To stand at the top of this gorge and look out across its deep and sharply plunging core is to marvel at the power of Nature.
In fact, I found the Tia Falls Gorge intimidating. Not just the vertiginous drop, certainly the subject of nightmares for the height-fearing like me, but the scale of it, tipped and eroded over millennia.
It’s in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, along the Great Escarpment, 35 km towards the coast from Walcha. This Park also has a small and basic camping area, a calm domestic oasis not far from the edge of all that drama. It seems incongruous to be sleeping and cooking while that is going on behind me.
Yet the tablelands graziers of yore have cleared almost to the edge of this gorge. I wonder how many cattle or sheep mistook their footing at the edge and went over to their deaths. Or cattlemen on horseback, for that matter…
I stay well back from the edges where there are no fences, feeling the pull, imagining the crumbling rocky edges hidden beneath the clumps of grass.
The Falls drop and drop and drop, not wide, but fast and far.
So this small Tia Creek winds its way through the cleared paddocks, steady, not rushing, until it begins to feel the momentum. A few mini rapids occur.
And then a final pool, still up here on our level.
And over it goes: Tia Creek becomes Tia Falls. No turning back from the abyss.