Our Gondwana Heritage

We visit the most extensive areas of sub-tropical rainforest in the world.

Born of massive volcanoes and continental tectonics, the ranges straddling the border between southeast Queensland and northern NSW are places of outstanding beauty, offering breathtaking views of the Great Escarpment and the steep-sided caldera of the Tweed Valley surrounding Mount Warning. The landscape of this coastal hinterland is a striking blend of vertical cliffs, eroded volcanic craters, sparkling mountain creeks and waterfalls.

The region also embraces large sections of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, a chain of over 50 spectacular national parks and reserves stretching along the Great Divide from Barrington Tops in New South Wales to southeast Queensland. With a total area exceeding 366,000 hectares, these subtropical rainforests comprise the oldest vegetation community on the continent, maintaining a living link to the ancient forests of Gondwana. Few places on earth contain so many plants and animals that remain relatively unchanged from their ancestors in the fossil record.

These border ranges were a major item on our Australia-wide itinerary and we were surprised to discover how easily accessible they are by good sealed or graded gravel roads that comprise the ‘Rainforest Way’. On a journey spanning more than two weeks, these roads took us into the very heart of Australia’s Gondwana heritage.

We approached the region from the northwest on a 3,000-km route that bisected Queensland in a more or less straight line from Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) NP to Ballina on the NSW coast. As well as being a beautiful town among the northern rivers, Ballina is the home of the Kimberley Karavan factory and we were headed there for some repairs and maintenance after the rigours of travel across the Kimberley and the Top End.

Our ascent into the ranges proper began near Killarney, along The Falls Drive through an area noted for its many waterfalls and scenic panoramas. The first of these was Dagg’s Falls, accessed by a short track from a roadside pullout that ended abruptly at a viewing platform perched 50 metres above a narrow gorge. The creek that fed the falls was running well for this time of year and provided a mini-spectacle that would prove to be a modest prelude to the main event, Queen Mary Falls, further up the Drive.

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