#PinItForwardUK with Pinterest The Design Sheppard

I discovered this post about Pinterest on my good mate – Ron Mader’s Weekly at paper.li, which I subscribe to for daily update notices.

It’s a very readable introduction to Pinterest for people who haven’t discovered it yet.  (You’re in for a treat if you’re the kind of person who can’t live without Stumbleupon or Delicious.)

#PinItForwardUK with Pinterest The Design Sheppard.

I’ve been using Pinterest for as long as I can remember so I was pretty shocked to find out recently that it is only officially launching in the UK this month.

And, in the spirit of  the “Pin It Forward” campaign, here are a few of Big Volcano’s favourite Pinterest people (Pinteresters?);


Mt Warning Climb Alternatives

Welcome to the second post (first post here) offering other options to a Mount Warning climb, as a result of Wollumbin National Park being closed for the foreseeable future, due to storm damage and repairs.

You’ll find rainforest experiences where you can get back to nature and opportunities for views, plus adrenalin rush suggestions too.

Look Out!

So let’s start with a gentle drive. If you’re in Murwillumbah, then Lions Lookout is a great place to start.

Pack a picnic or BBQ, as there’s a shelter with free BBQ and undercover table, as well as a couple of tables in the open, where you can enjoy the wind in the native trees and see how many local bird species you can spot.

The smallish viewing platform offers views from the coast, all the way to Mount Warning and Wollumbin National Park, and you’ll see how the Tweed River winds its way through the town and across the flood plains which are now primarily sugar cane fields.

To get to the lookout, drive along Main St toward the Post Office and turn into Queensland Rd. The first road on the right is Bent St which leads up to Lion’s Lookout by the town reservoir. (Foursquare )

Arthur Freeman Lookout (Foursquare) on Tomewin Mountain Road.

“Connecting the Currumbin and Tweed valleys, the steep terrain of the route was a feature of any travel along Tomewin Road. Mount Tomewin has an elevation of 457 metres (1,500 feet) and with most of the ridge at about 335 metres (1,100 feet), logs and other heavy freight needed to be tied down during transport by horse and wagon.

The Arthur Freeman Lookout on the QLD side of the border and Elliott Gruner Lookout on the NSW side provide panoramic views of these two valleys, while the border fence in “No Man’s Land”, which is still maintained for cattle tick control purposes, allows for an easy walk along the NSW/QLD border from lower Tomewin to the Border Gates.” (Extract courtesy Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Tomewin and Currumbin Valley locality )

Best of All Lookout (Foursquare ) Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park consists of three distinct sections: Springbrook Plateau, Natural Bridge and Mt Cougal.

Each with their own features and charms, access is a half hour drive from the Gold Coast, QLD or 45-60 minutes via Murwillumbah and Chillingham, in the Tweed Valley, NSW.

In the Springbrook Plateau section, waterfalls cascade over the spectacular cliffs and lookouts offer scenic views of mountains, canyons and coastline, with “Best of All” lookout being the most spectacular, providing stunning views over the Tweed Valley and Mount Warning to the south, reached via a sealed path through the rainforest. (Extract courtesy Big Volcano Flickr Photostream – Springbrook National Park )

Mt Warning from Best of All Lookout

Night and Day

For something completely different (night tours) https://www.facebook.com/springbrookresearchobservatory Springbrook Research Observatory in the Gold Coast Hinterland and Vision Walks Eco Tours https://www.facebook.com/visionwalks based in Byron Bay.

Cape Byron State Conservation Area

The main walk in the Cape Byron State Conservation Area is the Cape Byron Walking Track, a beautiful 3.7 km walk that includes coastal cliffs, littoral rainforest and world class beaches. The magnificent clifftop walking track winds its way through diverse plant communities, offering panoramic views of the ocean and north coast hinterland. (Extract courtesy of NSW National parks and Wildlife Service retrieved 16/04/13.)

Green Cauldron National Parks

This is an excellent YouTube video introduction, to the “Green Cauldron” and the national parks in the area, featuring Pinnacle and Blackbutt Lookouts in the Border Ranges National Park (see previous post ), and Nightcap National Park options, from travel Oz.

Nightcap National ParkIMG 0583 resizeB

For outstanding walks and views, then a day trip to Nightcap National Park and Minyon Falls, is a must.

If you want to take a leisurely walk, and you’re observant, you’ll see land mullet sun bathing on the flat section of the track, perhaps a Peregrine falcon or other raptors soaring on thermal air currents above the lookout, or tiny native flowers in bloom alongside the paths, a delightful occurrence for photographers, artists and nature lovers.

