I’m a proud Northern Rivers girl, which you may have gathered from my ongoing Northern Rivers series.
My region is a very beautiful place – there’s no doubt about that.
While I generally tell people I’m from Lismore, I only really say that because it’s a regional centre that more people know the name of, and it’s where I work.
In fact, the truth is I grew up in Alstonville (Until I was 8), and Wollongbar, and apart from stints living in Sydney for study, and in Lismore itself, I’ve lived in the same house in Wollongbar since 2000.
Alstonville and Wollongbar are technically two different villages, separated by about 3km of farmland, however many people think of them as a kind of dual entity.
For example, the local rugby club is Wollongbar-Alstonville Rugby (WAR).
One of the things I love most about Alstonville and Wollongbar is that you can be in the main street, but then head five minutes down one road and be out in a paddock – the two villages really are that small.
Some might refer to them as “boring”, but I prefer to call them “quiet”, and I mean that as a compliment.
I like the quiet.
I like the suburban streets, I like the outlying paddocks, I like the humble little cafes, and I like the familiarity of the faces you see.
I also like the exquisite natural beauty that surrounds these towns – namely, the waterfalls that you can find just minutes from town.
I love waterfalls, there’s just something soothing and meditative about them.
Some of my best memories of high school weren’t actually at high school, but at a little waterfall on the outskirts of Alstonville called Tosha Falls.
We used to head there after school, on the weekends, or on teacher strike days, and just hang out on the grass, swimming in the cool water, and attempting the most gymnastic-like jumps of the ledges, for hours.
Unfortunately, that waterfall is now inaccessible to the public, but there are still a few others that are able to be accessed – although some are signed with warnings not to enter.
I may have ignored them, but I don’t swim at those that are prohibited from such activities. I just like to sit and look.
I thought I would show you a few of the waterfalls I enjoy visiting for a bit of peace and quiet.
I’ll keep their names and exact locations a secret though, or else I run the risk of furious locals angry that their favourite spots have been overrun with tourists 😉
A very small waterfall, but this is only 100m from my home and has, since I was 8, been my favourite place to come and sit when feeling a bit crappy or upset. This is my secret, special spot, hidden just out of sight of suburban homes.