Border Ranges Dronicles, Life on the Edge, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Boder Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Life at the edge @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Life isn’t easy along the crater of the dormant Tweed Volcano. As it hasn’t been since Gondwana time.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
World upside down @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Elements have changed drastically in our sphere.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Giants from the past @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Ancient giants are the only reminders of the super-continent. As the Australian landmass travelled north some many million years ago, the Tweed Valley was exposed to unstable tectonic plates. Magma broke through the earth’s thin crust, unearthing volcanoes radically. As the Australian continent shifted further towards the equator, these volcanoes slowly eroded with wind and water. Establishing extremely fertile turf to thrive.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Farmlands around Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Most of the soil around the Border Ranges has succumbed to farming over the years, tree logging has been another destructive measure. If we only knew then what we knew now! But there’s hope.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Low impact @ Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The vast majority of this important National Park is inaccessible for humans. It needs to be.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Flora @ Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Most Flora and Fauna here and in neighbouring highland National Parks, can’t be found anywhere else in the world. And I couldn’t find any of them.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Border between Queensland and New South Wales @ Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

As the name may suggest, these ranges run the border between Queensland and New South Wales.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
World Heritage @ Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This, and neighbouring National Parks, are listed as World Heritage. 

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Stunning morning @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I arrived at the southern entrance, between Kyogle and Murwillumbah, on a glorious morning.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Perfect colours @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Cold dawns and calm sunny days aim for spectacular photography.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Things to come @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I couldn’t wait to explore this lost world on foot. Or following my drone ‘Maverick’ with a birds-eye view.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Border @ Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The gate into the National Park was locked. It was unsafe to travel onwards due to severe weather systems of late. I almost chucked a tantrum like a boy in a candy store. That’s NOT fair. I just passed the park’s road-sign and it said all roads are open. (Turned out later, that the sign was correctly sign-posted). Now what? A coffee and a look on the map was required, to examine my location and situation.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Perfect Day @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I wasn’t willing to give up, not on a day like today. There’s only a two-day window before rain clouds are forecasted again. I haven’t taken my mountain bike for an off-road cycle for a while. I wonder if I could cycle to the top of the mountains?!

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Up and down @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A little bit up, and a little bit down again. That’s how it goes, right? I often surprise myself about my abilities, naiveness and misconceptions combined. Camera, check. Drone, check. Water and müsli-bars, check. Sturdy shoes and gloves? Nah, she’ll be right. Let’s go! The first 500 meters went downhill on loose gravel. I picked up some speed and up we go. It wasn’t long until everything stopped. Huffing and puffing, sweat running down my back. Wow, I clearly didn’t expect that. I can’t cycle this steep slope on loose gravel. I started pushing my bike for 100 meters, stopped, and pushed a hundred meters more.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Scenario @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The scenery was nice but I am going nowhere fast. There weren’t any downhill, or at least even par levelled tracks. The only way is up! 

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Picnic @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I was happy to see the picnic sign for ‘The Bar Mountain’ some long time later. But why is this road blocked up here as well? Wouldn’t it be closed at the western entrance?

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Ancient @ Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I was glad to sit on the picnic table, catching my high altitude breath. Sweat was draining out of my ears and I was still huffing and puffing.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Thick forest @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

But it’s nice here. Green was all around me.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Nature’s way of life @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Nature doesn’t waste any opportunity to cultivate life.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Tree towers @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Towering old trees surrounded me, scrambling for sunlight.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Ground level @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Ferns harvest the little sunlight that’s left on ground level.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Macro greens @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All sorts of fungi were hanging on and off each other.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Evolving natural World @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Ancient natural history evolving in front of me.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Ancient history @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This laborious exercise was worth the effort.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Shelter @ Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia @

A makeshift shelter opts for a cover of the elements. This fireplace has been used uncountable times in years gone by.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
On top of the world @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I am on top of the world.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Blending in @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A colourful pigeon joined me for a drink of water.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Elegant @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

How elegant. And how pretty.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Pretty @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I don’t think I have seen a colourful pigeon like this before.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Decisions, decisions @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Well, it was decision time. It’s only about lunchtime now but I still had a fair distance to go. Or to push.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
The Pinnacle @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

My aim this morning was to reach ‘The Pinnacle’, which is still a few kilometres from here.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
High Altitude @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

‘The Bar Mountain’ picnic area is the highest elevated point on this side of the mountains, I found out later. And so it went downhill on a steep slope again for quite some time.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
A challenging track @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Dirt and loose gravel were difficult to navigate, I couldn’t go fast. It was when I pushed my GT mountain bike uphill again when a 4 wheel-drive ute came around the corner. He waved politely as he passed me by, as I wavered my sanity. Where did he come from? He wasn’t a park warden either.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Setting sun @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It was starting to get late and I realised that I wouldn’t make it to ‘The Pinnacle’ today. But I gave it a good crack. My legs were starting to gel and only a few hours of sunlight left were left.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
From Blackbutt LookoutBorder Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I halted at ‘The Blackbutt Lookout’ for a spectacular view over the Tweed Valley.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Mount Warning from Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Wow, Mount Warning is easily recognised on the eastern rim. I get to fly Maverick after all. The young couple from the all-wheel-drive enjoyed the scenery just as well. But, how did they get their car up here? Isn’t the other entrance closed as well I wondered? I wasted no time and got straight to the point. They seemed surprised about my question and wondered how else I got here.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Droning @Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Turns out, that the western entrance is open to vehicular traffic. I chuckled to myself as I set Maverick up. Oh boy, gotta read the signs properly. At least now I know what I will do tomorrow.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Mount Warning fromBorder Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Maverick captured some fabulous photos over the Tweed Valley and Mount Warning, the tallest peak in Northern New South Wales. But I was surely running out of time and light soon. Unfortunately, it was time to backtrack home. The uphill track to Bar Mountain from this side is just as steep as from the other flank. My legs felt it. But from there it’s only downhill.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
Roundtrip @Border Ranges National Park, Nort

I was happy and exhausted when I reached Troopy again. What a round trip this has been.

Border Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia
On the edge @Border On the edge @ Ranges National Park, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I edged the Border Ranges. Fabulous. 

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