"The Wanderers at 43 m is Sydney's deepest reef dive"
NSW Southern Highlands - May 2011
Ever since we first met, Kelly and I have gone somewhere for the anniversary of our first date, engagement and subsequent marriage (which are essentially the same day). In the four years since our marriage we have been to Byron Bay, Canberra and Port Vila. Of course, in Byron Bay and Vila we dived, but we had not been on a camping trip for our anniversary since well before our marriage.
For our fourth anniversary in 2011, we decided to go camping. As we wanted to take our dog, Veto, we had to plan it so we did not visit any national parks. After a lot of decision, we decided to visit the Southern Highlands area of NSW. Taking the Thursday and Friday off work meant we had four days for the trip.
Our route as recorded by our GPS using OziExplorer and uploaded to Google Earth
You can download the Google Earth track of this trip by clicking here and looking at it in Google Earth.
You can download the OziExplorer track of this trip by clicking here and looking at it in OziExplorer.
Day 1 - Wednesday 25 May 2011 - Sydney to Wingello State Forest
Kelly had the day off work to do some study for a course she is doing but I had to work. We decided to leave from my work place at Hurstville at 3 pm, the earliest I can depart without taking some form of leave. Kelly left home at 2:30 pm and right on 3 pm, we headed off. Our plan was to get as far from Sydney as we could before it got dark.
Kelly was driving and we headed along King Georges Road to the M5 and then south. Of course, at this time of the day, we struck a lot of the early finishers on their way home, but once we got to Liverpool the traffic cleared up a lot. We had a pretty good run.
Wingello State Forest is about the closest place to Sydney just off the Hume Highway that you can camp in a state forest. There is also the nearby Penrose State Forest and the Belanglo State Forest, but I do not feel like camping at the place where serial killer Ivan Milat murdered seven backpackers in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The NSW State Forests web site is pretty useless in helping you find the location of the camping areas, so I decided that the Wingello State Forest camping area was going to be the easier of the two to find.
Our camp site at Wingello State Forest
Kelly and Veto next to the campfire
At 4:35 pm we turned off the Hume Highway and headed towards Wingello. The state forest is located to the east of the town. Wingello consists of a railway station, a small general store and a few dozen houses. The state forest is not easy to find as there are no signs pointing to it. Once at Wingello, cross the railway line and turn right. Take the first street on the left, Forest Road. This leads to Wingello State Forest.
There are two camping areas mentioned on the state forests web site, HQ Camp and The Basin. HQ Camp is closer to Wingello so we decided to check it out first. At 4:50 pm we arrive at what we assume is HQ Camp. There are no signs at all which proclaim that this is it, but as there is a toilet, we assume this is the camping area. It is located at the intersection of Forest Road and Running Creek Road.
HQ Camp is set in a mature stand of pines and there is a lot of flat land. There is a large group of what appears to be university students (or perhaps year 12 students) and one other small campervan. We pick a spot and set up camp.
Kelly and I warming up at the fire
Kelly and Veto (she's not spoilt?)
The HQ Camp is located at S34Âș 42' 57.6" E150Âș 11' 20.0" using WGS84 as a datum. By now it is 5 pm so I start a fire for warmth and to cook our dinner on. We have a drink and some nibblies while Veto goes for some short runs around our campsite.
Kelly is cooking creamy garlic prawns with rice. I make the rice while she looks after the prawns. We have with some fresh crusty bread rolls. The uni students head off before 7 pm and do not return while we are awake. We assume they have gone spotlighting.
Tonight is the first match of the 2011 Rugby League State of Origin so we put the radio on and listen. As usual, NSW get beaten by Queensland, but at least this time it is a lot closer.
We hit bed at 9:30 pm and listen to the remaining part of the game in bed. It is about 6ÂșC when we go to bed.
