would not boot.

Donnis woke with a terrible bout of the flu and went back to sleep.

Oh dear!

All the plans we had of packing WWWGO were coming undone. Donnis was too sick to help and I wanted to get the laptop fixed or a referral to get it fixed or I start researching a replacement.

Luckily Justin T across the road is an IT Guru and I prevailed upon him to help. Long story short after several setbacks he finally got the laptop up and running by 3pm Sunday. In the end he had to completely format the hard drive and restore files from the backup I do each Sunday night. Restoration was only partially successful.

Then comes the tedious job of restoring the files, programs, address book, bookmarks, passwords and downloading email.

Sigh!

Grrr!

In the meantime packing was slow as Donnis was sleeping in WWWGO and I did not want to disturb her. By Sunday morning she was able to help and by tonight we have the laptop about 60% restored and WWWGO 95% packed.

If you are reading this and family or friend and you think your email address may be one I am am trying to restore please send me an email.

I have yet to get all my banking sorted out so I can pay some bills and tomorrow will be a bit of a write off. We have the day already mapped out as the home owners are due back at midday and my brother Al and wife Rae will be in Armidale at midday bringing grandson Josh to the University of New England. (UNE). We will catch up with them over lunch. In the afternoon and evening we will catch up with the owners and Tuesday we should be ready to hit the road and fingers crossed, life gets back to normal.
What is normal???

Next weeks report should be much better.

299. Sunday 10th February 2013. Countdown begins while Gorges and Waterfalls continue…

10/02/2013

Monday 4th February.

The work of struggling with the mower and the thick, tall and wet grass continues.

It was 7° in the kitchen at 7am this morning. Of course it is not so cold that a few layers of warm clothing – in the middle of summer – will not fix.

The sun was 60 / 40 today but the wind was 100% cold from the south.

I was reminded that we have just two weeks left of our house sit in Guyra and after that the next stage of our travels begins. We will re-visit some locations and find some new destination s over the next two months.

Hmmm! There were so many things I had planned to do while here in Guyra but some of those plans were shelved due to the miserable weather. Also with the CO-PILOT not being well and staying on the coast to recover for a few weeks, she is not here to share any adventures!

Tuesday 5th February

ABC Radio have a website and ask for contributions of photos and or stories as per a schedule they have mapped out. This month’s photo project is “Letterboxes” so I sent three photos of letterboxes I have photographed over the last two years. As well they are asking for a 500 word story on a Scary Moment. Today I wrote a 500 page story and sent it to them by email.

It sure beats pushing a recalcitrant mower through thick grass.

Wednesday 6th February

ABC Radio accepted my letterbox photos and asked for a photo to accompany the scary story I sent them.

Have a look here   https://open.abc.net.au/projects/a-scary-moment-89yk8go/contributions/housesitting-at-guyra-27wl1ae

Thursday 7th February

Today was my usual day to do grocery shopping and other tasks in Armidale. A chance conversation with the Barber while getting my annual haircut (just kidding, it’s really a bi- annual haircut – just kidding again, it’s really, not kidding this time, my second haircut since arriving in Guyra at the end of October) provided me with interesting additional information about Guyra which, I am about to share with you. He told me lots of interesting, strange, weird and frequent events happen at Guyra.

He told me a UFO crashed into the town water supply back in 1999. “yeah, right”, I thought. A little investigative Googling did in fact unearth a UFO story   http://www.auforn.com/Guyra_1999.htm

The town water supply referred to is known as Llangothlin Dam and is only a few Klms north and east of Guyra township.  That mystery remains unsolved. The family who reported the event, are named Ward. Their property and surrounding area was, prior to the sighting and still is, known as Wards Mistake. Hmmm! What was the first mistake made by Ward?

