A visitor from Sydney was a good excuse to go up to the Border Ranges. We also invited a friend from Lismore and the four of us set off by car. At the start of the usual access road to the national park, a sign informed us that the road was closed in several places because of damage from the floods. So we did a massive back-track and detoured via Kyogle to take the western approach through Sheepstation Creek, which was open. We put our $8 park entry fee in the honesty box just as a couple of park rangers turned up. They were there to collect any money from the box before it was stolen and to make sure the camping grounds and many picnic areas were in good condition.
One of the many special features of the park is the presence of many Antarctic beeches. Another is the Albert’s lyrebird, found only in small areas in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
The Antarctic beech (Nothofagus moorei – although there is a move to rename the genus Lophozonia) is a Gondwanan species, a hang-over of the break-up of the supercontinent. There is a complicated root structure from which several trunks grow, producing a sort-of giant fairy ring. Some of the trees are thought to be up to 3,000 years old.
The view from The Pinnacle is always spectacular. Standing on the rim of the giant shield volcano and looking out over the caldera to Wollumbin (Mt Warning) takes your breath away. It is the biggest erosion caldera in the southern hemisphere and one of the biggest in the world. One time we saw hundreds of butterflies being blown upwards; another time wedge-tailed eagles soared on the updrafts. The four photos below form a panorama from north to east to south. The third photo is the volcanic plug at the centre, Wollumbin.
a place of cultural and traditional significance to the Bundjalung people and is a sacred site where particular ceremonies and initiation rites are performed. The Bundjalung people observe cultural and traditional restrictions forbidding the uninitiated from climbing the mountain, and, as such, ask that others also do not attempt to climb the mountain. The government National Parks and Wildlife Service advertise this request and do not encourage climbers to hike the Mt. Warning/Wollumbin Trail up the mountain, but it is not expressly forbidden by park regulations.
It’s been very dry – a business in Lismore has a sign, “We don’t like the F word but we miss the rain” (F for “flood”) – so the leaf litter, lichens and mosses were exceptionally crunchy. The grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea) were madly flowering, attracting a scarlet honeyeater (Myzomela sanguinolenta), a Lewin’s honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii) and an eastern spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris). Andrew took the photos of the eastern spinebill below.
The scarlet honeyeater is wonderfully colourful.
Add in a picnic and, all in all, it was a satisfying day of exploration.