Weather: Overcast, max 11ÂșC (since we left Sydney) Arrived: Wingello State Forest Time: 4:50 pm Distance: 160 kilometres
Day 2 - Thursday 26 May 2011 - Wingello State Forest to Corang River
Weather: Fine, 4.1ÂșC minimum
I get up at 8:20 am (if we are not having an early start I tend to get up after the 7:45 am ABC Radio news finishes) and start breakfast. Kelly normally gets up a little later. Kelly and I take Veto for a walk (she sleeps at the end of the bed in the roof top tent) up Running Creek Road. We see a few yellowtail black cockatoos, they are so magnificent. We are back at 9:15 am and we finish breakfast.
Kelly closing the ShippShape
The Wingello General Store
On trips we do not have fancy breakfasts. Normally I just have orange juice, cereal, tea and sometimes a couple of pieces of toast. Kelly normally has coffee and cereal. A lot easier than cooking bacon and eggs etc. Besides, we do not eat this sort of breakfast normally anyway.
We pack up and depart at 10:00 am. It is now sunny and 8ÂșC. I first want to explore the state forest as from GoogleMaps there appears to be some nice tracks with a good view from the end of one. I would also like to find the other camping area.
St Stephen's Anglican Church, Tallong
A close up of a window
We take head down Forest Road but it soon becomes apparent that this is not where I wanted to go. We turn back and then take a track to the left. Here we come across the uni students who appear to be doing some sort of orienteering course/event.
We take a couple of wrong turns but finally find the right way. We cut across to Gap Road and head to the east. We then take Bull Ridge Road. This goes to a spot that overlooks a gorge that leads into the Shoalhaven River. I think the waterway is called Dolly Creek. However, the track has been blocked before the end and there is no view from here. While you could walk to the end, we cannot as we have Veto and we have found that the last few hundred metres is Morton National Park. We turn around and head back to Wingello.
We are now heading for Braidwood. After having another look at the village, especially the fine looking general store, we take Highland Way back towards the Hume Highway. This is a good tar road (was it the old Hume Highway?). On the way, we stop at a very nice church at Tallong. This is the St Stephens Anglican church. It is built of timber and is very cute.
The view from the Long Point Lookout
A bit further along we head south down Long Point Road. This goes to a lookout that overlooks the Shoalhaven River gorge. We arrive here at 11:00 am and have morning tea here. It is quite a spectacular view and it would make a nice camp site (there do not appear to be any signs that say you cannot camp here). There is a toilet and some shelter sheds as well as a very old (closed) stone toilet.
There are a couple of walks from here, so it could be an interesting place to stay and spend a full day. However, as far as I can see, there is nothing about this place on the NPWS web site or even a mention that it is in Morton National Park (otherwise I would not have even planned to come here since we had Veto).
The Long Point picnic area/car park
The stone toilet at Long Point
We are back on our way at 11:20 am. A short distance back down towards the Hume Highway we cross under the main southern rail line. We stop to have a look as it is an impressive brick viaduct with eight arches. You could also camp here to the north of the line as there is a small park/picnic area. Take Barbers Creek Road and go under the railway line.
Once on the Hume, we head south through Marulan. A few kilometres south, we take Jerrara Road. This leads to Bungonia. Just as you come into the town there is a camping site to the left as you cross the bridge. As we head out of the town (more a village), we stop and look at the old church here. This is the Anglican Christ Church and is very nice, built of sandstone and having a slate roof. It also has very interesting door knobs. It was consecrated on 25 October 1893.
The old brick railway viaduct
The camping area next to the viaduct
We only stop for a minute or so and then south towards Braidwood. It is now 13ÂșC and still sunny. We are on the Oallen Ford Road. At Sandy Point Road we turn right. Even though Oallen Ford (where we plan to camp tonight) is about 15 kilometres further down Oallen Ford Road, we are not heading straight there. At the Kings Highway, we turn left and 16 kilometres along we arrive in Braidwood.
While we have driven through here before, I have not spent more than a few minutes here since I spent the best part of a week in the town back in January 1991 while fighting fires in Deua National Park to the south. We decide to have lunch here and have walk around the main street. It is really quite a quaint little town, best known for its antique stores as well as being the main setting for the 1970 Mick Jagger movie Ned Kelly.
