Gibraltar Range and Washpool National Parks, NSW, Australia

 

 

Lush vegetation around Washpool Creek, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Lush vegetation around Washpool Creek, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Neighbouring ‘Gibraltar Range’ and ‘Washpool National Parks’ are just two of many National Parks along Australia’s Great Dividing Range. Only the ‘Gwydir Highway’ separates these two Parks geologically.

Washpool Creek gently meandering along, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Washpool Creek gently meandering along, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Thankfully, the Australian government realised the environmental importance for this and many other National Parks along this escarpment, which stretches all along the east coast. Gold and copper mining, as well as tree logging for well-sought timber like ‘Red Cedar’, ‘Coachwood’ and ‘Sydney Bluegum’ trees was halted in the 1970s.

The tree of life, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

The tree of life, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

They were declared National Parks in the early 1980s and are listed as World Heritage sites as ‘Gondwana Rainforest of Australia World Heritage Area’. Only a tiny fraction is accessible for human leisure, giving flora and fauna plenty of space and time for its natural beauty. This becomes obvious by the size of the trees.

Tall timber host a variety of accommodation, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Tall timber host a variety of accommodation, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Red Cedar creates an array of opportunities for other flora and fungi to thrive, which then attracts birds and lizards to live as well.

Strangler fig tentacle, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Strangler fig tentacle, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

The strangler figs are huge in size and easy to recognize.

Strangling the host, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Strangling the host, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

They get their name because their tentacle branches wrap themselves around host trees, strangling them.

Mossy labyrinth, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Mossy labyrinth, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Those branches are covered in spectacular green moss and ferns. Wildlife is plentiful, although seldom seen and ranges from koalas, swamp wallabies, spotted quolls, red-bellied black snakes and eastern-water dragons. The snakes are well camouflaged and hardly noticeable, as they prefer to stay under thick leaf cover. Two red-belly black snakes crossed my path, seeking warming sun rays. They quickly slid off the path into the leafy underground.

A vary mom with a Joey in her pouch, Gibraltar Range National Park, NSW, Australia

A wary mom with a Joey in her pouch, Gibraltar Range National Park, NSW, Australia

With spring in full swing, a few wallaby mothers enjoyed early morning grazing with their young offspring, called ‘Joeys’. The joeys can stay in their mother’s pouch for months till almost fully grown.

Inquisitive water dragon, Gibraltar Range National Park, NSW, Australia

Inquisitive water dragon, Gibraltar Range National Park, NSW, Australia

Water dragons are shy in nature too. However, this one was rather curious.

The Birdlife is just as abundant. The male Satin Bowerbird always searches for colourful treasures to decorate his nest in the hope of impressing the female kind. Blue objects seem to be his favourite colour. Outdoor enthusiasts could spend days in any of these National Parks, the options are endless. Camping and hiking being the most likely activity,  mountain biking, swimming, photography, bird watching are an added bonus.

Washpool Creek hiking trail, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Washpool Creek hiking trail, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

The extensive hiking trail network ranges from short walks to a few hours or even multiple overnight hikes, like the ‘World Heritage Walk’. These tracks are well maintained and easily followed. Some parts of the track are quite slippery though and leeches are lurking on fern trees along the path. Depending on sun and rain exposure, the environment varies from subtropical rainforests, wet forests, dry forests, swamps and heath areas with rocky outcrops.

Washpool Creek gentle flow, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Washpool Creek gentle flow, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Countless creeks form alongside the steep slopes and meander through lush vegetation, naturally creating an array of waterfalls.

Boundry Falls creating a nice swimming pool, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Boundary Falls creating a nice swimming pool, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

‘Boundary Falls’ is only a few hundred meters from the car park and picnic area and well worth with a visit.

Green surroundings at Boundry Falls, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Green surroundings at Boundry Falls, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Not only for the falls but for the green plantation around as well. It is a great spot for photography.

Crystal clear waters in nature’s colours, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Crystal clear waters in nature’s colours, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

The crystal clear waters appear green due to nature’s soil components and oils. 

Summit Falls largest cascade, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Summit Falls largest cascade, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

‘Summit Falls’ are nestled along ‘Washpool Loop Walk’, a 4-hour hiking track through ever-changing forrest.

Summit Falls cascading down, Washpool National Park, NSW,  Australia

Summit Falls cascading down, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Cedar Creek gently falls down in 3 layer cascades.

Looking up to Summit Falls, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Looking up to Summit Falls, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

A perfect picnic and resting spot, listening to the sounds of nature.

Destructive forces, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Destructive forces, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Even though calm by the time of my visit, the signs of power and strength of waters are obvious.

Washed out trees line Washpool Creek, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Washed out trees line Washpool Creek, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Washed out trees got stuck by previous downpours. 

Colourful reflections, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

Colourful reflections, Washpool National Park, NSW, Australia

What a great spot to immerse yourself in nature. I enjoyed hiking through these parks.

Fresh grazing pastures inland from Grafton, NSW, Australia

Fresh grazing pastures inland from Grafton, NSW, Australia

Farmland emerges in the valley below.

Tall timber lining the escarpment inland from Grafton, NSW, Australia

Tall timber lining the escarpment inland from Grafton, NSW, Australia

Green pastures and large eucalyptus trees look impressive against the escarpment in the distance. 

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