With such a rainy start to summer, Patagonia Byron Bay and Common Ground have taken an ‘embrace it’ attitude and approach to our wet weekends. A rainy day for us is now considered one of the best days to grab a picnic and head off into the hills adventuring.
For our second adventure in our series of #within3hoursofbyron we headed inland and after around 45 minutes we reached the divine little village of The Channon. The Channon lies at the foot of Nightcap Ranges, where you will find the historic and spectacular Protestor Falls.
The aboriginal communities that had a strong spiritual connection to this land are the communities of the Nganduwal, Galibal, Githabul and Widjabal. The Widjabal people have been connected to Nightcap Range area for at least 4000 years.
Terania Creek which runs through the area was the site of the first rainforest anti-logging demonstrations in Australia. By 1979 the campaign against logging increased in intensity, starting an event known as the three-year Rainforest War involving a group of dedicated activists being supported by former NSW Premier Neville Wran. This protest was so successful and so widely covered by the media it became the inspiration behind the Franklin Dam protests in Tasmania a few short years later in 1981.
Top Tip: What to pack thoughts should entail, aeroguard, salt for the occasional leech, a packed lunch to have prior to your walk up and in, and, as like most national parks there are no rubbish bins at Protestors, so what you take in with you – please take out.
What to wear: Shoes with grip are a must, rock and path surfaces can be a little slippery from the damp and moss. A waterproof jacket is our trusted essential and it’s a good idea to wear shorts that have a durable water repellency (DWR) built into them – this means you can get your shorts /boardshorts wet but as soon as the sun hits them they quick dry. We did see some people wearing normal t-shirts and dresses and they were damp and wet through – not entirely looking like that was fun.
We decided on the drive in to mitigate any chance of the ‘are we there yets’ by building a virtual farm en route.
Top Tip: From the start of your trip tell your children we are going to build a farm. Each animal you spot along the way, gets added to your farm. And the person with the most animals wins the game!
We spotted some very friendly cows, ducks, chickens, horses, fish and if you are lucky you may spot a camel. Yes, a camel!
The drive in is a feast for the eyes with giant crows nest plants positioning themselves in trees like jelly fish you may see from time-to-time bobbing in the Bay.
PIT STOP 1 We highly recommend doing a very slow drive over the bridges as the trees that hug the creek beds are bursting with hanger-on-ers that make for the most stunning reminders of how rich we are to live in a region where visions of nature warm your heart, like a sunrise at first light.
PIT STOP 2
The picnic area at Protestors is covered, clean and a 1 minute walk from the carpark. With scrub that is well maintained and lots of open flat space, it’s another great place to afford your children some independence to do the things they love, jumping in muddy puddles, running and just being free.
Top tip: Don’t even bother putting socks on your kids before the gum boots, they will last one minute and be brown!
Before heading up and into Protestors cross the car park and check out the kid friendly creek. All along the way one of our regions beautiful creatives, on the day we visited, had made stone art that reminds you the simple things in life can be the most beautiful and cost the least.
PIT STOP 3
Everything on the walk in twists and turns. It’s mother nature at her best and most brilliant. You can’t help but look up, down, ahead, to the side and the fact that there is a boardwalk and stone walled steps made getting in only just a slight challenge for our 4 year old, but a good one that keeps our family feeling like we’re being healthy and active together.
You know you’ve arrived when your view rivals that of one you would see standing on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge…
PIT STOP 4
Protestor Falls. A meditation experience like no other.
Top tip: If you have a DWR short on, no need to change at this point, remove your shoes, climb around the rocks, with care (and at your own risk), and carefully position yourself under the spray of the falls. Close your eyes and repeat your mantra. Let Mother Nature bless you with her reward for your walk. Sit, breathe, and feel the experience.
Stand and then wash your week, your day, your cares away. Bathe in the bath of our backyard, there is no greater way to reset and recharge.
Top Tip: At this point of the walk in, you may have picked up a hitch hiker in the form of a leech. So check each other and to safely remove any leeches, sprinkle salt over them, while they are attached to you, for an easy release and panic free set-free.
PIT STOP 5
All that exercise leads you to feeling one way on the drive home SNACK ATTACK!
And we found the perfect pit stop to help support the local economy. The Channon General Store. A classic country pit stop that has everything you do need and everything you don’t.
We treated ourselves here and had a great chat to the owner, who was very accommodating to our daughter who was terrorizing his store. A local business at its best and highly recommended.
As always, please feel free to pop in and see Glen ‘Case’ and Cathy at the Patagonia Byron Bay store for any assistance or questions you may have to enjoy your own adventure with your family and we can’t wait to share our next adventure with you in the new year.
Words – Cathy Sullivan
Photography – Kirra Pendergast