Not so for the Camel Camper family down the street who were pulling out at 0800. I wonder where they were going, swags packed upon the camper top, car brimming with gear and people? It’s school holidays, so perhaps they were off to somewhere for a week or two … maybe doing a few nights here and there. Lucky them! Might nick down the street when they get back and find out what they’ve been up to. A great way to meet the neighbours I guess. That’s if they come back!
With a few thoughts as to where we might go in hand, Glenn asks that question … which way. Let’s go south? Why not? I have a few places in mind that we can visit. Perhaps Mt Barney Lodge? No. Okay, what about Levuka or Tooloom Falls? No. Okay, let’s head down Lions Road and stay at that camp we saw inside the National Park that time we met the Camper Trailer Australia group that time? Okay. And so a plan is formed! Not before time too. We’ve made it 3 blocks before we could decide which way to go. Another 3k’s and we’ve of had to pull over to discuss it perhaps. Although, I do currently have quite a list of likely destinations up my sleeve, 3 of which are down this particular road. If we have to, we can change our minds and not have to travel very far
So we head down the Mt Lindsay Highway once more, turning onto Lions Road 24k’s south of Beaudesert, yet again, but with a different plan of attack. We pass Andrew Drynan Park to see that once again, it’s being well used. Even in the middle of winter there are quite a few people staying there. It really is quite popular. Must be the green grass, the stunning view, the train and of course Running Creek. I imagine it would be freezing right about now.
We keep going down to the border crossing. It’s rather amazing to see one side of the border green and grassy and the other side a rainforest wonderland. I wave at the 3 camera’s New South Wales has erected to view the cheeky northerners entering the forbidden land of the Cockroaches & Mexicans.
Lions Road gets rather interesting from here on in. We pass the lookout to the border loop, where the train does a slow loop up the mountain side before heading into Queensland or back down the mountain to the Richmond Valley and onto Kyogle. It’s a picturesque drive that meanders (read twists and turns) its way into the valley.
We pass the odd B&B as we go. The highlight of the trip, apart from the stunning views and interesting valley houses (you’ll see the ones I mean if you head this way), are two huge railway bridges. They tower stories over the 1.5 lane road and are quite a spectacle. You do get the chance to stop under one of them along Grady’s road, which if you don’t know which way to go, you will end up turning onto, as we did the first time we headed this way. It is however, a lovely diversion, as you get to cross the creek a few times before heading back on to Lions Road.
Just after the second entrance to Lions Road is # 2 on the list of places to stay. Paradise Valley. We’ll stop in there on the way back to see what it’s like and whether we’ll stay there in the future.
A few more kilometres and we come to Simes Road which is our turn off to the National Park. This dirt road meanders through a cattle grazing valley and then climbs steeply up and over the range. On the other side at the bottom, we take our final turn. It’s only a few more kilometres through a cattle grazing area to the National Park and our campsite for the night. An older couple pass us and motion us to stop. They say they’ve just tried getting into the park, but a tree has blocked the way.
Coming to the signs that tell us either to continue straight ahead or take a left to the campground.
We know from our previous visit here that this is the only site on this end of the park that will take a camper trailer. So we take another left hand turn. We’ve been doing them since leaving home. Bring on the left hand turns!
So we enter the campsite. Its 200 metres from the turnoff, so it’s nice and handy if you wish to head into the park. It’s a loop road, so one way in and one way out. Currently there are 3 tents all around a camp kitchen. That’s it. No-one else. Now to pick our site … always harder than it seems. We have to take into account how the camper opens and the length we need. There are 5 sites that will suit campers, but for us, 2 are the wrong way around, 1 is on an angle with overhanging vines, 1 is quite small and right on the road. The last one is perfect. It’s large enough to accommodate the car and camper and let us spread out a little. It’s a bit separate from the others, which means a longer walk to the toilets, but a small sacrifice … what’s an extra 100 metres right?There are some walk-in sites below the main camp. They are large, have forest between them for privacy and also have a large camp kitchen. Nice.
