MOUNTAIN HIGH

From the depths of Australia’s tallest waterfall to the pinnacle of off-road vistas, this is one adventure you need to experience for yourself! 

WORDS BY MARK NISSY & IMAGES BY AARON FOGARTY

Imagine finding your own piece of paradise! Camping on open lush grass by a clean flowing creek, next to ancient native forests with towering trees, the sound of birds as a backdrop to gigantic Jurassic era waterfalls and breathtaking views.

Oh, and did I mention… you can bring along your furry 4-legged friend? That’s right, with a couple of good mates, 2 enthusiastic doggo’s and the fridge fully packed, we began our long weekend adventure after hitching up two brand new homes-on-wheels from Signature Camper Trailers in Thornleigh, which is on the North-side of Sydney. That my friends, is where all the fun starts…

KEREWONG STATE FOREST

Heading north on the M1 we quickly wrapped up the 350km stint of highway before turning onto Hannam Vale Road, Moorland, and following the winding country roads towards Kerewong. We finally hit the dirt on Tipperary Road, before rolling into Swans Crossing Camping and Picnic Area in the Kerewong State Forest.

If you’re not one for tough tracks, you’ll be pleased to know the roads in and out of camp are easily driven with a basic 4WD setup and Camper Trailer, or even an Off-Road Caravan in tow. It’ll test your suspension out, though!

SWANS CROSSING CAMPGROUND

We pushed a little harder and drove a little longer to visit a cracking camping spot along the beautifully refreshing and equally stunning Upsalls Creek. Why? Well, it just ticks so many boxes. For starters it’s far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city that even on the busiest of long weekends you’ll still find your own grassy oasis. Along the creek, you’ll find purpose-built walkways and play areas for the kids too.

There are several open fire pits situated around the park, and for us a tasty lamb roast cooked in the camp oven was on the menu. With meat and veggies simmering away, we the opportunity to grab a towel and a cold drink (or 3) and popped down to the river for a relaxing afternoon swim. Now this is what owning a camper trailer is all about!

Despite a few other campers hanging around the site this weekend, we found our own little wading pool to frolic in for hours on end, and we couldn’t have felt further from civilisation.

ELLENBOROUGH FALLS

Ellenborough Falls is one of those places that you should have heard about but probably never have. If it was closer to the city or located in America there would be an amusement park, souvenir shops and 1001 tourists taking selfies and Instagramming. But it’s in Australia, and it’s in the bush, so you have none of that. What you do have is the single tallest drop waterfall in NSW – and amongst the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere. At about 200 metres high with plenty of viewing platforms you get to experience this truly awe-inspiring sight all to yourself.

Feeling fit and a little more enthusiastic than we ought to, we descended the 641 steps to the base of the waterfall. Despite being a picture-perfect day up top, the power and might of a 200metre waterfall needs to be experienced to be believed. 

You see, at Ellenborough Falls you get to experience it’s shear intensity up close and personal. Clambering and sliding over the slippery rock platforms and pools you can get as close as you’ll need to under the epic power that the falls create. With water pounding the rock platform below, the wind and spray could literally knock you off your feet.

Stroll a little further down and you’ll find wading pools and rock baths where you can soak up the atmosphere and experience something few others will ever get to feel, breathe or smell.

COMBOYNE PEAK LOOKOUT TOWER

Comboyne Mountain is only a five-minute drive up the hill from Swans Crossing Camp Ground and provides a truly ‘on top of the world’ experience. With spectacular 360degree views over the entire NSW Mid North Coast’s coastline and towards the start of the Great Dividing Range. It’s another gem which is hardly known, making it a real “find” for us camper trailer explorers. 

Whilst the long and steep accent up Comboyne Tower Road is unsuitable for 2WD vehicles or camper trailers, the effort is well worth the reward at the top.

We aimed for a sunset visit and we can honestly say it did not disappoint. Sitting on the rock platform on what felt like the edge of a cliff, one could only ponder in silence and experience what was a remarkable and unbeatable sight. Forget yoga or deep breathing techniques; if you truly want to feel at one and at peace – plonk your butt on the rocky outcrop of the Comboyne Mountain and savour the moment.

WRAPPING UP

For me, this is the type of destination and adventure we live for. A comfortable camp, stunning swimming holes, hidden unworldly attractions and the peace and quiet you only experience when you avoid the masses.  Some say you can’t have it all, but with Tigga and Bella (our 4-legged besties) chasing each other and jumping through the water, the crackle of the open camp fire and the smell of a lamb roast sizzling away, I reckon this is pretty bloody close!