Everything is gone. The forest of stringybarks, manna gum and she-oak ends abruptly. The very ground drops away at a cliff. A hole, more than 200m deep, opens up before me and I step to the edge of nature's open cut. It is all air and shadow ahead.
In 1818, the colonial explorer John Oxley, travelling east from Macquarie Marshes and over the Peel and MacDonald Rivers, stood in awe near this exact spot on the edge of the New England tablelands. Nearly two hundred years apart he and I equally impressed by the view.
He wrote in his journal: "It is impossible to form a correct idea of the wild magnificence of the scenery without the pencil of a Salvator."
I have only a pencil from the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). I shall to do my best with it; hopefully drawing with words the spectacle of Steep Drop Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, NSW.