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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Racecourse Campground, Goolawha National Park, NSW.

Goolawah Beach in front of Racecourse Campground. Looking towards Racecourse Head. 
Racecourse Campground is a national park campground right on the beach, south of Crescent Head. It is ideally located for surfing, headland walks and beach exploring. 

Racecourse Campground.
Campsite with  Beach Access at Racecourse Campground
Facilities include toilets, cold showers and a camp shelter with a table and communal fireplace. Campers can have individual fires provided they are contained off the ground. Fire wood is available from the store at Point Plomer Campground, 9 km to the south.

Camp Shelter at Racecourse Campground.
Communal Fire pit and Table next to Camp Shelter.
Outdoor cold shower.

Details for Racecourse Campground:
Where: Goolawah National Park, 70 km, 1 hour,  north of Port Macquarie via South Kempsey and Crescent Head. 6 km along Point Plomer Road, on the beach side.
Access: 2WD all weather, about 5 km of unsealed road. Campground can become boggy in wet weather.
Fees & Bookings: No bookings. Minimum fee $24 for 1-2 people, extra adult $12, child 5 - 15 years $6.
Sites: 20 sites, beachside, grassy and sandy open area.
Camping Type: tent, camping beside vehicle, camper trailer.
Facilities: Non-flush toilets. A couple of tables. Cold water beach style outdoor shower. Fires allowed in above ground containers or in the large communal fire ring. Wood can be purchased at the Point Plomer campground. Non-potable bore water. No drinking water. 
Prohibited: No fires on the ground. No pets. No driving on the beach.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Hungry Gate Campground, Hat Head National Park, NSW.

Hungry Gate Campground, Hat Head National Park, NSW.
After finishing the beautiful Korogoro Track walk near Hat Head Holiday Park we drove six kilometers south to Hungry Gate Campground in Hat Head National Park. The campground has open grassy areas with scattered tables and fire places. 

Hungry Gate Campground, Hat Head National Park.
No bookings are taken for this campground but there was only one other site set up while we were there. Although this is a coastal campground, it is about a twenty minute walk to the beach.

Self Registration Shelter at Hungry Gate Campground, Hat Head National Park.
The last three kilometers are unsealed. There was one spot (see photo) with a large puddle but the road was otherwise in good condition.

Hungry Road, Entrance to Hungry Gate Campground.
As well as a few goannas wandering around it was nice to see an echidna. 

Short-beaked Echidna, Hungry Gate Campground.
Rainbow Lorikeets and Willie Wagtails were a common sight.

Rainbow Lorikeets, Hat Head National Park.

Details for Hungry Gate Campground:
Where: Hat Head National Park. Mid North Coast, NSW. 30 km north-east of Kempsey. 32 km south of Nambucca Heads. We drove in via South West Rocks Road. Turned into Hat Head Road, then Gap Road. Turned right into Hungry Road and the campground is on the right.
Access: 2WD, 3 km unsealed road. All weather access.
Sites: Open grassy area for 20 sites. Camping Type: tent, camper trailer, camping beside vehicle.
Booking & Fees: No bookings. Maximum stay is 6 weeks.  Camping: $6 per adult per night, $3.50 per child. Vehicle entry fee $8 per day or buy an annual pass. There is a self-registration shelter at the entry and Rangers collect fees.
Facilities: some tables, wood barbecues, non-flush toilets. No water. 20 minute walk to beach.
Prohibitions: No fires on the ground. No pets. No smoking. 

Wildlife: Short-beaked Echidna, Lace Monitor, Eastern Gray Kangaroo, Dolphin, Humpback Whale. Birds: Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Pacific Bazza, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Australasian Darter, Spangled Drongo, Variegated Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, Silver Gull, White-faced Heron, Lewin's Honeyeater, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Lorikeet, Masked Lapwing, Australian Pelican, Crested Pigeon, Eastern Yellow Robin, Welcome Swallow, Red Wattlebird, Little Wattlebird, Golden Whistler, Willie Wagtail.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Korogoro Walking Track, Hat Head National Park, NSW.

