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HOW TO GET THERE: You will need this map because I can’t find this walk in any of the local bushwalking guides, but all the local bushwalkers know about it. These very good topographical maps are available in the Mullumbimby newsagents. Your phone won’t work up here.

  • Take the Wilsons Creek Road out of Mullumbimby to the left turn onto Huonbrook Road at Threeways (old cafe/shop on the corner) – 17 km.
  • Follow the Huonbrook Road to the end – when it becomes just a track – about 5km. There is a parking bay on the right.
  • Walk a short way up the hill on your right and turn left by Norfolk Island pine tree up a steepish path into the Mt Jerusalem National Park. Ignore any signs and gates that say private property because it isn’t. Just make sure you close any gates after you.

 
 
Standing on the edge of the caldera looking across to the Western rim over Doon Doon.
 

Yesterday Michael and I did something we had been planning to do for a while, but never seem to get round to, and stepped out into the amazing landscape that surrounds us – we went for a bushwalk.  I am so glad I did (even though we took a wrong path (busy chatting) and added two hours to our journey – but that did mean we went up Mt. Jerusalem!)

 
We live in an ancient landscape on the edge the Tweed volcanic caldera – one of the largest and best examples of an erosion caldera in the world – with various volcanic plugs still visible throughout the area – the largest of which is Wollumbin (Mt. Warning) – which would have been twice as high as it is today before it blew its top over twenty million years ago.
 
 
Mullumbimby farmhouse at the base of Mt. Chincogan – typical of the old style architecture
 
 
I am lucky to have as the backdrop to my garden another of these volcanic plugs – Mt. Chincogan, and be able to see Wollumbin in the distance over to the West.  In aboriginal mythology Wollumbin is the father and Chincogan the mother – protectors of the land – watching over all living creatures and it’s sacred places.For many thousands of years this green paradise, resting in the shadow of the majestic Wollumbin, was home to the aboriginal Bundjalung people.

The Bundjalung enjoyed a warm subtropical climate. The landscape varied from towering mountains to the bountiful sea, providing an abundance of food and materials that met all their needs.

Wollumbin, the mountain named by Captain James Cook as Mt Warning, towers 1100 metres above the sea. It was named by Cook in 1770 as a warning to other seafarers of the numerous treacherous reefs along this coast.

He did not know that the Bundjalung people for many miles around called the mountain Wollumbin, and that it was an important sacred site, as their lives and religion were strongly linked to the land.

 
Wollumbin, with the volcanic plug of Doughboy Mountain in the foreground
 
 
 
 
 
 
Whenever you walk in the forests around here you come across enormous felled trees like this – discarded by the loggers because, once cut down, they discovered them to be hollow inside.
 

Following explorations by Cook, white settlement began – and, consequently, the displacement of the Bundjalung forever.  In the 1850’s a British timber logging camp was built at the back of Mullumbimby – the start of white settlement in this area.  A place where the cutters could feed their livestock on the grasslands and get their valuable timber down the Brunswick River and out to the waiting ships – taking the rainforest timber, mainly red cedar, back to the UK.

Fortunately, these remnant forests are now protected and part of the Jerusalem,  Nightcap and Wollumbin  National Parks system – fought hard,  and long for by locals and environmental campaigners.

 
 
Meditation Rock – with views to Byron Bay Lighthouse (clinging to the side of this rock was a beautiful clump of pink, flowering Dendrobium orchids)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Once up here, and taking in the magnificent views, you only have to step over to the southern side of the rim and walk for about ten minutes to get wonderful views the other way, down the Wilsons River Valley to the Byron Bay Lighthouse.

The walk takes you under towering cliffs, through lush vegetation of palms, orchids, ferns and huge eucalypts to Meditation Rock – where you just have to pause for a while to enjoy the sweet air, smell springtime and listen to the birds.

In five hours we didn’t see one other person – just this fellow – a diamond backed python.  He was a small one – only about 2 metres long!

This walk reminded me of a chat I had with Dorothy, the 86 year old member of the Book Club I belong to – who looks about 70, with a vibrancy that belies her years.  When I asked her what her secret was she said “You just have to get out there and KEEP MOVING”.  Thank you Dorothy. (By the time we got back to the car I could also hear my dear old Dad in my ear “It’s lovely when the pain wears off!”)

The orchids that cling to Meditation Rock that juts out from the rim of the caldera. This walk allows you to explore both sides of that rim with views magnificent views to the north and south.

When get to the top of the track, you are not only greeted by this magnificent view, but also a dunny that has the best view too – don’t ask me why it’s here?

This is not a circular walk and you will have to retrace your steps back to your car – but it is all downhill!.

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