We left Coffs Harbour in the early afternoon and headed towards the beautiful Channon region, inland from Byron Bay. On route we drove through lush cattle ranches and fields and got the impression that this was the green outback. As we got closer to Channon the landscape changed from flat to hilly, the route winding through endless fields and valleys. Max rightfully pointed out it looked like a dry Wales, and he couldn’t have been more on point! On arrival we were greeted by the sweet old lady who owned the camping ground, which was basically her beautiful driveway to her house. Around us were fields and eucalyptus trees, and she told us to our excitement that koalas roamed the area and were heard late last night! It turned out Channon would not be the place we were to see these creatures, but later on at another campsite we would be so lucky! She continued on to tell us about all the walking opportunities in the area and the river that we lay next to with the poisonous fish and the frogs! She also warmed us about the resident Australian green tree frogs that usually occupied the bathroom and toilet! This was to us exciting news, and sure enough when we went to look for them they were peaking down at us from the shower rail.
After setting up the tent we headed off to Nightcap National Park at the lady’s recommendation to walk around a world heritage listed sub-tropical rainforest. Our walk took us on a boardwalk through dense, dark rainforest, so loud from all the birds and insects it was nearly deafening. The rainforest was so awe-inspiring, so unlike anything I had ever seen before. We saw tiny lizards and huge goannas, and listened to the “baby being killed”/”cat being bathed” sounds of the cat bird! The walk lead us eventually to the Protestor falls, a beautiful, tall waterfall with a rainbow shining at the bottom. The waterfall is of indigenous significance for the Bundjalung Nation and represents an important milestone for wildlife conservation. It got it’s name as community members and environmentalists protested against government plans to log the rainforest in which it lies in. The victory went eventually to the rainforest and was established as a National Park! The result of this protest (one of the first in NSW) lead to other greater things such as conventions and agreements that protected further greater areas of NSW.
Back at camp we made dinner on the nearby logs, looking so professional like the chefs you see on TV when they make gourmet meals in picturesque countryside. After a delicious creamy mushroom and broccoli pasta we all got cosy around a campfire, talked and read. we listened to the frogs by the river bellow out at dusk and watched the stars when the sky turned to darkness. Before bedtime Shawnee and I came across a little obtsticle during our toilet visit! One of the frogs had settled in for the night in the toilet basin, and although the lady said flushing was fine as the frogs could swim stronger than the current, we didn’t feel comfortable doing our buisness on the poor thing! So we concluded we needed to lift him out and then return him after we were done. It was quite exciting holding the frog, and the fact that we scooped him up from the toilet didn’t bother us at all.. Ecologists eyy? We definitely washed our hands properly afterwards though, that’s for sure!