Well in the end last night I moved carparks to a slightly more secretive one, down a gravel road but still right on the beach. The one I was in originally actually had a sign saying 'no sleeping in vehicles', so I would have been asking for trouble! The one I ended up in was actually better anyway so there we go.
I had a pretty good sleep and woke up with the sun about 6:15am. I have definitely got the trademark Spot X GHQ cold unfortunately, so im sniffling and coughing now. On the plus side it's and absolutely beautiful day, there isn't a cloud in the sky, and I watched Whales+Dolphins swim around just off the beach while I at breakfast..
As expected there is no real surf, so this morning I will spend laying on the beach while I dry out some wet stuff, then maybe go looking for the mountain place the woman told me about yesterday.
Turns out the wet mattress etc was due to a split on the 15L water container in the boot..perfect. Luckily it got pretty warm before lunch drying everything out nicely. Having walked about on the beach and taken some photos at lunchtime I set off for the mountainous area just inland.
I came across a information centre, and the elderly lady told me everything I needed to know (and more) about where to go.
From Valla Beach I went back 15km up the highway to 'Urunga' (where the info centre was), where you then go down 'Waterfall Way'. This is about 30km or maybe more through Bellingen, Thora and then up to Dorrigo.
When I say 'up to Dorrigo', emphasis on the UP. The road is like some sort of drifting chalange route from an X-Box driving game! For about 15km you literally twist and wind your way up a mountain, to reach the town on the Plateau at the top. The scenery is amazing, but it's bloody hard work on the car, so I stopped about half way up to take a few photos to let it cool off for a while.
Once at the top I took the little road to the 'Dorrigo National park', parked up, grabbed my kit and went to explore.
There was a brilliant information/visitor centre there with videos showing all the snakes etc living in the rainforest your about to walk through, and lots of info boards. They have also built a 'Sky Walk', which is like a big pier above the rainforest giving a breathe taking view of all the surrounding mountains etc.
From there you walk down a gangway to a 7km paved path, which I followed though all different parts of the jungle. It's amazing how dark and humid it is under all the trees etc, but other than all the animals rusting around its very quiet. The 2 main attractions of the walk are the waterfalls, both towards the far end of the walkway loop.
They are very different types, one just virtual into a plunge pool, and you can actually walk behind the waterfall in the cave it's cut. The other you can climb down next to, and it's less steep just falling over a cobble stone cliff.
All in all it took a couple of hours, and it was about 4:30/5pm by the time I back at the car and ready to leave. As it was a warm day and it doesn't get dark till about 8pm, I decided to go off to the other nearby waterfall.
'Dangar Falls', which is just 5 minutes up the road, is much more accessible. You park right next to the lookout post, which I was quite happy with as I had done more than enough walking for one day! It was probably the most spectacular of the 3 I have seen today, being the highest, the most water flowing over it and with the biggest pool at the bottom. However as you don't to walk there I was ready to go again 15 minutes later.
In the end I decided to cook up some dinner at the picnic area next to the lookout, then go off and find somewhere to stay for the next.
By half 6 I had packed up and I decided to head back down the mountain to Bellingen for the night.
Right at the foot of the mountain there was a sort of park/camping area with some big motor homes etc in, so I went in to find out what the deal was. Sure enough, having spoken to a couple lording it up outside their van, it was a free camping spot, so I set up next to them.
Having gone off for a wander down by the river when I came back another guy had arrived. He was about 60 something, but was also travelling alone and sleeping in the back of his (much newer and smarter than mine) wagon, so I spotted by for a chat.
He turned out to be a really nice bloke, and had been over to England etc so we had plenty to talk about. He also gave me a handy camping dinner recepie, which I'm going to have to try; half cook some veg in just enough water to cover them, then chuck in a can of tuna/salmon, thicken it with some rice power or something and your laughing. Seems like a good way of getting greens and protein so I'll have to give it a go.
Anyway he offered me a cuppa in the morning, so that's that.
I think I will head off significantly south tomorrow at some point (as I came a little north again to get here). The next good spot further down is Creasent Head, where I first went before Spot X, so I'll be funny going back there!
P.s. having just got a text form Lorraine saying she had helped Charlie into a bikini, I remembered its Halloween tonight! Not sure I will get many 'trick or treat'ers' knocking on my...windscreen, though.
(Photo - Just after sunrise at the beach where I woke up this morning..)