100 Waterfalls Challenge 3/100: Nightcap National Park

Yes we did it again, and we will keep doing it, until we hit 100, and then we will probably keep going. I don't think I ever really realized that I dig repetitions. If you analyzed much of my life you would notice some patterns for sure (cough cough), but what I am finding fascinating along this journey is that I strangely like a little bit of routine. As long as there's a whole lot of uncertainty to keep things exciting.

So off we went on our next waterfalls excursion, this time to the Nightcap National Park, about 45 minutes drive from our current 'home' in Lennox Head. I won't reveal the exact name of the waterfalls as that's not our goal with this blog series. We want to inspire you to go explore, just as we did, and there are plenty hits on Google if you do some proper research.

Market Pit Stop

We popped into Bangalow on the way for a wee, and behold the markets were on! Score. We detoured for an hour on the hunt for organic doughnuts, and felt a slight second of utter devastation when it was revealed they were not there this day. "Seriously?!" - Hunter.

Having to settle for vegan sushi, vegan mango ice blocks, and picking up a fresh tub of organic zinc (I can't remember the name of the brand but it's a local guy and the product is awesome, I'll grab it out of the car another day and give him a shout out!) we scooted back to the car and onto Nightcap National Park.

The drive alone was beautiful, and having never been to these falls before we were getting excited as we ascended deep into the Hinterland, before finally arriving at a picnic area and car park.

Rhyolite Cliffs

The falls are a plunge waterfall on the Repentance Creek, descending more than 100 metres over rhyolite cliffs once part of the Tweed Volcano.  I'm fascinated with the energy of these waterfalls we have been visiting, and looked into rhyolite to get an idea of what healing properties the cliffs posses. Here is what I dug up on rhyolite:

Keywords: Self respect, acceptance of the past, fortitude

Chakra: Heart

Element: Earth

Zodiac Signs: Sagittarius, Aquarius, Gemini

Rhyolite Crystal Healing Properties:

Rhyolite strengthens mind, body and soul and is useful for past-life healing. It helps us to process the past and integrate it with the present, bringing us peace of mind by teaching us to live in the moment. It aids in bringing insight and resolution to difficulties, stimulating solutions and promoting forward movement in life. Rhyolite enhances self esteem, self worth, self respect and deepens the acceptance of our true self. It helps us to heal old emotional wounds and to deal with challenging circumstances calmly and with inner strength. It is used to aid communication with animals and the realm of Nature.

Rhyolite History and Uses:

Also called Rainforest Rhyolite, Rainforest Jasper, Australian Rainforest Jasper, it is in fact a volcanic rock often patterned in colours of green, cream, brown and yellow. In the 1860’s the German traveller and geologist Ferdinand von Richthofen coined the name Rhyolite after finding it in his explorations of the Rocky Mountains. Rhyolite has been mined since prehistoric times in Pennsylvania in the USA, where fifty small quarry pits have been found.

Rhyolite Geological Description:

Rhyolite is a banded or spotted igneous, volcanic rock with silica crystal inclusions, it has a hardness of 7. It is found in Australia, Germany, Spain, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, India, China and the USA

Some cool rock info hey! I'm not sure why I was never into geology as a kid, considering my love of crystals and stones from a young age, but the kids and I are having so much fun learning on our adventures and we try and do a little bit of info-digging before we set off so we can take in the true power of these energetic hot spots.

The Trek

The Nightcap National Park was added to the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Site in 1986. And rightly so. The trek itself descends down into the sub-tropical rain forest, and it's advised you allow yourself four hours return, plus some time at the bottom to take it all in. The first 85% of the trek, let's call it a walk, is quite easy and the kids were almost bored with the lack of 'obstacles', which came at the end with some boulder hopping and easy rock climbing at the base of the falls.

The top of the falls is fringed by wet sclerophyll forest with majestic, tall blackbutt, tallowwood and flooded gums. We saw one Kookaburra in the picnic area, native birds, some giant jumping ants, and we hear there are the occasional koala sightings. As we descended into the valley, we were engulfed in an epic diversity of vegetation, including: Bangalow palm, brushbox, strangler fig, stream lily, tree ferns, red lilly pilly, white bark, stag horn ferns, orchids, and wisteria, among others (I'm good at Googling).

The Falls

The falls are simply stunning. The valley was freezing, completely in the shadows and with a strong breeze pushing in, plus the cascading water spraying all over the base of the swimming hole that captures the falls. The cliffs are spectacular, with stunning spine features naturally carved into the rock. There were a few hikers taking selfies on the rocks, then dipping their toes into the water only to wince in surprise at the temperature. I stuck my hand in and yep, she was freaking cold, made colder by the lack of sunlight, the wind, and the spraying falls.

I stuck my bikinis on and did a few rounds of the Wim Hof Method of breathing, while the kids ate their vegan lunch box, huddling behind the rocks protecting themselves from the water spray and laughing that I was actually going to have a swim.  "Your lips are turning blue already mum!" one of them exclaimed, and they were right. There's not a lot of meat covering my bones and I feel the cold easy, but that wasn't stopping me.

I eased into the water and it was the coldest water I have been in since returning home from the winter in Japan a few weeks ago. Shockingly cold. I had to focus my attention on the breath work and as the pain eased I was able to swim around and only after my whole body started shuddering in the water, maybe five minutes or so (I am still a rookie at this) I went in. My lips had turned completely purple and my body was shaking profusely but I warmed myself up and felt amazing. It was only a small step in my cold water immersion journey - I have some very cold lakes in my not-too-distant sights - but I could feel myself progressing and I had so much energy on the route back and I was ecstatic.

Not even tired...

Not even tired...

If You Go

  • Take water - we left ours in the car;
  • Pack some snacks for the trek, especially if you have little humans in your tribe;
  • Be wary of thieves; I've heard the top car park can be a hot spot for break ins;

*I shoot all images and video on my near-capacity iPhone 6s plus. After years of lugging a DSLR around the world with me, minimalism seems to work best for our lifestyle these days. Wouldn't mind a new GoPro though ;)