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Ballina to the Border Ranges National Park

November 12, 2014 - Richmond Valley & Kyogle

Today I left from Ballina to Kyogle which is an hour and a half’s drive (84.6km) if you take the scenic route via Bruxner Hwy and then along Bentleigh Road.

I was keen to get off the main roads and travel up to Wiangaree along the Summerland Hwy to The Border Ranges National Park. My journey is known as The Rainforest Way.

When I turned off to the right at Wiangaree, I was greeted by many a water dragon sunning themselves on the side of the road. When they take off into the bushes they move so quick for such a big lizard that it seems as though they are running almost upright on their back legs.

The road becomes unsealed before reaching the turnoff for Sheepstation Creek Campground. It’s a well maintained road suitable for 2wd’s.

I stuck to the road which leads to Brindle Creek campground and picnic area. All of these facilities are good quality throughout the park.

The Border Ranges National Park has one of the highest levels of species diversity of birds in Australia. Within the first half an hour of driving through the park, I saw Finches fluttering along the side of the road with over 50 Wrens (many of which were Red backed fairy wrens) and so many other species, too many to name them all!

With the car windows down on a warm day, the air and huge shady Antarctic Beech Forest was cooling and calming. King Parrots were often heard before being seen, always in a pair.

I decided to stretch my legs and take the short walking track to The Pinnacle lookout, 200 metres from the carpark. This was my half way point for the day. At the platform, you can see for miles while being on the western edge rim of the Mt Warning ¬†volcanic rim caldera. I sat and enjoyed the view and watched the clouds roll in and envelope the mountains. When I got back to the carpark I was damp as I was also in the misty clouds! Continuing on I had to wait for 20 minutes for a large python to move off the road but I enjoyed watching him soak up a tiny patch of sun through the forest. As I reached the bottom of the mountain (the end of the drive through the National Park) I couldn’t believe the amount of sunshine and how warm it was compared to the forest. A perfect drive for a warm Summer’s day to cool off is was an added bonus to this adventure.

I had spent much longer than anticipated travelling along the Border Ranges that by the time I reached Wadesville I was famished. Wadesville is just off to the right on the Kyogle Road past Barkers Vale and is well signed.

The Wadesville Woolies (no it’s not a big supermarket chain store) is also a van park and a well stocked bottleshop. The Jacaranda tree provided shade as well as the huge u dercover bar area. The manager said sometimes they have bands playing there and people come from far and wide to enjoy the music, cold drinks and apparently the best steak sandwiches around.

I continued on the Kyogle Road to the gorgeous little village of Cawongla. The General Store sells everything including really good coffee and the best caramel slice I have had in years.

When I arrived back in Kyogle, I dropped into the vistior information centre. The ladies were friendly and helpful explaining to me how to get to my next destination (even though I knew where to go), as I had done a full circle.

On my way back to Wiangaree, I stopped at the water hole visible from the Summerland Way before the turnoff on the left to the General Store.

There were Pelicans, a Black Swan, over 20 Little black Cormorants, Pacific Black ducks and many other species of waterbirds.

I told the lady at the Wiangaree General Store how I really liked the waterhole and she said it is an Aboriginal resting place. I was needing a rest by then!

The Wiangaree General Store has some antique displays with old posters, a huge Green turtle shell, small old farm equipment and a whole outdoor covered cafe full of potted orchids for sale.

At the front of the shop they have a book exchange. You can also donate your coins to one of 6 local charity tins and take a book.

Im now resting up after a brilliant day! I’m staying at Feathers Home Stay on the Wiangaree Back Rd from Kyogle. There has a been a small amount of rain and Linda and Peter, owners of this beautiful property are pretty happy about it. More about my stay here in tomorrow’s blog…I can hear what I think is a Boobook owl and I must investigate!

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