Wednesday 26th September.
Lucky us, we had a six day camping trip ahead of us, which included watching the Grand Final footy at Eugowra Pub. We said our goodbyes to the kids, then dropped them off to school before hooking the trailer on and heading on our way, in the pouring rain mind you. Left just after 9.30am, and hitting traffic on Wakehurst Parkway at 9.45am and in the pouring rain. There was a fair amount of crawling, but we were moving at least. It was slow going the whole way, until we reached the M2, where we travelled at the speed limit before hitting the M7, slowing considerably before the turnoff to Richmond Road, unfortunately hitting every red light.
Finally reaching the foot of the mountains, the traffic all but disappeared, making for a very pleasant drive, it was cold outside, we discovered, after having to stop at a rest area for a toilet break. We drove straight through Lithgow making our way to Bathurst, still in the rain, which had been falling steadily since leaving Sydney. Made a stop at a servo for petrol for the truck and to fill the jerry can for the bikes, it was a fair bit warmer than our first stop, but still cooler than when we left Sydney.
On our way again, heading to Orange, where the rain didn’t stop, in fact it was rather heavy before reaching Orange and after we drove through it, however we were both surprised, when some 30kms on the other side of Orange it was clear, beautiful blue sky and didn’t look like it had rained for a long time, I guess that is what drought is all about. On the way through Bathurst, then Orange, we both commented on how green the landscaped looked, with beautiful lush green fields splattered throughout the countryside.
The turnoff for Nangar National Park was roughly 50kms outside of Orange, the road turning to dirt not long after the turnoff. It was a funny drive in, through open cattle grid gates, open fields, then forest, open fields again that looked like they had been manicured, then forest again. The track snaked it’s way around the mountains, over many creek beds that we extremely dry before a long sweeping left hand turn take you to the Terrara Creek campground. We did a loop, there was one guy by himself in a site, then two largish caravans taking up another site, so we continued on, coming to a great spot, just past the other sites. We arrived at 3.30pm, having only done 365km, which didn’t seem that much for the length of driving we had done.
We set the trailer up, unpacked the bikes and got everything ready before heading off to get some firewood, it wasn’t terribly cold, but you could sense it was going to be once the sun went down. The amount of kangaroos in the area was astounding, we decided we had never seen so many in any of our previous travels, plague proportions maybe, but none the less, there seemed to be numbers in the low to mid hundreds. Back at camp, I got a fire going and Jase just finished off a few things, before we settled down with a bottle of sparkling red Shiraz, which went down a treat!!
Dinner was steak parcels with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, green capsicum and left over marinade that we bought with us, all cooked in alfoil over some coals…it was delicious and very hot, warming our insides. It was a beautiful clear night, although the stars slowly disappeared as the moon rose over the mountains. Bed called at about 10pm, which I couldn’t wait to get in as it was now getting cool!
Thursday 27th September.
Had a great nights sleep, not cold and at one point, I even looked over to see the time, thinking I was at home looking at the clock radio beside the bed! We weren’t in a rush, so took our time getting up, listening to the noises of the bush waking up as well. After finally rising, it was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and even shorts weather, getting our ghostly white winter legs out for the first time!!
We had a very leisurely breakfast with cups of tea, cereal and porridge. I made our coffee which we had while making repairs to both of our chairs and also one of the connections was coming apart on the solar panel cable, so that had to be redone otherwise it may have shorted the whole trailer. After we washed up we went for a drive to the summit of Mount Nangar which was a great 4WD track, the only truck we passed was the Ranger, stopping to have a quick chat and after our question re the dryness of the creek, she said that it doesn’t really flow unless there is very heavy rain. They have had only 120mm of rain in this year.
It was beautiful at the top, there was no one there but us, it was extremely quiet, there was a wallaby within arms reach and the views were amazing. There were fields of deep green, splatters of the stunning yellow canola oil crops, rolling hills of forest then the dry patches of farming paddocks. We stayed up there for a fair while, deciding to go back with lunch one day and also to go for a sunset, just before dinner. We stopped at Dripping Rock on the way back, and there was nothing dripping about, it was so dry, was still a pretty amazing place. Back at camp we had a late-ish lunch as the time was 2pm, before kitting up and heading off on a small afternoon ride on the bikes. I was slightly nervous, as usual, but finally got going, up and down the dry creek beds, to the old homestead that we read had actually burnt down in 2009.
After a bit of a ‘burl’ around the homestead property, we headed back to camp where I parked my bike, but Jase went on, actually going back to Mount Nangar. I collected small twigs and dry leaves to build a pyramid over the already warm fire pit, hoping to get a fire going without the use of fire starters or a match. After a bit of blowing and more dried leaves, a flame erupted from the embers, I erupted too, like Tom Hanks did when he created fire in the movie Castaway!!
Jase came back saying that there was a couple up at Mount Nangar taking in the views, he wasn’t there long before he came back down, to a fire and cold bourbon and coke!! Dinner of tomato, garlic and herb lamb shanks are cranking over the fire hanging on the tripod. Unfortunately dinner was a little overcooked, as the heat was too high under the pot, it was still very nice though. We washed up, then decided to go for a late night drive up to Mount Nangar to watch the moon rise. The kangaroos around were incredible although they were mainly in the open areas, as soon as we started on the track taking us through the forest up to the summit, they disappeared, with only a few wallabies here and there.
