WOOLGOOLGAOFFROAD.....about me

I started Woolgoolga offroad back in the early nineties, after moving north of Coffs Harbour. Not only do love medium to hard days, l also love getting out and exploring our wonderful north coast with it's array of rainforest, long stretching beachs and our awesome views. Several times a year we venture afar for camping trips, and depending on our work schedules it determines on how far we go.

The best feature we have, here at Coffs Harbour, is that it is the closest spot on the east coast where the great dividing range meets the pacific ocean. So this means, we lock our hubs in when we turn off the highway, cant get better than that !

Over the last few years i have been lucky enough to have competed in various competitons, with various degrees of success. Travelled extensively in and around the north coast, west to the Olgas, The Flinders, Ayres Rock, Kings Canyon around the simpson desert and to the centre of Austraila.We have traversed through and around several deserts that include- The Simpson, Strezlecki, The Stony just to name a few. And of course I can't forget the people I have met, crossed paths with and the ones that have stayed lifelong friends - because without them it would not be the same. 

The idea of my blog is to highlight the travels where I go and what is happening in my 4wd and camping world.

I always hear people from our generation saying "Ahh, living the dream" when they are doing something out of the ordinary - for example: sipping cocktails in a spa at a fancy resort or perhaps they post "living the dream" as the caption beneath a photo of them moving into their new $500,000+ mansion-esque home they have just mortgaged their life away for. At first I was confused by how simple my ambitions were. All I wanted was to live in a caravan and be able to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors.

So for me, this became my simple dream. I find myself having those "Ahh living the dream" moments when I am sitting in a natural hot spring, kicking back in the bush exploring tracks, looking at the desert sky all drinking a beer, or maybe ten feet away from a crocodile inhabited river. Now all I need to do is to work out which way I shall turn at the roundabout at the end of the street.

Another passion of mine is photography, l have a host of albums on my Facebook page so jump across to my page and browse my photo albums of places where I have been, explored and discovered. We are lucky enough to live here on the Coffs Coast, so there is always plenty of places to get out to take advantage of any weather conditions that may arise. I will also be writing about personal experiences and more.

Or another alternative is to take time and check out this online publication, great for those soft roaders 
http://issuu.com/coffscoast/docs/coffscoasttouringtrailsfinalissuu

Or keep an eye out for my articles in the following
https://coastbeat.com.au
https://www.whichcar.com.au/4x4australia

And yes I know I post a lot of pics, but dont they say a picture tells a story ??
Anyone keen for a trip ?

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram too !!!
https://www.facebook.com/woolgoolgaoffroad

https://www.instagram.com/woolgoolgaoffroad/

Kev
woopi4x4@bigpond.net.au









GLENREAGH MOUNTAIN RAILWAY TUNNELS

I often get asked just how to get to the tunnels behind Glenreagh-well I just want to put it out there for every one to find and see. It is an adventure just getting there, all on designated state forest trails. There are big ruts, rocks and just recently some nonghead has dangerously dropped a tree across the track. BUT- there is now a side track around it.

                                 Should be pretty easy to follow.


An arial shot of the tunnels cleaned up - all approved by GMR.


A snapshot of the sidings and other poi.


Engine 1919 between the two tunnels. Even today you can still find the stockpile of steel plates. pins, old fire place and other steel components. We have cleared a track between the two tunnels for access and to see the stockpile.





LIFESTYLE BREAKAWAY ULTRA

Ever seen a Lifestyle Ultra camper travel behind a 4wd ?
Here's a clip we recently shot down at point Plommer, on the NSW mid north coast. 






WUNGLEBUNG - Possum Hollow campsite.

Welcome to Possum Hollow - Wunglebung, on the banks of the Timbara River. With 5 campsites to chose from we were lucky enough to of got Possum Hollow last week. Its pretty amazing when you have wild Platypus playing in the river right in front of you everyday, Possums come out at night ( we named one Skanky Tail and the Junior ), many many birds, speculator views of the mountains in front and behind us. Its just another perfect spot on Wunglebungs property. And dont worry if it's dry- the scenery is still just as amazing as well as the ambience of the property. Want more info ?... contact the beautiful Katrina at Wunglebung on FB and enjoy your time out.

