Australia has some of the most amazing landscapes on the planet, and the Northern Rivers Region in New South Wales is no exception. The natural history of this area revolves around the eruptions of a huge volcano 23 million years ago. These massive eruptions shaped the mountains and valleys of the north-eastern tip of New South Wales and southeast Queensland.
This volcanic history formed the stunning Northern Rivers landscape and can be seen in the many amazing rock formations, high mountains, deep valleys and beautiful rivers. This area of Australia is known as the Green Cauldron and was once covered in dense sub-tropical rainforests. The rainforests of this area were home to Indigenous Australians until European settlement began in 1828. To indigenous Australians, this area was and always will be a sacred land, with many sacred sites throughout the region.
The ancient forests that once existed here are called collectively the Big Scrub Rainforest, which contained a very high level of biodiversity in a fairly small area. Unfortunately, due to the pressures of logging and agriculture, only 1% of the original Big Scrub remains today.
The logging of the last areas of Big Scrub in the 1970’s awakened a national awareness of the natural wonders that were being destroyed. This led to the famous protests of the 1970’s and early 80’s, where many people from around Australia and the world came together to try to protect this area from further logging. The Terania Creek protest actions and the Nightcap Protests stopped the logging of this area, and allowed for the creation of World Heritage listed National Parks that would protect the natural heritage of the area for future generations.
Amazing National Parks in the Northern Rivers Region
To fully experience the natural diversity of this area a visit to one or more of the local National Parks is a must. Take a walk or a drive through one of the parks below and you will be astounded by the beauty of this region. Here you will find palm forests, giant rainforest trees, native wildlife and fast flowing, crystal – clear creeks.
Mt. Warning National Park is known locally by its indigenous name, Wollumbin. This mountain has a great deal of cultural, historical, and environmental value. A sacred mountain since before European settlement, it is now a beautiful national park. The walk to the mountain peak takes about four hours and showcases the beauty of the local forests. This is a lovely place for a picnic lunch or swim in the creek.
The Nightcap National Park is a large park with a number of different entrances and activities. Protestors Falls near The Channon village marks the site of the protest actions that helped to create this national park. Here you can take an easy walk through Bangalow Palms to the stunning waterfall, or just relax by the creek and enjoy the lush cool of the forest. This is also a ideal overnight camping spot, with electric BBQ’s provided and many picnic tables.
The Border Ranges National Park is a large area of forest with numerous different camping grounds, walking tracks and attractions. Take a day of driving through the park to experience the lush forests and awesome views. If you have the time, why not camp for a while in one of the beautiful camp grounds and enjoy the abundance of wildlife and natural wonders. This park offers amazing walks, lush forests and many creeks and waterfalls.
Beautiful Beaches Galore
From Tweed Heads in the north to Iluka in the south, the Northern Rivers has some of the most spectacular beaches of the country. This amazing coastline draws many tourists each year, especially to the well-known beach towns such as Byron Bay.
The thriving town of Byron Bay grew out of a sleepy sea-side village with an amazingly beautiful coastline and the kind of waves that attracted surfers long before it was a well-known travel destination. Now an international tourism top-spot, Byron is famous for its beaches and for the alternative culture that offers everything from yoga, crystal healing, and shamanic workshops, to funky markets and drumming circles. The Byron Lighthouse is situated at Australia’s most easterly point, and so is the perfect place to watch the sun rise over the ocean and to spot dolphins and migrating whales. Byron Bay has a large Marine Park that protects its waters and offers a refuge for marine wildlife and sea birds. This makes it a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving, as there is a great abundance of diversity. Byron also has a thriving town with cafes, restaurants, cinema and loads of activities for the traveler.
If you are after a quieter, more relaxing beach experience, the little town of Evans Head is for you. Situated half an hour from the large town of Ballina, it is a small fishing town with a friendly atmosphere. Evans Head offers beautiful beaches and a large river, great fishing, and the added bonus of two different National Parks for the nature enthusiast. Bundjalung National Park and Broadwater National Park are two places that will delight and excite! They offer walks of varying lengths that take in the best of the area’s natural coastal diversity. Bundjalung National Park provides information on the Indigenous history of this area, as well as showcasing the coastal rainforest, heathland and the greatly diverse waterways of the area.