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‘bungles to Brissie – #1 – Home to Tooraweenah

After a long day at work we finally got everything sorted including a last minute tyre pressure difference on the trailer and we were on the road headed to Cassilis for tonight with our first main destination being Tooraweenah for the Easter Weekend.

Cassilis is a little town just to the west of Merriwa on the eastern edge of the Central West of NSW. Located just off the Golden Highway and is a town we often go through or past usually in search of canola/sunflowers/wheat or on our way to Coolah Tops NP. It’s not a place we usually stop at, so it was nice to be stopping this time even if it was in the dark.

Cassilis Bowling Club

We arrived at the Bowling Club in Cassilis just before 10pm, where you can camp for $15 a night at the back of the bowling green. Showers and toilets are pretty new and are nice and clean.

We popped the roof and were inside drinking a nice coldie by 10.15pm with our camping buddies for the weekend – Trev, Janelle, Laurence, Linda, David (Pop) and the 3 kids, Abi, Jade and Alani – obviously the kids were tucked up in bed and Nelly had taken one for the team and was looking after them, or maybe she was just as tucked up in bed as the kids were!

The cold beers were going down a little to nicely so we pulled the pin and headed to bed.

Group selfie game needs a lot of improvement!

The night was a beautiful 16 degrees so great weather for sleeping.

The crew were up early whilst I snoozed for a little bit longer, after a bit of a big week.

The campground was quite busy
Looking back to the bowlo
Um Trev !
Laurence and Linda’s van
Charlie and Leeroy

Given we hadn’t unhitched last night, we were ready and on the move before 9.30am and making tracks for Tooraweenah just outside the Warrumbungles NP.

We made a pit stop for fuel and the bakery at Dunedoo.

Thumbs up to the pies and coffee

Tooraweenah

We arrived at our destination – Tooraweenah Caravan Park – for the long weekend at about 1pm. Tooraweenah is a little village off the Newell Hwy about 30 mins outside the Warrumbungles NP and about 40 odd kms to the eastish of Gilgandra. It’s a pretty small village with the main hwy going through it, a Main Street with a few off shoots and that’s about it. Apparently the population is about 240 but I’m assuming this includes the surrounding properties as well.

The campground for the weekend.            📷 Linda Wilson

Not long after we had set up camp, the park manager came around handing out scones with cream and jam to everyone including a GF one for me – Score!

How good is this!

Happy Hour started not too long after.

Yep i think we’ve settled in okay
Chasing shade between the vans

We had a late afternoon swim at the park pool and headed back to the vans to get ready for dinner, when we were alerted to a small issue with Charlie.

hard at work or just confused!
So where does this one go!

Even looks like we know what we are doing

Good Friday at the Pub

With the spare securely on Charlie we headed to the pub for Good Friday dinner and drinks.

We honestly didn’t scare everyone away. The pub was actually packed, we may have just stayed till they booted us 😂             📷 Jade Wilson
The long walk home
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Cubbyhouse Christening

Remember the crew from a few weeks back at Camp on Allyn? Well one of the tenters decided to upgrade and got themselves a little Avan Camper, so we decided to stay close to home and christen the “cubbyhouse”.

We made a quick getaway after finishing work, getting to the park – Blacksmiths Beachside Holiday Park – just before the office closed to pick up our gate codes and keys.

We hadn’t long pulled in before the others arrived and we got everyone set up.

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Our set up in the unpowered area
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The Cubbyhouse

Before settling in for the night.

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Beer, Wine, Cheese – yep we’re settled in okay.

We awoke the next morning to a beautiful day and after an easy cookup for breaky under the awesome covered BBQ area before hitching up the pups and heading to the beach to cool off. The water was magic!

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Blacksmiths Beach
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Incoming Skydiver

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It took us a little bit of walking and scouting but we found a spot for the pups to get onto the beach and into the water – they loved it.

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Flo being Flo!
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Mr Brian.

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Playing around with the camera on the phone – not too bad

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There were quite a few of these guys on the edge of the beach thankfully didnt see any in the water.

We had a lovely weekend relaxing so much so i don’t think we took any other pictures LOL.

If you’re looking for a park around the Newcastle/Lake Macquarie area this is a fabulous little park, facilities are great and obviously there is a doggy option – just bring the aeroguard the sand-flies were pretty ferocious on the Saturday night.

 

 

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The Tops – Day 2

The cockatoo’s ensured we didn’t sleep in too long, but a bit longer than some of our camp mates who came in last night and were done bright and early this morning, leaving the campsite all to ourselves again.

Breeza Lookout

After breaky, we headed for the track which leads to Breeza lookout. We haven’t ventured to this end of the park before. The road is a dry weather track, and given the total fire ban in place I was pretty surprised at just how wet the track was one we passed over the Great Dividing Range. It’s about 30km and took us about an hour going pretty cruisey to get to the lookout.

