The Ellenborough Falls on The Bulga Plateau in the beautiful Manning Valley.
The Falls are a 200 metre drop making them the 3rd longest Single Drop Waterfall in the Country. 52 km from Taree via Wingham or 85km from Port Macquarie via Wauchope and Comboyne. 2000 feet (600m) above sea level beautiful views and fresh air.
For the fit, take a walk down the elevated walkway, 641 steps to the bottom of the Falls.
The Ellenborough Falls Reserve covers an area of approximately 130 Ha, 80% of which is heavily vegetated with an extensive diverse range of indigenous flora including: Cool Temperate Rainforest: Booyong, Coachwood, Myrtle/viney scrub, Sclerophyll Forest: Sydney Bluegum, Tallow-wood, Red Mahogony, Brush Box; Heathland: Banksia, Vimminaria spp.
Geological history of the Bulga Plateau:
Both the Ellenborough Falls and the nearby Bulga Falls exist on major fault lines that are approximately 30 million years old of the Tertiary period.
At the top of the Falls the bedrock of the Bulga Plateau (siltstone, sandstone, mudstone) is exposed in the river bed. These rocks were formed some 280 million years ago in the Permian period. On the western face of the gorge rocks date back even earlier to the Cambrian period, some 550 million years ago, examples of the oldest rock formations of the Manning/Hastings region. This rock is much older and harder than the rocks on the eastern side of the gorge. At that time in history these rocks were below sea level and Australia lay closer to the Equator.
On The Bulga Plateau walks through magnificent forest environments, breathtaking views, crystal clear creeks, falls, rapids & pools.
The Oxygen Farm is 370 hectares of privately owned bushland that was purchased in 1989 to be protected under a Conservation Agreement. The land is on the eastern escarpment of the Bulga Plateau at Elands, at about 600m in elevation, has self guided walking trails.
Rapids Reserve Pool & Picnic Area 8 km north west of Ellenborough Falls
Tirrill Creek Flora Reserve covers 187 ha of natural bush and has been set aside for scientific and educational purposes. The short walking trails starting from the picnic area at Tirrill Creek lead through good quality native hardwood forest to one of the largest Blue Gum Trees in NSW, upstream, and to a succession of waterfalls on the creek, downstream.
Maxwell’s Flat has camping on Doyles River at Causeway Road, approximately 35k north west of Ellenborough Falls.
Blue Knob (Kaoraoa) at 1014 metres, is one of the highest peaks in the forest with Panoramic Plateau Views of the surrounding country. On a clear day Taree and the ocean is visible. There is an established picnic site.
Tappin Tops National Park protects old growth forests, sclerophyll forest and rainforest and provides a unique habitat for threatened species such as the parma wallaby, squirrel glider and sphagnum frog.
Rowleys Lookout (1018 metres, strenuous 45-minute walk from carpark) offers sweeping views including Head and Shoulders Cliff.
Dingo Tops forest park, in the middle of the rainforest, has picnic facilities, forestry machinery relics and two walking trails, car-based camping at the intersection of Knodingbul Road and Dingo Tops Road. There's another picnic area at Potoroo Falls, north east of Dingo Tops.
LOCAL ABORIGINAL HISTORY
Elands was a seasonal gathering place for the local Biripi People, the sea, coast and forest of the lower rivers provided an abundance of food. With the encroaching settlement of the white man and subsequent disruption of the ecological balance, the Biripi’s hunting, food gathering and fishing patterns were destroyed. The Falls country averages 600m at the head waters of the three major rivers, Manning, Hastings and Macleay, was the last refuge for many tribal people who retreated in front of the white settlements spreading deep into these river valleys in the early 1800’s. A series of murders and massacres by European settlers reaching a peak in the 1840’s and 1850’s decimated the tribal populations in the upper reaches of the Manning, Hastings and Macleay rivers.
Aborigines had a track over the Bulga plateau that was used by the Biripi people to unite with neighbouring tribes for ceremony. Bulga means waterfall in the local Biripi (Kattang) language.The Spirit of the rainbow serpent (Ulunga), the mother of life, can be experienced in the colour of the rainbow. (Watch the waterfall and see the rainbow in the mist)
The rainbow serpent is the mother of life to most Indigenous tribes. She is responsible for the colour and shape of the land we live in. She bestowed human form as a gift for keeping her law. The rainbow serpent brought the earth to life, pushing out from within the earth to form the mountains and hills. She called to the frog tribe to release the waters they had stored in their bellies over the land, to make the rivers and the lakes. She then called on the good spirit Biami, the ‘sun’ to help her find light.
FIRST SETTLEMENT ON THE BULGA
First white settlement on the Bulga started around 1892 with cattle grazing in 1899. The earliest roads across the plateau were just trails cut through the tall timbers and followed as far as possible the ridge tops. The present main road has little relationship to the original trail that was used mainly by horse and buggy and bullock teams. In 1910 it was replaced when a road was built up the Plateau from Bobin and in 1912 farms became available for settlement and so, the arrival of the first dairy farms.
The first Elands post office was in 1914 and a timber mill opened in 1917 to capitalize in the Cedar, Brush Box, Tallow-wood and Beech trees that grew abundantly on the Bulga. By 1920 a thriving community with a regular income from dairying and timber had emerged. The collapse of dairying in the 1960’s saw many families moving from the area and 2 of the 3 schools closed.
For a full account on history of the Bulga Plateau seek out “The Mountain Speaks” authored by Helen Hannah and take a leisurely visit to the Wingham Museum.