You can thank me later !!

https://youcamp.com/view/wunglebung

#tenterfield #wunglebung #timbarariver Wunglebung Sally Turner​ #lifestylecampertrailers Lifestyle Camper Trailers​ #possum #dark #platypus #roothy Roothy​  4X4 Australia​  BCF - Boating, Camping, Fishing​













THE ROCKY RIVER ROAD - TENTERFIELD

The Rocky River trip starts just south of the heart of town as you wander down the aptly named Scrub Road then onto Billirimba Road. Keep an eye out for abandon farms and transport machinery as they sit quietly in the paddocks from days gone by. With long straight tree lined sections of dirt you can gaze across the paddocks with views towards the mountains in the distance, views to die for in every direction. 


With Quilgeran Pinnacle to your right and Black Mountain to your left you feel pretty small as you follow the road as it snakes through the terrain. Soon you pass through the locality of Steinbrook, not much anymore, just a big kink in the road with several 90 degree corners and the old hall. From here on you pass through private stations, breeding primality cattle in the valleys. Old sheds, massive trees, and cattle yards - just everything seems to look old and plenty of opportunities for photo stops. 35km along, Billirimba Road winds its way down to the Timbarra River and the intersection of Upper Rocky River Road to your right. The Rocky River road narrows down as it passes between huge boulders that line the road. This was once the main thoroughfare between Tenterfield and Drake then onto Grafton 100 years ago. The road workers simply could not move these granite boulders that in some case are as large as a bus so they simply built the road around them.


As the road follows the Timbarra river the drop-offs are steep where you can see massive pools of water and where the rocks get moved after every big flood, there’s pockets of dry rainforest, old sheds in the hills and then around the next corner acres of tree felled paddocks where the cattle roam freely across and along the road. After a while farm houses are road side so lookout for dogs that may shoot out and slow up as it keeps the dust down. An added bonus when travelling here is the amount of birdlife you may see beside the river- from Shags, Kingfishers and the common old crow it’s good for the kids for a bit of spot the bird game. The roads out here are typical of the old Cobb & Co run roads, as they rise, fall then twist its way over the terrain- this was to keep the stage coach fairly level and flat for those on board. 


There are areas along here beside the river where camping is NOT allowed and are sign posted for all to see, but at the 25 km mark a huge grassed area with tracks leading down to the Timbarra are welcoming sites wether for camping or a cuppa. Stopping under the old Casuarina Trees is pretty special here as the water flows past. Don't forget to throw a rod in and either team it up with some old meat for a chance to snag a freshwater Yabby or a Fork Tail Catfish for a feed. 
There’s no toilets here and no bins. Night time brings out Owls, little squeaking Bats, frogs start crocking and if you sit still long enough and scan the grounds with a torch you may see possums. If you are a keen punter and the weather is right, swimming in the Timbarra River is pure bliss where clean fresh water that has filtered through granite particles definatly leaves you feeling relaxed and clean. Wether staying for an hour or a night have a scout around for any rubbish that may have been left behind, this keeps the area pristine and makes for a happy land owner. 

There is nothing too difficult about this road that a proper 4wd can undertake, for added safety why not choose 4wd high- this will give you some added traction on these granite based roads that can be slippery and the road surface can catch you out if find yourself trying to avoid another 4wd that suddenly appears. Soon the cleared country farmlands turn to a thicker growth as you veer away from the river and into the hills. 

Tall timber sections covered with vines and small farms led the way as the elevation will soon rise, this is where the road changes into Long Gully Road and from dirt to tar. It gets steep as it enters Girard State Forest and the terrain gets a bit more serious as you climb to near 1000 metres above sea level in a few kilometres. 

Being on the southern side of this range, the rainforest is stunning and is generally a bit cooler than the flats below. With tall cool climate ferns, long trunked Bangalow palms and coachwood tree’s it’s a totally different eco system to what you have just left behind. Even the wildlife has changed to the sounds of Whip-birds, frisky Paddy Melon wallabies and even shy Lyre Birds that may dart across the road.

