Chillingham and Upper Crystal Creek, NSW, 2484
by Jo-Ann Palmer.
Photos: Chillingham General Store © by J Palmer, Big Volcano Tourism
Chillingham and Upper Crystal Creek are about 12 kilometres, or 15 minutes drive, along Tourist Drive 34 (Murwillumbah - Chillingham Road) from Murwillumbah, and is the NSW gateway to southeast Queensland World Heritage National Parks, including Springbrook National Park, which is home to the truly amazing Natural Bridge (previously known as Natural Arch) and Lamington National Park.
The centre of the local community, Chillingham Store is a family run heritage listed general store with bottle shop, café and post office facilities. A kitchen is open on the weekends, with live music in the tropical beer garden on Saturday afternoon. Be sure to look out for the owners' classic bikes exhibit.
Another local institution is the Buck's Farm (aka Banana Cabana) next door. Take a stroll through the bushtucker rainforest behind this unique fruit and vege shed, which also stocks a range of bushtucker and traditional beauty products, along with home-made bushfood jams and condiments.
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Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat
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At Crystal Creek, Crystal Creek Estate is open six days a week (closed Wednesdays and public holidays) for breakfast and lunch from 7.30am-4pm, with seating overlooking Crystal Creek and rolling fields.
A range of farmstay and guesthouse B&B style accommodation is available at Limpinwood and nearby Upper Crystal Creek, and around the village of Tyalgum 15 minutes drive south.
Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat This couples only, national and international award winning rainforest retreat has just 13 private, architect-designed luxury bungalows, all with gourmet kitchens, fireplaces, double spa baths, and rainforest views, placed discreetly in pristine Australian rainforest. Web site.
Take a round trip driving tour from Murwillumbah to Chillingham and Tyalgum along Tourist Drives 34 and 36, to enjoy the stunning views of the caldera escarpment, enjoy the views and ambience of one of the local cafes, and stop at roadside stalls to stock up on for farm fresh produce..
Chillingham and Upper Crystal Creek make an ideal base to explore the World Heritage national parks of the region.
A leisurely 20 minute drive north west, will have you state hopping over the border into Queensland, driving along the ridge line of the Numbinah Valley and head waters of the Coomera River, brings you to Springbrook National Park - Natural Bridge section, formerly known as Natural Arch.
This rainforest in the clouds offers excellent day visit facilities with BBQs and picnic tables, and walking tracks through subtropical rainforest, with very good interpretive signage along the way. A limited section is also suitable for wheelchair access.
Want to stay in New South Wales? Less than 25 minutes drive to the south via Murwillumbah or Tyalgum, are Wollumbin National Park and Mebbin National Park.
While Wollumbin NP is currently closed, Mebbin National Park has day use picnic facilities, shelter sheds and composting toilets, with short walks available through the dominant rainforest, adjacent to the popular camping area.
A spectacular dry weather road through the rainforest to the Murwillumbah - Kyogle Road offers a loop drive back to Murwillumbah via Kunghur and Uki.
Chillingham, the first of the Volcano Villages, lies nestled inside the erosion caldera of the Mt. Warning Shield Volcano on Tourist Drive 36, which winds its way along the tree-lined Rous River through subtropical and ancient Gondwanan rainforest clinging to rhyolite rocks from the 240 million year old Chillingham Volcanics.
Chat to local artists, craftspeople and residents about this "Natural Village", as you stroll along the historic walk leading from the Bushtucker Gardens, past Chillingham Store and Hall and the Old Butcher Shop.
On the riverbank opposite, the Beantree walk winds along the river bank to the local Landcare regeneration area, complete with picnic tables under the trees, and continues to Jack Connelly and Johnny Brims Park, the Rous River Bridge, Chillingham Flute Workshop, preschool and school.
Further along the Numinabah - Nerang Rd, you'll find the Chillingham Community Centre where you can view the Virtual Herbarium, use the internet, or purchase fresh vegetables from the Community Gardens.
See the carving of the giant black bean pod that symbolises the ford across the river know as Black Bean Crossing, marking the beginning of the Tweed Valley Village Timber Art Trail.
Learn about plants, trees, wildlife, and insects, rare or endemic to this area by going on the Gondwanan Walk, where you can "go back in time" for an understanding of the progression of the flora and fauna from pre-Gondwanan times to the current day. Sponsor a plant or help us with artwork to add to the walk, and have a wonderful time doing so!
© "Chillingham CTC" editorial material, courtesy of and thanks to Adrienne Webber of Chillingham CTC ph. (02) 6679 1633.
Getting to Chillingham
Getting here. Chillingham is approximately 835 kilometres - about 11 hours drive north from Sydney, via Murwillumbah, and approximately 145 kilometres - about 90 minutes drive south from Brisbane, via the Pacific Highway.
Driving options include the Pacific Highway and Summerland Way in New South Wales, and from Queensland, via the Pacific Motorway and the inland Nerang - Murwillumbah Road through the spectacular scenic drive in the Numinbah Valley via the Gold Coast hinterland.
Domestic flights operate from all capital cities to Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport and Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta. A number of international carriers servicing SE Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific fly into Gold Coast Airport.
Charter flights may also available to Lismore Airport. All airports have airport car hire or other car rental services available nearby.
Daily airport transfer services between Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport and Gold Coast Airport, are available to selected localities in the region, with some shuttles also going to Brisbane International Airport. Visit Gold Coast Airport Transfer Services for more information.
Daily interstate coach services are available from Murwillumbah to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and daily or overnight train service is available from Sydney to Brisbane via coach transfer at Casino.