Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Watangans National Park and Caves Beach

Friday afternoon and were packed ready to head north for the weekend. We have stayed clear of the Central Coast, partly due to the population of the area in summer and we try to avoid crowds when possible. But we have a long list of places we would like to see in the area, so we decided its time to head north.

Our first challenge was the Sydney traffic, although leaving earlier to try avoid this we were unlucky!!  and spent a couple of hours crawling the crowded roads of north west Sydney, but once on the Pacific Motorway an hour and half we arrive at Watangans National Park.

The road into the National Park was easy enough in our van, approx 10km of narrow dirt road. We drove past Balgalow campground which looked full, so we drove another kilometre up the road arriving at Gap Creek campground this also looked full, no parking spots for our van in the car park. We decided to park in the car park for the day area just for the night, as it was too late to go looking else where.

In the morning we looked around and there were more camping spots further along a track. As we were up early we ventured down to the Gap Creek Falls track. Im sure I had read somewhere this track was easy! I found it slightly challenging, but it was a beautiful walk and well worth it even the vertical track down and back.

We walked down the short and steep goat track to a point where we were jumping down huge boulders to the bottom. The gully was so surreal, very quiet and peaceful, although the waterfall was only a light trickle it was enough to keep Andy happy as he set up his camera. I continued to climb more rocks to explore what was around the corner. This place is amazing we sat for a while just enjoying the quiet of nature. (and thinking of the walk back up)

The actual walk up wasn't to bad, its steep but the track is only short so not to painful.
on the track down there also is the loop track which is a short 600mtr loop. We headed back to the van for a quick snack before our drive over to Caves Beach.

The 40 min drive to the coast was easy and we parked in the car park at the furthest end of the beach, so we enjoyed a beautiful walk along the beach heading for the caves at the southern end. It was low tide so we had easy access to the caves. The cliff faces and the rock formations surrounding the caves are awesome we spent a couple of hours exploring and taking lots of pictures. The area we parked in has picnic facilities and loads of room for relaxing in the sun. After having lunch we drove to Swansea Heads and looked out at the beautiful view of the lake entrance.


There are a few options for camping in the area but we decided to head back to Gap Creek campgrounds as its free and also allows contained fires. We set up for the night and enjoyed a few beers by the fire. The next day we drove to Monkey face lookout and Gap Creek lookout both breathtaking, over looking the Watagans National park and surrounds, from here we headed over to Boarding House Dam.

There is a boardwalk track here, we started to follow it past the Dam wall and over a bridge, the place has a relaxed feel to it, moss and ferns scattered everywhere, getting off track and following the river we wished we had worn proper shoes as it was so inviting to climb down to the water edge to explore the huge rocks with what looked like hidden caves and water holes beneath. This area of park has a picnic area, toilets, shelter area.

Unfortunately time was getting on and we had to head home. We will organize another trip this way soon but you need a lot more time explore this area.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Historical Ghost Town of Joadja

The ghost town of Joadja is located in the Southern Highlands of NSW Australia, its has always been and always will be a privately owned town. The town was established in 1870 after a mining company started to mine for oil shale, and in the early 1900 the town slowly became a ghost town and left to decay.

These days the owner of Joadja opens the gates for guided tours a few selected weekends a year with a morning and afternoon tours at 11am and again at 2pm and tours last about 80 minutes. The tour is conducted with people movers, which is a trailer or two towed behind a 4wd with a commentary and plenty of information along the way and a few chances to get out and explore and get a few photos of this historical town. 

The tour wraps up with a tour of the Joadja Distillery and a chance to taste the beer. There is a cafe for snacks or a meal before or after a tour.

Joadja Tours and Distillery web site Here

How to get to Joadja Here


34°24'15.3"S 150°13'40.3"E

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mermaid Pools Tahmoor

We have been out of Australia for past 5 weeks and were itching to get out and explore some of our beautiful Australian bushland. Waking up to a sunny and warm Sunday we decided to stayed close to home and venture over to Tahmoor about an hours drive from Wollongong to check out The Mermaid Pools, as its been on our list for a while.

Taking our time we arrived mid morning, driving from Picton, once your on Charles Point Rd continue to Pheasants Nest Ford Crossing Bridge turn left into a small dirt road just before the bridge which leads down to the parking area at bottom of river it is easy to find.

The walking track has no signage but is a well defined track, along the way you see painted rocks or coloured tags to keep you on track so its pretty easy to follow, we continued on the right side and followed the river. The walk starts off quiet flat only jumping a few large rocks, we came to a point the track separates into 2 tracks both eventually meet up, (there is a painted rock with arrows) we decided to take the bottom track which followed the river. It was beautiful very quiet and peaceful. Following the track to the pools is not to hard but lots of large steps and rocks to climb and one or two steep sections making it a lot more fun. At the end of the bottom section you find an old diesel engine from here you head up hill and keep walking along cliff face. Arriving at See- through-pools this is a small waterhole with water cascade and lots of rock pools. There was a track leading down to it but we stayed on track it looked amazing looking down at it.

Walking a bit further along we came to a sign with directions to Tahmoor Gorge, which is a 10km return walk, we had to back track a little and head down a rocky track which took us to the Mermaid pool. Climbing over huge rocks and down to the edge. As it being winter no one was swimming but a few people picnicking around edge. We sat for a while to admire the surrounds then looked around at the waterfalls and huge cave like rock formations surrounding the pools.

This is a really pretty place we were lucky there we not many people there but could imagine it would be popular in summer. On the way back we took the high track it was open area and in some sections looked like a fire had gone through recently, lots of silver gum and wattle trees. This return walk was easy there were pieces of yellow steel markings on trees to follow along. The walk was 4km return taking an easy couple of hours, at a casual pace. The mermaid pools is well worth a look a really nice way to spend a few hours or take some lunch and spend the day there.