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    Michael's 4WD Trips
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    Northern Tablelands Easter 2010 - Day 3
    Day 3 - Saturday 3 April 2010 - Kookaburra to Kookaburra via various parts of Carrai and Oxley Wild Rivers National Parks

    For the previous part of this trip, click here.

    Day 3
    Day Three - Kookaburra is at bottom far right, Marys View is far left and Felters Creek Falls the bit that goes to the right at the top

    It was not as cold last night, about 7ÂșC. We get up about 8 am and it has already warmed to 10ÂșC. Again, we have slow start to the morning and at 9:20 am we depart. Kookaburra is located at the intersection of Coachwood and Carrai Roads so we take Carrai Road and head west.

    Only four kilometres along the road is a short track off to the left. This leads to Kunderang Lookout. There a some reasonable views from here, but like some other spots, the regrowth of small shrubs and trees is blocking the view.

    Daisy PlainsToyota Prado
    The view from the McMillan property at Daisy PlainsOur Prado

    We only stop a few minutes and are then back on Carrai Road. We are in Oxley Wild Rivers or Carrai National Park (it is hard to know as the boundaries of these and the other parks nearby are woven together and you can cross from one to another without even knowing it).

    At 10 am we come to a private property. This is 16 kilometres from Kookaburra. This property has been owned by the McMillan Family forever and previously had orchards and market gardens on it. Stop and drive up the track to the old house. Look out to the north-east and imagine the views that the house must have. I doubt that there are many places with views like this anywhere in Australia.

    Eric knows the family and some are there. We stop and chat for a while. We are back on the road at 10:15 am. Less than three kilometres further along we come to an old sign and then the remains of Daisy Plains township. This was another forestry town, established purely to service the logging industry. There used to be 200 residents, now there are none. You can see a large portable steam engine on the side of the road. We stop here.

    This is a Ruston Proctor portable steam engine, made by Ruston Proctor and Company in Lincoln, England. I believe that this was made before 1918 as in that year, the company merged with another and the name changed. See the photograph of the wheel below that shows the name of the company when it was built. From a page on Steam Scenes web site, I think that it is probably a 12hp machine and was probably built about 1906 as it matches the engine shown in the link. It was presumably imported by the agents in Australia, Gibson, Battle & Co.

    Daisy PlainsPaper Daisy
    The sign at the approach to Daisy Plains A paper daisy

    If you look around here you will see that there are the remains of fuel filler pipes for a service station that used to be right next to where the steam engine is located. Walk down the hill and you will see roadways still visible in the paddock, another steam engine in the bush that used to power the sawmill and other parts of the mill. There is even a T pole from an old style clothes line that used to be behind the single men's quarters.

    As the name of this place implies, there are daisies here. These are paper daisies, bright yellow with an orange bud. Feel the petals, very easy to see where the name came from as they feel like paper. This property is now also owned by the McMillans and on the other side of the road there are some cattle yards. If you walk over there you will great more great views.

    Daisy Plains Steam EngineSteam Engine
    The Ruston Proctor portable steam engine at Daisy Plains A close up of one of the wheels of the portable steam engine

    This area has a reputation for "yowies". A yowie is a mythical creature, much like the abdominal snowman or yeti. In April 1977, Rex Gilroy did an expedition into the Carrai Plateau area on the search for yowies. He took with him on at least one trip George Gray, a former forester. See Results of the Gilroy's Carrai Plateau New South Wales Yowie Expedition April 1977 by Rex Gilroy http://www.australianyowieresearchcentre.com/carrai-plateau-expedition-1977.html for a full report. The following extract is quite interesting:

    George's own encounter with a Yowie had taken place eight years previously, while he was working at the lonely [and later dismantled] saw-milling settlement of Kookaburra, deep in the Carrai forests some 80 km west of Kempsey.

    George could recall every detail of what to him was a fight for his life.

    The night, he said, was moonlit and very cold when he climbed into bed in his two bedroom hut. In the other room were his two young sons, Robert and Dennis. Some time around 1am, George was suddenly jolted from his sleep by something weighing on his chest. He woke up to find a creature which he described as being somewhere between and ape and a man.

    George grabbed an arm of the strange beast and found it quite greasy. In the 10 minutes that George Gray wrestled with the creature in his room, he was able to get a reasonable description of his assailant. He said, "It was no more that 4ft [2.1m] tall and had a face somewhere between that of any ape and a man, with hair all over its body between 5-6 inches [12.5cm] long and grey in colour".

    The creature began trying to drag George out of the hut in the direction of the back door, the way it had probably first entered the hut. George called to his two sons repeatedly, but the boys were too terrified to help, remaining in their room. Finally George was able to free himself from the clutches of the strange beast, which immediately fled out the back door and into the darkness.

    The next morning he told the story to his boss, who then asked George to keep his experience a secret from the rest of the work force, lest the men pack up and leave the camp.