It was also pretty hazy from the smoke over this side, but the view is still pretty nice. About a third, maybe halfway along the way along the track you make your way over the Great Dividing Range and out of the Warrumbungles Ranges into the Liverpool Ranges.

As we usually do we forgot to hook the GoPro up before we headed off so for the last bit of the track we stuck my phone up in the bracket to capture a bit of the trail, unfortunately we remembered after the mud 🙁 next time I’ll try to remember in the mud 😊

By the time we had traversed the track back again Charlie was looking a little dirty.

We stopped at Bald Hills Falls, which has some very cool vertical column geological structures, however the waterfall wasn’t falling today.

From the falls we headed to Brackens Hut, where the afternoon storm was starting to brew a little bit earlier than usual.

These pretty little flowers can be found all around the hut.

So can these but not sure I’d call them pretty!

Last time we were up here Coxs Creek Campground was closed due to storm damage, so had a little look see at it before heading back to Bundella Lookout.

And a short stroll out to the Pinnacles Lookout. I considered throwing the drone up here but seriously it’s already pretty awesome!

For those playing along – yep old mate is still camped in the no camp area at the lookout 🤔🙄 We headed back to camp for a late lunch, and with the campsite all to ourselves I took the drone for a fly.

Barracks Campground

How civilised are we! We even showed this weekend – shower tent and all!

Grass Trees Walk

After an early rain sprinkle we headed back to the grass trees with the drone.

OMG Drone Selfies!!!! How cool are these trees!

No trees, drones or humans were injured in the making of this, and yes I still have a way to go before losing my L Plates 😂

As we’re sitting back taking in an afternoon beveridge, that sound you don’t want to hearing – a tree cracking and falling. I managed to see where this one was as it was across the road, so we figured we’d go look see. This is why we don’t camp under trees, even when they aren’t dead they crack and fall.

The small watering hole just below camp.

We got the expected afternoon storm before dinner which didn’t eventuate into much and we able to enjoy a nice relaxing evening.

We woke to the sound of rain in the roof, which is usually very pleasant, but not on pack up day. So after a slow start to the morning we started the pack up and only just in time too. As we came out of the campground, and out onto the main road, the heavens opened and absolutely bucketed down, so it was definitely time to set the GPS for home after another super relaxing weekend at Coolah 👍👍

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The Tops – Day 1

With an early finish from work, we loaded the last minute items into the car and trailer and hit the road for a weekend of camping. With a bit of traffic and a few trucks we were chasing the last remaining light pretty hard by the time we arrived at Coolah Tops National Park.

Night time arrival

Having been here before is a big bonus so we knew exactly where we wanted to go and even which site we wanted. We arrived at the campground just after dark and headed to our spot, probably one of best 3 sites at this campground – level, good solar and no big arse gum trees hanging over your head – unfortunately someone else was already in a spot near it, which obviously you want to avoid where possible.

Everyone loves their space, but also I wasn’t going to camp under the dry, tall gum trees that hang over the other sites. The third site is a bitch to manoeuvre into which didn’t appeal in the dark. So we jumped out to check the site out just in case there weren’t logs etc on it and old mate next door, well he gets up off his chair comes storming over and in broken English tells us to go camping somewhere else, with arms and hands waving everywhere.

At first I’m like whoa this dudes crazy then after a few seconds I’m like nope he’s just an entitled old prick who wants the whole campground to himself. So as he’s still waving and yelling at us, we reverse onto our site trying to work out if we should be worried or laughing.

We probably haven’t even got the top popped before the rain starts. Lol lol lol the Rainmakers are at it again.

The park is under a very unusual Fire Ban due to the dryness – not tonight people not tonight! So snacks for dinner and a lightning show it was, with old mate finally succumbing to the rain and venturing into his van and off went the music that had kept increasing in volume, shame it was country music which we like 😂😂😂

A new day

An early night with the sound of rain on the roof and bit of grumbling across the sky and we woke up to blue skies and old mate is hitching up. What the hell! No idea if they were only planning to stay one night or literally weren’t staying because someone else had the audacity to camp here too.

With old mate gone we got up and got to work putting the awning up and leveling the van.

A trip out to the lookout had us in stitches as we come around the bend to see old mate pulled up under the trees – almost went over and told him its a day use area only and camping isn’t allowed but thought better of it 😂😂

It’s quite a spectacular view from Bundella.

We came through quite a bit of smoke last night so I was surprised just how far we could see today.

We were pretty hungry by this point given we hadn’t had dinner and it was mid morning, so we headed back to camp for a good old brunch fry up 🐷 🐣 🐮.

It’s a hard life this camping business!

Actually some days I think it is for Tash, I’m not sure i know how to sit and do nothing. So I’m always fiddling with something, looking at something, standing, sitting.. Yeah you get the picture!