You know when your getting to the top as there are large stands of scrubby timber - Iron Bark, Black Butt and Scribbly Gum plus dozens of Grass-trees that seem to dance in the wind as you zoom past. Girard State Forest soon gives way to farms and dodgy looking houses and eventually you'll come to the Bruxner Highway which runs between the coast and back up to the tablelands past Tenterfield. 








GLENREAGH TUNNELS

Get asked a lot about the Glenreagh Mountain rail tunnels. While the tunnels are a fantastic explore- I think its all about the adventure getting there 

Turn it up and check it out !!!!





GUNDABOOKA

For many trips I’ve always bypassed places like Bourke, just to get off the tar and to keep heading west. But the phrase “the back of Bourke” got me thinking about this area. Bourke, located 800 km north west of Sydney has a long tradition with white man history dating back to the early 1800s, although the traditional owners of this land ( the Ngemba and Paakandji people ) have called this place home for hundreds of years. Charles Sturt was the first white man to pass through the area in 1828, but it wasn't until explorer and surveyor Thomas Mitchell who began the first settlement on the banks of the Darling River. The river was used as a transport system for various types of freight and soon began to boom. A picturesque town where you can visit galleries, exhibition centres or even cruise the Darling River on a traditional steamboat is a great eyeopener but we were interested in more. 


50 km south of Bourke, Gundabooka National Park covers 64,000 hectares and is a hidden gem that is worth spending a few days exploring or even a simple day trip from Bourke. There are two ways of getting to Gundabooka, either off Kidman Way ( Bourke to Cobar Road ) or along the Bourke to Louth Road which runs beside the Darling River. 

We decided to head down the Kidman Way to the parks well sign posted entry. As soon as you cross into the park, it felt like the real outback with the typical red outback roads, stunning white gums towering over the mulga bush. Just inside the park, a turn off information bay provides all relevant information on what to see and do, where to camp, dangers and map information. It is suggested here that you do drop your tyre pressures as the road in has long stretches of sand and a few rocky sections. 

Our designated camp for several nights was Dry Tank camp ground, located 20 km deep within Gundabooka. It’s not the only camp within the park as Yanda campground is located across the other side beside the Darling River, but we wanted to be in the heart of Gundabooka. Wasn't long before we found the turn into Dry Tank and were pleasantly surprised with the layout. Parking for day-trippers and those wanting to start here for the walking trails, private areas for camper trailers and tents hidden in the mulga, a large open area for group camping with several picnic tables with a nearby toilet. 




Apart from Dry Tank campground being a great place to settle, it’s also the start of several walking trails. The most popular one is Little Mountain Walking Track. This 5 km trail meanders through thick Mulga and outback Grevillea plants that if your lucky they may have a little colour on them. We were lucky enough to see large mounds that are home to the Mulga Ant. These large black ants are Omnivores which eat any dead matter. Life is tough out here. 



Wandering along the trail we noticed a rise in the surrounding landscape which gave us glimpses of Mount Gundabooka in the distance. At the end of the designated walk there is a great viewing platform allowing for uninterrupted views across the plain towards the mountain, and surprisingly we could get phone reception. Mount Gundabooka rises 500 metres above sea level and has been formed from millions of years of constant weathering from the winds and rain. For those keen, an informal trail leads you to the base of the mountain, but you need to be well prepared and experienced for this hike. 

We were hoping to explore the Mulgowan or Yappa Aboriginal rock art and walking trail which starts near the turn into Dry Tank. Unfortunately on the days that we were there NPWS were conducting pest control so the walk was closed. Fires are permitted within the park so you need to bring your own timber. It’s a great place sitting beside the fire in Gundabooka as the Mulga scrub seems to go quiet and has a relaxed feel to it. The stars are as bright as some city lights and it makes for a great ambience. 