He also told me two Air Force F-111’s crashed in Guyra. Again with a healthy dash of scepticism I did my Google search. Indeed two F-111 did crash in the Guyra area and to top it off, another crashed near Tenterfield which is not all that far from Guyra. It is on the same mountain range and has the same basic geographic and geological base as Guyra. Those crashes are;

Delivered to RAAF 01/06/73. Crashed, 02/04/87 near Tenterfield NSW. Crew of FLTLT Mark Fallan and FLGOFF William Pike Killed.

Delivered to RAAF 25/07/73. Served with 6 Sqn. Crashed, 28/04/77 5 nm south of Guyra, near Armidale NSW (6 Sqn) due Fuel tank explosion/loss of control. RAAF Ejection number 49. Crew; CAPT (P) W. Baker USAF, FLTLT (N) D. Clarkson, both Crew survived ejection.

Delivered to RAAF 01/06/73. Flown to and displayed at RAF Fairford for Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) July 1993. Crashed, 13/09/93 near Guyra NSW. Crew of FLTLT Jeremy McNess & FLTLT Mark Cairns-Cowan of 1SQN Killed.

Australia took delivery of 47 F-111. There were 5 crashes on Australian soil (some planes were used overseas) Three of those had fatalities of both crew members and the remaining two had successful ejections. Two crashes were at Guyra and one at Tenterfield nearby. Not bad statistics for a small town in New England.

Guyra Council has erected a memorial plaque on the front lawn of its chambers, commemorating the 1993 crash and loss of life. I visited the memorial and really had to seek it out it being disappointingly small and close to the ground.

Another snippet of history given by the barber was another ghost story of a property near the bottom of Devils Pinch, a steep part of the highway on the way to Armidale. The barber recalled a rhyme that was often chanted when he was a young boy.

Ding Dong Dell

Heagney’s in the well

Who put him in?

Why, it was Sergeant….

Of course the barber could not remember the Sergeants name.  There were reports of a ghost appearing beside a well on the property. My research turned up the following…”Claude Heagney’s murder at Guyra and the early 1960s cover-up, years later produced a death bed confession…by a Police Sergeant!” When trying to access the Guyra Argus Newspaper archives I received this…”Sorry, this page is temporarily unavailable”. I also located many murders, murder suicides, attempted murders, attempted suicides in Guyra over the last 100 years. The barber was correct when he told me lots of strange, weird and fascinating things happen in Guyra.

Friday 8th February

In the morning I went to the Guyra Argus offices to ask access to their archives. Darn! They are closed Thursdays and Fridays. ”. I will follow through on this story when the Argus opens on Monday.

In the afternoon I washed TERIOS, vacuumed inside and cleaned all appropriate surfaces with Armour All.

Saturday 9th February

A bright sunny day, with for Guyra, heatwave conditions of 25°.

I took a drive along the New England Highway to Armidale then turned onto the  Armidale – Grafton Road, also known as the Waterfall Way. On post 289 we visited Gara Gorge, Bakers Creek Gorge and Falls and Hillgrove.

Collapsing and abandoned house. I wonder what standard of workmanship caused this?

Collapsing and abandoned house. I wonder what standard of workmanship caused this? On the road to Metz Gorge.

The collapsed house has a poor example of mud brick and regular kiln fired bricks in this chimney.

The collapsed house has a poor example of mud brick and regular kiln fired bricks in this chimney.

The tiny village of Metz has no shops but has one big sign.

The tiny village of Metz has no shops but has one big sign.

Today my first destination was Metz Gorge which is on the opposite side of the gorge where the Hillgrove Mining was carried out 100 years ago. (in fact gold mining has been re-opened on the Hillgrove side of the Gorge) The access road was gravel and appeared to be little used according to the potholes and washouts along the narrowing track. This was turning into a 4WD adventure. The track ended with spectacular views over the gorge.

TERIOS above Metz Gorge.

TERIOS above Metz Gorge.

The walking track, overgrown with long grass led to a viewing platform which was partially covered with soil washed down the hill from recent heavy rains.

This little Nobbi Dragon skittered across my path as I walked to the viewing platform at Metz Gorge.

