Hot on the heals of our first multi week camping trip to outback NSW and beyond we were craving what is termed now as the Overlander way of escaping the daily grind. So in September of 2006 only a couple months since returning from the outback our feet were getting itchy to hit the back blocks in search of some more adventure. (Please excuse the quality of the photos in this post as we are going back some time and these were taken with an old camera so the quality is not the best). This would only be for a couple nights away due to that annoying thing called our “day jobs”. With the rodeo packed once again we headed out from our home base in the Blue Mountains and trundled north towards the timber town of Wauchope on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. We were hoping to complete a part of a drive out of a 4wd guide that was quickly becoming one of our travel bibles and one which we still use to this day on occasions.
Heading out of Wauchope we locked the rodeo into 4wd and took the beautiful and scenic drive through the heart of Werrikimbe National Park. Tall eucalypt forest dominates here and we were dwarfed as we negotiated the easy grade Racecourse Trail through the park making for camp at Mooraback Campground in the northwest of the park by late afternoon. With the setting sun the grassy plains surrounding the campground came alive with many kangaroos and wallabies coming in for their evening feed. It was a beautiful and peaceful spot for the night and we even had it to ourselves. Interestingly we have never returned here and it is high on our must return to list but weather or other factors have always impeded our plans thus far.
Next morning it was out of the park at its north western end then back into Wauchope via the Oxley Highway before striking south west staying in the ranges and winding our way to the impressive Ellenborough Falls on the Comboyne Plateau.
From here we ventured a little further west via Bulga and into the Bulga State Forest before picking up the main forest road and head south towards our camp for the night at Dingo Tops campground in Tapin Tops National Park. Prior to reaching the campground we take a short detour to Blue Knob Lookout and this has to be one of the best views in the area. Where the road ends at the lookout there are 360 degree views over the forested slopes and across to the coast. It is simply breathtaking and a definite worthwhile stop.
Dingo Tops campground is over bollards located just beside the forest road, so we set up camp right next to the bollards tucked back as far as we can. We take a short stroll through the thick rainforest, a marked walking track from the camping area and inspect historic logging relics on display nearby before settling down for the evening. Once again we have the place to ourselves. Early next morning, it is still dark and Chris is snoring away, Sandra is jolted awake by a loud noise and the rocking of the tent and car, taking a minute to realize that it was a logging truck thundering along the forest road that we were parked right beside. Who needs an alarm although Chris managed to sleep all the way through and has not heard the commotion yet, even though he begs to differ.
Our final day it was all too soon time to head for home and work out our next Weekend Getaway. After packing up camp we motored further south stopping along the descent out of the ranges to explore a long forgotten trestle bridge hidden deep in the gully along the roadside before exiting the forest into farmland and crossing the Manning River via a wooden bridge and arriving into the tiny hamlet of Mount George.
From here it was into Wingham (one of the many towns Sandra lived in as a child and we even managed to drive by her old house) then out to the highway at Taree making our way back to the Blue Mountains. These short weekend getaways would become a mainstay of our life over the many years to follow tiding us over for the longer jaunts during our holidays from our “day jobs”. Stay tuned for our next weekend getaway when we head a lot closer to home and delve into some fascinating history.