Nice campsites for camper trailers
Toilet blocks x 2. Sorry no showers.
One thing that has struck us, is the sounds of birds. It’s almost overwhelming. They are everywhere and quite vocal. I’ll see what I can get a photo of before our trip is over.
We’ve taken note of some walks we can do also. The easiest 2 are a total of 2k’s but we aren’t sure if that’s return or not. No matter, we agree to do these straight up. The other 2 involve trudging through the rainforest for hours and hours and don’t return to this campsite, but another tent only campsite which is a few k’s up the NP road. Not that we don’t like walking, but the tracks will be wet, slippery, and we aren’t prepared for a long hike through the rainforest and it’s after 1pm, so probably not very wise either.
We head back to camp to grab some walking shoes, some more camera gear, lock the car, and have a drink before we head off. The first place we’ll visit is aptly named Palm Valley. It’s a dense thicket of Bangalow Palms and is so beautiful with the creek crissing and crossing its way around boulders that are gigantic and covered in lichen and moss … with the palms as a sky cover. Perfect place for hot summer days.
We are getting into the wet and slippery, muddy sections of the track. We believe there are some falls ahead. We’ve already seen some smaller ones, but we can hear it long before we see it, so must have some height to them. We come to the familiar national park style lookout. The falls are quite tall, but are partially hidden behind trees, so you can’t get a perfect view of them, but they are impressive. I’m surprised the rangers haven’t put in a track to the valley below the falls, but judging from this spot, the walls of the ravine are very steep, not forgetting slippery and muddy.
We head back along the track, through palm valley and up the hillside to camp. It’s time for some relaxing, cooking and a chance to get some photos of birds as they visit our site.
Superb Fairy Wren
Eastern Yellow RobinOzPig is getting rustier.
While it’s cooking we walk the 200 metres back to the intersection and check out the views and the sunset. It’s really windy and cold up here, but we’ve hardly noticed the breeze at camp, which we think is a little warmer too.It’s rather loud in the quiet morning, well over the sounds of birds it is, but we still manage to get a sleep in. When we do get out of bed, we notice that some rodents (we think) have been investigating our camp, and left us a few little scattered ‘messages’.
Bacon and eggs for breaky. Some more relaxing, then another walk up to see the view through daylight hours at the intersection. Hasn’t changed much, but is still rather nice. Then, back to camp to relax a little more and start packing up.
We are on the road by 2pm and heading north along Lions Road before you know it.
Arriving at Paradise Valley we turn in and head about 200m before we are crossing Grady Creek, and up into a large mown paddock … complete with campers! The gate sign said to stop at the office before setting up, so we park the ute and head up the hill to the office.
Joan, the owner, says that we are more than welcome to look around. Adults are $7.50 each per night. Bookings are only taken at Easter so they can keep the numbers down, so feel free to turn up when you like. There is platypus in the creek which can be seen morning and night. One toilet block on the front lawn, which has cold showers. The back lawn has no toilets, so feel free to bring your own facilities. Fires are welcome, bring your own wood or purchase on site.
We go back to the front lawn and wander around, check out the toilet block, which has an old donkey set-up, but looks like it hasn’t been used for ages. This area is rather large and fronts the creek the entire way with cliffs on the opposite side. Back into the car and we head to the back lawn. It has a steep entry and may require 4wd in wet weather. The back lawn is larger, is in two sections and also fronts the creek for its length. It’s backed by the train line, so may get rather noisy when they come along, but I think it would be lovely to hear so close.
We will definitely stay here in the future.
A rather uneventful return trip along Lions Road to the Queensland border. Passing Andrew Drynan once more, we see that people are still camping and picnicking. Don’t see anyone swimming however. Nothing left to do but return home and unpack our few personal items and the esky, with a quick stop at Jimboomba for a breathalyser test from a local constable. Lucky Glenn isn’t much of a drinker. Guess the school holidays mean they will be everywhere, so be on the lookout campers!
Trip Kilometres: 264
Trip Duration: 48 hours