Our paddle last Thursday on the upper Dawson River from Brimbin Nature Reserve was like being plunged into scenery from The Lord of the Rings. This is a magic area, a small stretch of water hidden from time & ‘progress’. Sheltered by towering trees & situated for the most part well down below the reserve, looking from above it was like peering into a well camouflaged gorge. Getting in to it was a bit of a challenge for some vehicles as the road is not well maintained, which is a shame, as the facilities in the reserve are immaculate.
The area itself has that timeless feel to it with winding bush pathways snaking down to the creek, rocky outcrops & general seclusion…all the ingredients for an atmospheric paddling experience.
It took us awhile to get onto the water as we had to wheel, carry or slide our kayaks down a track before launching from the pontoon. It was lovely on the water but unfortunately large rocky outcrops thwarted our progress up Tommy Owens Creek. I half expected to see Gollum (Lord of the Rings) scampering over the rocks looking for his “precious”. We explored as much of this creek & another branch as we could before paddling back down the top end of the Dawson which is very beautiful.
Brimbin is an Aboriginal word derived from ‘Boremit’ meaning stringy bark, a tree common in the reserve. The area is of significance to the Biripi people. There are a large range of plant communities in the reserve & many birds including waterbirds, raptors, woodland & sea birds as well as the largest owl in Australia, the Powerful Owl. There are lovely views down to the water from the reserve & several walking tracks. One of the walks, Mrs. Kelly’s, begins at Tommy Owens Crossing, passes through a dense area of swamp oaks & follows part of the Old Port Macquarie Rd. In the 1820’s this historic route allowed bullock drawn vehicles to cross the Dawson & continue to Port Macquarie. The track is named after Isabella Kelly, New South Wales’ only independent female colonial settler. Parts of Brimbin were originally the Travelling Stock Route of a stock camp sold in the 1960’s. Old Port Maacquarie Rd. follows a section of that track.
After paddling around peacefully for an hour or more we returned to the pontoon & got ourselves & our kayaks back up the track. Thanks everyone for helping out. After loading up we headed into Wingham for a lovely lunch at The Garden Grub café.
Despite a few challenges, I am glad we explored this picturesque & historic part of the Dawson River. Thanks to those who joined us on this exploratory outing.
Caroline & Bill