The Bungonia Christ Church
A close up of a door of the church
A number of people have recommended the Braidwood Bakery to us so we go and purchase a couple of pies and sausage rolls. We have lunch sitting in the nice park at the top of the street (there are also toilets across the road in another park). After lunch, we go for a walk along the main street. The Catholic Church here is very impressive, built of granite (I think). It has a very old bell which is erected in a separate structure near the street. We also go inside for a look.
There are other very nice buildings in the main street. The Royal Mail Hotel at the top of the street is an old style pub. Back in 1991 I stayed here a couple of nights when fighting bushfires. It was okay then and still looks the same. On the other side of the street is the National Theatre. This is built with a pressed steel exterior to resemble bricks and sandstone. Very interesting architecture indeed.
Further up the street is the old Bank of New South Wales but it is not used by Westpac (which renamed itself many years ago). This is a pity. The banks of Australia have virtually all abandoned the historic buildings they used to occupy in towns and suburbs. About the only ones they have kept hold of are the main ones in the capital cities.
The Braidwood Royal Mail Hotel
The Braidwood Catholic Church
A little further up are the Post Office and Police Station. Again, very nice buildings and worth looking at.
While we do our walk around, we need to buy a couple of things from the supermarket and Kelly also purchases a pair of gloves. She got these from a store that has been there since 1913.
We leave at 2:15 pm. We take a couple of back streets to look at the houses. There are many beautiful old buildings, some of the best old Australian rural architecture you will ever see (I studied architecture for a couple of years before I changed my vocation but I still have a love of buildings).
The Braidwood National Theatre
The Braidwood Post Office
We head out on the Kings Highway towards Batemans Bay. About eight kilometres along we turn north onto Northangera Road. This leads to Mongarlowe. This is a tiny village, with a few houses and an old (closed) hotel.
From here we continue north on Charleys Forest Road. We are basically skirting the western side of Budawang National Park and the bottom end of Morton National Park. We pass by the Wog Wog Camping Area which appears to be right next to the road. Note that there is no mention of this camping area anywhere on the NPWS web site. The roads are good dirt roads.
After 36 kilometres we come to the Braidwood-Nerriga-Nowra Road (MR92). This leads onto Nowra. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s I used to come down to this area with blokes I went to school with for Easter. More about this later. Back then, the whole road was a very poor dirt road. Now it is mostly tar, with only a small section on the run from Braidwood to Nerriga still dirt.
Our plan tonight is to camp at Oallen Ford. A few kilometres before the Corang River, my maps show a road off to the left. This leads to the Oallen Ford Road (also on some maps as Oallen Ford Post Office Road). However, the road is actually a private road so we cannot go that way.
We continue on and decide to look at the Corang River where we planned to camp tomorrow night. The whole road here has been realigned since I was last here. There is a new bridge across the river as well. We used to mostly camp here on the north-western side of the river/road but sometimes we camped on the south-western side.
We arrive at 3:35 pm have a look at the northern side of the bridge on the western side of the river first and then the south-eastern side. This side is a lot bigger, but Kelly favours the other spot as it has better access to the river via an old causeway. We head back over there and at 3:45 pm we set up camp, deciding to camp here tonight rather than at Oallen Ford. This is a small spot, only suitable for one or two vehicles or one tent. It is about 600 metres altitude.
The camping area on the south-east side of the Corang River
The camping area that we used on the north-west side
When I used to camp here over 30 years ago, we mostly camped on a flat area above this spot. However, this is now on private property as when the new bridge was built in 1994, a land swap appears to have been done where the private property became the road reserve and the old road reserve private property.
This is a nice camping area, but there are no facilities. In addition, there is a large amount of rubbish here, dumped by some idiots who have purchased take away food from either Nowra or Goulburn or some other place a fair distance away. We collect all the paper/cardboard and put it on the fireplace and also collect all the aluminium cans.
