Monday, August 04, 2014

Still got it: The Herald goes camping again

2014's been an interesting year, so far. The geology company I worked for went into receivership, and so my company 4WD went back. No 4WD meant no great camping expeditions into the unknown. Fortunately I've managed to keep working, which means I've still had enough outdoors time to keep sane, but eventually I decided it was time to spend a break out of town, walking and exploring the countryside. I used to take the old Herald camping, so I figured, why not again? There are some great spots within a day's drive of Brisbane, even at Herald speeds.

We headed south, and spent a couple of nights near Murwillumbah, in northern New South Wales, so I could climb Mt Warning. The peak is in the centre of the enormous volcanic crater that forms the Tweed Valley, and was named by Captain Cook. Shortly after seeing it, he found some reefs nearby. He named a nearby a peninsula Point Danger, just to make it obvious!

Gerald the Herald, camping near Mt Warning

Flashback - camping alongside the Buller River in New Zealand, c.2005

The view south from Mt Warning. Byron Bay is out of shot to the left, and was mostly hidden in the smoke haze.

The view north and east from Mt Warning. The Numinbah Gap is in the centre, and Murwillumbah and the Tweed Valley are visible to the right.

After climbing Mt Warning, we headed north into Queensland along a brilliant road through the Numinbah Gap. It winds up and over a pass, and seemed perfect for the Triumph. After that, we headed up to the camping ground at O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park. The climb up from Canungrah to O'Reilly's is an old logging road, very narrow and steep, and was mostly a second gear affair. The next day I took the Saturday minibus to Binna Burra, and walked the 21km track back to O'Reilly's. 

The two walks were a real contrast. Mt Warning is a three hour climb. It wasn't hard with a day pack, and some people even run up. Bastards. I just chugged steadily, and got a kick out of the last section, a chain up a rock face to the top. Down was even better! And looking south towards Mt Warning two days later from the Border Track was very satisfying - as Hillary said, I'd knocked the bugger off. My calves had seized up the next day though, and I hobbled the first few hundred metres of the Border Track.

The Border Track is really just a long walk through the forest, with great views from lookouts cut into the forest. It's pretty easy - it climbs and drops a few hundred metres, but that's over 21km so hardly counts. It was pretty windy on the ridgelines even in the forest, and I actually had trouble keeping warm in shady areas. That's not usual for Australia.

Something I finally figured out - O'Reilly's is about 6km north of the crater rim, and yet it has a great view of volcanic hills receding into the distance, with Mt Warning in the middle. So everyone says. Thing is, the resort is in the wrong place to see into the crater, and the peak is a different shape. The answer, of course, is that the view is west towards the Great Dividing Range rather than south into New South Wales, and the peak isn't Mt Warning, but another volcanic peak called Mt Lindesay. The fact that Mt Warning looked so different from O'Reilly's and from the Border had been bugging me for a couple of years!

Spot the difference: Mt Warning from the northern rim of the crater

Mt Lindesay from O'Reilly's. Both volcanic, but not the same mountain!

Gerald heading home


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