Dorrigo National Park, a rainforest up in the hills above Bellingen.
I quite like it up there, but I seem to be one of the only people in my family who does. The usual reaction to when I bring it up is:
"Aww, why do you want to go there? There are LEECHES there!"
It's true, (when it's wet) there are leeches, and there are bugs, but it's also a rainforest so what do you expect :P
The weather forecast looked like it was going to be rain for most of the week, so Mum and I decided to go on New Years Day while it was still sunny.
It turned out to be a PERFECT day for it, and (even though originally she wasn't going to step foot into the forest itself) both mum and I ended up walking the entire loop of the forest path, a good 6.8k of walking in total I'd say.
While there WERE mosquitoes, a healthy dose of aeroguard kept them at bay, and there were NO leeches!
There are two waterfalls along the Wonga Walk (the long, main walking path)
The first we came across was the Crystal Shower Falls
And the second (and in my opinion, more impressive) is the Tristania Falls
And every now and again along the path the trees would clear for a moment to allow a spectacular view of the vale below and in the (far) distance, the Pacific Ocean.
It was quite busy for the most part, in the paths closest to the Information Centre and Picnic area there were lots of families, couples and a tour bus-worth of people so there were not much bird-spotting to be done, but there were some quite long stretches of time out on the longer tracks where it felt like we were completely alone in the world.
Lyrebirds are common to Dorrigo, and in the handful of times I've visited the parks I've yet to see one. It's become a goal of mine. My hunch is, because I usually end up arriving just before noon, I'm just not around when they're active; or the larger crowds scare them away. When I'm up in Emerald for good I think I might try and arrange a weekend trip up to the area so I can explore in the early morning and late evenings.