Madmans Creek Flora Reserve is tucked away in Conglomerate State Forest, between the coastal ranges and Corindi River.
Madmans Creek Dam
We started by walking down Murphys Road, entering the Flora Reserve and crossing the creek on an old wooden bridge. I’m not sure who the Madman was, but old parish maps show this creek was also known as Cummumbilum Creek. We found quite a few pieces of petrified wood on the track up the hill.
Turning to go back down a steep hill, we then picked up a trail to the dam. The trail eventually runs out, so we bush-bashed the last 50m down the hill through open forest to find the dam wall. A tip: as you start the off-track descent, turn around and find a nice big tree as a landmark to help you orientate yourself when you come back up the hill.
We backtracked from the dam, and took Mollers trail to cross Madmans Creek again at a concrete weir (no wet feet for us today). This would make a lovely morning tea or lunch spot. We saw footpads down each side of the creek, we plan to return with more time to explore.
Madmans Creek Flora Reserve protects some rare and unusual flora, including the vulnerable Orara Boronia (Boronia umbellata). The forest types in the reserve include dry rainforest, blackbutt, brush box, ironbark, spotted gum, and stringy bark.
We walked here on the first day of spring and wildflowers were abundant. The forested hillsides were covered with different types of bright yellow bush peas, wattle, pink boronia, and lilac mint bush. The grassy track to the dam was dotted all over with purple flags (native iris). It was hard not to quote Wordsworth, except this is Australia, and these are not daffodils.
You can do this walk in either direction. We walked anti-clockwise, with a sustained climb up from the creek, followed by a very steep descent down the logging trail.
We parked at the junction of Murphys Road and Madmans Creek Road. You will need a 4WD to drive down Ti-Tree Road from Plum Pudding Road, best in dry weather. While Murphys might be called a “road”, you can’t drive drive it due to tree falls and erosion.
If you have a 2WD, you could possibly walk in from Plum Pudding Road, below Andersons Mountain Escarpment. This adds some extra distance (and another lovely hill climb). You can compensate for the extra distance by taking a short cut across the reserve – immediately after the creek crossing upstream of the dam, stay left at the fork to rejoin Murphys Road, instead of going right to Madmans Creek Road. We haven’t tried this variation, let us know if you succeed.
We were inspired to try this walk by the Ulitarra Society “Making Tracks” book published last century, which mentioned an old dam and petrified wood. The book is out of print, but available from Coffs Library.