Nimboi-Binderay NP to Giro State Forest December 12 - 17 2018
  Headed south from Nymboida River Camp along Doboy Road.

Through Nymboida Village.

A bit further south, near Clouds Creek we turned south east into Camp Road.

A nice, healthy, open, looking forest road.

A road crew working on it.

The dozer driver did mention it became a "bit tighter" further on. With no reference we put the remark in the same category as the Chinese "a little bit difficult". But carried on anyway.

  The National Parks map tells us of Welshes Road. We find it on the Hema Map.

Sadly, it hasn't been maintained for some time. Decades. But we figure National Parks is probably up to date and someone has even painted Welshes Road on a tree. GPS shows us on the road we want.

  Looks like one of those days when too much information is just enough to get us into trouble.

The tree on the ground was vertical when we arrived but got in the way. No chainsaw. Forgot the handsaw.

But wait. We have a cordless drill. It didn't take long, paper barks are fairly soft.

A 100m detour around a very substantial bridge which unfortunately had a metre diameter tree felled across the track in front of it. Looked like it had been there for years.

While we are only slightly wider than a Landcruiser we are taller. A small angle and the top corners or the roof can hit trees.

  Having persevered we reached another obstacle. We can't quite turn such sharp corners as a Landcruiser. And, again, the track angles almost defeat us.

But a bit of shunting and we are through.

The next, and last, obstacle was impassable. Another metre diameter tree across the track with no detour. The track on the far side looked even less used and more impassable.

We reached a couple of km short of Platypus Flat Campground before turning round - itself a minor challenge requiring "15 turns" on narrow, tree bound, track. While seemingly random the trees are carefully spaced to minimise our options.

We camped where the track met the main road. Had a long chat to a forestry worker the next morning. Reckoned we should have been on the road further east than Welshes. Part of it called Chapmans Plain Road, then Moonmerri Road. Provided directions off Camp Road. We had a look but rain overnight had made the track very greasy so turned back to bitumen after less than a km.

  A detour to Dorrigo. We found some National Park keys at Nymboida, phoned the park office, and best place for us was to leave them at the Rain Forest Centre at Dorrigo. A busy place.

There's a large quantity of old railway carriages and locos at the entrance to Dorrigo.

There's also a hardware store in Dorrigo. A couple of nuts and bolts to fix the mirrors. A bit of Gorilla Tape to tidy up some broken fibreglass. Sikaflex was unfortunately black instead of white so will have to wait until Armidale.

  And so to Platypus Flat. From the south.

Near where we crossed the Nymboida River, nearly at the campsite, we saw the road we could have come in on from the north.

Our north south traverse of part of the Dividing Range is seemingly more of a challenge than simply following tracks on maps.

The modified exhaust pipe (changed from upright to out the side a few weeks ago - reducing weight by about 30kg) has twisted at a clamped join. Worked itself loose, twisted back ok but I'll have to loosen, push tail pipe in, and tighten. After a cup of coffee.

  Walked downstream a bit and looked back. The campsite is on the left.

I disturbed a couple of water dragons. Must be too early in the afternoon for platypus. Surely there must be some at Platypus Flat.

Perhaps hiding from people swimming.

There's a strange dearth of birds. We see a few in the distance, but really just fleeting glimpses. A few peals of thunder. Apparently storms tomorrow.

Talked to a Ranger and National Parks have recently cleared Chapmans Plain Road. If only we'd known .....

  Took the long way out. Via Briggsvale.

Briggs was the founder of the logging company that logged this area.

  A short stroll to a grove of red cedars. Not many left, they were prized by the loggers.
  Oops. The results of yesterdays adventures.

Worse than it looks. The panel to left of the door is one of the removable ones for conversion to container size. An easy replacement once home.

The gorilla tape to stop the remaining bit of fibreglass outer flapping in the breeze came from the Dorrigo hardware store.

Other damage is lesser, smaller, easier, but a bit more time to fix.

  We also stopped to look at the old tramline.

Still some old trees remaining.

  This is the remains of one that was cut down.

The small hole facing us was where a plank was inserted to stand on and cut the tree down with an axe.

Productivity was low. But over the years vast areas were logged.

Most of the really good red cedar was gone before about 1910.

  Remains of a bridge over a gully for the tramline.

A stationary steam engine with wire ropes through the trees to haul logs to the tramline.

Another steam engine on the tramline.

Reading about what happens if it fell off the rails - it usually broke into pieces, was put back on the track and reassembled, then off it went - made us feel not so bad about our very tame forest adventure.

  And a sleeper in the foreground.

With dog spikes for the rails.

  Past Briggsvale there are better remains of tramline. Not sure how far this extended. Possibly as far as Dorrigo and perhaps eventually the main north south rail line.
  The road crossed the tramline a few times. We forgot to stop and look at the rails .....
  We returned to the Rainforest Centre and set out to the Crystal Falls.
  Birds nest ferns (parasites) cling to tree trunks.
  Crystal Falls.

We are walking on basalt. A couple of eruptions, though more like lava oozing across the land from Ebor. The water has found a weak spot between the layers.

  Where's the bird book.

We hear many birds. But very difficult to see. And when we do see them they hop or fly away very rapidly.

  Just a nice walk through the trees.
  We spent a couple of days at Armidale, hiding from rain and visiting daughter.

Then headed down Thunderbolts Way towards Gloucester. Its quite difficult to find a north south route through New England National Park and Oxley Rivers National Park. A minor sealed road seemed appropriate. We should perhaps also mention we need a bit of a rest from too much adventure in forests and 4wd tracks.

We stopped in Giro State Forest.

After having said "never again" we came across a couple of trees across our chosen track. Out with the drill again. The technique has almost been perfected. I'm sure someone somewhere has produced a bit that will cut sideways. We have a couple of small ones but for this relatively soft wood, where we aren't interested in precision cutting, we just need something that will rip through branches. A 10mm bit allowed us to cut a 150mm diameter trunk.

The track didn't quite go where we expected. We turned round. We'd missed a track off the main road about 6km earlier that should have led to a Nowendoc National Park campground. This track stopped a km short.

  Lots of bellbirds "pinging". The forest seems to be in flower.

This is the top of a tall gum, clouds building in the background.

  We'll never get used to the variety of plants in the forests. And can never remember what they are.

A grove of eucalypts.

  Complete with bellbirds. Easy to hear, hard to see, harder to capture with camera.

We heard a lyrebird for quite a while, but no sight.

  There's not much evidence of traffic along the track. We feel fairly confident laying claim to a relatively flat spot.

While in Armidale we purchased a Chromecast. To show pics that we download from camera to laptop on the tv. First obstacle was how to stop "ET call home" - changed name from backdrop to ambience in 2018 there's now an experimental "low bandwidth" setting that stops the download of slide show pics from Google - about 15-20Gb/month if left on. That tested ok, no bandwidth use. What I couldn't test was will it work without internet, just the local wifi network.

Having no mobile internet at this camp answered that. It needs internet. Bother. How odd that all the people who mention they use Chromecast in their caravans don't mention such a fundamental constraint.

We thought it appropriate to watch the 1984 version of the film 1984. A very dark story. Without internet big brother couldn't possibly be watching us ......

  The clouds we saw forming were the beginnings of a storm. Heavy rain for about 20 minutes. Some hail mixed in.

No leaks in Tardis - the maintenance after the WA trip seems to have worked.

About 20 minutes after the rain stopped the puddles in the track had disappeared.

The bellbirds recovered more rapidly and continued their songs.

And the water dripping off leaves, onto other leaves, and moving them, made bird movements even more elusive.

Barrington Tops to Braidwood December 18 - 22 2018

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