It was threatened, but still they came as a surprise! All week the skies were blue, the heat bordering on oppressive and barely a breath of wind. Then right on cue the clouds built, the winds increased and the rains broke. Behind the townships of Bellingen and Dorrigo the Great Dividing Range rises steeply, to one her highest peaks at 742m. 19 million years ago, recent history for this region, that dates back to over 300 million years, the Ebor Volcano erupted. Since then the meagre soils have grown to support a rich rainforest and a unique range of flora and fauna, that grow nowhere else in the world.
When the first humans arrived, the Aboriginal Gumbaynggirr people, the country would have been rich with life. In the 30,000 years they lived here, little would have changed until the arrival of the first whites in 1841. They saw the timber and immediately started harvesting the forests to serve the rapidly growing nation's need for ships, houses and transport. Despite this, another 20 years would pass before Dorrigo, would see a permanent settlement.
"Even after 19 million years, it is still easy to believe you are stood on the edge of a volcanic crater"
Today the Australian National Parks are custodians for the region. The Ebor Volcano crater, is still understandably the major attraction in the region. It was the reason for my visit too. There was another reason I wanted the rains to fall. At the crater's edge, is where the rain and flood waters of the Bielsdown River, drop into the extinct Ebor volcano; the Dangar Falls.
Even after 19 million years, it is still easy to believe you are stood on the edge of a volcanic crater. As you step on to the lookout above the falls, circular cliffs plunge over 30m straight down, to the rock surrounds of the plunge pool. Surprisingly there is a sign that says no jumping or diving. It begs a question.
It is however, the waterfall that grabs your immediate attention. As you step up to the lookout platform, the roar of the plunging waters rise to meet you. With the arrival of the rains, the waters were beginning to bulge and spread onto the flood plains, adding to the scale of the spectacle. A short walk in the rain to the plunge pool offers another dimension. Sheer crater walls now tower above you, bringing into rapid perspective, how big this volcano would have been. Coupled with the spectacle of the roaring falls, it is fair to say the downpour at Dangar, did not disappoint.
Dangar Falls can be found at Dorrigo National Park, NSW. Coffs Harbour to the north is about 45 minutes drive and Port Macquarie to the south is about 2 hours drive. Both access Dorrigo via Bellingen and Dorrigo townships via the Waterfall Way. National Parks host an excellent Information Centre and cafe at the entrance to the park
© Robert Oates | BALLANTYNE Photography Travel and Events Photography and Editorials
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