The Rocky River trip starts just south of the heart of town as you wander down the aptly named Scrub Road then onto Billirimba Road. Keep an eye out for abandon farms and transport machinery as they sit quietly in the paddocks from days gone by. With long straight tree lined sections of dirt you can gaze across the paddocks with views towards the mountains in the distance, views to die for in every direction.
There are areas along here beside the river where camping is NOT allowed and are sign posted for all to see, but at the 25 km mark a huge grassed area with tracks leading down to the Timbarra are welcoming sites wether for camping or a cuppa. Stopping under the old Casuarina Trees is pretty special here as the water flows past. Don't forget to throw a rod in and either team it up with some old meat for a chance to snag a freshwater Yabby or a Fork Tail Catfish for a feed.
There’s no toilets here and no bins. Night time brings out Owls, little squeaking Bats, frogs start crocking and if you sit still long enough and scan the grounds with a torch you may see possums. If you are a keen punter and the weather is right, swimming in the Timbarra River is pure bliss where clean fresh water that has filtered through granite particles definatly leaves you feeling relaxed and clean. Wether staying for an hour or a night have a scout around for any rubbish that may have been left behind, this keeps the area pristine and makes for a happy land owner.
There is nothing too difficult about this road that a proper 4wd can undertake, for added safety why not choose 4wd high- this will give you some added traction on these granite based roads that can be slippery and the road surface can catch you out if find yourself trying to avoid another 4wd that suddenly appears. Soon the cleared country farmlands turn to a thicker growth as you veer away from the river and into the hills.
Tall timber sections covered with vines and small farms led the way as the elevation will soon rise, this is where the road changes into Long Gully Road and from dirt to tar. It gets steep as it enters Girard State Forest and the terrain gets a bit more serious as you climb to near 1000 metres above sea level in a few kilometres.
Being on the southern side of this range, the rainforest is stunning and is generally a bit cooler than the flats below. With tall cool climate ferns, long trunked Bangalow palms and coachwood tree’s it’s a totally different eco system to what you have just left behind. Even the wildlife has changed to the sounds of Whip-birds, frisky Paddy Melon wallabies and even shy Lyre Birds that may dart across the road.
You know when your getting to the top as there are large stands of scrubby timber - Iron Bark, Black Butt and Scribbly Gum plus dozens of Grass-trees that seem to dance in the wind as you zoom past. Girard State Forest soon gives way to farms and dodgy looking houses and eventually you'll come to the Bruxner Highway which runs between the coast and back up to the tablelands past Tenterfield.