We woke early – okay so Tash woke early – and declared a camper or two on the move – which was my signal to start preparing to actually have to get up not talk about getting up! So up and at it we went picking out the site the we wanted and moving our gear, hitching the van up and getting set up this time for a few days.
Coolah Tops Park
According to National Parks – Coolah Tops is an elevated basalt plateau on the Liverpool Range which is part of the Great Dividing Range. The plateau rises steeply above the surrounding lands and is flanked by cliffs along its northern edge. Columnar basalt formations are found scattered along the northern escarpment of the plateau with readily accessible examples at Tamalie Creek Falls and also at Bald Hill Creek Falls. Most of the park is above 1000m ASL, with the eastern end being a little higher than the western part of the park. The Liverpool Range runs through the middle of the park. The headwaters of the Talbragar River are located in the centre of the park. The creeks flowing northwards ultimately drain into the Namoi River and those to the south drain into the Macquarie or Goulburn Rivers.
With the van and site sorted we decided to head off and explore. Our usual manner is to head as far away as possible and then each day/trek work our way back in. With this in mind we headed to Norfolk Falls. As you come into the park you pass the sign, which we had read as 15km down a side track – cool a drive and a walk with a waterfall to boot. It was actually 1.5km and we were kinda down about that as we were enjoying the drive through the beautiful forest. At the start of the walk there is a lovely little flora reserve that was originally gazetted in 1975. There is a newly installed long drop loo, a few picnic tables under cover, a BBQ and a few tables under the canopy. As you can see it was pretty hectic.
The walk was about 1-1.5km return to go to the two lookouts and what we thought would be the bottom of the falls – because that’s why you have waterfall walks right, to get to the bottom! The one problem, if you like, with waterfall walks, is, well, you usually have to go down, and what goes down in these situations usually has to come back up! The sign had already warned us there were over 500 steps – ouch. But we were determined to get a walk in and to see the waterfall.
The track is reasonably well maintained and easy to follow, however as the sign said there are a lot of stairs – mostly made out of the terrain with some helping hands along the way. We made it to the first lookout and i must say we were surprised to find water flowing over the top – not much but certainly more than we had expected.
We headed back along the track and made our way to the next lookout – the top of the falls. Now remember when i said waterfall tracks are for getting to the bottom? yep, apparently not this one, but we hadn’t figured that out at this point (yes we were certainly underdone in our research on many occasions this trip which is very unusual for this Virgo!) Anyhoo, we trekked across the little stream at the top of the falls in hunt of the bottom of the falls.
The track seemed to take us away from the waterfall and we commented on this a number of times – up down, left, right but hmm not going towards the waterfall. Then, we came across a sign. Oh dear! yep there is no track to the bottom but there is a track to another waterfall. Oh well, two waterfalls that’s a bonus. So we headed on a little bummed that we were going to the bottom but happy to have ‘found’ another waterfall.
Bald Creek Falls
This part of the track is a little less maintained however its still easy to follow but can be reasonably steep in parts with even more steps! We arrived at the top of the next falls – Bald Hill Creek Falls. We saw the steps going all the way up the hill and figured these would take us around and down the bottom of the falls. We followed the track across the stream and found the falls.
What we also found, was that the track took us to the picnic area that you can drive too!
Our initial 1-1.5 km return hike had turned into a 4-5km return hike to then find out we could drive to the second falls. Yep we were knackered and could only just laugh – as we still had to hike back to the car.
The falls are well worth a visit though. If you read the previous entry, i mentioned the horizontal Columnar Rod geological formation we found at Battery Rock, well Bald Hill Creek falls are vertical columnar Rods, so were pretty stoked to see both types of formations. These falls were also flowing over which was great.
We made the long slower trek back up and down up and down and then upppp to the car and decided that might be the exercise for the day. We headed back to camp and enjoyed a lazy evening around the fire. The weather whilst predicted to be 38 Degrees down in the township was particularly pleasant up in the tops – it was still hot but certainly didn’t feel like the predicted 38 degrees thanks mostly to the canopy.
I’ve put together a little time lapse of sorts of our walk. At different points along the track i took some footage which I’ve now meshed together and sped up to about 2x speed.
After finishing our hike and heading back to camp we decided to set up the shower tent and shower, as a shower was definitely in need!
All cleaned up and feeling fresh it was time to sit back and enjoy the wildlife and another night around the fire.