Australia seems to excel at coming up with place names that are both unattractive and pretty unimaginative e.g. Dunn’s Swamp and The Drip. I suspect this is done on purpose to discourage hoards of visitors and to keep these slices of paradise for the use of only those in the know.
Don’t tell anyone about this, but I am about to take you on a glorious walk at The Drip.
The Drip is located on the very western fringe of the Goulburn River National Park in Central West NSW. Hugging the edge of the Goulburn River, the path leads you under eroded rock cliffs, over bubbling streams and through thick scrub packed with wildflowers and birdlife.
The Drip itself is actually a very large sandstone overhang found at the end of the 1.4km path. I was surprised to see it still dripping even though it hadn’t rained for five days. Apparently, the sandstone acts as a sponge and, between the layers of sandstone, are layers of clay. The clay is less porous, so when the water arrives at this layer it doesn’t drain downwards, but travels sideways, reaches the edge of the rock and drips down. I am sure there is a much more technical explanation than that, but I will leave it to any geologists out there.
I am bit embarrassed to admit that it has taken me 30 years to visit The Drip and I can’t believe my own stupidity at not discovering this treasure sooner. It made me wonder about all the other great places I have been ignoring through my own apathy or general busyness of life.
Don’t you miss out…
Here are the Nuts and Bolts of this little walk:
- Distance: The path is 2.8km return.
- Rating: I would rate this as an ‘easy’ walk. It is relatively flat, short and with only a couple of ‘steepish’ sections.
- Terrain: As mentioned above, the path is relatively level with a few dips down to the edge of the river and climbs back up to the edge of the sandstone cliffs. There are sets of broad, deep steps and well-made stone pavers heading up, down and across the river.
- Path: The path is clear and smooth dirt. It looks to be well-maintained although there were a few sections that had been washed by heavy rain. All completely accessible.
- What Else There is to See & Do: If you visit in Summer, make sure you take your swimming costume/bathers as the water looks so inviting. There are also picnic tables and a few seats at the start of the walk, adjacent to the carpark, if you have time to relax a while.
- Who is this walk for:
- Fitness: You only need a basic level of fitness to enjoy this walk. Just take your time on the steeper parts and sections with steps.
- Birdwatchers & Botanists: Both birdwatchers and botanists will enjoy this area. Rock Warblers, Sacred Kingfishers, Boobooks and Powerful Owls may be seen and heard, while closer to the ground you will find a wide range of native flowers including Tongue Orchids and a large variety of ferns.
- Geologists: Will be in a similar kind of Heaven and they will love the layers of history written in stone. The sandstone here is part of the Narrabeen group and it is about 220million years old (Triassic Period). Beneath the sandstone are layers of older shales and coal from the Permian age. (Yes, I have no idea what I am talking about…I just read the interpretive signs).
- Mobile Phone Coverage: There is none! Drive 5km south to the adjacent coalmines and mobile reception miraculously reappears.
- Water: Take water with you. The quantity and quality of the water in the river may vary depending on the season.
- Sun Protection: Wear a hat and sunscreen. There is some shade on the path, but it pays to slip, slop, slap, wrap and slide.
- Snakes: This area would be prime snake country in summertime. Be conscious of your surrounds and be careful where you step. Also keep an eye out for spider webs spanning the path. There is nothing more disconcerting than walking face first into a spider web. Not so much because of the web, but the anxiety about the location of the spider!
- Bushfires: Avoid cigarettes or any naked flame. You are walking through thick patches of bush with no real escape routes, so take care.
- Toilets: A new composting toilet is located at the start of the path (adjacent to the carpark), with voluminous toilet paper. Luxury!
- The Drip is just so rich in everything. Yes, I visited in a lush season, but even my untrained eyes could see how important this area would have been to the Wiradjuri people as they travelled their trading routes between coast and country. The eroded sandstone cliffs would have provided protection from the elements and the abundance of water and wildlife would have made good grazing possible.
- Despite its beauty, this is quite a controversial area. A number of underground and open cut coalmines are located nearby and they potentially threaten the pristine nature of the region as well as damage the water table and river flows. It’s a tough one. All the economic benefits of jobs and wages flowing into our community vs a small stretch of river and precious bush.
- I don’t know anything about geology, but I loved all the textures and layers in the cliff faces. I tried to imagine this area when it was created, with powerful earth tremors heaving away huge slabs of rock face and plopping them neatly in or near the river.
- Wherever the path led, it opened up slices of river and water views that could not be more scenic or relaxing. There is something about water trickling and running over rocks that just seems to soothe the soul.
Life is good in the Aussie bush.
What short walks would you recommend?
What: A good range of interpretive signage explains the indigenous history, botany, geology and animal life of the area. Read the large signs at the entrance before setting out on the walk to give you some context.
Where: The Drip is about 35minutes drive (or 53 km) North of Mudgee in Central West NSW. Enter 7301 Ulan Rd in Google Maps and see where that takes you.
When: If you can, visit during the week. I snuck out early on a Thursday morning and I had the whole place to myself. Heaven!
Why: If you are a visitor to Mudgee and get tired of the +30wineries, then make sure you include this small taste of nature on your schedule. It gives you a very different perspective of what the region have to offer.
How: You will need a car to access The Drip. There is a spacious parking area with ample space for a large number of vehicles including buses, caravans etc.
Who: Everyone except those with accessibility/mobility difficulties. Children will especially love the ‘wild explorer’ feel of the path
Related Posts: Just up the road (about 2km) is Hands on Rock, an Aboriginal rock art site. The walk into the paintings is very easy and is also not to be missed. Click here.
Related Blogs: The Drip is famous for a whole lot of reasons, but did you know that it was a retreat of the famous Australian Artist, Brett Whiteley? Read more about it here.
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