When my boyfriend suggested we go camping in the middle of the forest, I was a little hesitant. Growing up I had more than enough experience putting up a tent and thought I might have had enough of a dose to last a lifetime. However, once I realised camping meant the possibility of a campfire, and therefore roasting marshmallows, I was hooked.
We decided to go to Rummery Park in Whian Whian State Conservation Area, about 25km from Mullumbimby, not far across the border in New South Wales. Rummery Park is within walking distance of beautiful Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park, which was one of the key factors in our decision to go there.
After filling the car to the brim with our supplies (were there really only two of us?), we set off only to be waylaid by the charming Friday afternoon traffic heading down the coast for the weekend. After escaping the congestion and negotiating the winding, gravel roads leading into the park, we arrived at our destination just as it was getting dark. An hour and half, two dead lights and a mobile phone used as a torch later, we had chosen a spot and managed to erect our tent. If you've ever tried to do this in the dark, I hope you're applauding right now.
The camping area was surprisingly busy; I'm not sure if that can be attributed solely to the fact that it was school holidays or if it's always a popular spot, but it's a large space so there was plenty of room for everyone and it was still a very peaceful setting. There are two permanent spaces allocated for camp fires. Some kind soul had already lit the one closest to our tent so it was crackling away merrily by the time I settled myself in with the bag of marshmallows and my carefully selected stick. After a brief run-in with leeches we were happily roasting away as the campers in the adjacent clearing strummed their guitars. I can only hope that if you take a similar trip you'll be serenaded by live music as well.
In the morning we awoke to be able to properly explore for the first time. The campground is surrounded by huge gum trees with a creek snaking its way through, and is apparently also home to quite a large population of harmless yet confident goannas.
Some people camped near us went away, leaving their tent open, and returned to find a goanna had made itself quite cosy among their sleeping bags. You have been warned. Since we were only staying the one night we packed up and headed over to the top of Minyon Falls and the breathtaking view it offers.
The view from the top is truly spectacular. As you stand on the viewing platform, you can see where the ground drops away on either side of you, forming ragged cliff faces. To the right the water makes its way along the rocky creek bed before plummeting just over 100m to the base of the falls. The cliffs curve around and extend out in front of you on both sides, while the canopy stretches into the distance eventually meeting the coast. After enjoying this spectacle for several minutes we drove a bit further along the road to Minyon Grass, where there is also a great view of the falls, for the start of our walk.
There are a couple of walking options to reach the bottom of the falls. There is a 7.5km loop that you should allow 4.5 hours to complete, while the less intense option is the 4km round trip which takes about an hour each way. Both the trails involve uphill walking on the return journey.
We began our walk, twisting and turning all the way down, before levelling out and making our way along the (sometimes very muddy) track. Right before you reach the base of the falls there is some rock clambering necessary, so keep this in mind when planning who to take as company on your adventure. The base of the falls is incredibly tranquil; it's easy to forget the rest of the world when you're down there. You can swim of course, but it's often very cold - when we were there neither of us were brave enough to take the icy plunge.