Tonight we are planning a very special meal for our wedding anniversary. First off I need to get a good fire going as we are having a baked dinner. We need good coals, so I start the fire at 4 pm. We stopped along the way from Braidwood and cut some timber from the side of the road. This looks like really good timber as we quickly get good coals.
I read the paper for a while as Kelly prepares the chocolate pudding for dessert. I then set up the Twine hot water shower (uses the heat of the engine to warm the water) and Kelly and I have a shower. Being next to a river means we can have a luxury shower using 10 litres of water each. Makes us feel so much better.
At 5 pm we have some nibblies and a beer as we get things ready for dinner. It is already getting quite cold so we need to pull out our gloves.
By 6:20 pm we have some nice coals so I put the roast on to cook. I have already pre-warmed the oven by putting on the open fire for 15 minutes or so. This gives it a lot of heat to get the roast going well. It also seals the meat a bit better. We also put the meat inside a foil tray and sit this on a trivet (wire tray) so it is not directly touching the bottom. This keeps the camp oven cleaner.
Tonight we are having roast beef. We always purchase Woolworths roasts as they are marinated and vacuum sealed and the perfect size for the camp oven. They are big enough for four persons, but for us, they give a good meal and enough left over for sandwiches for the next few days.
The Corang River looking south from the bridge
Toasting our wedding anniversary
As well as the beef, we are having potato, pumpkin and carrots. For many years we have done our vegetables as follows. First, peal and cut into small size (about size of 20 cent piece) and place in a largish plastic bag. Then, add some oil and shake. Finally, add Bush Spice. This is a herb mixture available from the large supermarkets. We add quite a lot and then shake the bag till all the vegies are covered well.
We normally put the vegetables on about 15 or 20 minutes after the roast goes on. We turn the camp oven every 15 minutes, normally 180Âș, to even out any heat coming from the fire. After 45 minutes we normally take it off the coals to check how it is going. Tonight it takes 60 minutes to cook.
To go with the dinner, we are having some excellent New Zealand sparkling wine called Greyrock. This is a sauvignon blanc and we had it last New Year's Eve. We crack the first bottle about 6:30 pm.
The meal is excellent, as good a meal as you will get in a fancy restaurant. We are in a brilliant location, with the stars above, a roaring fire to keep us warm and our "baby" Veto with us. It does not get much better than this. I cannot believe that it is four years since our wedding. That night after the reception we sat under the Sydney Harbour Bridge looking at the Sydney Opera House, drinking some excellent sparkling wine. Tonight is maybe not as good as that night, but then again, it was our wedding night.
It is now very cold so we take some of the coals and place a small amount under each chair. This heat then permeates upwards and keeps your bottom and back warm. We have been doing this for many years since it was shown to us by members of the Jeep Club of NSW. After dinner has settled, I put the chocolate pudding in the camp oven about 8:25 pm. It takes 20 minutes to cook. We serve it up with some double thick cream, very yummy, but we could have had a bit more sauce. We spend the rest of the evening relaxing in front of the fire.
There has been little traffic passing by once it got to about 7 pm. Before that there was a vehicle about every 10 to 15 minutes or so.
This has been a very enjoyable day, a lot different to last year when we spent the day diving in Port Vila, Vanuatu, and dinner at a fancy restaurant. Both great days, but totally different.
We go to bed at 10 pm. Our weather station tells us it is -1.3ÂșC so we rug up with beanies and socks. We are soon asleep (thanks to the wine!).
Weather: Sunny, max 15ÂșC Arrived: Corang River Time: 3:35 pm Distance: 206 kilometres
Day 3 - Friday 27 May 2011 - Corang River to Oallen Ford via Nerriga
Weather: Fine, -2.8ÂșC minimum
We sleep in this morning as we had a big night and also because it is very cold outside. When we wake up at 7:30 am it is still -2.5ÂșC. We only have to go a few kilometres today so we have plenty of time. I get up at 8:45 am and it is still -1.5ÂșC. Despite this low temperature, there is no frost around or on the car.
