After a busy week or even a slow one, it’s too easy to head off to the usual short-break destinations. So a few weekends ago, we went somewhere we hadn’t been before. Funny how a simple change can reveal yet another favourite place in the world. In a National Park of course…
Black Rocks campground in Bundjalung National Park is a hidden gem, with a stunning coastline, fabulous creek and coastline walks, a pontoon on the creek for paddlers, amazing birdlife, and super-private campsites.
The campground gets its name from the black rocks (also called ‘coffee rocks’) along a rugged coastline. The rocks are soft, crumble exactly like coffee grinds, and have been eroded by wind and sea into spectacular formations…
We’re hooked and ready to explore. After downpours in the area the day before we arrived, we discover the Emu Loop trail is a chain of ponds. Well, puddles really.
But we get to be carefree kids again, splashing along the trail.
There is something primal about it. You feel more connected to the earth… especially when you occasionally find yourself ankle deep in mud.
The next day, we ditch our shoes again for the six-hour Jerusalem Creek walk, alternating between thongs and bare-foot wading.
Along the trail, the vegetation is amazing – from rainforest to paperbark swamp to coastal lowlands to open grasslands.
We walk to a chorus of frog calls, with gorgeous birds adding in the high notes – and sometimes diving into the puddles in front of us to snatch a bug-snack…
A family of kingfishers are a flash of spectacular teal and russet, lorikeets sip nectar from flowering bottlebrush, a whistling kite soars overhead, and tiny birds are startling streaks of colour in constant motion among the branches…
Along the trail, there are signs of life. The slithering snake tracks are there too, on sandy parts of the trail, reminding us to watch where we put our feet.
…who goes there?
At the end of the track, the creek meets the sea. Here, migratory and resident shorebirds rest, feed and breed in peace.
There are pied oystercatchers, little terns, beach-stone curlews, sandpipers and two tiny mysterious birds whose little black legs are a blur as they run back and forth along the water’s edge.
… some tiny mystery waders
…and a pied oyster catcher
‘Peppa’ the Ozpig… nice
Later that night, we are two blissed-out campers. You can have your posh hotels and even your cozy B&Bs.
There is nothing like sitting in front of a fire (our fabulous Ozpig), under the stars and the swish of the Milky Way, with mysterious rustlings in the bushes, miles from civilisation.
Okay, okay, we are sipping on a rather smooth pinot noir.
There are some civilised things you should never give up…