This Wikipedia entry says it all, and more, so no need to reinvent the wheel, except to say we’ve done the walks from Rummery Park to Minyon Falls Lookout, and Minyon Falls boardwalk/dirt track walk along side the creek, for delightful rainforest and views experience.

(photos by J Palmer, Big Volcano Tourism)

Wikipedia entry;

“The National Parks and Wildlife Service (New South Wales) manages the area as part of the Nightcap National Park, and provides facilities for visitors, including a 50m boardwalk to the lookout which is wheelchair accessible, several picnic tables and barbecue facilities at the top of the falls.

IMG 0565 resizeBThe National Parks and Wildlife Service do not permit camping in the Minyon Falls area, but a camping ground is provided 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) west of the falls at Rummery Park.

Visitors are able to explore the bottom of the falls and the sub-tropical rainforest along designated walking trails, all of which involve steep hills, with some scrambling over wet rocks at the base of the falls.

One trail follows a route 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) from the top of the falls, across the ridge, near Quandong Falls, down into the valley to the bottom of the Minyon falls, it continues 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) to Minyon Grass, then joins the road for 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) back to the falls car park to form a loop.

A shorter, 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) track runs from Minyon Grass to the bottom of the falls. Another walking trail in the area is the Boggy Creek Walk from the Rummery Park Campground to the top of the Falls (2 km/45mins each way).”

<Visit http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Minyon_Falls for the full article.>

Swing from the Treetops

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary all-new, exhilarating treetops ropes course – the Green Challenge, by Adventure Parc, is the newest nature-based adventure experience for the Gold Coast.

Sixty-five challenges, over four separate courses, weave their way through the eucalypt and rainforest canopy, taking visitors higher and further into the spectacular natural setting. The Green Challenge is based on the Adventure Parc concept, which takes elements of SAS commando training delivered as safe, fun and exciting treetops ropes courses for children and adults.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Green Challenge open times:
Monday to Friday: sessions – 11:00am, 12:30pm, 2:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: sessions – 11:00am, 12noon, 1:00pm, 2:00pm

Extract from <Green Challenge! – Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary> for more information, go to the web site.

Well, that’s another post with local alternatives to climbing Mt Warning.

Part three coming up in the next few days. Meanwhile, look forward to you feedback, and please share on your favourite channel if you like this post.

Wollumbin National Park closed

Mount Warning aerial view

Mount Warning seen from the air by David Palmer, 2005

Visitors to the Tweed Valley and Northern Rivers region who were hoping to climb the iconic Mt Warning in Wollumbin National Park, have been disappointed to find that the park is closed for safety reasons, due to extensive storm damage to walking and climbing tracks, and other park infrastructure, in early 2013.

Reconstruction work has commenced and is expected to take until at least the end of 2013.

The question on visitors lips is, “what is there to do instead of the climb?”

Well, that depends on why you wanted to do the climb in the first place.

For the views?  To get back to nature?  Experience the rainforest?  The challenge?

There are lots of things to see and do in our region, other than climbing Mt Warning, and over the next few posts, we’ll bring some of the more popular, and maybe a few unusual choices, to whet your appetite.

But first, a brief description of the Mt Warning Climb.

“An 8.8km round trip walk leads from Breakfast Creek parking area and winds through ever-changing rainforest communities to eventually reach viewing platforms atop the summit. The walk is, on average, a five hour trip with the last section being very steep.

There are no facilities on the summit – camping and fires are not permitted here or in any other area of the park.”  (Extract courtesy Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Mount Warning National Park)

For a more detailed description, check out “The Big Climb” by Stuart O’Neill.

So, here now are a few “local” places and other opportunities to explore during your stay, that can provide the thrill of the climb, the chance to get back to nature and experience the calm of the rainforest, and the views of the caldera, without wondering about the disappointment of missing out on the Mt Warning climb.

Art Gallery – Panorama Painting

Green Cauldron Panorama Painting Caldera Art Gallery at the Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre, and experience the grand 360 degree view from the summit of Mount Warning Wollumbin.  Surround yourself with the 20 metre long highly detailed painting – over a year in the making, and be inspired to further explore the magnificent landscapes of Australia’s Green Cauldron.

If you’re inspired by the art, then your next stop should be The Tweed River Art Gallery at Mistrel Road, which has panoramic views of the Tweed Valley including – of course, Mount Warning and volcanic ring dykes.