The mist rising off the Corang River in the morning
The causeway across the Corang River
We go for a walk up the track next to the camping spot. This leads to a bed and breakfast. We only go about 500 metres as we come to a gate with the usual trespassers prohibited sign. There is a spot to camp up this track as well and plenty of firewood. We will come back here later to get some for tonight.
Once back at the car have breakfast. Unlike most mornings, we actually cook something this morning. We have plenty of time this morning and we are just plain relaxing. I cook bacon on the open fire and Kelly does some eggs for herself. We have with toast. Really nice.
By 9:30 am it is overcast but the temperature has increased to 4.5ÂșC. We read and then have morning tea. After this, we go for a short walk to the other side of the river and the road. There are lots of camping spots here, especially for larger groups. Back in the 1980s we also camped over here a few times.
We pack up and at 11:30 am we move up the track to cut the firewood. After I have cut a good amount of timber for tonight, we head back to the spot where we camped.
I want to try out Kelly's new GoPro video camera (purchased mainly for underwater filming) but which we intend to take on four wheel drive and camping trips. We purchased the helmet version which comes with a number of mounts. I have put a mount on the right external mirror and the camera clicks into this. Looking forward it shows the bonnet and ahead of the car as well as a section on the right.
We "set up" a crossing of the Corang River with Kelly driving. The first time we have the camera facing forward. The second time we turn it around and angle the mirror back in so it films Kelly (and you can see me and Veto in the passenger seat). The third time I film from the water's edge on the far side. I end up getting a bit wet as the wake from the Prado hits me as I attempt to get out of the way. It works very well, have a look at the attached video I put together very quickly.
We then drive to Nerriga. This is a tiny hamlet, not a town. There is not much here, a hotel and a few houses. There used to be a small caravan park but that appears to be closed, as is the general store (which was closed the last time I was here in 1991). We arrive here at 11:55 am.
I first came to Nerriga in December 1977 when fighting a bushfire that was raging in the Morton National Park. As part of that fire, we spent time at Nerriga, staying one night in the caravan park and spending the evening drinking in the pub. Over the next four or five years, I regularly came camping to the Nerriga area over Easter with blokes I went to school with. One time we even went to a dance thrown in the local community hall. This was a blast for us city slickers! As mentioned I also came back in February 1991 to another fire.
The Nerriga Hotel
The carved tree opposite the Nerriga Hotel
The pub is now the main building in the town. We pull up outside and I regale Kelly with stories of how we used to come here on Easter Saturday, spending the whole afternoon playing cricket on the road in front of the pub using a special set of stumps I made. We used to hire a large mini-bus and have along a non-drinker who would drive. We would also listen to the horse races and one of my mates used to run a book on the races. Nostalgia!
We go in to order a beer but the very abrupt lady behind the bar says "you cannot bring a dog in here". First country pub I have ever seen that happen, especially one as shithouse as this one is! Well, I am being a bit harsh here, as the hotel has had a good makeover in the recent time (my guess the past few months). There is a new coat of paint and new roof and interior lining. In fact, it is quite well done.
Despite her attitude, I order a beer and get a short curt response to my attempts to engage in conversation. I presume that she is the publican's wife, perhaps a different business might be a better bet. We sit outside in the cold (still only 9ÂșC) and drink our beers.
We will be back here tomorrow so we leave after the beer at 12:45 pm. We head now back to the west (south out of town). We decide to have a look down the Endrick River Road to see if it actually gets to the river. I have read on the internet where some bushwalkers use a track near here to access the river and the park. However, it does not appear to be this road as it comes to locked gates on most tracks and another is blocked by a large fallen tree. As we are possibly on private property here as well, we head back. We are only a few hundred metres from the river.
We head down the Oallen Road and cross the Corang River (you cannot camp here) and then ascend to the Shoalhaven River. The Shoalhaven is the major river south of Sydney and flows into the Tasman Sea (Pacific Ocean) near Nowra. The river here alternates between small rapids and deeper pools.