Our next mission was to head up the road to the Bennett’s Gorge area. A 10 km drive heading west from camp soon saw us turning left into Corella Tank Road. With a 2 km drive in towards the looming base of Mount Gundabooka the views towards the plateau is nothing short of spectacular. While NPWS class Bennett’s as just a picnic area there is plenty of room to setup here for several days to explore this area of the park. Plenty of shade, toilets, amazing views and a little phone reception it’s a near perfect spot. From the car park starts the Valley of the Eagles walk. This is an easy 1 km stroll to the base of the mountain where you can sit and take in the amazing views of Mount Gundabooka. Detailed information boards explain the history of the area, point out gorges and highlights on the mountain and explain how the resident Eagles use the warm air currents to glide around looking for prey. The walk takes around 30 minutes but we spent 2 hours here just admiring the views of the surrounding landscape. I like Gundabooka. Heading out the other side its the same sandy then rocky stretches of road and its not long before you hit the Bourke Louth Road. 






WUNGLEBUNG

I could start this by saying, “Far far away, or maybe, up in thar hills there is some great camping - but I won’t, because camping at Wunglebung is by appointment only and when the owners Katrina and Stu meet you at their ‘office’ you can see why they keep it so private. 

It’s not often that you enter a property’s driveway across a river but once you cross to the other side it’s a beautiful place. Campsites are limited along the Timbara River to keep the place private, clean and manageable.

After your shown to your exclusive camp the rest is up to you wether you want to relax, kayak ( that are supplied ) or explore the hills. Kat is happy to give you a rundown on the history of the station, advice on the drive up the valley or heads up on the 4wd tracks in the hills. This 2000 acre working cattle station has a serene feel to it and that’s the way they want it kept. There’s no hooning, no mad scrabbling off-roading, shooting, motorbikes or quads- it’s a peaceful place. 

It’s a bit hard to relax when you can swim, kayak or go platypus stalking, then there’s wandering around the old yards, relics and remains of the original homestead. Wunglebung is a photographers paradise. The kids will love the unique showers in horse floats and the tin dunny’s on the property. The kids can take their bikes and go crazy - BUT there’s no fishing as the Platypus and Eastern Cod are protected and stock levels are increasing which means Wunglebung is a safe and healthy haven for them. 

4wd exploring is possible up the valley towards Washpool NP. Easy station roads that leads you for an hour up into the gorge country and crossing the upper reaches of the Timbarra River into more timbered areas and then eventually to a gate where the Bi-centennial trail continues south. If your keen for a little more Kat or Stu can point you into the hills where you can tackle Billyrimba Trail in the nearby NP. Billyrimba is suited to high clearance 4wds as it twists and winds its way to nearly 700 meters asl. Midway along there are a handful of mines and some mining gear from the bygone days and the views from here are to die for. Looking across to the far plateaus, down into the valleys trying to work out what and where things are- it’s pretty spectacular. 

It’s hard to jot down the great things or experience that come from Wunglebung. For us it started with the drive when we left Tenterfield, the magic of the place to even now wanting to go back for more. There’s no phone reception, plenty of peaceful spots, has a billion star rating and very very affordable. If Wunglebung was looking for shareholders I know I would be one. 


The only way I can end this is by saying  - We will be back !!











WINTER CAMPING

I know a lot of my friends hibernate in winter but not me - for it’s the perfect time to go camping and if you think about it may work for you too. There’s rewards waiting when the temperature drops and it also has benefits for your mind and body. Don't be deterred when the temperature drops towards the zero mark, get out there, explore and be a winter camper. 



1…There’s less people. It sounds silly but most of my friends ( and probably yours ) take their annual leave around summer, battle with the heat, the crowds and then there’s the exorbitant cost of summer destinations. But just think, head away in winter to campgrounds with less if any people, you’ll have first dibs on showers, bbqs and the communal toilets wont be overflowing. 

2… Campfires. I mean who has a blazing fire in summer ?. At least in winter you can rug up and as you feel the cool winter air settle in for the night maybe just shuffle your camp chair little closer to the fire, and with the right clothing you’ll be as snug as a bug toasting marshmallows on a stick. A little tip here, go to bed warm and you’ll be toasty all night. Simple things like wear sox and a beanie to bed or sneak a hot water bottle into your sleeping bag.

3… It’s good for the senses.  With cool days and cooler nights nature tends to smell and look better in winter. Wildflowers stand out against dry gums, water in streams and rivers tends to be clearer and there’s less pollution in the air which means you can see better from high vantage points. Use winter to your advantage.


