Date Registered: 12-2010
Location: Macquarie Fields SYDNEY
TOTAL POSTS: 989
Re: Watagans long weekend camp trip 6/6-8/6
I left Sydney Friday morning to travel to the Casuarina camping ground in the Olney State Forest- a part of the Watagan ranges. Heavy patches of rain on the way dampened my spirits a bit but what the heck..........
I left the M1 motorway at the Mandalong Road exit and followed Deaves Rd, Freeman's Drive, Martin's Hill Rd, Watagan Rd and eventually reached the Watagan Forest Rd and stopped at the Olney State Forest HQ camping area to look at the map displayed in the shelter area. The Casuarina camping area is not much further up the Watagan Forest Rd. It was drizzling rain as I found a spot to set up camp. There were several other groups already set up but heaps of room available. Might be different on a summer's long weekend where I reckon space would be at a premium.
Phone reception not the best but I eventually heard from Ian Ewin who was getting ready to leave Newcastle to join up.
After setting up I put on my wet weather gear and roamed the area to check it all out.
Later on I was talking with Ian on CB and thought it was Ian's XTRAIL I saw through the trees turn off down towards the Turpentine camp area. I told him to turn around and go back to the junction and turn right. Well it turned out I led him him on a wild goose chase 'cause that Exy wasn't his. Oh well, a senior moment now and then is forgivable.
Anyway, Ian and his dog eventually arrived and we chatted exy talk for sometime while I looked over his ride with cutaway front and rear bumpers and large tyres requiring wheel arch flares etc.
Ian was debating whether to stay at the Casuarina camp ground or go to his secret hideaway where he often camps. I was not inclined to dismantle my set up in the drizzle with everything wet and eventually it got a bit late and Ian set up opposite me. He told me that Matt was going to visit for the evening then return the next day after soccer with his camper van.
After a cuppa and towards dusk we walked back to, then along the main road collecting firewood and waited for Matt to arrive. We were in contact with Matt when he eventually drove up and we gave him directions to where we had set up camp. Ian and I walked back with arms full of firewood and introductions all around. Matt had his 8yo (nearly 9 he piped up) son Mason with him.
We chatted for quite a while around the fire and eventually Matt left to go home but was keen to get back the next day.
I was very tired and climbed into a warm down sleeping bag and drifted of quite easily. It was apparently very noisy during the night with inconsiderate campers yahooing and yelling out which didn't allow much sleeo for Ian...........but I slept like a log with only a vague recollection of noise and other campers talking and walking passed our tents.
Up about 6:00am for an early morning cuppa and after breakfast Ian left to go home as he had to be at work by 10:am.
I took the car canopy down and then drove around a lot of tracks within the Watagans and was surprised at the number of tents/caravans/camper trailers etc that were already set up at the many and varied sites.
Back at camp I again heard from Ian via phone (reception not the best and I had to move from my site to get better reception) and he told me that Matt was on the way and that he also (Ian) was coming back for the day (love to have a job like that). He was very keen to show us his secret hideaway campsite.
Matt and Mason eventually arrived again and set up camp. Matt brought a tent along rather than his camper trailer.
Campsite set up:
Ian and a friend arrived late morning and off we set to visit Ian's hideaway. The track in was great fun with narrow sections, mud holes and a deep washaway just before the end of the track. See Matt's photo above. The pic doesn't do justice to the actual size of the "gully" that we had to negotiate but we all managed OK.
A very quiet and peaceful site with room for a couple of tents and with great views overlooking the valley. Matt's photo shows the 3 Exy's parked at Ian's hideaway.
After lunch and further chatting we headed back to the main road where Ian left us to travel back to Newcastle.
Matt, Mason and I drove to boarding house dam and went for a short bushwalk below the dam. Great rain forest scenery/ small waterfall etc.
Boarding House Dam:
Moss covered rock face:
Back to camp later in the afternoon then off to get some firewood for the night. Ian drove his car off the main road down a bush track where we found plenty of firewood which kept Mason occupied with his little handsaw helping to build up the firewood supply.
As it was getting dark (a great day with no rain) we had tea then sat around the fire with a beer or 2 (perhaps 3 and with a couple of bourbon and cokes thrown in) until eventually time to bed down again for the night.
Mason went to bed a little earlier after curling up asleep on the camping chair.
Mason asleep on chair (Photo posted with permission from his father):-
Up at about 6:00 am I scrounged some kindling to get the fire going. Matt and Mason eventually resurrected and went off in search of some more heavier firewood.
We packed up camp and headed off around about 9:30am for home. I followed Ian who knew a scenic, fun route back to Morrisett and the M1. By my GPS we seemed to be zig zagging acoss th escarpment traveling in all directions but Ian knew the way and it was a great fun drive with the tracks narrow in places, rocky and with several long bog hole patches...all easily negotiated by the exy's. We travelled on Watagan Forest Rd, Prickly Hill Rd, Plank Hill Rd, Unnamed tracks, Sauls Road which eventually came to bitumen and civilisation. I left Ian at the Mandalong Rd/M1 junction to return to Sydney.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days, with great company and a keenness to do it all again.
Thanks Ian, Matt and Mason.
1) Firewood scarce around campsites. Bring your own firewood. Else need to collect firewood away from camping sites....bring a decent saw/axe with you.
2) Bring your own toilet paper. The toilets at the Casuarina site were clean but no paper.
3) bring your own water supply. There is a tank which fills from rainwater off the toilets roof but a sign on the tank indicates non potable. The water looked crystal clear and OK for washing hands but what else is in the tank???
4) Enjoy yourselves
Last edited by dlpeek, 9/Jun/2014, 10:10 am
2010 T31 ST-L (S2) CVT Precision Grey.
Tow Bar, bash plates, PEDDERS lift, YOKO GEO AT/S tyres.
9/Jun/2014, 3:54 am