This weekend I’ve planned a sojourn to a relatively close destination. Somewhere we can be in the hills and admire scenery, but close to a creek in a rural setting not so far from town. NVAT is the perfect place to spend the weekend. Although known mainly a horse trail riding place, NVAT does also allow camping with your dog, and it’s about 90K’s from home, which is perfect for a short drive … means we’ll be onsite for longer which is always nice.We head off at 0800 and are on the highway heading south within minutes. Traffic is good as well. At Nerang, we head west past Hinze Dam, and it’s not far to our location, along twisting roads that are covered from top to toe in trees. We do spot the dam through the foliage on occasion … it can be seen as a shiny expanse … before it disappears again behind another hill.
I didn’t realise that we’d also be driving through the
Not much further along we pass through the quaint town of
A short distance later and we are passing a correctional facility. Not sure what kind of correction they are doing there, but we can’t actually see it from the road. The road narrows for a one lane bridge and I spot a sign that our destination isn’t too far ahead, so we watch out for the turnoff.
A large sign tells us we’ve arrived … I check the clock … just over an hours drive … so we slow down for the right hand turn and head up their driveway. Once we reach a carpark, we realise that it may have been a mistake driving our lengthy rig in, but we should be able to spin it around. Next time we’ll park off to the side past the cattle grid and walk up.I head on foot down to the reception area for the horse riding and the girl behind the counter seems a bit flustered. I see 6 people all wearing horse riding attire, and a few dogs lazing about. Across from here are the stalls, where many horses are corralled and saddled up for the waiting riders. Two other girls are wandering about cleaning up after the horses and chasing the dogs away. I catch the counter attendant’s attention and she asks me to wait. I note 5 minutes later, she’s disappeared, but returns about 5 minutes later and asks me to head up to the house from back the way I’ve come.
Once I’m nearly to the house yard, two more people approach me and introduce themselves. They are our hosts for the weekend. David & Kimberley. It seems we share a last name and this brings us together in conversation.
is interested in our dog box and we mosey over for a look. David and Glenn start talking 4WD’s and before you know it 45 minutes has passed before we are on our way to Flying Fox Flat. I’m hoping it’s the fun trip over the creek kind and not the fruit eating kind. We head out the way we came and back onto the road. About 1/2k further along we are looking for an F on a sign to signal our left hand turn. Thankfully, the gate is well off the small country road for our long rig. Once through the gate, we head down a slight incline and note the campground below. Glenn says he wouldn’t like to do this track in the wet. Kimberley
Once onto the campground, we let the dogs out and walk around checking things out. We are the only ones here and have been told to “camp where we like”, so I insist on giving it a thorough investigation before we choose our spot. Given that it’s still winter, the wind is rather cold, but the days warm, we’ve chosen a site that will have sun nearly all day. There are others that would be more preferable in summer, but we’ll leave those for another trip.Poor Jack is having troubles walking the distance from the 8th camp back to the car. The poor dear got stuck on my back stairs this morning and I think he’s feeling a bit sore and sorry for him self today. He is a ’99 model after all so is no spring chicken … I’ve been taking him to the vet for arthritis shots as his back legs are getting a bit on the wobbly side. I pick him up and cart him over the rocky creek, but he’s too heavy to cart all the way to the car, so I walk slowly beside him while the other dogs head off in a rush to be first at sniffing this and that.
Once back at the car, I let Glenn tackle the best way to line things up and he puts the camper in position. Once that’s done we start getting settled.
An hour later we’ve checked out the creek and are sitting back enjoying the day. It’s quite warm here in the paddock, but that wind is still howling through. We decide to put up the draught flap as we set up and will add an end wall if it continues through the afternoon.
There is nothing to do now but enjoy the day some more, which we intend to do quite thoroughly.
After lunch, we head downstream. I’ve tied Jack up to the camper so he doesn’t try to follow us and get himself into any more trouble than he’s been so far today. We find a deep pool which Telashi immediately jumps into and starts swimming around. Spotting another hole further down, we head to it and Telashi once again tests out the depth for us … it’s much deeper.
