A simply stunning weekend was had in Mt Jerusalem National Park, immediately to the North of Mullumbimby
. And yet there is still much to explore in this region. I didn't find the cave paintings that I had been told were in the area, but there may be another lead on those in the Koonyum
Ranges. Something to explore for another day perhaps.
The ride to the campsite was relatively uneventful to start with. I got the usual late start that seems to be a common theme in weekend tours, and took the now usual route south via Urliup
. When I crested that range I could see that there was rain sweeping across the Tweed Valley from the South. I had no idea that it was going to stay with me for the rest of the morning. The rain started soon after I passed through Murwillumbah
and simply did not stop, at all.
The climb up the range toward the campsite was treacherous, partially because of the condition of the road, but mostly because of at least two complete idiots careering out of control in the opposite direction. I have no idea how (if) they survived, and I can only hope that they don't take any innocent people with them when their time inevitably comes. For my part, I continued across the top of the range, before the descent to the campground that I am now christening Leech City, in honour of the creatures who were encouraged by the continuing rain.
I actually considered going home and abandoning the whole idea at one stage, but I decided to stick it out, on the basis that a leech-infested rainforest
campsite in the wet is still a million times better than another weekend of suburbia. I crawled into the tent, had lunch and slept for an hour, by which time the rain had stopped, and the sun had made a rare appearance. It was time to explore the area immediately surrounding the campsite. I had my own swimming hole and waterfall.
Later in the day I decided to undertake the climb up to Hell's Hole. I had seen this last September of course, but I wanted to see how it looked after the rain we've had recently. The climb to get there is still as hard as it was back then, although that particular dirt road didn't suffer too badly in the rain it seemed. The track off the road to the falls was extremely muddy, and I hid the bike half way down and walked the remainder of the distance, while picking off some more leeches. Whatever I had to do, it was worth the effort.
Hell's Hole is a chain of swimming holes linked by little watefalls
, culminating in one BIG waterfall at the bottom end. I'm still trying to find a way to access the BIG waterfall. Perhaps I'll consider a return visit in April. By the time I finished here, it was getting late, so I headed back to my campsite (which was virtually all downhill from here) and retired for the evening. I managed to filter some water from the creek to keep me going, and now it was time to rest after what had been a memorable day.
* * * * * * * * *
I really seemed to be plagued by laziness the next morning for some irrational reason. I did head for the top of South Chowan
Road (some of which was unrideable
on this bike) and did get a magical ride through the rainforest
, as well as some lovely views through the trees at the top of a ridge. The problem is that I didn't bother to come up with any particular plan of attack, and ended up heading down a side road that led nowhere, before deciding to head back to the campsite and make preparations for the ride home.
On a drier day I'll return and explore the South Chowan
Fire Trail, albeit I think I can guess where it might go. I returned to Uki
for lunch, and commenced what turned into a surprisingly easy ride home. Even the climb over Tomewin
didn't trouble me at all. Maybe all the blood lost to the leeches lightened the load a little! I simply mopped up the remaining kilometres, and pondered what I can take from this trip (apart from probably a few too many pictures).
The Mt Jerusalem National Park has emerged as the great unknown among all the places I now regularly visit. A google search on it turns up surprisingly little, and much of that content is either incomplete or just inaccurate. Consequently, I have no idea what to expect in some of the other areas of the Park. I have a feeling I'll need to set aside some other weekends to explore those fully.