Views along the Korogoro Walking Track.
After leaving Trial Bay Gaol Campground in Arakoon National Park we drove to Hat Head to do the Korogoro Walking Track. We drove past Hat Head Holiday Park, turned right off Reserve Road and parked next to a picnic shelter beside Korogoro Creek. 

Picnic shelter along Korogoro Creek.
After a refreshing cup of tea, we crossed Korogoro Creek via a footbridge to the Korogoro Walking Track trail-head. This trail-head can also we accessed from The Gap car park off Gap Street. No pets are allowed on the walk.

Korogoro Creek Footbridge.
We decided to do the walk clockwise. Straight away we were rewarded with sightings of a Pacific Bazza and some Eastern Yellow Robins along the track.

Pacific Bazza
The Korogoro Walking Track is a Grade 4, 3.2 loop walk around a coastal headland in Hat Head National Park.

Korogoro Walking Track
Spangled Drongo
We walked above barren rocky shelves that dropped dramatically to the ocean below. Part way along the track we came to a sign that stated "Track maintained to a lower standard beyond this point. Recommended for experienced bushwalkers". After the sign, we found ourselves gingerly crossing over the steep face of one of the rock slopes so it seems the sign should not be dismissed lightly.

Korogoro Walking Track
As we walked along the coastal edge we had great views of dolphins swimming past below us.

Dolphins seen from the Korogoro Walking Track.
We arrived above a secluded bay where the track turns right to continue the loop or go straight ahead to Korogoro Point. We choose the detour to Korogoro Point and planned to continue the loop walk on our return.

Bay before continuing on to Korogoro Point.
We soon went past this dramatic split in the rocks with glimpses of the ocean on the other side.

Split in the rocks along Korogoro Point.
We continued until we could go no further and perched behind a couple of large boulders for some time as we watched a pod of five Humpback Whales round the point.

Korogoro Point.
Pod of Humpback Whales seen from Korogoro Point.
When we returned to the bay area, where the track turned to continue the loop walk, the weather took a turn for the worse. It was raining and we could barely stand against the wind which was coming from the south so we decided it would be prudent to return the way we had come. 

We thoroughly enjoyed this walk and will definitely come back one day to complete the loop.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Our Ten Favourite Campgrounds of 2018.

Smallys Beach Campground.
1. Smalleys Beach Camping Area, Cape Hillsborough National Park, QLD:

Smallys Beach 
Smalleys Beach Camping Area has secluded campsites with direct beach access and is only a few kilometers away from great walks at Cape Hillsborough. There are only 11 numbered sites so book early online before you arrive.

2. Lemon Tree Flat Campground, Kwiamble National Park, NSW:

Lemon Tree Flat Campground
Lemon Tree Flat is a classic national park campground. There are plenty of things to do at Kwiamble National Park: from simply relaxing by the Severn River, taking The Junction Walk which leaves from the campground, going for a plunge at Macintyre Falls or experiencing history via a self-guided walk through the Limestone Caves.

Severn River at Lemon Tree Flat Campground.

3. Burrum Point Camping Area, Burrum Coast National Park, QLD:

Burrum Point Campground.
Burrum Point Camping Area is a coastal getaway near Woodgate. You will need a high clearance 4WD to access the campground and to do a spot of beach fishing. There is a great walk directly from the campground.

Beach in front of Burrum Point Campground.

4. Illaroo South Campground, Yuraygir National Park, NSW:

Campsite at Illaroo South Campground.
We stayed at Illaroo South Campground but Illaroo North is just as beautiful. Right on an open surf beach this well laid out campground is very relaxing.

Beach in front of Illaroo South Campground.

5. Black Rocks Campground, Bundjalung National Park, NSW: 

Black Rocks Campground.
Black Rocks is a large coastal campground with distinctive exposed coffee rocks along Ten Mile Beach. We particularly enjoyed the Jerusalem Creek Walk.