After a short time watching my dog swim, we head back to camp for some more relaxation. We are doing so much of it today. Off in the distance, I hear a bing, bung, bong. Must be the correctional facilities lunch bell going off. I thought I’d heard someone on a loud speaker earlier, but assumed it was the CB as the homestead monitors channel 14 24 / 7 so we’ve tuned in to see if anything interesting goes on.
Well after lunch, a group of riders go by camp. Not close enough to speak to them, but close enough to see them clearly. We’d been told that they would head past and roughly at what times, but this group seem to be very late. I wonder if they are the people that were waiting this morning.
Wandering around the other camps, we start picking up any fallen timber around. The southern end is home to some magnificent gum trees and they have dropped a few branches here and there. Nothing major enough to kill or damage, just small stuff. Don’t think I’d like to be camped right under them though. There is what’s been referred to as the Bonfire close to the base of one, and there are two portable toilets on a trailer as well. Think we’ll stick to our OzPig and porta loo though.This place reminds me so much of Butinga. Hills to the west with rocky outcrops on them, tall trees, babbling creek (I think it’s actually the
Glenn decides that he needs to rewind the wire on this winch, so we set about hooking the car up to a nearby gum tree and Glenn uses the remote to wind the car forward while he winds the wire back on tightly and I watch on. It seems like he’s taking the ute for a walk almost.
We start getting dinner ready and night slowly falls. Unfortunately, I don’t have much recollection of the evening alas. I do recall waking though the night and hearing the creek and feeling very thirsty.
Next morning I’m out of bed a fair bit earlier than normal. I’m feeling thirsty enough to dunk my head in the creek and drink till I’m 80kg heavier. Thankfully I don’t have a headache at all, but I’m sure I won’t be up for eating breakfast for a few hours yet. Not sure what happened last night, but I think it had something to do with that empty bottle I spy on the table this morning alas.
After a few coffees and watching Glenn eat breakfast I’m feeling a bit better in the stomach. We start the day slowly. I note it isn’t as windy as yesterday at all and rather warm which is always nice.We’ve picked a spot here that we do really like and would like to camp there on another trip when it’s warmer and Glenn has been periodically checking the location to see how the sun and trees affect the site over the weekend.
After a bit of a wander and some more sitting around enjoying the sunshine, another group of riders go past. Some make it into a trot, others a gallop and then they are gone once more.
We note that it’s well after lunch so decide to pack up and head to Hinze Dam to have a look. Once we are hitched up and heading out, I alert our hosts on the CB to our departure and they wish us a good drive home and hope we return once more, which I’m sure we will.
Heading back from whence we came, it’s easy to see that fires are starting to encroach on the area. We travel along and realise that it’s a busier road on a Sunday … as is the café at Numinbah … might have to stop and see why when we come this way again as it’s not far from the campsite at all.
We take the second turn off to Hinze Dam, as the first takes you around it’s foreshores and that’s not our plan today (besides the sign said it was going to be too steep for caravans so we aren’t that keen to overheat the auto again). It’s a very short drive to the dam wall. According to my map we should be able to drive over it and end up a Gilston, but once onsite, we realise this is not the case at all. We find 3 car parks for longer vehicles (buses) and utilise one. There are several areas one can park, some with picnic facilities, but the main car park has the info building and a canteen. We stroll in to have a look. People are watching an exciting movie about construction, others are reading info on the surrounding walls, there is a receptacle with free 4 minute shower timers in it (I take 2 home as mine are broken … they keep falling off the wall), and then it’s out into the canteen area with seating and wonderful views back over the dam. We wander through and then head out onto the dam wall for a look. Alas, it appears to be leaking, so we pray today is not the day that it bursts through. With that done, it’s back into the car and heading home once more.
We’ll be stopping along the way for a few family sized Yatala Pies for the freezer. Although they have no parking for larger vehicles, they do have a large car park, so we manage to park and keep ourselves out of the traffic flow.
Back in the car, it’s a very short drive home. We are unpacked, with camper covered and secured by 1530, knowing that we’ve found yet another camping spot not too far from home that we’ll return to one day.
Trip Kilometres: 180
Trip Duration: 48 hours