The moon was up by the time we got there, it was a beautiful sight in the night sky and as it was it’s second day from a full moon, it was still rather large. We stayed up there for while, picking up cars that were travelling along roads throughout the landscape, even pinpointing a group that must have been shooting, as not only could we make out the sound of gunfire, we could see the throw of the trucks headlights up the side of the hill. Back down to camp, passing the many kangaroos, we cleaned our teeth and headed to bed, it was an early night, only 9.30pm.
Friday 28th September.
There was a very faint light sprinkle of rain this morning, while waking up, not enough to wet the ground though, with grey clouds still waiting for us when we got up, it wasn’t cold at all, just overcast, so the white legs were out again in our shorts.
Another lazy morning of sitting in what little sun we could find, while having breakfast, cups of tea and coffee, always in that order too, the coffee is always last. We decided to go for a bike ride first thing, so we washed up then got changed into our gear before heading off in the direction of the homestead again, this time riding past and making our way to the main road, which was only 8kms from our campsite. Turning around, we headed back to the homestead where I could practice ups and downs with a lot of gear changes, which at times seemed to be working well. Back past the campsite, this time heading to Dripping Rock, which was only 3kms past our site, passing some walkers on the way. The day had started to clear by now, however with that the wind came up which at times produced some very strong gusts.
Back at camp we had lunch, while sitting in the sun, trying to get our tans up before deciding to have an afternoon nap and despite it being a lovely temperature, the wind made sleeping a bit hard because of the noise it created with the tropical roof and other flapping noises around the tent.
We then spent time catching the last of the afternoon sun, up the slight embankment opposite our campsite having a drink and a nibble on some chips, reading magazines before that slowly disappeared, making it now time to start the fire. It still wasn’t cold at all, so once the fire was roaring, we got the hot water system out to finally have a shower, as there was no water in any of the creek beds to wash off. It was coolish then, standing in the wind, no sun, trying to bath and wash hair, but yet once it’s all done it does feel so nice to be clean again and standing in front of the warmth of the fire helps too.
Dinner was chicken stew with vegetables, something Jase saw a recipe for, which we changed slightly to suit our camp oven. It turned out beautifully with the chicken and veg very tender and warming!! The night was clear, as the moon had yet to arrive in the sky, so the stars were out in force, Jase spotting many shooting stars, not many satellites were to be found though. We had such a roaring fire going that we sat there for quite a while before it slowly started to die down enough for us to go to bed and as the wind had totally died down by now it wasn’t a problem to leave the last few logs burn away to nothing overnight.
Saturday 29th September.
Very early in the morning, just on daylight, I heard a jogger go past our site, probably making his way up to the summit of Mount Nangar. I popped out not long after that to a clear but rather fresh morning, a lot cooler than the previous days we have had. The wind had also picked up again, but this time it was a cold wind, making sitting in the sun just beautiful.
We had breakfast and a cup of tea, but left our coffee, as we decided to drive into Eugowra for one and also for a look around. There wasn’t much in the town, unfortunately a lot of the shops were boarded up, indicating that not many people travelled through anymore. We did find a shop that sold coffee, burgers, pizza, milkshakes and other delicious things. For a small country town of less than 600 it was good coffee, we got it to take away and enjoy while we walked towards the creek and reading about the town’s history on then info board, the creek was so low, hard to imagine it flooding the town at all.
We drove on to Goologong for a look, but realising we had passed through the town once before when heading out of Forbes on a previous trip. Back through Eugowra we stopped at Escort Rock, the site of the Bushrangers robbery way back in 1862, unfortunately it is now within private property grounds so you can’t go in for a close look. We then stopped at a tiny, run down, ruined church on the side of the road. It’s amazing how you can tell a church was a church even though it is in ruins, the shape of the building, the windows and doors, it would have been a very sweet little building in its hay day.
Made our way back to the campsite where we had lunch before heading off on a bike ride, hopefully making it to the top of Mount Nangar. I was doing alight at one point, but then it all turned ugly as I struggled on a downhill slope. I can make it up hills with no problem, but as soon as my bike faces any slight downhill my mind goes nuts and I can’t do it. Hopefully I will overcome this as it is fun to be out and about in the bush, seeing things that you might miss in a truck and it takes you places that cars and trucks just can’t get too. I didn’t make it to the summit, having to turn around just passed half way as I was taking too long to make it down the hills. What should have been a pleasant uneventful trip, turned into a debacle as I look so long to get down the hills.
Back at camp, eventually, we made a few repairs on the trailer before getting the fire going, ready to sit around it with a drink and some chips. It was a very cool afternoon, so the fire was much needed as the sun went down behind the hill. Dinner was pork cutlets with grilled veggies which were delicious, the veggies actually slightly caramelising, making them taste sensational. We sat around the fire for awhile before jumping in the truck for a quick trip to the small 4WD track in the open, on top of a large hill. The stars were spectacular up there, the milky way went from horizon to horizon and was crystal clear, we actually spotted a few satellites up here and a few planes making their way from A to B. The kangaroos everywhere still amazed us as to their numbers, they just kept popping up everywhere, on the steep hillside, in the open, crossing the tracks, every piece of countryside the spotties hit, there were kangaroos.
