WARRUMBUNGLE NATIONAL PARK
North west New South Wales
We’ve spoken about heading down towards Coonabarabran for years, ever since Hamish used to have to drive home during the night from working away there and he used to just be gobsmacked at the night sky and would describe it as ‘someone sprinkling stars in the sky and it looked like dust everywhere’. We finally got the guts to try driving down there with the kids, so we booked it in and enjoyed Easter 2019 down there.
We’re not going to lie, the drive was long, extremely long but so worth it for our family. Hamish knew the places and roads like the back of his hand so it felt really familiar passing through all these towns we had heard so much about. It took us close to 10 hours to get there, including stops to feed and run the kids and booking in and getting our annual national parks pass and camping permits at the visitor centre, but because we had packed so lightly by the time we arrived and set up we were done in no time.
Leaving Coonabarabran and starting the drive into the valley we were all in complete awe, even the kids were commenting about how incredible the place looked. The terrain was so much different to what we are used to up in Queensland and it’s still quite evident of the damage that happened when most of the National Park was destroyed by a bushfire in 2013 - a lot of the trees look like skeletons and there is not much foliage.
We were nestled down in the end of Camp Blackman B1 camp area, on the verge of a beautiful gully that reminded us a lot of the areas we grew up in in New Zealand. It was perfect walking distance to the amenities block but far away to have our own little private nook. Within minutes of arriving the kids were off! Like I said on a Facebook post on the way home it was such a different trip for our little legends. They are used to us packing everything, bikes scooters games etc but because we had limited space and such a long trip ahead we decided to pack lightly and the kids basically just had a couple of books, some colouring in stuff and just each other to play with. Boy, what a blessing this was. We’ve never seen such excited, adventurous, busy little legends - not once did we hear “I’m Bored” etc . We took our slackline which the kids loved (lots of fun, apart from a fellow camper had one and he was pretty epic so he scared us adults off from having a go and looking a bit silly).
We initially went down for the incredible astronomical sights in the area, the Dad’s are pretty fond of the stuff in the sky, but unfortunately we arrived on one of the biggest full moons of the year so it was a little less than we expected. Were we disappointed? Nope, not a bit. We still saw some of the clearest brightest skies we have ever seen and it didn’t stop the Dad’s getting out the fancy new telescope and seeing late at night the craters on the moon, the rings around Saturn, a shooting star and the moons of Jupiter. Pretty cool right?
We spent our few days checking out the local walking tracks (some bucket list hikes to go back and try when the kids are older and can handle the 15 km distances) and trekking around the campground gullies doing the Little Legends Easter Adventure Hunt (Parents vs Kids - guess who won?) At the end of this little adventure we stumbled along a hike right on our back door step of B1 camping. It was one of the most incredible experiences ever walking into luscious beautiful plains that looked like we were in Africa, completely surrounded by mountain ranges and we come upon countless kangaroos and even spotting emus.
A trip to the Siding Spring Observatory is a must, apart from having some of the most breathtaking views i have ever seen in my life, the working research telescope and museum had us all enjoying it, even hooking in us Mum’s that didn’t think we would enjoy it as much.
Would we travel back 10 hours to do it all over again? Without a doubt, but next time we will stay a week at least.
The most rewarding thing to take home from this trip was watching the little legends just have good old fashioned dirty fun playing like we did when we were kids. Building forts, making new best friends with other camping kids and having giant games of cricket where no one was ever left out. The kids have rated it pretty high on one of their favourite camping spots so that says a lot considering there wasn't anything fancy for the kids to do or play on. 2019 Easter has left us with some pretty epic memories, a visit from the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny found us and left us chocolate to enjoy, meeting new camping mates and sharing meals around the campfire with your best mates, that’s living Barry!
LITTLE LEGENDS LAST WORDS:
It was so cool getting up and having a campfire in the morning and it was very fun playing soccer with new friends - Ry
It was nice to meet new friends! I loved looking at the stars at night and playing down in our base camp and our team was called ‘team marshmallow’. - Loz