Drone Play

I got myself a small drone before Christmas and have had endless problems getting it to connect, but I think I’ve finally figured out the sequence, and got it up today without any swearing in about 2 minutes flat. A view of our camp from up high.

These gorgeous flowers were growing along one of the paths around camp. There must be thousands of these guys up here, the noise is sometimes almost unbearable, especially at 7am!

Grass Trees

With the skies starting to grumble to again and boredom getting the better of me, we took the short walk from camp to the Grove of grass trees. Even got the drone up a second time, in amongst the grass trees – little bit scary really haven’t mastered the whole steering aspect yet.

It’s so dry up and not hard to see why the fire ban is in place. The predicted 5pm storm rolled on through and we got a little more rain, at least the canvas is getting a free clean judging by the red water collecting in the buckets. Showers, dinner and a somewhat earlier night finished off a pretty decent day.

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A weekend camping at Camp on Allyn, Gresford.

A few weeks back we caught up with some mates who had found their sanity for a short moment and crossed the border back into NSW and headed south for a few days respite and catch ups. We caught up with them at the pub, and walked to in a “are ya coming camping” conversation. Quick check of the diary and we were in. Where are we going probably should have been asked before the diary check but i trusted a few of the drinkers enough to not be overly concerned.

So a few weeks on from that conversation at the pub, we were hooked up and ready to roll out on a Friday afternoon for a few nights camping. A combination of seasoned campers and well lets say not so seasoned! But ya gotta start somewhere.

We were headed about an hour inland to the little rural village of Gresford in the Hunter Valley, to a reasonably new little campground – Campground on Allyn, so named for the Allyn River which runs along its boundary.

The Campground

The owners Robyn and Tom, have recently opened up part of their working cattle farm as a campground with 8 powered sites and about 25 unpowered sites (all very generous in size and well spaced from each other). They are wonderful people intent on ensuring everyone enjoys their time. There are a couple of showers and toilets with a few more toilets under construction.

A wet weather retreat is a welcome retreat from rain and sun and a great space for socialising – if you want too. The river is a short walk from the sites and there is a good little hole to cool off in, even with the water on the lower side. Thy provide fire pits, and have also installed a dump point and provide recycling facilities on arrival. There’s not much you’ll want for at this place (except maybe aircon in 40+ degrees 🙂  ) Bookings are required and inspections can be arranged.

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Amenities block and recycling station

Even though we were only there for two nights, it was expected to quite hot on Saturday, so we took the time to put the full awning up and whilst the wind wasn’t too bad when we arrived, we decided (for whatever reason) to rope and pole the entire awning. Saturday morning will prove this is to be very prudent!

Our little camp included the Van, two tents and our Leeroy, with a motorhome joining us on Saturday night. The sites are super spacious and had a couple of the powered sites to keeping everyone going.

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Leeroy keeping watch over the riff raff in front.
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Leeroy all set up

With all the tents and vans set up we wandered down to the river to cool off our feet for a little while.

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So peaceful

As we headed back to camp from the river, sunset was starting to put on a show.

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Sunset over the camp, looking back to the main road and amenities block
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Gorgeous sunset

Just before Christmas i decided to buy myself a little drone so that we could capture some of the wonderful places we visit in a different way. I purchased the DJI Spark and I’ve got to say I’ve more trouble then joy with it, and this weekend was no different. After much stuffing about and sunset almost disappearing completely i finally manged to get it up in the air – yay!

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Our little group

Clear skies were all i needed to set up the camera and try for another star trail.

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1hr 20 mins of star trail beauty

The wind arrived

Saturday we woke early, way too early for a Saturday and a Saturday camping to boot! We woke to crazy, blustering, hot winds. It wasn’t too long before one of the tents sustained wind damaged (which Mr Caravan successfully fixed) and by mid afternoon we sacrificed the second tent to the ground to ensure it survived the afternoon.

We also rolled in the van awning to ensure the wind didn’t damage it which meant moving happy hour under Leeroy, not quite as spacious but shady all the same.

Sacrificial laying down of the tents

Early evening the much awaited southerly change had arrived with gusto, and the temperature dropped quite significantly as did the winds. With the southerly also came the smoke haze from the large bush fire burning at Tomago and another gorgeous sunset.

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Time to stand the tents back up
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Oops not sure that pole is supposed to bend like that!
From 43 degrees to 23 degrees! Hoodies? Yeah i dunno about that LOL
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Happy Hour in full swing
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Sunset, Smoke haze, and camp almost back to normal.

We had a great night sitting around shooting the breeze, cooking a bbq storm and enjoying the cooler temperatures and looking forward to a good night sleep.

Unfortunately we awoke to more wind on Sunday morning and only slightly later than Saturday. Although it was much cooler than Saturday, after a hearty fry up breakfast we all opted to pack up and head for home, hoping the wind was not a bad closer to the coast – it wasn’t!

Thanks for an awesome weekend crew!