This little Nobbi Dragon skittered across my path as I walked to the viewing platform at Metz Gorge.

From here the viewing platform was suspended over a sheer drop to the gorge around 220m below where I could see the river winding through the valley floor and the access roads and mining works of the Hillgrove Gold Mining operations.

The Metz Gorge , which is part of the Oxley Wild Rivers National park.

The Metz Gorge , which is part of the Oxley Wild Rivers National park.

Metz Gorge. Note the gravel track to the river and the gold workings cut into the hillside.

Metz Gorge. Note the gravel track to the river and the gold workings cut into the hillside.

Remains of a mining shed which appears to have been blown apart.

Remains of a mining shed which appears to have been blown apart.

After drinking my fill of precipice views, followed a narrow gravel road which led to places such as Chinamans Gully and Echidna Gully then back onto the Waterfall Way to Dorrigo (see post 293) and on to Dangar Falls (not to be confused with Dangars Falls nearer Armidale see post 283). These falls near Dorrigo are not spectacularly high and are in a more sub- tropical rainforest terrain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangar_Falls

Dangar Falls at Dorrigo. As seen from the viewing platform.

Dangar Falls at Dorrigo. As seen from the viewing platform.

The entire area stretching 115 Klms to Armidale and New England is all part of ancient volcanic lava flows. The curved and irregular "organ pipe" structure is caused by shrinkage of the lava as it cooled. The continued slow movement of the lava during the cooling process prevented it from forming regular hexagonal columns.

The entire area stretching 115 Klms to Armidale and New England is all part of ancient volcanic lava flows. The curved and irregular “organ pipe” structure is caused by shrinkage of the lava as it cooled. The continued slow movement of the lava during the cooling process prevented it from forming regular hexagonal columns.

Dorrigo and surrounding area is on the edge of the escarpment, all part of the Great Dividing Range. The falls themselves are none the less beautiful with a large volume of water cascading into the pool below. Apart from a viewing platform a steep path and timber bridges gives access to the pool below the falls. A fine mist was rising from the water keeping the ferns moist and healthy.

One of the timber walkways on the track to Dangar Falls.

One of the timber walkways on the track to Dangar Falls.

Looking up at the Dangar Falls viewing platform.

Looking up at the Dangar Falls viewing platform.

Dangar Falls from the rainforest foliage near the natural pool.

Dangar Falls from the rainforest foliage near the natural pool.

Dangar Falls and the drifting mist as seen from the base of the falls.

Dangar Falls and the drifting mist as seen from the base of the falls.

On the way home I visited Round Mountain and Cathedral Rocks National Park.

Wild mountain ranges in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park from the Dorrigo Hillside.

Wild mountain ranges in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park from the Dorrigo Hillside on my way to Round Mountain..

Unfortunately the rock views and most visual part of the park required a three hour walk and at 4pm it was too late in the day to tackle that sort of walk especially as I was alone and nobody knew I was there.

Carpark and camping area of the Cathedral Rock National Park.

Carpark and camping area of the Cathedral Rock National Park and Round Mountain. The access track to the Radar Installation referred to in last weeks post begins here.

Sunday 10th February

With all the gravel roads travelled yesterday, TERIOS needed another bath this morning. Also bathed Toto who had rolled in something not very nice and most likely, dead. I started packing things in WWWGO. Things which were no longer needed until we set up camp again.

The countdown is on. This will be our final week in Guyra and new adventures await us.

298. Sunday 3rd February 2013. Of droughts and flooding rains…of gorges, chasms and waterfalls…

04/02/2013

Lots of photo’s this week. Double click to view full size.

Monday 28th January.

I woke to the sound of rain driven against the windows. The wind and rain continued most of the day sending a clear message to stay indoors.

I complied.

