Sunday, March 10, 2013

From Wingham to Bellingen to Yamba

Saturday March 9th:  From Wingham to Bellingen

We drove down to the Forest Reserve where there is a boardwalk loop trail through the bush to where the flying foxes roost during the day. We can see by debris in the fences showing that the recent, last week, flood waters were quite high. The road surface was broken up by the river and debris is on the parking areas. We hope that we will be able to walk on the board walk, but the forest workers say no. A huge tree has crashed through the boardwalk near the entrance leaving a gap of about 6 feet. They are removing the tree and will begin repairs. Meanwhile the trail is closed. Too sad.

We head for highway one the Pacific highway. The cutoff to Crowdy Head looks interesting, but we hear that the unpaved road past Crowdy Head may not be too good. After a look at the lighthouse on the head we look for the road. We decide not after seeing that it looks like a one lane sandy track. Probably not where we want to take a rental. Highway one isn't so bad. It is more like a regional highway than a superhighway. Gets us to Port Macquarie sooner so we can find the Koala Hospital.

We stay for the 3PM guided tour and koala feeding. We really learn a lot about koalas. Koalas closest relative is the wombat. They eat about 50 different kinds of eucalyptus leaves including the melaleuca. They have special bacteria in their intestines to digest the leaves and they are immune to the toxins in the leaves. Contrary to urban myth they do not get “high” on the leaves. They eat some dirt at times to aide their digestion. Koalas sleep about 18 hours a day. Puts them right up there with cats. The joeys are about the size of a jelly bean when they are born, are blind and have undeveloped hind legs. They crawl up their mothers fur to a nipple in the pouch. They are with their mother for about one year. She has to inoculate them with the good digestive bacteria so they are able to eat eucalyptus leaves. Makes it hard for orphans. If they are orphaned too young, before they are inoculated, they will die. The sick or injured koalas are fed a supportive soy based formula as koalas are lactose intolerant. Some koalas are too injured to return to the wild, so they stay here on supportive care. The rest are returned to the wild, such as it is. There is little wild Australia left on the coast. This was the highlight of the day.

We arrive at our next stop, Bellingen, about six. Ready for the rainforest waterfalls tomorrow.
Walking to dinner about 7:30, we watch flying foxes fly over our heads to go out to feed. We are at the Federal Hotel Bistro and have a laugh at one item on the menu. Indian curry with beef. As if any person from India would ever make curry with beef.

Sunday March 10th: We head to the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre. The excellent movie in the visitor center is a highlight. The rainforest has taken a bit of a beating in the recent heavy rains. We do the sky walk, a short forest hike and lunch at Dangar Falls.
on the sky walk

High above the ground

looking down

back on the ground with an Australian bush turkey

cleaning up after the storm

these trees are shallow rooted, so they form buttresses  

Dangar falls

Logging truck. The logs have tags, so they are from national forest or state forest lands.

We then drive on a very winding road to our next stop, Yamba.

We bought a traveling koala at the Koala Hospital. Barry's story is that he escaped from the Koala Hospital and has been spotted all over the world.
Barry is relaxing at Clubyamba in Yamba

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