Monday, 25 June 2007
Tweed Valley - Final Instalment - Mt Warning
I've left the most spectacular aspect of our Tweed Valley till last. Mt Warning, even by Australia's standards is not exceptionally lofty. However, it's the mountain's creation and the aura of spirituality that clothes the whole area ,which makes it so distinctive and a magnet for a wide variety of people.
The entire valley of the Tweed River is the caldera of a huge extinct shield volcano that has continued to erode since it's last eruption about 23 million years ago. The caldera is over 80 kilometres in diameter, and spreads south to Byron Bay, west to Lismore , north to Tambourine Mt and east to the Pacific Ocean. It is ringed on 3 sides by World Heritage rainforests, and on the 4th side by the ocean. On the map below ( from Geoscience Australia ), you can see the volcanic structure.
For the Bundjalung people of the area, it is a sacred sight and a special part of their Dreamings. They gave it the name Wollumbin, meaning "Cloud Gatherer", as even on the clearest of days, the summit of Mt Warning can be shrouded in cloud. It is frequently the subject of powerful lightning strikes and is the first place on the East coast of Australia to receive the sun's rays each morning. For all these reasons, there are many alternate communities scattered throughout the Valley.
Sunrise from the summit of Mt Warning(1157m)..photo by Peter Rohde