At 1:30 pm we head off to the left of the road at the bottom of the hill. We follow a track and come to a nice little spot right next to the river. You could not put a tent here as the ground is rocky, but for us it is perfect. We go for a walk to check out other possible spots on this side as well as the other side of the road.
We see a bloke gold panning. He has a pump set up on the river edge and he pumps water to his small gold sluice. He shovels sand and rocks in the top and the water washes the sand and smaller rocks to the bottom layer. He then removes the smaller rocks and manually pans for gold. He tells us over the past few years he has found 5 ounces of gold here. A nice little hobby.
Kelly at our campsite at Oallen Ford with a heart shaped rock she found (and kept)
Looking down from higher camping area towards our site
We go back to the car and decide to stay where we are. We set up camp. It is 550 metres here, fairly high considering the river flows into the ocean not 75 kilometres away. The sun has now come out and the temperature rocketed up to 16ÂșC. We have lunch and then read while sitting next to the water's edge. This is nice. I am surprised by the volume of vehicles passing here. There is one every few minutes. Even though the bridge has a 5 tonne limit, we see large 15 tonne trucks and huge 40 tonne b-double trucks crossing it. The bridge is a very old timber deck bridge and some of the timbers are in very poor condition. It is only a matter of time before one of these trucks falls through the decking!
Later, when the sun has set behind the trees and ridge, we go for a walk to the higher ground. There are lots of camping spots here, although it seems that in summer and over Easter it may be a bit crowded here.
The Shoalhaven River right at our campsite at Oallen Ford
One of the gold fossickers and his sluice
Back at the camp site we read some more before I set up the hot shower. The best investment I reckon I made for the Prado was installing the hot shower back in 1999 just after I bought it.
Just before it gets dark at 5 pm I start the fire. We sit around and have nibblies and a beer and wine. We plan to have dinner a bit earlier tonight so I get the Biji-Barbi out. This is our barbecue, hot plate and more. It is a flattish round plate with folding legs and handle. It requires little fire to get hot enough to cook and works a treat. I have had it now for about 12 years and it has performed brilliantly.
It does not take long to heat up as the metal is relatively thin. You do need to keep an open flame under it or some excellent coals, but this is easy. You can cook a steak just using a few handfuls of small twigs if you wanted to. We have onion, sausages and T-bone steak with a pasta. We have the left over chocolate pudding from last night as dessert, with some extra sauce made from drinking chocolate made extremely thick.
We spend the rest of the evening reading. There are still vehicles passing by, one every 10 minutes or so right up till we go to bed. I later figure out that this must be the most direct route from Canberra to Nowra/Jervis Bay.
It seems a lot colder tonight than last night, but it is actually warmer at 0.3ÂșC when we go to bed at 9:30 pm. I think it felt colder as there was a very heavy dew and a bit of fog. I assume that the moisture in the air made us feel colder. Once in bed we continue to read. I have finally finished a book I started back in December 2010, Ronnie Woods (Rolling Stones) autobiography. Quite an interesting read. We go to sleep at 10 pm.
Weather: Overcast then sunny, max 16ÂșC Arrived: Oallen Ford Time: 1:30 pm Distance: 44 kilometres
Day 4 - Saturday 28 May 2011 - Oallen Ford to Touga Road, Sassafras
Weather: Foggy, -2.4ÂșC minimum
It was another very cold night and this morning the inside of the tent is quite wet in spots with condensation. I get up for a pee and notice it is really foggy. There is also frost on the bonnet of the car. I get my camera and take photographs of the beautiful mist hanging over the river. Once I finish I go back to bed, it is too cold outside. At 8 am it is still -0.6ÂșC. We decide to stay in bed and read. We get up at 9:30 am as again today we do not need to travel far so we have plenty of time to pack up our camp. It is really nice to relax in bed as we normally get up well before 7 am on weekends as we nearly always go diving.