The rain depression and accompanying wind, legacy of ex tropical cyclone Oswald has brought flood havoc to the usual places in two states. Fitzroy River Qld, Rockhampton and downstream. Burnett River Qld, including Bundaberg and Gladstone. Mary River Qld, Gympie to Maryborough. Brisbane River Qld, including the Lockyer Valley and Brisbane. Wilson River NSW, around Lismore and low lying areas to the coast. Richmond River NSW, Woodburn through to Ballina. Clarence River NSW, from Grafton to Yamba. Macleay River NSW, Kempsey through to South West Rocks. I could go on but these are all places which have (and we have been there at the time) experienced floods in past years.

Tuesday 29th January.

I had hoped to be able to drive the Waterfall Way today and find at least one waterfall in full majestic water thumping thunderous spectacle. Specifically I wanted to see Wollomombi Falls, the highest falls in Australia. This height claim is subject to dispute and in fact the falls may be second or even third highest in Australia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wollomombi_Falls

Another waterfall, Chandler, combines with Wollomombi to create the Macleay River which is currently in flood.

The day started with a heavy overcast and a drizzly mist drifting up from the valley. I decided to stay as conditions would not be good for driving or photography. Late in the morning the sun started a battle with the clouds and bit by bit started to win, opening up patches of blue sky.

WooHoo!

Tomorrow is looking good.

Wednesday 30th January

The day started sunny and got hot early and stayed hot all day. Perfect for driving to Wollomombi Falls and Ebor Falls (again) both of which are contained in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxley_Wild_Rivers_National_Park

House ruins on the access road to Wollombi Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park...Wollomombi section.

House ruins on the access road to Wollombi Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park…Wollomombi section.

Old log cabin style shed near the ruins.

Old log cabin style shed near the ruins.

Other falls within the park which I have visited are Dangars Falls, Bakers Creek Falls and Gara Gorge. The gorges within the park are simply “bloody” steep and the falls today are no exception. My photos can only give a small idea of the vastness of the gorges within the park.

Macleay River Gorge.

Macleay River Gorge.

Little wonder the entire park is called Oxley WILD Rivers National Park. The visit to Wollomombi Falls was prompted by the excessive rainfall of the past few days. On arrival, the falls, were pumping water over the 220 metre drop. The noise, even from the car-park was constant and loud.

Wollomombi Falls.

Wollomombi Falls.

Another view of Mollomombi Falls.

Another view of Mollomombi Falls.

There are two waterfalls, both spectacular, especially today with so much water cascading into the gorge. The first, about 500m as the crow flies is the Wollomombi Falls and by a strange coincidence it is fed by the Wollomombi River, in flood at the moment. The second falls are about a further 500m along the same gorge wall is Chandler Falls and by another coincidence is fed by the equally flooded, Chandler River.

Chandler Falls.

Chandler Falls.

Closeup Chandler Falls.

Closeup Chandler Falls.

Where both rivers meet on the gorge floor way below they form a new river, the Macleay which in turn is fed by hundreds of creeks and minor rivers on its journey down the mountains and eventually to the sea.

Wollomombi and Chandler Falls.

Wollomombi and Chandler Falls.

Wollomombi River and Chandler River meet forming Macleay River.

Wollomombi River and Chandler River meet forming Macleay River.

Little wonder the lower Macleay is in flood around Kempsey and South West Rocks on the coast. A walk took me along the hills to the Wollomombi River just above the lip of the falls. A steel bridge crosses the river and a path leads to a lookout above the falls. From the debris lying on the bridge and river bank it was clear to me the water level has gone down at least 60cm or perhaps as much as one metre in the last day or two.

Bridge over Wollomombi River. Note the debris and the special hinged hand rails.

Bridge over Wollomombi River. Note the debris and the special hinged hand rails.

Maybe I should have been here yesterday. I stopped at the bridge, as a tree, carried there by floodwaters a day or so ago, was jammed on the bridge. No sense risking climbing over the log with a swollen and raging river only 30cm below when a slip would have me in the water and the falls were only 100m downstream. I was alone and nobody knew I was there. In fact there were no fresh prints on the muddy path I followed.  The bridge has been designed and built so the hand rails can collapse when trees and logs are being washed towards the falls. I could not budge the rails by pulling on them so the forces involved to flatten them must be considerable.

