Sunday, March 4, 2012

Coolah Tops, Barracks Camping Area and Giant Grass Trees

We set off just before Christmas with the Discovery loaded up with camping gear, pressies for relatives, some new camping stuff and we were looking forward to the 'plans' we had made. They included a night in Coolah Tops NP, a night in Boomi before heading across to the coast for a couple of nights on Bribie Island before doing who knows what on our way home. But all didn't go to plan. The Discovery came down with a 'clutch infection' as we left Coolah Tops NP... So our adventure was a bit shorter than usual. The clutch was replace and the Discovery is now back on the road, but we had a hire car which meant some of the fun just didn't happen. The rains in Queensland didn't help, with the Bribie Campsite being closed as well. Anyway, thanks to the NRMA, the mechanic in Tammworth who got us back on the road, the hire car company and the motel we stayed in things didn't work out too bad for us. Coolah Tops NP is just outside of Coolah township, not too far from Mudgee. Our site for the night was the Barracks Campground, which is 2WD accessable.

It didn't take us long to choose a campsite and get ourselves set up, the place was all but empty.

There is a pit toilet and wood fire facilities as well as a shelter area here so overall it is a pretty nice place to stay, and the wildlife is amazing...

Kookaburras are one of my favourite Aussie bush animals.  This fella turned up with the smell of us cooking and hung around for a while.

This young lady and her little one also arrived to check us out.  We didn't see the joey get out of the pouch, but I guess you can't have everything.  It's worth thinking about...  We have seen and taken photos of Kangaroos with joeys in animal parks and zoos, but this is the first time we have seen one this close in the bush.  Pretty cool!!

The next morning we decided to take the 600m track to see the giant grass trees.  I hadn't heard about these, so I was more than a little curious as to what they were.  We have a grass tree in our front yard and it is anything but giant, and to say it is slow growing would be an understatement.

These trees were amazing!  Our one at home would be 15cm maybe 20cm tall at the moment.  These things would have been 4 or 5 metres tall.  Definitely worth the 600m walk.

These amazing trees are also known as 'Blackboys' but the name has fallen a bit in to disuse recently.  The traditional owners of these lands would have had a number of uses for these trees.  The flower 'spike' may have been used for fishing spears, the flowers soaked in water to make an apparently sweet drink, and the sap of the trees was used as an adhesive.

Indeed early European settlers used the sap/resin as a perfume (often burned in churches).  The resin often formed the basis for things like polishes and varnishes and of course as an adhesive.

Cool trees - and native to us here in Australia.

Apparently there is some 4WD-ing to be had in the area, at the 'back' of Coolah Tops NP.  With the clutch being a bit 'off' we decided to continue our travels to get it sorted.  Next time we are up that way we will call in for another visit and have a look at the worlds biggest gum tree and some of the 4WD tracks in the park.

Access: It is accessible by 4WD.  2WD would be easy OK in dry weather.
Toilets: Yes - long drop.
Showers: No.
Water: Yes.  Apparently not suitable for drinking.
Shop: No.
Campfires: Yes - subject to firebans.  Bring own wood.
Pets: NO. It is a NSW National Park.
Cost: Free.