There’s a certain romance about living off-the-beaten track, in what feels to be, remote, Australian wilderness.
Our air is fresh and clean, our mountain-stream water is pure and a lot of our food is homegrown. Life is simple – in synch with the seasons, the environment, the wildlife and our close-knit community of like-minded folk.
Nightfall is a culmination of our vision to touch the earth lightly while creating a genuinely sustainable business, which is true to our principles of conserving and enriching the land which sustains us.
After four years in the planning and with all our approvals in hand, we finally began construction of Nightfall’s tents in December 2012. Only a few weeks into the build the rain began to fall and didn’t stop…for eight months – A record rainy season.
When the mud made machine access to the hillside impossible, our neighbours, family and a delightful band of international volunteers came to our aid.
The tent frames, fabricated by Steve, were carried by hand up the hill. Each steel section weighed 180+ kilograms. Slowly, with the help of jigs and people power we stood and welded the frames.
Then came the canvas walls, all painstakingly sewn by Heidi (Nightfall’s co-founder who has since moved on to new adventures).
Nightfall sits in a deep gorge escarpment – a tiny speck amidst a vast, mystic and ancient geology of shield volcanoes whose lava tendrils actively flowed around 24 million years ago.
The dense forested landscape around us shelters rare flora and fauna, and intricate ecosystems with strong connectivity to neighbouring Lamington National park. Lamington’s protected landscape is one of the most species-rich and diverse areas of Australia and includes part of the world’s largest tract of Gondwana sub-tropical rainforest.
The region’s globally significant values meet the three criteria for World heritage listing:
– outstanding example of major stages of the earths evolutionary history
– outstanding examples of biological evolution
– significant habitats for threatened species
For at least 6000 years, First Nation’s people from the Yugambeh group walked and lived on this land, hunting and gathering from the rich supply of food provided by the land. Historical and archaeologically significant evidence of their occupation remains, including burial sites, scarred trees and stone artefacts.
European settlement began in the 1840’s and areas surrounding us were cleared for dairy farming, sheep and beef grazing.
Our tall timbers were also heavily logged, including red cedar (Toona ciliata), Crows ash (Findersia australis), White beech (Gmelina leichhardtii) and later, hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii).
On our property we occasionally find huge trees, felled by timber cutters but impossible to transport to the mill.
In the early 1900’s the Christmas Creek and Lamington region thrived, with local schools and even a tramway connecting with Beaudesert.
In 1937 Lamington was thrust into the world’s spotlight when a small canvas covered Stinson aeroplane crashed into dense forest just a couple of kilometres from our site.
Pioneer settler, Bernard O’Reilly’s heroic solo search for the plane and subsequent rescue of two survivors, is the subject films and books, including his own modest account, “Green Mountains” – a copy of which is in your tent.
It’s an easy to read, gripping tale as well as providing a fascinating insight into pioneering life.
The Stinson disaster triggered a law that made the carrying of radios compulsory in all Australian planes. Little remains of the wreckage (access to which, is challenging and only recommended with an experienced guide).
The grave of passenger Jim Westray is a fairly easy walk from Nightfall.
Nightfall and neighbouring Lamington National Park, sit on the northern side of the Tweed Shield Volcano caldera – possibly the best preserved erosion caldera in the world.
Since the formation of the Mt Warning core, 23 million years ago, eruptions and erosion have shaped the land. The main vent produced highly mobile basalt flows over a sedimentary rock basement. These intermixed with rhyolite lava from subsidiary vents. Over time, Christmas creek, the Albert, Coomera, Nerang and Tweed rivers have eroded the Tweed volcano to create finger-like spurs, spectacular peaks, cliffs, gorges, waterfalls and expansive views.
Nightfall is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Some are easily spotted and other species are secretive and hidden deep in the forest.
Red-necked wallabies are by far the most commonly seen mammals and we also regularly see long-nosed bandicoots, mountain possums, antichinus and little red and grey flying fox bats.
The occasional koala also wanders through the site and their guttural calls are heard during breeding season.
Deep in the forest you’ll find gliders, pademelons, bush-tailed phascogale and bush tailed rock wallabies.
Platypus are perhaps the hardest to spot…you need to sit quietly on the creek sunrise or sunset the spot the elusive mammal. We have provided directions to get to a lovely rock-pool to sit and watch for Platypus in the “Explore Nightfall” book.
Steve and Jaide, your Nightfall hosts, finished building the 5 luxury tent structures and site upgrades. Utilising the usual help of friends, family and skilled local trades people. With loving attention to detail, adding to the hosted experience and hospitality that comes from the heart which Nightfall is now renowned for.