Time to Reminisce 11 – Weekend Escape, Central West NSW

Welcome to our next instalment of Time to Reminisce where we will take a trip back down memory lane for a weekend escape to an area that is now in our own backyard, the Central Tablelands of NSW. Kicking off our first short escape we pointed the Rodeo west from our Blue Mountains base with the intent to explore the site of Australia’s first payable gold discovery back in the mid 1800s. topping in the city of Orange for some last minute supplies we headed out of town north east just as the heavens opened. The weather had been looking threatening all morning, however this was not to deter our adventure. We decided to approach Ophir from the north going via Mullion Range, a quaint reserve along the way.

Morning tea at Mullion Range Picnic Area

Along the way we stumbled across a sign to a waterfall and knowing we just had to investigate and after a short bush walk discovered the beautiful “The Falls Waterfall”, luckily there had been localised rain recently adding to this picturesque site.

“The Falls” Waterfall

After stretching the legs it was time to head to Ophir Reserve. A short drive later we arrived at the causeway crossing of Summerhill Creek. The recent rainfall may have been ideal for waterfall viewing however it was not so good for our hopes of a causeway crossing to the main picnic and camping area here at Ophir.

Our hopes of crossing the causeway to Ophir Reserve were dashed
At least we could view the historic relics from afar

We decided to explore the northern side of the reserve with a couple historic markers before heading off to discover the historic cemetery with many tales of hope and desperation from the early Gold Rush days.

Abandoning our hope of camping at Ophir for the night as we had originally planned we opted for some accommodation just up the road at a cabin on a property. Dry and warm overnight we had hatched a new plan for our weekend escape and decided to head cross country in hope of better weather aiming for another spot that we had never been to before. About an hour north of Mudgee we turned off the main road and began our climb up the plateau towards Coolah Tops National Park, an oasis in these parts. With the recent rain the clay based road made fro some interesting driving until we entered the National Park and into another world. With only a night up here we had to make use of our short time with the first port of call being a waterfall, and we certainly were not disappointed.

Beautiful Norfolk Falls

Next up we discovered a rustic mountain hut that incidentally can be hired out for accommodation.

Rustic Brackens Hut

Exploring more of the park over the afternoon we were astounded by the beauty and diversity on offer here and cemented in our minds that we had made the right decision to head here for our weekend at Coolah Tops. There was another waterfall to discover as well as a stroll through massive ancient grass trees before finding our camp for the night at one of several campgrounds.

Top of Bald Hill Creek Falls
Bald Hill Creek Falls
Strolling along the Grasstree Walk
Our camp for the night at The Barracks Campground

An early morning camp visitor

Packing up camp the next morning it was time to do a bit more exploring of this incredible park before heading for home. Being on top of a plateau there is no shortage of lookouts to take in the magnificent vistas of the surrounding countryside from.

Taking in views from Bundella Lookout
More views from Pinnacle Lookout

Following the main road through the park along the ridge line we eventually end up at Breeza Lookout with even more panoramic views.

Breeza Lookout at the end of the ridge drive

Backtracking we find another hidden gem up here with the rustic no frills Cattle Creek Hut just off the main route.

Cattle Creek Hut

Right near Cattle Creek Hut it was time again to stretch the legs and explore the Snow Gum Walk meandering through these enormous gentle giants of the forest.

Meandering through the Gentle Giants
Exploring the Snow Gum Walk
The main track through Coolah Tops is easy going

Soon enough it was time to say goodbye to this magical wonderland of Coolah Tops and start making our way back towards home but with one last detour to take in the fascinating history and stunning scenery of Hill End and surrounds. It could be said that we loved this area that much from this early trip that we would eventually call it home.

Mining Relics at Hill End Historic Site
Many of these locals can be found in these hills
An historic abandoned mine at Hill End
Many of the original buildings can still be found from the Gold Rush Days at Hill End
Afternoon cuppa break at Beaufoy Merlin Lookout
Views over Hill End from Bald Hill Lookout

After taking in the views from a couple lookouts it was all too soon time to heads back to our base in the Blue Mountains vowing to return, little did we know we would soon enough be call this wonderful region home. This was one of our first trips to this beautiful region that we now call home and to say that it sparked our interest in the area would be an understatement.

Join us next time on our Time to Reminsce series as we head off for another weekend jaunt exploring more of this beautiful region.

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