Warning Sign. Steep Slopes.Truist me, those slopes are steep and 200m to the floor below..

Warning Sign. Steep Slopes.Trust me, those slopes are steep and 200m to the floor below..

One of several viewing platforms overlooking the Wollomombi Falls.

One of several viewing platforms overlooking the Wollomombi Falls.

Steep stair case to viewing platform at Wollomombi Falls.

Steep stair case to viewing platform at Wollomombi Falls.

The signs throughout the park warn of steep and slippery slopes. Even from the safety of a lookout I still felt nervous looking straight down to the valley below.

When trudging the path between two lookouts I noticed an odd shape ahead on top of a tree stump. As I got closer I thought the odd shape was a camouflage pose and may be a young Tawny Frogmouth. In fact it was a camouflage pose but it was a full grown Southern Forest Dragon.   http://www.reptilepark.com.au/animalprofile.asp?id=87

I was able to get within a metre of this delightful spikey creature and take many photographs.

Southern Forest Dragon.

Southern Forest Dragon.

Closeup of Southern Forest Dragon.

Closeup of Southern Forest Dragon.

I drove another 37Klms to Ebor and the twin falls which were pumping as well. On the drive I noticed on top of a mountain ahead was a large white shiny structure. Locals I taked to in Ebor told me it was an aviation radar on top of Round Mountain.   http://newsroom.airservicesaustralia.com/releases/en-route-radars-to-be-replaced

I noted again the water level in Guy Fawkes River also must have fallen by about 60cm since the height of the highest level a day or two ago.

The Guy Fawkes River as it plunges over the lip of Upper Ebor Falls.

The Guy Fawkes River as it plunges over the lip of Upper Ebor Falls.

This is Upper Ebor Falls during the drought two months ago.

This is Upper Ebor Falls during the drought two months ago.

This is upper Ebor Falls during the floods.

This is upper Ebor Falls during the floods.

Ebor Twin Falls in flood.

Ebor Twin Falls in flood.

On the drive back to Guyra I noticed where at least 20 trees had been blown down across the road from strong winds a few days ago. Road workers had been through and cut the fallen trees into manageable lengths and moved them off the road.

I travelled 180 Klms and walked around 5 Klms today.

Thursday 31st January

A quiet day of shopping and firing up the lawn mower to cut the grass. Final score grass 3 mower 2. The grass scored an overwhelming win. With the heavy rain followed by sunshine the grass grew quickly, thickly and aggressively. The mower simply struggled. There is always tomorrow for a return bout.

Friday 1st February.

Mower started quickly, eager to get into the grass and show who is boss. The grass!

Hmmm! Round three tomorrow.

Gave Toto the dog a bath which she tolerated but loves running around afterwards to dry off.

In the afternoon a severe storm warning was issued by the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology). Strong winds, heavy rain, thunder, lightning and hailstones. Move cars under shelter etc etc etc. I moved TERIOS across the street and into the neighbour garage. I took down the awning on WWWGO. Closed windows and hatches and went inside to await the storm. Two hours later the storm arrived. Rain, thunder, lightning.

Hmmm two out of three is not a bad average but thank goodness we did not get the strong winds and hail.

Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong got those.

Whew!

Saturday 2nd February

Today the Sun started a battle against the forces of darkness. In expectation of a win I started the mower and had my own battle against the tall thick and damp grass. The mower struggled but at least some of the yard is cut.

Sunday 3rd February

Overnight the temp got down to 6°. Good thing it was cold when I went to bed and I had the doona on all night. The morning continued cold but mostly sunny. The rest of Australia is bathed in summer and already it seems winter has arrived in Guyra. The Taylor Tribe confirmed they are ready to explore Apsley Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsley_Falls

We drove through Armidale to Uralla and turned off to the neat township of Walcha.

