CHEALUNDI TRAIL

With-in 2 hours of the Coffs coast there are so many varied areas that can be explored. Recently l explored The Chaelundi Trail. It is a great weekend trip for anyone with a soft roader, as 4wd is not needed, but maybe just a little ground clearence, it is camper trailer friendly and with a bit of caution a caravan could easily be towed along here. Basically it is a well weathered 70 km dirt road that runs out of a little town called Dundurrabin north through to Dalmorton. Even though it is only a 70km drive, you can spend two days on this trail by camping mid point in the Guy Fawkes National Park and enjoying several walks. Dundurrabin is high on the new england tablelands with rich farming pastures running cattle and the odd sheep.

As you start driving along this trail you can help but breath the rich fresh, crisp mountain air. From Dundurrabin you head west along Sheepstation creek road meandering past rich farms with views that go for miles towards The Great Dividing Range.About 5km you head onto Chaelundi Road which is where the dirt starts and you head into Marengo State Forest. The road is littered with huge gums and tree ferns that ache for the filtered sun that tries to reach the ground, or patches of old burnt grass tress that could be several hundred years old. Ocasionally you might see wallabies or the odd lyre bird dart across the road.This road was carved through mountains of basalt rock, and as you weave your way along you can only be amazed at some of the huge pieces that jot out beside the road. The first break can be had at Vista Lookout, that on a good day you can almost see the coast, it is just that good. Great spot for a cuppa and to appreciate what we have, and maybe to ponder the meaning of life !!.

 This is now in National Parks so no camping is permitted here.Further along Chealundi Road you approach a sign for the turn down into Guy Fawkes National Park along Misty Creek Forest Road. It is a 12km road down into the Guy Fawkes, just be warned along here as it is pretty narrow and windy, but taking your time is what it is all about on these roads, so much to see and do. Just before you start dropping down into the lush valleys, Misty Creek lookout is situated on the left, here there is a 800 metre return walk that will leave you breathless at the views down into some massive valleys that are that are inaccessable on foot. Wild flowers litter this walking trail from paper daisies to bush orchids and even flowering gums in spring.

The Chealundi rest area has the only camping available along here, and is a top spot to stop and explore, with basic camping facilities and several walks, you can spend several days here.Camping here is nearly world class with pit toilets, a spot for the day visitors, several large areas big enough for a few campers or even a caravan, swing away bbq and billy stands, solid table and chairs,fire pits and even the firewood is supplied- this camping area has it all. Water is readily available from the Chealundi creek that runs beside the camp, but it would be best to boil the water first.Fair enough there is a fee here with an honesty box, but when you see how these areas are looked after and put in for us, it definatly makes it worth while.You can base yourself here and explore this area by completing some of the many and varied bushwalks that range from .5 km through to several over night walks that are for the most experience walkers only.The wildlife is well and truely alive here, from the willy wagtails that scamper from the undergrowth, to the cheeky lorikeets that screech to each, or it maybe the whip birds, the wallabies,the magnificent black cockatoes that hide in the gums, or even the odd goanna looking for a feed.

Several walks can be made from here, classed from easy to extreme the choice is yours. Most of these are on fairly flat ground with no steps at all- great for the kids !!. Six walks can be made from here, wether it be the 500 metre Chealundi Falls walk that takes you to the top of the falls where you can see the water disappear as it falls deep into the valley below, Lucifers Thumb Trail where you will be gobsmacked as you sit on the edge of a spur looking in amazment at the terrain of the valleys in the distance. Combalo Trail, Jordans Trail, Spring Gully and the Return circut walks will take you around different spurs that jot out like fingers holding on to the mountains.

A little bit of gold and copper was found down in the western side of the gorges here in an area called Ballards Flat around 1880 till 1900- several huts still stand today Make sure you take your camera as you cant get enough photos of this area.The Chealundi falls spill over into the Guy Fawkes river that was named after Major Edward Parke, who camped here in 1845.Seeing though there is only one road in and out of here, it is an easy 15 minute drive back up on to The Chealundi Trail. After turning left and a further 10 mins down the road, you come across "Hamburger Rock'' !!!, and yep, squint your eyes and it sure does look like a rough burger. 

The road casually winds its way through huge basalt boulders, scattered timber and the odd patch of rain forest. Several lookouts provide spots to stretch the old legs, and the bewdy thing about these ones is that they are only 20- 50 meters from the main road. As you wander along these roads, spare a thought for the early settlers that came to this area back in the early 1840's. Life was tough - battling the cold and dealing with the immense size of the gorges trying to drag the red cedar out and even run a few head of stock.A few aboriginals occupied these valleys, mainly along the ridges where rock shelters provided a safe haven from the elelments. Some estimate say they were in the valley for up to 10, 000 years.

The highest point along this track will take you nearly 1250 meters skyward, so the air can get pretty brisk in the cooler months-but refreshing in summer. After peaking here you gradually start to wind your way north towards Dalmortin, an abandon gold mining town with a story within its self.The first glimpses of Dalmorton start with a view of The Mann River that cuts a path through this once thriving mecca.Cattle, decent fences, the odd farm house soon lets you know there is still some life left out here. As you drop down into green pastures and the land flatterns out, you cross the mighty Mann river. Here you can turn right and follow the river 60kms back into Grafton, or left- up towards Glenn Innnes. The Chealundi Trail is only 70km's long but well worth a little time to explore.











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