Beach in front of Black Rocks Campground.

6. Trial Bay Gaol Campground, Arakoon National Park, NSW:

Front Beach camping at Trial Bay Gaol Campground.
Trial Bay Gaol Campground has more facilities than most national park campgrounds and has a price tag to match but it was nice to spoil ourselves with hot showers and a key coded camp kitchen. We enjoyed visiting the gaol, whale watching and the Monument Hill walks.

Trial Bay Gaol.

7. Diamond Head Campground, Crowdy Bay National Park, NSW:

Diamond Head Campground, Crowdy Bay National Park.
Despite being evacuated from a bush fire while camping in Diamond Head Campground we still rate this campground in the top 10 for the year. This campground is a little bit like a caravan park in layout so if bush camping is more your thing, the Kylies Beach Campground is a good alternative.

Beach in front of Diamond Head Campground.

8. Thungutti Campground, New England National Park, NSW:

Campsite at Thungutti Campground.
Thungutti Campground is a tent only campground but there is an alternative just down the road at the free Little Styx River Camping Area for caravans and motorhomes. New England National Park has stunning lookouts, great walks and plenty of wildlife.

Camp Kitchen at Thungutti Campground.

9. Dangars Gorge Campground, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, NSW:

Dangars Gorge Campground.
Dangars Gorge Campground has everything you would expect in a national park campground and it's free! We loved the wood barbecues, camp kitchen, the waterfalls and all the walks.

Kitchen shelter at Dangars Gorge.

10. Blackmans Campground, Warrumbungle National Park, NSW:

Camp Blackman, Warrumbungle National Park.
We stayed in the tent section of Blackmans Camp in Warrumbungle National Park. We were surprised to find hot showers and flush toilets in a campground located in country New South Wales off the Newell Highway. Another campground with great walks and abundant wildlife.

Emus at Camp Blackman.

Old Favourites Revisited:

1. Bald Rock Campground, Bald Rock National Park, NSW: 

Campsite at Bald Rock National Park
We love climbing Bald Rock and always try to find time to camp at Bald Rock Campground whenever we can. We managed to camp there twice this year.

2. Charlie Moreland Campground, Imbil State Forest, QLD:

Charlie Moreland Camping Area.
Charlie Moreland Campground, is close to our home on the Sunshine Coast and we never tire of camping there. We love the birdlife, Little Yabba Creek and the walks. I think we have camped there three times this year.

3. Booloumba Creek Camping Area 3, Conondale National Park, QLD.

Booloumba Creek Campground Area 3.
Camping right beside Booloumba Creek in our tent is one of our all time favourite camping experiences. We do it every year without fail. A high clearance 4WD is advised for this campground due to creek crossings.

Non-national park campgrounds we enjoyed:
Occasionally we camp outside national parks and this year we stayed at three great non-national park campgrounds.

1. Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat, Cania Gorge, Monto, QLD:

Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat.
We have camped here several times over the years and this year was no exception.  Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat has all the facilities of a normal caravan park but it also has a large grassy unpowered camping area which suits us just fine. It is right on the border of Cania Gorge National Park and has its own access to many of the walking tracks.

2. Flat Rock Tent Park, East Ballina, NSW:

Flat Rock Tent Park.

We made a couple of trips to Ballina this year to visit Ballina Campervans, Motorhomes & Caravans Centre to look at the Horizon Motorhome range. We chose Flat Rock Tent Park to stay both times and as we really enjoy the great facilities, the surfing and kite surfing in front of the campground and birding at Flat Rock.

3. Cranky Rock Nature Reserve, Warialda, NSW:

Cranky Rock Nature Reserve Campground.
On our way to the Pilliga region we camped overnight at Cranky Rock Nature Reserve. We loved exploring the rocks at Cranky Rock and getting close to an emu on our walks.