Members Trips

Newcastle to Brisbane via the back roads

touring the back roads
from newcastle to brisbane
by Rob

There are a number of different rivers coming off the Great Dividing Range flowing into the Clarence River, that you could think it was the same river. The Guy Fawkes flows into the Boyd, which flows into the Nymboyda, flowing into the Mann & finally into the Clarence.

Over a ridge on dirt road & we follow the Mann River stopping at Cangai Bridge not far from the Gywdir Highway for morning tea. We continue to follow the Mann for a few kilometres further until we cross the Clarence upstream from where the Mann enters it. 

Mann River near Jackadgery
Cangai Bridge on the Mann River Clarence River
  Mann River  

We set up camp on private property on the banks of the Upper Clarence with Ian & Collette joining us. A few flowers could be seen on the bottlebrush lining the river, most likely confused by the recent unusually long warm autumn weather. 

Clarence River river campsite campfire camaraderie
bottlebrush White-naped Honeyeater Little Pied Cormorant
Pacific Black Duck Lewins Honeyeater Grey Fantail

Onto the Bruxner Highway & we head for Tabulam to top up our fuel & a few essential groceries. From there to drive up to Mallanganee Lookout for morning tea before continuing along the Cambridge Plateau Forest Road & into the Richmond Range National Park. After a few kilometres through cleared country we enter the forested national park & drive through stands of dry hardwood dominated by a variety of spotted gum unique to the Richmond Range, along with ironbark & grey box, while blue gum & rainforest species flourish in the moister gullies. Carol couldn't resist giving 'Old Spotty', the huge 300 year old spotted gum a hug.

We stopped for lunch at Peacock Creek which is a large grassy camping area in the middle of the forest. The creek itself was very low from the drought conditions. There is also plenty of birdlife around with fairy-wrens, green catbirds, grey shrike-thrush & satin bowerbirds. A few days stay would be worth it to spot more birds such as the paradise riflebird, regent bowerbird, red-crowned pigeon or noisy pitta. Next trip, which is what we said last time.

Mallanganee Lookout
Cambridge Plateau Forest Road
large Sydney Bluegums - Richmond Range National Park Old Spotty
Old Spotty Peacock Creek Campground Peacock Creek
Blue Wren Satin Bowerbird Eastern Yellow Robin

It was an easy wander along forest roads & tracks to the Bells Bay Campground at Toonumbar Dam. The campground is small & surrounded by rainforest right to the waters edge. The grey overcast skies did not allow quality photos to be taken. We had a few visitors that evening as we sat around the campfire. That night the heavens opened not long after we climbed into bed & continued all night.

A team meeting the next morning & we were off to the Kyogle Showground with less muddier conditions, phone & internet coverage, laundromat for the weeks washing & a bit of food shopping to fill in the day. Kyogle received 90mm of rain while the coast copped it with around 300mm.

Toonumbar Dam camp Toonumbar Dam Toonumbar Dam
strangler fig boatramp birdsnest fern
bandicoot possum wolf spider
Toonumbar Dam
rainy Toonumbar Dam camp

We set up the extra awning roof in the Kyogle Showground allowing plenty of slack for the water run off & giving everyone ample shelter under the one roof together from the rain. It finally stopped in the early hours of the morning to reveal a sunny day with blue skies.