    Daisy Plains Steam EnginePrado
    Another steam engine at Daisy Plains
    - this one powered the timber mill
    A photograph of the road at Dasiy Plains

    We continue along Carrai Road. There is a gate to be opened and closed as we exit the private property a little way along. At 11:05 am we arrive at Daisy Plains Forestry Huts which are three kilometres from Daisy Plains. These huts are now in Carrai National Park and can be used without booking or charge. There is an accommodation hut with five rooms and a kitchen hut with fireplace. There is also tank water, a toilet and another smaller hut. I suspect that these probably date from the 1960s or so, perhaps a little earlier, but they are not too much older. You could also camp here as there is plenty of flat grass. A really nice spot.

    We have morning tea and as we do, a large group of 4WDs go by. We presume that they are on a tag-along tour, but it may just be a 4WD club. They head down Cochrane Road towards Marys View Lookout (the intersection is just past the huts) so we decide to not go that way right now. We finish morning tea and at 11:45 am head out along Mines Road.

    Daisy Plains HutsDaisy Plains Huts
    The Daisy Plains HutsThe Daisy Plains Huts kitchen hut

    A few kilometres down the road we come across an abandoned Land Rover Series 1. Eric says this was not here last time he was here (about six months ago). We take some photos posing in it.

    We continue on and at 12:15 pm we arrive at Felters Creek. There used to be a camping area here when it was state forest and you could still camp by the creek. There is a small flat area that would fit two cars and a barbecue. The bridge over the creek has been blocked off for some reason. It is a traditional forestry bridge, created from some logs placed across the span of the creek. Normally this is then filled in with dirt, but this has been removed. You now need to cross the creek by driving through it. This is not hard as it is shallow.

    Land RoverFelters Creek
    The Series One Land RoverThe old bridge across Felters Creek

    We are back on our way at 12:30 pm. Near the top of a small ridge there are lots of large boulders (or bundies as the locals call them). We do not stop but they look very interesting. Ten minutes later we come to a four-way intersection (at least on the maps) but really a staggered intersection where four roads meet. We take the right hand one and go down a very narrow and overgrown track. One kilometre along there is a sign pointing down another tack to the right. This says "To Felters Creek Falls".

    At 12:45 pm we arrive at the site. This is not the falls themselves, but a place where you can view the falls. It is a short walk to the best place and you get an excellent view of these very nice falls. You can also see to the north to the Armidale-Kempsey Road.

    There is enough flat space here for about two cars in one spot and another just up the track. It would be a nice place to camp.

    We leave at 1:00 pm and at the previously mentioned intersection, we take the first right which is Cochrane Fire Trail. At Hobbos Crossing (about two kilometres on - there is a sign) we turn right again. Left goes to a locked gate apparently. A short distance down this track we came across an apparently abandoned LandCruiser 60 Series, with the keys still in the ignition and a cool bonnet. Ahead of it there is a tree blocking the road.

    Eric and I go for a walk along the track. There are many more trees down. We walk about 600 metres to where there was another log bridge across a creek. This is totally ruined, only three logs remain. No point in coming down here even if we could remove the car and cut the trees.

    As we walk back to the car, the others call us on the UHF radio and tell us the owner of the LandCruiser has returned. When we get back he tells us he has been at the bundies and heard us go past. We do not believe this as the bundies were a long way back and there is no way you would park this far away. In addition, if he was there, he must have run all the way back as he could not have walked the three or four kilometres in the time available. We suspect he has been attending to a plantation of alternative tobacco!

    Felters Creek WaterfallMarys View Lookout
    Felters Creek WaterfallMarys View Lookout

    We head back to Felters Creek and have lunch at the crossing. It is 2:00 pm. We leave at 2:50 pm and head back to the Daisy Plains Huts. We take the road to Marys View (Cochrane Road) and then we take a left into Warrick Road. Note that Marys View is not sign-posted at this location. It is seven kilometres down this track.

    We arrive at Marys View at 3:45 pm. Marys View is a short walk from the car park and gives spectacular views over the Macleay Valley. You can see East and West Kunderang stations and the river winding is way through the rugged gorges. A really great lookout that is not even highlighted on the NPWS web site.

    Marys View
    The view to the west and north from Marys View - the Macleay River is clearly visible as is West Kunderang to the left of the trees at right

    We leave at 4:10 pm and make our way back to Kookaburra where we arrive at 5:40 pm. It has taken 90 minutes to travel the 41 kilometres.

    Once again we get the fires going, have a shower and then have nibblies and drinks. Kelly is cooking her peanut chilli beef stir fry and I have to do the rice. Even though I do not get the rice so great, it is an excellent and spicy meal.

    We spend the rest of the night stargazing. We see eight satellites and nine shooting stars.

    Kelly and I go to bed at 10:00 pm and once again sleep very well. Daylight saving is ending tonight so we get an extra hour in bed! Yahoo! It is much warmer during the night.

    Kilometres: 105 kilometres
    Weather: Fine, maximum of 20ÂșC

    For the next part of this trip, click here.

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