Finally! No more being stuck at home on weekends, with the restrictions on camping, at last, being eased. We couldn’t wait much longer to go camping again.
Explore Down Under’s first post COVID trip takes us to Chapman Valley. This isolated gem is tucked away in the hills of Howes Valley, about a 2 hour drive north of Sydney and 30 minutes south of Singleton, NSW.
The place is HUGE, with so much to explore, and in a number of different ways. You can go by foot, car, or do a guided horse ride tour to see the Chapman’s 8000-acre property. So, there is a bit for everyone that they can enjoy.
You could spend all day exploring the Chapman’s property! You really feel separated from the business of reality. A great spot to unwind!
To begin this trip, we met up with a mate at the local KFC and made our way up Putty Rd. In tradition, we arrived and navigated our way through the multiple gates to our campsite, after dark. Two people in our group were already there to meet us, but to a dead fire. I made sure I saw to that before we even started setting up, it was getting chilly!
After setting up and having a quick and easy dinner, we sat back in front of a dearly missed fire and enjoyed each other’s company for the first time in months. Oh, how I had been longing for a moment like this! Later that evening, a couple more showed up and joined in our company. After chatting for ages and catching up, we called it a night.
The morning chill greeted us, but that was quickly fixed by gathering around the fire and throwing some fresh logs on and cooking up a feed. Two more of the group came later than morning, one of which took themselves on one of the horse rides, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
After lunch, we decided to go for a drive around and explore the property. Some of the tracks require a 4WD, so we locked in the front hubs and off we went.
Up high in the mountainous parts it was dry, and easy driving, but in the valleys, it was a different story. The ground was wet and, in some parts, very muddy. Most mud sections we were able to do with ease… until we found the one I couldn’t! Then the fun and games really started.
Yep. Well and truly stuck. I did a good job on this one! Photo credit: Josh Abbott
We tried the snatch straps from the front. No luck. The ground around me was so slippery that the two different recovery vehicles could not get enough grip to get me out. One almost got bogged themselves. We had to find another way. By luck, another group of people were coming by, who, funny as it is, were going to attempt to cross this bog hole after having recovered someone from it the day before. But, lucky for them, seeing me well and truly stuck in it quickly changed their mind!
Kindly, they were able to help. They attached the winch and, after using a tree to stop them from sliding forwards, inch by inch, they were able to pull me out.
The whole ordeal took 2 ½ hours, after which we were all ready for a good feed back at camp!
With some banter around the fire of the day’s events, enjoying a hearty meal and the proceeding conversations, the night settled in and the stars showed off their light work.
So good to be around one of these with a bunch of mates again!
It was great to be back.
Want to come on one of our trips? Check us out on Instagram and Facebook, we have a community page with all the details of upcoming trips. We’d love to have you along!