Sacred Parks – Minyon Falls, Nightcap National Park

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I recently toured some of the trails around Minyon Falls, in northern New South Wales.

This section of Nightcap National Park protects some of the traditional lands of the Widjabul Bundjalung people, who lived in nature here for thousands of years. Within these forests, the Widjabul still maintain many of their ancient heritage sites and ceremonial places. The creeks, plants, animals, and landscapes of the area are invoked and served through stories and teachings still being shared and practiced today.

As I slowly walked through the forests and alongside one of the creeks, I kept sensing that just ahead of me, out beyond my sight, was the very edge of the knowable world, and the ends of all knowledge and me – a vast alluring emptiness, though all around was familiar earth, rocks, and trees. Walking into mystery, sifting into “Dreamtime”, the constant passing away of everything reveals life’s awesome virility. Everything existing and happening throughout the world and the cosmos occurs within the same space-time locus, all at once, somehow fractionated, but always unified. 

The sclerophyll forests of this area, as in many, are in need of regular cultural burning to return them to optimum health. Presently with dense understory, tangles, and too much old wood, cultural burning will help regenerate the whole environment.

Although “minyon” may be an indigenous word, perhaps meaning laughter or laughing (if anyone knows for certain, please advise), I suggest that the falls be renamed Widjabul, directly honoring the people who have been the caretakers of this region for millennia.

Down along one of the creeks is a gently sloping rocky cascade. I found a stone ledge there almost surrounded by the tumbling waters, but still dry, where I sat to meditate for a while immersed in the rocks, the rushing waters, the trees, and the blue sky…

The National Parks service is presently doing a number of improvement projects to the waterfall’s lookout platforms and other facilities within the Nightcap Park. These are scheduled to be completed later in 2021.

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