Saturday, March 20, 2010

The planning begins


We have been at home for a few weekends now looking after stuff that needs doing.  The chooks will be moving into their new house today, the lawn needs mowing and my home office (where I write this) needs a good tidy up.  Tonight we are off to a 21st birthday party and tomorrow I'm playing music in the morning.

We are planning our Easter break.  Currently we are both taking some time off work after the Easter celebration and the plan is to head to Cameron's Corner, then across to the coast of northern NSW.  So a few things are happening in the intervening couple of weeks.  The 4WD is going in for a 'proper' service.  With a bit of luck the winch I have just bought will arrive for installation next weekend.

So a busy couple of weekends before we head off for a bit of an adventure.

The planning part is fairly fun as well.  I like maps and I am learning to plan trips using my 4WD GPS.

So the next part of the project for us is to decide which way to go so we have some sort of rough plan.  We probably wont get into too much planning details as we can stay pretty much anywhere with our set up.  My only concern is the flooding and potential road closures up in the far north west.

Wish us luck in getting everything planned.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lowden Waterwheel - Pet Friendly, Free, Basic Campsite

A couple of weeks back we went on a 'meet the members' drive with a 4WD club.  We were invited by the folks we had met at the Queanbeyan 4WD Spectacular, and when we found out that the drive was to Lowden Waterwheel I was keen to go for a trip.  We had been for a drive through the area a while back and I was confident that the trails through there were well within my capability and I wasn't going to damage the vehicle!

We met up with the folks and had a quick stop on the edge of the park to air the tyres down.

A fair line up of 4WD's

The drive took us through parts of both Talaganda State Forest and Talaganda National Park and it's conservation area.  It is a fairly straight forward drive and there should really be no need to go into 4WD for the vast majority of the tracks unless you have hit some untoward weather.

Having traversed some interesting country side we made our way to the Waterwheel where there is a picnic area and a walk in style campsite with limited facilities.

The entry sign

There really is a waterwheel there

There is a bit of history behind the waterwheel.  There is a sign there that indicates that the wheel has recently been restored but was originally built in Queanbeyan and in 1952 it was installed at it's present site which, at the time, was the site of a logging camp.  Beyond the picnic area is a small pond which feeds water to the wheel.  During it's time it was connected to a generator which powered the logging camp, and interestingly was used to charge truck batteries.

I'll have to admit I was a bit slack when it came to taking pictures of the campsite, and the 4WD club had parked vehicles in the area (apparently with permission of State Forests.)  It is a walk in from the nearby car park.  When I say walk in - a couple of meters rather than hundreds.  There are fire pits and sheltered tables there and a mens and ladies long drop toilet.  Someone has thoughtfully installed solar garden lights up to the loo from the campsite.  Drinking water is also available at the site.

OK - the usual camping stuff...
Access:  It is accessible by 2WD.
Toilets: Yes - long drop.
Showers: No.
Water: Yes.
Shop: No - drive to Queanbeyan or Braidwood.
Campfires: Yes - subject to firebans.
Pets: Yes.
Cost: Free.
GPS: S35 30.5324,  E149 36.1758

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jindabyne - CMC Rocks the Snowys - camping in the rain

Well it's becoming a tradition for us.  The Canberra Day long weekend seems to coincide with the one of the newest festivals in country music.  It's called CMC Rocks the Snowys and so far we have been to all three!

There are probably a few country music haters who will read this, and I don't intend to review the festival, but I will knock the camping stuff out of the way quickly.  For each of the festivals we have camped in Jindabyne.  When I say camp I mean we set up the tent in a caravan park, spend the weekend at the festival and sleep in the tent.  The festival is at Friday Flat, close to Thredbo, but Jindabyne is in my opinion a better place to camp for this sort of stay.  The last couple of years have been picture perfect high country days, hot and sunny during the day and clear and cold at night.  It is generally a couple of degrees warmer at night at Jindabyne's lower elevation.  This year it didn't matter as much - it varied between overcast and pouring rain during the days, and the cloud cover seems to keep the place a few degrees warmer.  It's also pretty nice to get back to the park, have a hot shower and generally warm up.  The camp kitchen speeds things a long a bit as well.

We drove away from an overcast day in Yass and Canberra and into rain as we headed south along the Monaro Highway.  We arrived in Jindabyne in the rain and had some lunch, set up the campsite, and went up to the festival.  And it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained, and rained...

It was still raining when we got back to camp at about 10pm.  We changed and went to bed, impressed that the new dome tent hadn't leaked.

The next morning it cleared up, and stayed fine all day and night for the festival, and while we didn't stay till stumps it was a great gig.  Some of the artists we had seen before so we took a bit of a break to visit Thredbo Village, take a chairlift up the mountain, and have a bobsled ride!  We went back to the festival, saw the international and 'big' artists, and then returned to the campsite thinkng 'cool - won't have to pack up in the rain!'

WRONG  -  next morning we were woken by thunder, and rain.  Now I don't really mind setting up in the rain but I am not a fan of packing up in the rain and putting wet tents and other gear into the car.  But we did, and we got home safely!

So add two more nights in the tent for 2010!

And for those who want to know...

We got to see all of these guys!

  • Phil Vassar (USA) - very cool
  • Lee Kernaghan - only saw part of the show
  • Kasey Chambers - fantastic - my pick of the weekend, mainly because Bill Chambers and Shane Nicholson were in the band
  • Guy Sebastian - he was on too late and it was too wet and we had gone back to camp
  • Jack Ingram (USA) - I liked this guy
  • Nanci Griffith (USA) - a bit folksy for me - but cool
  • Doc Walker (CAN) - these guys are very cool, and a lot of fun, if you get the chance to see them you should go
  • Adam Harvey - an early show that was as good as ususal
  • Steve Forde - not as good as he usually is - sounded unwell
  • Richard Clapton - now here is a way cool fella
  • Tania Kernaghan - saw the end - never really been a fan
  • Sinead Burgess - not really a fan
  • Peter McWhirter - cool
  • Dan Sultan - cool
  • Mike Carr - one of the best writers and performers in the genre
  • Kirsty Lee Akers - not a fan
  • Paul Greene - one of the best performers of the weekend and a nice bloke to boot - see him if you can
  • Wilson Pickers - missed them
  • Jetty Road - cool
  • Amber Lawrence - one of the best female artists in Australia at the moment, and an independent
  • Mark Wells - missed him
  • Victoria Baillie - liked her
  • The Harrisons - new to me and they are a duo to watch
  • BusbyMarou - they were good - but the gig was cut short - would like to see more of them!
I know that's a big list but we were there for a lot of hours...  These guys make a living off selling tickets to their shows.  They don't make much off CD sales.  If they come to where you are at give them a go.