4… A chance to get new gear. It’s nice having the right gear to go away and to be comfy so this is the perfect chance to upgrade. Don't skimp on quality, ask your friends what they recommend, pickup a dedicated camping magazine, check out your local camping store or even head to the net where you’ll find a host of camping blog sites. 







KWIAMBAL NP. NSW

Ever heard of Kwiambal NP ? well it’s 90 km North of Inverell ( via Ashford, northern NSW ) and it’s ruggered, remote yet holds cultural and historic heritage.



Camp options are an easy and scenic 8km drive further along Limestone Caves Road and left into Falls Road. Roads out here are pretty easy to drive with a good base, plenty to see with a few shambled houses and yards along the way for photo opportunities. It’s harsh country out here but the spectacle of seeing a few farms that still work the land had us guessing and just how isolated and remote the area was. Most of the vegetation is dominated by the Cypress Pine, estimates say that Kwiambal contains 15% of the dry rainforest left in NSW.

Most people head to Lemon Tree Flat campground where you can camp without fuss down beside the Severn River. There’s no booking sites and with around 10 acres of camping a lot of other campers can fit in so don't expect a sleep in during holiday or peak time. If this is your thing it’s a great base where there are NPWS walking tracks up the river to the junction of the Macintyre and Severn and with water holes along the way it’s a pretty cool way to spend a few hours exploring. Maybe head down on the Dungeon walk especially after heavy rain where the river water churns around the ancient rocks causing all sorts of noise and swirling action. From camp it’s a 1.5km walk but well worth it. With a pay station, pit toilets, bbqs and a few tables - Lemon Tree campgrounds may appeal to some. 



We got heads up of a brand new camp site just 4 km away called Kookabitta Camping area. Still located on the Severn River, Kookabitta is more for walk in campers with tents or swags but also has 6 bollarded sites for camper trailers. This is becoming pretty typical in National Parks, but the great thing here is that with only a limited number of trailer sites, it’s deadset peaceful and has all new glam features like gas bbqs, clean toilets, fire pits with their own table and chairs, great river access and did I mention it’s quiet ?. You can kayak up and down the river in tranquil pools where Kingfishers sit quietly in the river gums watching you go past, Wallabies and Kangaroo’s stand up with twitching ears and the ever noisy Corella’s and Galah’s can spoil the serenity as they echo down the valley. At either camp just be wary of wearing those holiday thongs that we all seem to wear, this is shoe country as we found out the first 5 minutes of stopping. The Kwiambal Thorn !!. Bloody sharp, needle like thorns. They sting like a hypodermic needle and leaves you in pain for an hour. 



Another attraction in Kwiambal is Macintyre Falls and the surrounding walks. From either camp it’s a 5 min drive to the end of Falls Road where you'll find a selection of information boards, bbq shelters and two viewing platforms to the massive granite gorges below with sign posted walks. A popular walk after looking down to the falls is to Macintyre Falls itself down the 600 metre trail that winds its way to  the bottom, and it’s not till you get down here that you can see and feel the scale of the gorge when you look back up. Can only imagine during peak wet times when Macintyre Falls flows with rage into the pool below what a sight it would be. The massive granite boulder seem to have scars on them from being smashed and pummelled from other rocks as they get pushed and shoved down stream. 


The second viewing platform faces more downstream where you get a good sense of just how ruggered the area is. If your fit you can tackle the track down to The Beach and to Slippery Rock. This walking track is hard and rough where there are short steep sections down to the river below, but it’s worth the effort for the magnitude of the gorge and just what water can do over millions of years. Making the effort in the warmer months can be rewarded with secluded swims in many of the water holes and by sitting under the cascades. It’s pretty special down in the base of the river, clambering over sheets of granite not knowing what’s around the next corner or over the next rock. Even the rock formations seemed to look down at you in a peculiar way, or maybe it was just the heat that was getting to us. We lost count of the birds, fish, turtles, wallabies we saw and just maybe a platypus on a quiet morning at camp. Kwiambal is an isolated park with minimal facilities but for the more adventurous it’s pretty darn good.