Exploring Northern NSW in 48 hours

Highlights:

  • 360° of the Milky Way over Lennox head
  • Exploring the open rock faces at bald rock national park, and watching the sunset over the horizon
  • Watching the sunrise over Girraween National Park

Summary

My mate (@olliecooper_) and I began by exploring the old train line that runs through Murwillumbah through Past Byron bay, then headed to Lennox head to spend the night. Dyer shooting Astro for half an hour, we had to go and get ready for the night (get our tent set up).

Camping under the stars and waking up to go out to photograph sunrise over the headland was a great way to spend the first night, despite the lack of sleep. From there we drove to Killen falls, where you can stand underneath the water fall, without the problem of other tourists or people getting in the way. From there it’s about a two hour drive to the falls (Queen Mary Falls and Daggs Falls). Here you can experience a (somewhat) large waterfall. While these falls are a bit more popular, on the Queen Mary Falls circuit you can walk an extra 5 minutes to the bottom, where you can experience it from the best view, with far less people around.

After that we drove to bald rock national park (about an hour an a half drive) where we experienced the steep rock faces and panoramic views of New South Wales and Queensland. We stayed until the sun had set and made it back to the car in the dark (only getting lost once).

We then moved back to our place in Stanthorpe and later (after a quick google maps search) found we were about 2 minutes away from a train bridge, so we decided to check it out. We were greeted with extremely clear skies and a train bridge dimly lit by the moon behind us (perfect for Astro photography). We then headed home for some well deserved sleep.

The next day it was an early rise, around 4:30am, to head out to Girraween national park for sunrise. The drive was about 30 minutes, and the walk up to the base of the rock was fine. We then proceeded onto a stressful 20 minutes of climbing (in very poor light). The rock was a steep and slippery slope on open granite, which was consistent until we made it to the top. We were greeted with amazing 360° views of the rest of the park and beyond, and huge rocks balancing on the side of the pyramid. We stayed to shoot sunrise then made our way down (which ended up being far more slippery than the climb was), and drove home.

Essential gear required

    • Tent
    • Torch
    • Proper shoes (as grippy as possible)
    • Camera
    • Phone (GPS mainly)
    • Gloves in winter

How to get there

Most of the locations I listed can be searched on google maps, and we did the Pyramid walk at Girraween National Park.

Activities

  • Photography
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Slipping

Skill level

Most of it is beginner, the only difficult walks were bald rock and Girraween. Bald rock was quite steep, but there is a less steep walk also possible, but Girraween was quite challenging. Especially with slippery shoes and a lot of camera gear, walking (and crawling) up the rock face was quite a nerve racking task at some points, and definitely wouldn’t be for everybody, although I’m sure the rock would be dryer and therefor less slippery in the afternoon. Make sure you’re with a friend.

Distance covered

As far as driving goes, we figured out we covered around 1000kms over the three days. All of the walks we did were under 5km easily, most of them were less than 10 minutes from the car to the location.