Tracks Close to Sydney – Abercrombie River National Park

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 17:42

Navigator 1 (NSW)

30th March – 4th April 2012

After a great time in Lithgow and Dunn’s Swamp we were ready to head south to Abercrombie River National Park, 40 km southwest of Oberon (or 60 km north of Goulburn). We took the main access to the park from Oberon via the Arkstone Road, turning onto the Arkstone Road from the Oberon/Goulburn Road 7 km south of Black Springs. Back in 2008 we entered the park via Felled Timber Road and Brass Walls Fire Trail. Travelling this route you turn onto the Felled Timber Road about 23 km south of Black Springs.
The park offers a number of maintained 4WD only fire trails. There are no walking tracks but the rivers and creek lines offer a chance to explore new areas.

We met our travelling companions at Oberon then made our way to The Sink camp ground. It was so named many years ago because of the cleaning sink that that was set up by fishermen. Amazingly, it has survived to this day. From the park entrance we travelled along the Abercrombie Fire Trail for 3.2 km then turned left onto Retreat Fire Trail for 2.3 km to The Sink. Surprise, surprise, we were the only campers! Vehicles have to park along the fence and carry their tents onto the grass or, as in our case, just put down the stairs and roll out the awning. Our friends just set up the roof top tent. Easy! There was a long grassed area that is always maintained by the kangaroos and a dozen steps leading down to the water’s edge. A drop toilet was provided and isn’t that all you really need?
It wasn’t long before the fire ring was put to use. What was left of the afternoon passed quickly and before long we were eating dinner and chatting by the fire.

We spent the next day with short walks along the river and around the camp site. The emphasis being on the word ‘short’. The fire was started early and before you know it, a chocolate cake was baking in the camp oven. ‘Greens’ packet cakes – fantastic! Although the fire was burning well Chicka decided he would take out the OzPig for our roast. We didn’t have to wait long before we could place the camp oven on top with coals on its lid. We both cooked roast lamb, ours was a boned out rolled leg of lamb. We ate like Kings!
The weather was kind to us so we sat around the fire till bed time.
Next morning we had early rain but it cleared quickly allowing us to pack. After just a several hundred meters further along Retreat Fire Trail we had a look at the water wheel and the suspension bridge before returning to the Abercrombie Fire Trail and continuing on to The Beach camping area.

We dropped steeply to the Retreat River Crossing then a little further on to The Beach turn off. The camp ground is situated on the Abercrombie River with dispersed camping sites, drop toilets and fire rings. Once again there was no one there! We had a peaceful setting for morning tea and chocolate cake before making the steep climb out and continuing along the Abercrombie Fire Trail to the Silent Creek crossing. The water level was low as it was at the Rapid Creek crossing, cold and very clean. A short way on we descended into the Silent Creek camp ground. It was a large grassed area that is good for groups. Once again a pit toilet and fire rings were provided. Unfortunately, as soon as we set up, the rain came down so there was no fire. We all settled into the motorhome and watched a DVD.

On our last visit to the Abercrombie River National Park in 2008 we did The Sink to The Sink Loop. On this trip we were limited in time so we did not do this section. For those interested, here is the track ...

The next morning our friends had to make their way home to Sydney so after breakfast we retraced our steps to the park entrance and said good bye.

We decided to go south to Mittagong via Mount Werong, Range Fire Trail then Wombeyan Caves Road.

At the Mt Werong Picnic/Camping area we discovered that it was once the site of Ruby Creek Mine where silver and lead were mined intermittently from 1898 to 1960. Logging of the plateau for Cedar continued until the Mount Werong area was added to the Blue Mountains National Park in 1987.
Once we joined the Wombeyan Caves Road we were treated to some beautiful Blue Mountains scenery but the fallen rocks on the narrow dirt road made us realise that all the rain had made the steep cliffs quite unstable. The Wollondilly River showed obvious signs of flood damage but the view up the river from the causeway was magnificent.

Once in Mittagong we headed for Mt Alexandra.

In the morning we took the short 200m walk to the old Coke Tunnel which was at the head of an incline for the small trams bringing coal from Nattai Gorge. The coal was used to fuel the local iron works. At the base of Mt Alexandra we found the foundations of Australia’s first blast furnace. It’s amazing the treasures you find when you take time to poke around.
We explored the town before going to morning tea with friends living in Mittagong. Now here is an amazing man (and wife for putting up with him) – he is building an aeroplane. The wings, tailplane and now the fuselage are built. As you can imagine CASA (Civil Aviation Safely Authority) inspects every step of the way. Now this is certainly not something that every man has in his shed.

Our last stop before heading up the coast to Sydney was Budderoo National Park, 32 km east of Moss Vale or 7km from the Famous Robertson Pie Shop. Up on the plateau, above the rainforest, the park offers excellent walking tracks with views across sandstone heaths, the woodlands and towards the Illawarra coast. The lookouts and picnic areas at Carrington Falls, where the Kangaroo River plunges over the escarpment, are well worth a visit. This striking waterfall is one of Budderoo's most popular attractions, and you can view it from three lookouts, one of which is wheelchair-accessible.

Trek Reference:
‘4WD Treks Close to Sydney’ by Craig Lewis and Cathy Savage .....Abercrombie River National Park
‘4WD Treks Close to Sydney’ by Craig Lewis and Cathy Savage ....... Caves to Caves

Oh to get out into the red dirt soon!
The outback calls
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