The gallery usually has at least one touring exhibition, and often a craft workshop or masterclass by an exhibiting artist.  The gallery is home to the late Margaret Olley Art Centre and the Australian Portrait Gallery.

The Gallery Cafe has delicious local coffee and treats to enjoy as you look out over the Tweed landscape which inspires so many of our local artists and artisans.

Alternative Views

As an alternative for views, Razorback Lookout (Google Maps location) can be easily reached by car, for the best views of Tweed Heads and the surrounding tapestry of rivers, oceans, mountains and valleys, just behind the Tweed Heads CBD.

If the physical contest of the climb was your goal, then try Razorback as a challenging walking track … “start on the beachfront at Coolangatta and finish on a high plateau in New South Wales… [a] test your fitness level!

The Walking route is along concrete paths and sealed roads [and] slowly climbs and finishes at Razorback Lookout, or officially … “Tom Beatson Outlook”. ” (Extract courtesy of Palm Beach Directory retrieved 16/04/13).  More information at Palm Beach Directory – Razorback

Adrenalin Pumping

You can also get the adrenalin pumping at Circus Arts Byron Bay (02) 6685 6566, Mountain Bike Tours (NSW) Byron Bay 0429 122 504 and Paramount Indoor Rock Climbing Centre West Burleigh (07) 5593 6919.

Scenic Views

And if the view is the thing, then a scenic drive to Border Ranges National Park is the go for the Pinnacle walk and lookout.  “Without a doubt, the journey along the Pinnacle walk to Pinnacle lookout is one of the highlights of the whole park and not to be missed.

It’s a short walk through World Heritage-listed rainforest before the track reaches Pinnacle lookout. Spectacular views include the coastline, the crater escarpment and to Wollumbin-Mount Warning.

If you’re an early riser, and even if you aren’t, it’s definitely worth making the effort to see the silhouette of Wollumbin when the sun rises – it’s a completely inspiring way to start your day in Border Ranges National Park.”
(Extract courtesy of NSW National parks and Wildife Service retrieved 16/04/13)

Or you can also check out Blackbutt Lookout.

Tweed Valley View

Tweed Valley View from Blackbutt Lookout by David Palmer 2002

Located a kilometre or so south of the Pinnacle Lookout, Blackbutt Lookout has some limited parking, with the wheelchair friendly lookout platform and toilet, and picnic tables and benches with great views overlooking the Tweed Valley and to Mt Warning.  A convenient alternative for those who are unable to walk distances.

(Please note – Roadworks and repairs are ongoing in Border Ranges National Park, so please take note of signage and instructions.)  More information at NSW NPWS Border Ranges NP.

Hope you like these options.  We’ll be covering more bushwalking and rainforest experience picks in our next post.

Booking.com “booking” funny advert

This Is One ‘Booking’ Funny Ad Campaign.

Having used Booking.com for our own great OS* adventure to SE Asia earlier this year,  we too can vouch for the “booking” good feeling when the room/apartment door is opened.

Booking.com  is a global accommodation booking web site that does a great job  presenting properties.

The tariffs are usually pretty good value, the terms of payment are flexible, and the only guest feedback comments are ones made AFTER the guest has stayed, paid and checked out.
(You get a reminder email directly from booking.com about 24 hours later, asking if you’d like to provide feedback.)

So this Ad campaign made for the US market, to raise their profile, really hits the spot.

* OS = Over Seas : colloquial NZ.

About this Region

East: 153° 17″ 17´, South 28° 53″ 58´ (Mt Warning).

Where this region is located in Australia.

Where this region is located in Australia.

Spanning the New South Wales and Queensland state borders, the area is located in the far north eastern corner of the state of New South Wales (NSW), with the state of Queensland (QLD) immediately to the north.

The region is often referred to relative to its location within the state of NSW as “the far north coast”, “Northern Rivers” or simply “the North Coast”.

The Queensland side of the border maybe referred to as “the Gold Coast”, “Gold Coast hinterland” or “south east Queensland”, which is often used in weather and government references, but less frequently in daily use.

The Southern Gold Coast (QLD) suburb of Coolangatta, and Tweed Valley (NSW) town of Tweed Heads are often referred to as the “Twin Towns”.  At Point Danger you can stand astride the state border and during Summer, enjoy a one hour time warp, thanks to the observance in NSW (and lack in QLD), of daylight saving time.

The region is easy to get to and well served by plane, road and train services.

Excerpt from Big Volcano Visitor Guide – About this Region – Place.