Walcha Art Gallery.

Walcha Art Gallery.

Original Fenwicke House.

Original Fenwicke House.

Machine Gun Woman in park at Walcha. Sort of reminds me of a scene from a Mad Max movie.

Machine Gun Woman in park at Walcha. Sort of reminds me of a scene from a Mad Max movie.

As mentioned earlier in this post, Apsley Falls is another of the waterfalls cascading into this gorge system. The falls are fed by the Apsley River which runs through Walcha and once in the gorge system it joins the Macleay River on the journey to South West Rocks where it joins the Pacific Ocean.

Happy Taylor Tribe at Apsley Falls. ( L 2 R. Jason, Justin,Linda Greg with Alesha  with Ella the dog and Iain kneeling.

Happy Taylor Tribe at Apsley Falls. ( L 2 R. Jason, Justin,Linda Greg with Alesha with Ella the dog and Iain kneeling.

The scenery here is stark with steep sided gorge walls with vantage points to see the two falls which make up Apsley Falls.

Apsley Falls

Apsley Falls

Jason sitting rock ledge above upper Apsley Falls.

Jason sitting rock ledge above upper Apsley Falls.

The gorge walls are a mix of Basalt and slate which has split vertically creating the steep sided chasm walls.

Apsley Gorge showing steep sided chasm walls.

Apsley Gorge showing steep sided chasm walls.

Apsley Gorge

Apsley Gorge

On the southern entrance side to the gorge are several paths and lookouts with stairs leading to suspended viewing platforms.

Jason and Iain on suspended viewing platform.

Jason and Iain on suspended viewing platform.

A suspension bridge has been built to access the northern side of the gorge.

Taylor Tribe at the suspension bridge over Apsley River. Linda with Ella the dog, Jason, Iain, Greg, Alesha and Justin

Taylor Tribe at the suspension bridge over Apsley River. Linda with Ella the dog, Jason, Iain, Greg, Alesha and Justin

The original bridge was washed away in a flood in December 2009 and the new bridge was opened in June 2012. It certainly still looks new. At the base of the first fall is an area above the current water level, which looks as though much of the old bridge timbers were washed here in the flood. From our viewing platform 65m above the pool, those timbers looked like matchsticks. Although the day was cold we soon warmed up with walking up and down steep staircases and following the winding and often steep sealed pathway around the gorge walls.

Apsley Falls showing steep staircase to viewing platform on the left.

Apsley Falls showing steep staircase to viewing platform on the left.

Lower Apsley Falls clearly show steep sided cliffs.

Lower Apsley Falls clearly show steep sided cliffs.

Another view of Apsley Falls.

Another view of Apsley Falls.

The pathway is very close to the edge but the strong steel railing with wire runners gave us a sense of security.

Alesha, Iain and Jason on the unfenced edge over a sheer 65m drop to Apsley Gorge.

Alesha, Iain and Jason on the unfenced edge over a sheer 65m drop to Apsley Gorge.

I really congratulate all the men and women who were involved in building staircases, viewing platforms, railings and pathways in steep and treacherous terrain.

Old photograph of a New Years Day party in 1906. Imagine the effort of getting to the falls then climbing down the only accessable rock face to picnic beside the falls. There were no roads to the falls in those days. No staircases, viewing platforms or safety fences.

Old photograph of a New Years Day party in 1906. Imagine the effort of getting to the falls then climbing down the only accessable rock face to picnic beside the falls. There were no roads to the falls in those days. No staircases, viewing platforms or safety fences.

On our way home we stopped at the remains of a settlement called Irishtown between Walcha and Uralla.

Homeleigh and Irisgtown.

Homeleigh and Irisgtown.

Homeleigh, homestead.

Homeleigh, homestead.

Another tiring but satisfying day spent with good company. Thanks Taylor Tribe.