Day 6: LONG DAY TRIP TO A TASTE OF QUEENSLAND
So as anticipated, Julie and I slept in knowing we wouldn’t have to vagabond it on this day for the first time on this trip. It wasn’t until about 7:30am when we finally drove off from Byron Bay headed west.
The original plan was to go to Boonoo Boonoo Falls somewhere near Tenterfield, but it simply seemed way too far away to get to from Byron Bay. So I ultimately decided against doing it (hoping not to regret this decision), and instead was headed towards Daggs Falls, Browns Falls, and Queen Mary Falls.
The drive was long, and it wasn’t until about 10:25am when we finally showed up to the Browns Falls Picnic Area. We passed through the New South Wales and Queensland border along the way as we approached the small town of Killarney. So I guess today was the day we finally set foot in Queensland for the very first time.
At the Browns Falls car park, there was a dog that Julie thought was menacing-looking outside the car so we waited until the dog was far enough away from the car before we started on the walk.
A sign at the trailhead stated that the walk was supposed to be 20 minutes, though we weren’t sure if they meant return or just one-way. In any case, as we got onto the track, it quickly started becoming more of a streambank walk with a handful of stream crossings.
It turned out that the hike was a bit more involved than we had anticipated. But eventually, we made it far enough upstream on the stream scramble until we finally caught sight of the 10m Browns Falls. There were some brownish basalt-looking walls underlying the falls, but they were definitely not quite as pronounced as the type we’d see in Iceland.
When we returned to the car park, we encountered some Aussies who we conversed with, and they mentioned that there were supposed to be the rare platypus in the stream. Well, we didn’t see them, though I wondered how common it was to sight them in the wild, let alone a waterfall excursion.
At 11:40am, we were back at the car. Indeed, the hike was way more involved than the 20 minutes stated on the sign.
Ten minutes later, we were at the car park for Daggs Falls, which was really more of a pullout. There was a lookout for Daggs Falls right next to the pullout or car park, which we looked down at the pretty impressive falls. Nothing huge, but not small either.
Next, we drove further to the east as we next targeted Queen Mary Falls (which I’ll shorted to QMF). We’d eventually make it to the car park at 12pm. According to the signs here, we learned that this waterfall was part of the Murray-Darling Catchment, which we found was incredible considering that the Murray-Darling River was the endangered river during the Great Australian Drought that we experienced a couple years ago when we visited south and southeast Australia.
In any case, we only went on a walk that took in the lookout of the falls from the top. We could have done the 2km circuit that seemed to make it to the base of the falls, where the walkway could be visible down below. Unfortunately, we still had the long drive back to Byron Bay ahead of us. Plus, we still wanted to visit the Byron Bay Lighthouse before sunset.
So given that time constraint (or perceived time constraint), we got our QMF experience, and then headed out. We opted not to continue on to check out Teviott Falls, which was also nearby the QMF. I wasn’t sure if I would regret that decision, but I had to make an executive decision to leave this out.
So we left Queen Mary Falls at 12:30pm, and three hours later after the expected long drive (a drive that was made longer by having trouble passing some slow moving logging trucks or other trucks on the curvy two-lane roads), we finally arrived at the Byron Bay Lighthouse at 3:30pm. The weather was a bit cloudier than it was yesterday so the lighting wasn’t as pleasant for photos of the coast and the lighthouse.
In any case, it was $7 to park here, but we saw a sign saying it was $2!
Anyways, Julie and I were enjoying the walks and overlooks here. One of the signs here indicated that we were at the easternmost tip of the mainland of Australia, and we could see the rocky peninsula jutting out from the overlook where waves seemed to wrap around the peninsula. I’m sure some kind of wave behaviors could be observed and tested from here, I thought.
At 4:10pm, we had our fill of the lovely scenery here and were back in the car. And at 4:25pm, we returned to the Bamboo House. Somewhere near the accommodation, there was a dog that ran out and tried to chase the car. It was still outside somewhere, but at some point, we probably either ditched it or the owner called it back.
And with that, we were back in the familiar Byron Bay centre to walk around, grab some dinner (don’t recall which place), and then settle in to sleep for the night. This would be our last night in New South Wales for tomorrow we were heading into Queensland for good. That would be the last state of Australia we hadn’t visited yet (or at least until today’s little taster)…