FEBRUARY 2018 | Tara Ulbrich
THE VIEW of the Meander River from the swing bridge is commanding and the waters seem much wilder than when they pass through the townships downstream.
This is the beginning of the two hour return walk to Split Rock located beyond the village of Meander, in the skirts of Kooparoona Niara.
Crossing the river there is an immediate sense that the walker has lost any authority over the setting. You’re now looking up from a humbled position on the rainforest floor and the destination sits directly above, out of sight but looming.
Grit and frequent pauses are going to get you there. Make use of stops to survey the root steps you’ve climbed and the beckoning trunks of myrtle and sassafras above. They are the sentinels of this kingdom.
My walking companion reminisces of a Meander Primary School excursion, perhaps a decade ago.
Joined by our famous local thespian in his eighties, a stalwart principal and the student community aged five and up, the memory stands as testimony that, for the determined, a challenging ascent is possible.
Stay with the track markers as you climb. It is surprisingly easy to stray. The Split Rock, however, reigns unmistakeably. Moss, ferns and lichens attempt to soften the enormity of the overhang, wedged unquestioningly into the earth. I’m left thinking - if this formation could make noise it would be deafening.
Red triangles indicate up through the crevice namesake marking the route to Meander Falls, a seven-hour return, and also across the hill-face to Split Rock Falls, which adds thirty minutes to this walk. The descent seems so easy. Shortly you’ll be sitting at the café in the Meander General Store wondering what all the fuss was about.
Photo | Jade Hallam