The New South Wales State Forests (Olney & Watagan) are actively harvested for timber, some sections dating back 150 years. Impressively, forest management has encouraged recreational use (4wding, Trail riding, hiking and camping) and as a result of this, have won a number Gold awards from the Hunter Central coast tourism.
I received a txt message a few days before the weekend:
"There has been a bit of rain, so some old clothes/shoes would be good."
The Central Coast State Forests are notorious. Forums warn drivers that the fire roads are tough and vehicles should be fitted with lift kits, mud tyres, winches and ideally should be a trophy truck rather than an overland prepped Discovery.
The dust drifted lazily as I followed the Toyota's along the various fire trails. The Memory-Map app displayed the detailed 25K NSW topographical map and kept a GPX log of our route as we bounced our way around trails with names like Yambo Forest Road, Jiffy Pot Road and Gills Point road. Names that referred to a past that is hidden deep in the timber industry.
"The fun now begins' chirped the Oricom UHF radio.
The Land Cruiser 80-Series would be the last vehicle through just in case a rear recovery was required.
|Slightly muddy after the 1st attempt|
|Memory Map - NSW Topographical|
|Waiting for the Toyota 'Tug Boat'|
Dwarfed by large slash pine trees, our campsite, aptly named, The Pines camping area, provided a sheltered spot under the hot sun. The campsite was clean with new drop toilets.
Dinner for the night was a roast leg of lamb prepared on the Cobb camp oven.
Fresh coffee was on the breakfast order...
The attempted water crossing had affected the basic electrics on the Hilux and as a result, a push was required to get the engine started. Thankfully the Hilux had a manual gearbox. I need to do a more research on how to start an automatic when the start motor fails and a push start is not an option.
Here are my closing thoughts on Olney and Watagan State Forest:
- Be prepared with the usual food, water & reliable vehicle.
- Mobile Signals strength varies considerably.
- Watch for trail motorbikes
- The 25K NSW Topographical map is very accurate
- Large wildlife is limited (we did not see one roo, possum or wombat)
- The driving is exciting. Keep a track log of your route and explore the various trails