Oldies at Large – Freecamping Extremes

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 12.26.24 pmThere is a wonderful tapestry, one that has always intrigued me, to be found in Government House in Canberra and it is in the Great Hall. It is a backdrop to the Grandest of reception rooms and while it is one that I love, I never imagined that I would find such a beautiful landscape. I imagined it drawn from the artists mind, an interpretation of a landscape that is instantly recognizable by any Aussie who is familiar with the Australian bush.

I was wrong. This week we spent time driving through such a landscape and it instantly bought to mind that wonderful work of art as we drove through the Kanangra-Boyd National Park and the adjoining forestry regions around Jenolan Caves in the hinterland off Sydney.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.53.04 pmThe best part about living out of a forbie is that you can explore previously unreachable area’s and Dingo Dell is just such an outreach. But the queen of freebie camps has to be along the Oberon – Colong Stock Route at the old Mount Werong mining settlement.

The route was well known by the Gundungurra Aboriginal Mob as the best route over the mountains from the central plains and they kept their secrets. It was a route unknown to the whitefellas who were pushing west of the settlements around Sydney Town for many years. However it was in 1894 that the stock route down from the plateau became a national reserve, one which followed this ancient aboriginal pathway of the Murruin Range.

With the inevitable push for settlement, it was the Gundungurra men in the 1870’s who found the precious silver-lead & zinc ore for the whitefella’s, which was mined right up until well into the 20th century. It was however the trees, namely cedar, which were the greater attraction. Logging of the forests to form the Gurnang Pine plantations continued right up until 1987 when the region was annexed to the Blue Mountain reserves that protect the watershed of the greater Sydney.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 8.14.09 pmAlong this Stock Route now is the best freecamp I have ever encountered and all credit goes to the National Parks and Reserves guys. This reserve is suited to the area, which can be extreme in its climate and life threatening to the unwary or just plain stupid.

It is a hut settlement hidden well along the track and it is a temporary shelter for those extremes in seasons that can be had high in the mountain ranges. Be warned that you need a forbie to get there, or an eager pair of feet but it is certainly the most delightful of camps. It is just like visiting a friend who welcomes you with open arms and hospitality.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.54.44 pmThere are many secrets swallowed in this region, some of tragedy others of discovery particularly as you move up north into the Wollemi National Park region and this is where we are headed next. I love the National Parks, the Forestry and the Stock Route freecamps these not only for caravaner’s, but for bush trekkers and the forbie drivers as well, places where the more cumbersome of vehicles can’t reach. They are wonderful places, which give the traveller the opportunity to love their country and learn more of this land.

In these remote places you can hear the whisper of the land, the song of the gorges and the babble of the mountain streams. It is like listening to the spirits of the land and the tales that they can tell are enchanting. You simply can’t find this stuff in the cities, the places where most tourists go and it is these things which make Australia the wonderful adventure it is.

These are the ancient tales of the land which I have tried to bring to my readers in The Dreaming Series and the upcoming series The Spirit Children. You can find out more information on my web page… or come and journey with me on Facebook as we travel around the country discovering all those hidden pockets of this wonderful land.

CoversTravel well everyone



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