A very foggy start to the morning
The Shoalhaven River at the northern end of Oallen Ford
When I get up I start the fire so we can warm up a bit. It really is cold. We have a relaxed breakfast and read again for a while. At 10:30 am it is finally sunny as the fog burns off and the temperature is now 8ÂșC. We go for a walk over to the other side of the road, this time right to the end of where you can drive to. There are huge camping areas on the rocky bed of the river, but it would be a bit hard to erect tents here.
We walk back along the river edge. In summer it must be a great spot to swim. There is a family gold panning using a sluice (as well as the bloke from yesterday). We stop and have a chat again.
We return to the car and have morning tea and reading some more. If you have not already figured it out, we are catching up on our reading on this trip as well as relaxing. We finally pack up and leave at 12:20 pm. It is now a balmy 13ÂșC and I have been able to have my jumper off for the past hour.
We drive to Nerriga, stopping to look at the Corang River as we pass over it. This is a lot cleaner river than the Shoalhaven and I have been checking to see if it is deep enough to scuba dive in! Unfortunately it appears to be only two metres or so deep, we really need five metres to make it interesting.
We arrive at Nerriga at 12:40 pm. We order some lunch (steak sandwich and chicken burger - great chips) and a beer. By the time we leave at 1:15 pm it is overcast but 15ÂșC.
Our plan is to look at the Endrick River. Back in 1977 when I came here this was an excellent camping area. However, in 1980 when we came for Easter, the spot I had planned to use was totally overgrown and unusable. This is why we ended up camping at the Corang River in subsequent years.
The causeway across the Endrick River
Me standing on the causeway at the Endrick River
On the web there are many mentions of this as a camping area. There are a couple of spots to camp. Both are on the southern side of the road. The western side of the river looks better, but you cannot get there without fording the river. There is a causeway here, but the middle section has fallen apart and it is quite deep. You could get across, but I do not want to get hung up and stuck here. If we had another vehicle I would have given it a go. We have a winch, but again, why risk it when we do not need to? The eastern side had a few spots, but it is right next to the road and considering the traffic on the Oallen Ford part last night, we figure it may be a bit too noisy.
We decide to have a look down a few of the nearby roads to see what there is to offer. There is a road that comes off the start of the bridge. We go down this for a way but see nothing. There is a lot of private property. We return back to the Nerriga Road.
We turn left and head towards Nowra. We decide to have a look along the road for a spot and to try a road up the top of the hill that I fought some fires down over 30 years ago. We see a couple of spots that if you were desperate you could stop at (on the old road) but it would be noisy. We turn left at Touga Road and 5.3 kilometres down on the left we see a cleared area. It is flat but pretty rocky for the most part, you would have problems hammering tent pegs in (we do and have to use some rocks to hold the siding awning out). It is now 1:50 pm.
The location is S35Âș 02' 30.2" E150Âș 08' 09.7" using WGS84 as a datum and it is 806 metres high. We find a spot and decide to stay here. There is a huge amount of timber around as well. We still have a fair bit of timber left over from last night. It is now overcast and cool so we start a fire straight away.
We read till 3 pm when I start to make dinner. We are having pizza tonight as well as lemon self-saucing pudding. I make up the pizza dough (search for pizza on my site and you will find full directions how to make) and let it rise. I then make the pudding batter. Once I have finished this I read some more.
Our campsite on the Touga Road
The self saucing lemon pudding I made - note it is not burnt
At 4:30 pm I have a hot shower, so great to be a bit clean again. I then rolled out the pizza bases and then Kelly cut up the toppings. I make a garlic, herb and cheese pizza for the first one. I put this on at 5 pm and it is cooked in about three minutes. A great entree to go with the beer and wine. Just before sunset the cloud goes and it is clear.
We continue reading till 6:15 pm (using head torches). I then put Kelly's pizza on. It takes about five minutes and then I do mine. Excellent as always. I then cook a third pizza which will be tomorrow's lunch. At 8:30 pm I cook the lemon pudding. This is based on a diving friend's recipe (Katherine Smart) who cooked it first on our Easter 2011 trip. It only takes 20 minutes to cook. Brilliant! We have it with double thick cream (wish we had ice cream).
