Being British, it seems like the right thing to be making the most of the outdoors during the months of June to September. Although in reality, these months are the depth of the harsh Australian Winter. We decided to not break with tradition, brave the sometimes near single digit temperatures and head on some camping trips anyway!
The first trip we made around this time of year was to Coonabarabran a town 450km north east of Sydney, known for the nearby Warrumbungle National Park where we camped over the June long bank holiday weekend. This area of New South Wales is famous for it’s Siding Spring Observatory, one of Australia’s foremost astronomical observatories. The area has little to no light pollution to disturb astronomical viewing, in 2016 it was declared as Australia’s first International Dark Sky Park. It wasn’t perfect star gazing conditions as there was a small moon but we still saw loads of stars. One night we went to an observatory set up in someone’s front garden, we got to see the moon close up and saturn’s rings umongst others. During the day we went on a 13km hike in the Warrumbungle National Park, there were a lot of steps up to the summit of Grand High Tops but the view and the accomplishment was worth it.
In August we decided to make the most of another long weekend to get out of the city for a few days, but this time we decided to head South to Jervis Bay. Although it is located on the South East New South Wales coast a few hours drive South of Sydney, it is in fact part of the Australian Capital Territory. It serves as the seaport to the federal capital of Canberra, although is perhaps better known as a popular weekend getaway destination from Sydney. In the summer months it can be difficult to find somewhere to stay in the area due to it’s popularity, so it was actually pleasant to visit at a time when we could fully enjoy the beautiful Booderee National Park when it was relatively quiet. We stayed at Green Patch campground within the National Park itself, and were blown away with the amount of wildlife we were surrounded by. Actually, it was possibly a little too much wildlife, in the case of a Kookaburra who enjoyed a sausage that we had just cooked for breakfast!
In September we headed to the Hunter Valley for the weekend looking to make the most of a sunny weekend and visit a few vineyards. Having stayed in Cessnock on a previous visit to the Hunter, we decided this time to base ourselves in the village of Broke. We camped for the weekend in the free camping area of McNamara Park within the village itself, and although the facilities were pretty basic, it was a beautiful spot to spend a couple of days, with the added bonus of being a brief walk from a selection of vineyards. On the Saturday we spent a relaxing morning on the campsite followed by and afternoon visit to the Whispering Brook and Margan vineyards followed by a tasty dinner at Nightingale Wines.
Later the same month we made the journey up the Pacific highway to spend a few days in Myall Lakes National Park on Mungo Brush campground. After a three hour drive from Sydney on Friday evening we arrived at the campsite after dark an set about putting the tent up in the dark. The next morning we were greeted with the beautiful setting on the side of The Broadwater, one of the three Myall Lakes. We saw Dingos on the campground which was a surprise as we’d only once seen a Dingo before since arriving in Australia, and that was on Fraser Island. We mainly spent the day relaxing by the lake, and took a short walk along the water’s edge to the Mouth of Myall River and back, during which we saw a Red Bellied Black Snake as it darted for cover into the undergrowth. In late afternoon we took a short drive to the massive dunes near Dark Point, clambering to the top to take in the views along the coast.