Abercrombie NP, NSW

Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 01:00

RodH, Perth

My wife and I had a quick trip to Abercrombie National Park – we didn’t leave until after lunch Saturday and returned Sunday afternoon.

It took longer than expected, over 3 ½ hours, to get to the entrance to the park – straight up Blue Mountains to Oberon, then about 40km south. In hindsight it would be quicker and more enjoyable to go to Goulburn and travel the 100km north from that point.

Reading the maps and researching online gives you no indication of what is actually available, as in most national parks. We decided to enter from the west via Abercrombie Fire Trail and depart to the east. Since we arrived later in the afternoon we headed straight for the camping spots.

The first camping spot was on the Retreat River [BCAMP RETREAT R]. This is a bush camp with a fire ring suitable for 1-2 cars and was very pretty, uninhabited, with a gently flowing River. The road was very easy until just before this point, but then became low range to handle the steep accents and descents. And lots of drainage humps!

We moved on to the Beach camping spot on the Abercrombie River [CAMP BEACH ABERCROMBIE R]. The Abercrombie River is a major tributary of the Lachlan River and joins the Lachlan at Wyangala Dam south east of Cowra. It was a bit disappointing to just a few waterholes rather than a flowing River. The could hold 4-6 cars in on a bend of the River with cliffs all around. There is a drop toilet and a couple of fire rings.

One other car was parked but they didn’t look like campers. We got the fire going and settled in.

The other car left before dark – they were from Oberon looking for fish and couldn’t believe we would drive all the way from Sydney for one night of camping (and no fishing).

The weather was perfect – not too cold, clear, no wind, no moon – a great night for looking at the stars.

Sometime just before dawn the fog rolled in and the temperature dropped significantly. That got us up early.

We stoked up the fire and had a lazy start to the day, finally departing after nine.

There was very little wildlife to be seen, just a few Black Cockatoos and some Kangaroos (or were they Wallaroos or Wallabies?)

Not far away is the Silent Creek campsite [CAMP SILENT CK]. We had stayed at this spot about 8 years ago. It is noted to be suitable for large groups and they weren’t kidding. Up until this point we thought we had the Park to ourselves. There were three groups at the camp site – two of four cars and a single car. Most had camper-trailers and had settled in for the weekend.

This really is a nice spot. Good flat grass areas, big trees and a drop toilet. There was no water in the creek.

After a quick chat we kept moving, heading for some old yards and a drovers hut at Licking Hole [POI HUT]. We encountered plenty of steep accents and descents and some rough tracks - steep enough and rough enough to lose traction in low range a couple of times. Some of the creek crossings could make bush camp spots but they are right on the track. [BCAMP Q].

The hut and yards at Licking Hole are deteriorating rapidly.

From here we drove east to find the exit from the park onto the Oberon-Goulburn road. The road was in good condition until we got within a couple of kilometres of the exit – then there were very steep section with washouts and some boggy patches. The “no trailers” sign was a hint of things to come. We stopped twice, once to check the depth of a bog hole and another to debate the line to take through a steep washout. Not what was expected as we thought this was the main entrance to the park. Should have checked the ExplorOz Trek notes more carefully. It seems the eastern entry is rarely used and should never be attempted if there has been rain.

We were both relieved to hit formed roads and make our way north to Oberon. There are plenty of other entrances to the park but all have locked gates as they exit into farm land. We had taken so much time to get out of the park we didn’t take any of the other side trips that had been contemplated but headed back to Sydney in the Sunday afternoon traffic.

With our new-found knowledge we would recommend a different route through the park. Avoiding the eastern side completely would not detract from the visit. Spending more time on Middle fire trail and Retreat fire trail, visiting The Sink (a camp spot) and Ledinhams Hut Picnic Area to the North would make a good weekend. Silent Creek is the pick of the camp spots but you should assume it is busy each weekend.
Rod, Perth
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