Into the Mountains : Day 4 of the road trip

Tenterfield sits 1000 metres up on the Great Dividing Range. It is Australia’s most substantial mountain range and the third longest land-based range in the world. It stretches more than 3,500 kilometres. Tenterfield is surrounded by numerous National Parks and one of the most popular is Bald Rock National Park. It features the largest exposed granite monolith in Australia, 260 metres above the surrounding bushland, Bald Rock is a massive granite dome 750 metres long and 500 metres wide, the largest exposed granite rock in the Southern Hemisphere. Those are the impressive statistics I read and today we are going to see and experience it.

I have to admit that we are past the age for energetic rock climbing so I was pleased that there were 2 routes to the top. One, I was told, is very steep and 1.2 kilometres almost straight up. The other winds gently around and through the bush and boulders and is 2.5 kilometres. That is our sort of walk.

It starts with a gentle track winding through lush green ferns on every side. thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 076_4000x3000The light is radiant, lighting up all it touches and sending rippling shadows across the track. Jack strides ahead while I slowly follow taking so many photos.

Not many wild flowers at this time of the year, but in spring the undergrowth will be a blaze with them, but I spot a couple of paper daisies gallantly surviving the cooler  weather of autumn and this strange face peers at me.thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 151_4000x3000As we get higher shallow steps lead us round piles of granite boulders. thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 099_4000x3000Jack climbs up to study this large clump of rock orchids. I can imagine their beauty in spring when they flower, I have a small clump in our garden that dazzle me every year. thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 121_4000x3000This is what Jack is reading…thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 123_1923x1966Information boards were placed to explain what was around us. They say it so much better than me. So now we are entering the area called “granite titans” I love this descriptive term. Just look at them, they are overwhelming and so grand in stature…thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 122_4000x3000

thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 145_4000x3000Look carefully at the above photos because we are in them. They tower above us covered in moss and lichen. They are quite intimidating.

But what a change in size as we round another corner. The smaller rocks are scattered so prolifically around here that passers-by have gathered them up to create cairns, small sculptures, a gathering of little gnomes, calling to me”take my photo”…Tenterfield trip jc 265_5184x3888

A gap in the trees, rocks and bushes reveals that we are now quite high up. The going has been so gentle and easy it is a surprise to see how high we are.thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 157_4000x3000Suddenly we come out of the bush and onto the bald rock.

thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 178_1572x2039

thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 188_4000x3000thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 184_4000x3000We feel on top of the world, as though we are invincible. We have had all this beauty to ourselves not having seen another person. But now we meet up with 2 Canadians they have been up the same way as us but now they are going down the steep, quick and, I think, quite dangerous way. I take their photo as they disappear over the edge.thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 172_4000x3000We have made it, very slowly, but with time to really absorb our surroundings. It is breathtaking.Tenterfield trip jc 332_5184x3888

But what goes up now has to go down. But we are going back down the way we came up.thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 219_4000x3000The light has faded and no longer suitable for photography, so it is a faster trip down. Until, suddenly, we hear a rustle in the undergrowth. What is it? We stand with bated breath, maybe it is a wallaby, or some small bush creature. I wait with camera at the ready. Then I get a fleeting glimpse and catch a blurry picture as the 2 birds scuttle off into the bush. Look at what I caught. I think it is the very elusive and shy lyre bird. Can anyone identify it for me?thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 222_2563x2118What a satisfying ending to the day. But as we drove home I was brought to a stop by this…thunderbolt lair bald rock autumn leaves 226_4000x3000

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39 comments

  1. Keep this standard of post up and National Geographic will be giving you assignments.🏅
    The burl like an animals head I noticed too it was very obvious to the observant.🐻
    Pity you got the head of the male and the tail of the female birds.
    The other way around and we could have been positive that they were Lyre Birds.🐨

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  2. Never heard of this place and it looks amazing. You and Jack are the fittest ‘people of a certain age’ that I know! A 5 km walk which seemed to include a fair number of steps from you photos is quite a feat. But well worth it. Those rocks at the top are fabulous.

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  3. Beautiful and amazing landscape. I’d have taken that same track as well. A near vertical climb is too much for me (and I’ve walked Mt Warning 3 times). We have lots of National Park treasures like this in Australia.

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  4. OH MY! I would have so freaked out if that bird had been a wallaby!
    All that granite resembles that on the way to Yosemite. There are rounded over hilltops of granite that are quite amazing, although I think it would be even more amazing to see it in Australia, without any wallabies around of course.

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  5. Isn’t it a great region to explore glad you had such a wonderful day. As keen walkers we have seen many of these cairns and it may shock you but they are discouraged in our parks as not natural and in their larger form can confuse walkers on the true direction of a track. We have been asked both in Australia and overseas to knock down as many as we can.

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