Descending a grassy bank, I was drawn to the water lilies, which wrapped around the shoreline like a winding city flecked with indigo and white, carmine and green. Tadpoles darted beneath their pretty pads, dragonflies danced, birds warbled and forested hills promised adventure beyond ripples of silver and blue.
It was a wonderful spring afternoon and I was glad I had escaped the confines of my computer. Needing a break, I instinctively drove towards Rocky Creek Dam (a place I’d visited but not explored), about an hour west of Byron Bay in NSW. Luckily my instinct is often right and today was no exception.
Following the trail of lilies, I crossed the dam and walked into the forest, lured by a platypus sign. Sunlight broke through the forest canopy, creating long shadows and dappled light, bathing glades in shafts of gold. I crossed a buoyant bridge and came across a cousin of the platypus, the echidna, another of the world’s rare monotremes (egg-laying mammals) and thought about how amazing the day was/life is.
I started thinking of ways I could work in the forest, immerse myself deep in some green meadow when I saw a family exploring a stream. “Photographer!” They pointed and shouted, jokingly. “Not such a rare species these days”, I replied and continued on, beneath streams of sunlight, up the hill, round the bend, past a jerky brush turkey and a sunbaking iguana.
This forest, I later found out, is part of Nightcap National Park and Whian Whian State Forest – subtropical jewels born during fiery volcanic episodes millions of years past. Walking here felt really good, and before long I had circled back onto the dam’s spillway.
Returning to the carpark, where currently lies a handsome jacaranda tree in full bloom, I spied a bloke sitting on a park bench – amidst hues of green and blue, lilac and gold – staring at a film clip on his laptop, oblivious to the world about him. This was the world today, I mused, buried in devices. Just like me, what I had escaped from.
Rocky Creek Dam has toilet and BBQ facilities, a children’s playground and information on the surrounding area. I highly recommend it for a springtime adventure, an escape from the computer and as a reminder – of where the wild things are, the pretty things, the things worth living for…