I’ll just start this blog by saying this is THE best campsite we have ever stayed at. Eli (11) describes it as “a magical place” and we all can’t wait to get back here. It is Blue Waterholes Campsite in the High Plains Area, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW.
Here is a link to the National Parks Website that can give you the location, access info, and a lot of other info that you need to know – http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/campgrounds/blue-waterholes-campground
It is a remote campsite, so you have to go fully prepared and take everything with you that you need. There are drop toilets but no water. We used creek water for washing up, but we took drinking water with us. The campsite is closed during winter (check the link above for more details) and the road in is rated for 2WD, but in bad conditions you would definitely want a 4WD.
Towing a large caravan right into Blue Waterholes Campsite wouldn’t be advised but there are plenty of campsites on the way in that would be more suitable. We had the Trak Shak on this trip.
This campsite features blue swimming waterholes, trout fishing, cliff jumping, two gorge walks, an amazing waterfall, two caves that you can explore, platypus and if that’s not enough … brumbies that come through the campsite at night! As Eli has said, it’s a magical place.
We camped four nights here and it wasn’t long enough. There is just so much to see and do without starting the car.
The Wild Brumbies
We initially heard about this campsite the year before when we were camping at Three Mile Dam, and when we heard that brumbies come through the campsite at night, I decided that we had to camp at Blue Waterholes. The first night we were there we listened and listened … nothing. During the day, however, we saw one lone horse not far from the campsite.
On the second night, I woke up to the sound of the brumbies grazing around our camper trailer. Scott and I excitedly woke the boys up, as we had promised, and we all peered out the windows to see the wild brumbies in the moonlight. We could hear them galloping about and making all sorts of noises. It was a very special experience.
The next morning, the brumbies were still in the campsite when we got up, so we got some great photos. One little foal was so busy looking around that she didn’t realise that her mum and the rest of the mob had moved on. Then she whinnied repeatedly, prancing up and down the edge of the campsite calling for mum. When she heard the reply coming from over the hill, she galloped off joyfully.
We have been õff the grid for a few days remote camping in North Kosciuszko national park. 🐎Wild brumbies came through the camp during the night and in the morning when they all took off, this little foal got left behind. She called out for her mama and off she went…
Posted by Sons of Adventure on Sunday, 15 January 2017
The Walks and Caves
Clark Gorge is a great walk that leaves right from the campsite. It’s a 5km return walk along Cave Creek, and you cross the creek several times. At the end of the walk, there is an amazing waterfall, where we swam. This walk is deserving of its own blog, which I will post soon.
Nichols Gorge Walk follows Cave Creek in the other direction (upstream). It was a dry creek bed above the first waterhole when we were there. This walk takes you past two caves that are open to the public. After walking for about 500m, you come across Cooleman Cave. This was the better of the two caves and we could follow it in for a couple of hundred metres or so. It looks similar to Yarrangobilly Caves, but not in such great condition.
About half an hour further along the track, you come across Murray Cave. This cave is awesome too – it goes about 350m until you get to an impassable siphon/pool. There are some really cool formations in this cave too, although you can see where it has been damaged by people taking souvenirs, which was commonplace early last century.
After Murray Cave, you walk up the hill behind the cave and see some amazing views of the valley. The wildflowers were out in bloom when we did the walk and it was so beautiful. We kept an eye out for brumbies on the plains but we didn’t see any there. It was a hot, dry walk, so make sure you take plenty of water with you for the hike.
The campsite is named after the series of blue waterholes along the creek. The blue colour comes from the minerals in the karst cliffs that form the gorge. I loved how the dark colour of the cliffs looked very dramatic and ominous.
The very first waterhole is the bluest and the coldest. The creek upstream from it is dry (or at least it was when we were there) and the first waterhole must be fed by a spring or the like. It was very cold, and on our last day at the campsite the boys and I (Kate) braved the freezing water and jumped in for a quick dip. I set a challenge by swimming the length of the waterhole. It was breathtakingly cold, even though it was the middle of summer. Everyone else took up the challenge and swam the full length. Then Scott joined up, declared us all crazy and also swam the length of the waterhole … and upped the challenge by swimming back to where we started. Invigorating!
As the water flowed downstream, the pools got progressively warmer. The boys found some cliffs above a deep waterhole and climbed up to jump off. I was really proud of Eli who overcame his fear and joined his brothers.
Swimming in the waterholes is definitely a highlight of our time at Blue Waterholes campsite.
Fishing and Platypus Spotting
Scott and I are not really into fishing but for some reason Eli has this romanticised idea of fishing. We had bought him a rod to fish for trout and then of course, Scott had to help him.
It was such a beautiful location, Scott and Eli both enjoyed it, and all the boys wanted to have a go. They spent hours trying to outsmart the cunning trout. They managed to catch one small trout but the highlight of the fishing experience occurred one night when Scott and Eli were down at the creek at about 9pm. They were fishing in the moonlight, with a lonely wild brumby hanging around. Magic.
Then Scott was standing very still in the water when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. He knew it was too big for a snake. He turned and saw a platypus swimming towards him. Scott’s movement immediately alerted the platypus and it retreated very swiftly to safety. It gave Scott quite a thrill.
A Magical Place
Just in case I haven’t said it enough times, it really is the best way to describe this campsite. We had planned on going for a mountain-bike ride on the tracks, but we ran out of time. On the way out, we also stopped at the historic Cooleman Homestead, which is definitely worth a look – really interesting! So much to do at this place, we really would have loved an extra couple of days.
So many special memories from this place … let’s just say, we can’t wait to get back there!