Long road trips create an unreal excitement. Planning, packing, organising the perfect playlist Two weeks exploring the heart of New South Wales is the best way to spend your winter, or summer breaks. But, be prepared for some bumps along the way. Travelling over 2000 kilometres in two weeks isn’t always going to be easy.
The drive from Sydney to Cocoparra National Park is around 6 hours and isn’t that remarkable. If the trip is too long, drop into Yass on the way for lunch, it’s a nice way to break up your drive. We luckily stopped at Yass! As we went to set off again, we quickly realised our battery had died. A quick call to roadside assistance, and one new battery later, we were on the road (Don’t make our mistake, check your vehicle before you leave). Arriving in Cocoparra we ventured straight for our campsite at Woolshed Flats.
Jack’s Creek walking track is by far the best bushwalk in the area, a short 2.5 km walk. We didn’t find the walk to hard, but we did it early morning, as to avoid the hot sun. The rocky shelves, rugged bushland and bird sightings made this walk surreal. We were one of the only groups on the walk at this time, making the adventure all the more serene.
Yanga National Park is only a 4 hour drive from Cocoparra, so it can be done at any time in the day. We arrived at lunch to allow for time to set up camp. Driving into Yanga felt like driving onto someone’s property, there were lots of small wooden fences and flat expanses. We camped at WIllows which was a great place to rest your head for a night. The lake viewing deck is a good place to see some wildlife in action. The homestead on the lake offers historical tours, and information about the area. The Red Gum bird hide was the highlight of our trip to Yanga, although looking much like a backyard shed, the hide offered a great vantage point to see the spectacular birds of Yanga.
Mungo was well worth the seven hour drive. The epic landscapes hit you as you begin to drive towards the parks. Even the change in environment from dense bushlands, to drier flats takes you a little by surprise. Despite its abundance of national heritage Mungo is a relatively quiet to travel around, I suspect its distance from capital cities keeps the tourist hoards away.
Belah campground was our home away from home. Our first day included the magnificent Foreshore walk which took us over sand dunes, to Lake Mungo, a World Heritage site. We saw a couple of baby joeys, and a plethora of pink cockatoos so it was well worth the trip. We also jumped on a Walls of China tour which guided us through the past, discussing the immense cultural history of the Australian Aborigines.
The famous Murrumbidgee National park is around a 6 hour drive from Mungo, but is a great stop on your journey home. This is the place to go for a swim, a four wheel drive or just relax. Go straight to Middle beach, and wash off. Finding a camp spot near the river can be a task but it beats camping away from it! Hire a canoe, or do some fishing. Visit the Koala reserve and try to spot one of the Murrumbidgee little residents. Pay attention to signs around the area as you don’t want to disrupt Australia’s favourite furry friend.
With a small town vibe, Jugiong is the perfect place to wind down after two weeks worth of adventures. Drop into Longtrack Pantry for lunch, and be spoilt for healthy choices. They also sell a range of jams, and chutneys if you want a little reminder of your trip. Not that it will last long, everything that comes out of this place is too delicious to preserve. If you are looking for a break on your way back to the city, set up camp in the showgrounds which are located just down the road from Longtrack. This campground is also close to the Murrumbidgee River so go for a walk along the banks whilst you are there, you are sure to see some local wildlife.
The Riverina area is a bustling agricultural hub, with thousands of acres of farmland throughout. If you are in need of something a little more luxury to finish your trip pop into anyone of the motels within the area. The town of Young is a short drive, and offers plenty of overnight accommodation. While you are there visit a cherry farm, a Young speciality, or pop into one of the vineyards in the area. Grove Estate winery, located just outside of town offers free tasting, and decently priced wine.
The drive from Jugiong to Sydney is a short 4 hours. Again it isn’t the most spectacular drive, but you can spot farm life and baby animals depending on the time of year. September is the nicest time to travel through this area as the canola crops are bright yellow, and wheat dark green. It’s a nice feeling seeing where your food comes from, so stopping at a couple of farmer’s stalls on the way home was how we finished our trip.