Back at camp, we put more wood on the fire, and as it was only 4.9 degs we couldn’t soak up the heat from the fire fast enough. We stayed up, watching the last of the wood burn down before finally hitting the sack, back in the sleeping bag as it was so cold.
Sunday 30th September.
Not sure why, but I was sure daylight saving started over night, but I was mistaken as the nothing was mentioned on the news on the radio, nor did our phones change time, I obviously got it wrong! Staying in bed for a while before rising, it wasn’t as cold as yesterday, and there was a very slight breeze, so sitting in the sun was lovely. We weren’t doing much today, Jase going for another ride to Mount Nangar, myself giving riding a miss today as my body was still sore from yesterdays adventure.
While doing a spot of cleaning, the group of campers in the main campsite walked passed and stopped for a chat, commenting on my concentration while riding my bike, as we passed them on the track yesterday. They had gone for what should have been a two our walk, but ended up taking over 5 hours, they came back quite exhausted they said. They were heading to Orange tomorrow, to another camping spot. They headed off for another short walk, then Jase headed off for his bike ride while I stayed behind and caught up on this and read some cookbooks I had brought with us.
Maybe half and hour after he left, the cars and trucks that came past made the little peaceful track that it had been something of a busy highway. There was car, then truck, car, van, car, trucks, all looking like just day trippers to the summit of Mount Nangar, none of them looked like they had camping gear, we have decided that when we leave tomorrow, it will be good timing as this place might get very busy, due to the school holidays just beginning as well.
Jase came back, after making the summit again and stopping to talk to the National Park Rangers that had come in, also a large group of walkers that had just completed a long walk, kids in tow. We had lunch while sitting in the sun, watching the endless flow of cars going either way past our site. As we were heading off early tomorrow, we were going to get everything packed away this afternoon before heading into Eugowra, the bikes on the trailer, the kitchen away, chairs and most of the inside of the trailer, hopefully making it easy for a quick packup in the morning.
Deciding we needed to freshen up for our excursion into town, we had a shower/sponge bath before heading off for the pub just after 5pm, with everything packed up ready for an early departure the next day. We got to the pub and ordered beers at the bar, asking the publican if they were doing any dinner that night, the response was a blunt ‘no’. Ok. We took our beers outside to a spare table and sat and watched traffic flow past, with assorted large trucks, cars, utes and caravans, and as it was pleasant sitting there we decided on another beer. We got talking to some of the locals at the next table who told us that the Eugowra Bowling Club would be doing dinner, but only Chinese, making it our second annual Footy Final weekend eating Chinese in a small country town.
The Bowling Club had a large screen set up and a lot more vibe than the pub, so it was a good thing we actually decided to head to the Club. We ordered beers and found a table facing the screen before ordering our Chinese dinner. The Footy started then our dinner came out, which we enjoyed while watching, with some of the locals being very vocal between the tables, making it a great atmosphere. After the Roosters won we headed back to through town to our campsite, (Jason mentioning that he heard someone say in the Club that the publican didn’t want to work at the pub that night, so he just shut the pub for the evening), and the pub was in darkness, so true to what Jase had heard, the only pub in town was shut on Grand Final weekend…go figure!
Back at camp we cleaned our teeth and went straight to bed, it was too cold to sit up without a fire and we had packed our chairs anyhow!!
Monday 1st October.
We were up just before 7am for our trip back to reality, so we packed down the trailer, and even though we had packed up the kitchen and most of the back yesterday it still took us an hour to get it ready to leave. I drove out of the National Park, stopping once while Jason spotted a rather large eagle nearby, to try and get some photos of it, also taking pics of the moon, which was still very visible in the morning sky.
On the bitumen for the rest of the trip to Sydney, we drove through Eugowra again, before making our way to Canowindra, where we hope to refill the tyres to the correct pressure. As there didn’t seem to be a servo that had an air pump it was on to the next town, Blayney, where yet again we looked for an air hose at a servo, with not one to be found. On to Bathurst, which is such a lovely drive this side of the town, with the long rolling hills, except if you get caught behind a huge caravan not travelling at the speed limit and nearly coming to complete stops trying to make it up some to the hills. The landscape looked so green which was a surprise to us as you hear so much about the drought. We finally arrived in Bathurst and found a servo to fill our tyres before finding a coffee shop/bakery for breakfast.
Back in the truck making our final push for Sydney and travelling really well, not striking much traffic at all, but amazed at the amount of camper trailers, caravans and roof top tents making their way out of the Sydney basin, it was the first day of school holidays and also the long weekend, so hence the traffic.
Arrived in Narrabeen just before 2pm, having done a total of 832kms for the whole trip, which really wasn’t a lot. We filled up the water tanks in the trailer and gave the truck and trailer a hose down to get rid of some of the dust, before the unpacking, washing and menial tasks of coming back from a trip begins.