This was just a small getaway weekend with our friend Casey and his campervan. Casey likes to rock climb, and knew of a small campsite near a rock face just west of Nowra, NSW in the Jerrawangala National Park.
We left Canberra around 11am, and had a fairly uneventful trip to Nerriga for lunch. The only slow down was a terrified Honda driver that kept braking at very strange times and would not pull over to let the huge line of cars behind them overtake. The Nerriga pub does a good steak sandwich for cheap which hit the spot nicely. If you do go there, remember there’s a hidden beer garden out the back that’s not really apparent.
We headed back on the road towards Nowra after lunch, and just before Turpentine Road we turned off onto the ‘hidden’ path to the climbing area. A short dirt road trip later we were at the campsite Casey had found out about from his climbing friends, but there were already 3 cars there and set up for camping. We walked on the cliffs for a bit admiring the view, but no one wanted to drive the 30kms to the nearest ‘official’ campsite. We’d noticed a turnoff on this dirt road that appeared to drive a little ways east of our location, but it seemed a lot rougher than the track we’d just done. Keeping in mind Casey is driving a 400,000km Toyota TownAce with a low slung LPG tank. Not ideal for finding out of the way bush camping areas. So I offered to drive the Delica down the road to see if there’s another campsite and call if I found anything.
About a kilometer down the track, the road ended at a small roundabout that had obviously been used as a campsite before. That’s good enough for us. There’s some small rock ledges and obstacles getting there, but nothing too bad, so Casey brought his van through and we set up camp. We were only a few metres from the cliff face and the view was fantastic.
It was very windy that night and we were in a pretty open area. I’d brought a bag of wood as I don’t like using NP fallen branches, and we dug a hole in the sandy soil for a fire pit.
It very quickly got very cold, but we’d all brought enough layers (and alcohol for the non-pregnant ones) to keep warm. We had just bought a new camera (Olympus E-PL8 – those photos at the end of this post), so this was a good opportunity to test it out. The awning was set up for bit, but the wind picked up enough that I didn’t want to chance having it out.
Dinner that evening was courtesy of the Billy Boil thermal cooker. That morning, Rosie had cooked up a country-style chicken casserole and then we’d let it cook all day in the cooker while driving. Rosie’s sense of smell if very sensitive right now, so the cooker ended up in Casey’s van for the duration of the travel there.
Rosie went to bed around 10pm, with me and Casey stumbling to bed around 12 after thoroughly putting out the fire. We had all the doors and windows closed due to the wind, but got a good nights sleep. There was less condensation in the morning than we’ve seen on other nights, probably because the temperature wasn’t that low (4 degrees or thereabouts).
In the morning we packed up early and left our little campsite, heading into Nowra for some breakfast. A good brekkie at a place called Zest, then we parted ways with Casey and his little van to slowly head home. There was a quick stop at Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay first though. You can’t drive two hours to the coast without putting your feet in freezing cold water (apparently). We used the Wadean Road for a bit of dirt driving on the way back – it’s not too bad, seems to take about the same amount of time and most AWD cars could probably use it, but it breaks up the trip a bit and the views from the lookout a very good.
We got stuck behind yet another Honda driver slowing everyone down on the way back, this one worst than the guy the day before. Pies for lunch at Bungendore, then home to see our indifferent cat. All up, a good weekend away to recharge and refresh the batteries.
Just some photos from the new camera: