With a week off we were searching for a touring trip not too far from home with breathtaking scenery for the adults and grassy camp sites for the kids to play. With this in mind we packed the cars and trailers and headed south into Northern New South Wales trying to stay off the main highways and stick to as much dirt as possible.

Day 1

We headed south out of Beaudesert towards Woodenbong and then onto Urbanville and Paddy’s Flat. We have always enjoyed this part of the country. From the rolling hills filled with dairy cows to the dense rainforest around the boarder. It always makes for a good drive.

Heading down through Paddy’s Flat it is easy to see why this is a popular camping spot in summer. There is plenty of camping along the Clarence River to spread out and some nice waterholes for summer dips. This however was not our stop for the first couple of nights – our plan was to push further south and find a spot we had limited information but what we did know sounded very appealing.

We pushed further south following the Clarence River and re joining the Clarence Valley Way at Tabulam on the Bruxner Hwy. The scenery is constantly changing as is the river – It truly is a special part of the country.

After another couple of hours we make a right turn onto Carnham Rd at Fine Flower and follow it down to the Carnham Bridge over the Clarence. After crossing the bridge the only info we have about our campsite is to look for a large ghost gum about 500m after the bridge and turn down the track. Sure enough we find the tree and the tracks. A short drive down to the river we find half a dozen large, flat, grassy camp spot all with clean fire rings and ample fire wood.

We are told this spot is called Taylor’s Run by the locals. We set up camp for two nights on the side of the Clarence and get the fire going.

Day 2

We spent the day exploring up and down the banks of the Clarence around the camp site. We had the spot to ourselves. The river was slightly up and flowing. In summer this would be a great spot for swimming as the camp site is on a large water hole on a bend.

Day 3

After a lazy breakfast and late pack up we hit the road about 10am heading for Grafton for Fuel before heading back along the Old Glenn Innes Road.

We continued along Carnham Rd towards Cangai. This road weaves back and forth along the Mann River. Once again the scenery is spectacular – from the rolling hills to the flowing wide spans of the Mann river. At the Gwydir Hwy we head east still following the Mann all the way to Jackadgery before continuing onto Grafton.

After fuelling up and a lunch stop we head back east and head down the Old Glenn Innes Road. The Old Glenn Innes road is the original transit route from Glenn Innes East to Grafton and is a reminder of day gone by. The scenery is no less enjoyable and is constantly changing around every bend.

We make it to Dalmorton for the night and after checking out the Guy Falkes National Park camp ground we opt for the free camp on the side of the Boyd River. This site was probably the best camp spot of the trip. We set up on the side of the flowing river with our fire 6 feet from the water.


Day 4

After another lazy start we packed up and headed west. Before heading out of Dalmorton we walked around the old township and the history of the area. While not a lot is left the township was in full swing up until the late 1980’s and was a key to the stage coaches and bullock teams during the 1800’s.

After a short drive we arrived at what is commonly called the Convict Tunnel. This Tunnel (contrary to its name) was carved out by contractors to allow the road to pass. It was done entirely by hand – when you stand there and look at it it is no small feat – certainly not something I would want to try.

A few more hours and the road separates from the Boyd river and starts to open up. From here there are a number of working cattle property’s and the road is better maintained (less interesting!).

At Newton Boyd we stopped and checked out the war memorial that lists the lives of local men lost in WWI – There were a number of families that lost all of their sons to the war.

We camped the night at the Mann River Nature Reserve at Diehard (Yes a real town name!). Once again the camp site was open and grassy on the banks of the Mann River and Diehard Creek. We spent the afternoon exploring along the river and found the footing from the old bridge cut into the rock – once again a task that would have been done by hand.

Day 5

Overnight the temperature had dropped well below zero and there was frost on the ground and ice on the cars. The water in the camper pipes had also frozen. At 8:30 it was still -2. Once the sun hit it did warm up a bit and we headed off.

We climbed up the range weaving back and forth through the dense rainforest before popping out on the Gwydir Highway and heading towards Glenn Innes. After stretching the legs and grabbing lunch at the bakery we headed for Tenterfield.

The drive up the New England Highway is always enjoyable, particularly through the Granite Belt and Bushranger country.
From Tenterfield we headed out of town along the Mount Lindsay Highway stopping at Captain Thunderbolts Hide Out before pushing onto Basket Swamp for the night. Basket Swamp is a remote free camp on the edge of Basket Swamp national park. While the campsite is clean it is nothing more than an opening in the scrub.

Day 6

Before leaving Basket Swamp we headed down to check out Basket Swamp Falls – a nice little drive and short walk. Once again this would be a great spot for summer with some nice rock pools to sit in.

From hear we followed the Mount Lindsay Highway back to Beaudesert. While the road leaves a bit to be desired it is and enjoyable drive with good scenery and sure beats sitting on the highway.