Tonight is a lot warmer than the past two nights. When we go to bed at 10 pm it is still 6.5ÂșC even though we are about 300 metres higher than last night.
Weather: Sunny then overcast then clear, max 15ÂșC Arrived: Touga Road, Sassafras Time: 1:50 pm Distance: 23 kilometres
Day 5 - Sunday 29 May 2011 - Touga Road, Sassafras to Home
Weather: Fine, 3.5ÂșC minimum
It was so warm for most of last night (still 6.5ÂșC at 1:30 am) that we had to discard some items of clothing as we were too hot. From the time we camped at this spot yesterday at 1:50 pm till we went to bed we did not have a car go past. However, at 1:40 am a car drove past down the road. Another ute later drives past in the same direction about 9:30am.
We get up at 8:20 am (it is already 6.0ÂșC) and go for a walk about 700 metres down the road. There are lots of spider webs on the ground making interesting sites with the dew on them.
Back at the camp site at 8:50 am we have breakfast. There was a really heavy dew last night and everything is soaking wet. We take the rear awning (put up because it looked like rain yesterday afternoon) and place it so it catches the most amount of direct sun. We move the car to let the ShippShape get sun as well but it does not really work. There is no wind to assist the drying.
We leave at 10:30 am. It is sunny and 14ÂșC. We head back to the Turpentine Road (which is what the Nerriga Road is called here) and head towards Nowra. The plan is to go to Yalwal, but when we get to the road we find there is a gate across it. We assume it has been locked permanently but back home I search and there is nothing on the web about it. In fact, there is a report from late March 2011 showing that it was open. Perhaps the gate was just pushed closed, we should have looked closer. Bugger!
The view from the George Boyd Lookout - Jervis Bay at far left and Ulladulla right
We decide to take the 12 Mile Road to the south. This goes to George Boyd Lookout. This track parallels Tianjara Creek for about 7.3 kilometres till the intersection with another track. It takes 16 minutes to travel this at 26.4 km/h. it is in pretty good condition, but there are a few muddy pools. There is no sign at this intersection, but the lookout is to the left. I do not know the name of this other track as my maps do not name it. I know that I have been along here back in April 2003 but from the opposite direction.
We turn left and 6.2 kilometres along we come to George Bass Lookout. It has taken 19 minutes to travel this distance at 19.9 km/h. The track is in reasonable condition, but there are some muddy holes and a few muddy sections. Once at the lookout I realise that we have not been here before. I thought we had come here in 2006 but when I checked older GPS tracks the one I though we went there on goes nowhere near it. Anyway, the views from the lookout are spectacular, with Jervis Bay visible to the north-east and Ulladulla to the south-east. The "nipple" of Pigeon House is visible to the south above the hill.
Kelly at George Boyd Lookout
Seven Mile Beach from the park at Shoalhaven Heads SLSC
We head back down to the Princes Highway on 12 Mile Road and soon are heading north. We head back via Shoalhaven Heads where we have lunch in the small park next to the surf life saving club. From here we decide to go to Kiama as the seas are up and we figure the Kiama Blowhole is probably working well. Sure enough, the wave action is making the seas blow about 20 metres into the air on a good wave.
We head home, arriving back at Kareela at 3:20 pm.
This was a very relaxing five days/four nights away camping. We visited spots neither of us had been to before as well as revisiting some places I had been to over 30 years ago. We had a great wedding anniversary, with a meal to rival the best restaurant, with a magnificent setting next to a river. As our anniversary will be near a weekend for the next few years, we will probably do something similar again.
If you have even as few as two nights away, you could do a similar trip, and of course if you have more days, you could easily spend more time in this area.
Total distance: 672 kilometres
Total Fuel cost: $164.20
Average fuel consumption: 16.1 l/100 km (note includes about 100 kilometres of towing my boat)