Tenterfield is a rural hub town of about 4,000 people situated just over the border in New South Wales. Getting there from southern Queensland involved some very winding roads through Mebbin National Park before a quick stop at Kyogle, whose Anzac Park had a pleasant pond.

Crooked Creek Rest Area was the perfect lunch spot, and first sign of the horrific forest fires that had ravaged Australian over the spring and summer. It was great to see the new growth on trees, though it’ll take longer for the wildlife to return.

Tenterfield had a near miss during the fires of 2019, with flames reaching the road on the edge of town. After heavy rains the reservoir was back to half capacity by January 2020 but while safe to drink the water had a strong taste of ash.

The town has a number of heritage sites including the nicely presented Tenterfield Railway Museum, housed in the 1886 station building, on the original Brisbane to Sydney line, which closed in 1989.

Heritage of a different kind with the Tenterfield Cork Tree, one of the oldest in Australia, brought over from England in a jam tin in 1861.

In 1889 Sir Henry Parkes delivered a famous speech which reenergised the federation movement to create the country of Australia, bringing the then seperate states together in a federation, which was achieved in 1901. The S.H.P Memorial School of Arts was built to commemorate this with a now multifunctional building including a museum, cinema, cafe and community spaces.

Other notable heritage buildings include the Post Office, bank, and the grand Stannum House, built in 1888.

The best views of the town are from the Mount Mackenzie Lookout, a fifteen minute drive away.

Which is part of the Mount Mackenzie Nature Reserve, a rather lovely place.

There are some incredible rock formations just north of Tenterfield, starting with Thunderbolt Hideout.

Just up the road was an intriguing sign for a WW2 Tank Trap, though the reality was a little underwhelming. A long line of tank traps was built during WW2 as a line of defense against a Japanese invasion of Australia.

To end with the highlight of this section of the trip, Bald Rock National Park, which is home to the largest granite monolith in the Southern Hemisphere. From the car park I walked through regenerating forest impacted by the recent fires, and then took the shorter, but much steeper route toward the summit, straight up the rock face.

The rock is about 750 metres long and 500 metres wide, and quite a surreal thing to stand on top of. The views from the summit were vast in every direction.

As surreal were these huge boulders on top of the rock, which were formed from erosion.

Final surreal sight of the day was this wallaby with two heads!

Author: jontycrane

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