I had initially planned on leaving on Friday morning and staying for 2 nights till Sunday afternoon but it was raining on Friday. Unfortunate as that was, Saturday morning was bright and sunny, and so we set off to spend a night camping in the outback!
Driving there was not difficult, but if you search for "turon gates" on google maps, the destination given is wrong, and will lead you to an intersection which is slightly too early. So, follow the instructions on their website and drive through the little village of Capertee and 2 km past that, there is a small sign on the left of the highway. Turn immediately. The road is unpaved but wide enough, and my front wheel drive Saab 900 handled it with no problems.
That dirt road continues for another 6km, leading you through other properties and over a scenic point to take in all the countryside around you. It is beautiful.
Just a little further on, and there will be a gate with directions on it. A steep slope down takes you over the river via a bridge, and the manager's house is located 2km in from that point.
Meeting the very welcoming manager, we were given a sticker for our car and told that we could set up camp anywhere from the field next to the house to the back gate.
There were 2 fields nearby, and although they had toilets and showers it was quite crowded. There were tents side to side packing up the entire fields, and this was not the camping experience I wanted. So, driving past those 2 fields, I was able to spot a nice little quiet area on the grass by the river. After parking the car, we set up camp and started a fire. Oh yes, Turon Gates allows you to have wood fires on their property and there's plenty of wood around. There are also many stone piles where previous fires have been lit, and those are appropriate sites to have a fire at.
After the tent and the fire were up, it was time for some exploring. There are hiking trails through the property, horse riding and canoeing to be done. There's also fishing and there were quite a few groups of dirt bikers around.
With the sun setting at about 6, this time of year (April), we weren't feeling up to further vigorous activities for that day. The walk down the river revealed that most of the river was lying a little low and no fish seemed to be hanging around, however the surroundings were just so gorgeous it didn't matter. I took some of my best photographs on the trip by that river.
With the setting sun, we headed back to the camp site and got ready for dinner. The fire had settled down and was burning at a good temperature. Being too famished, I didn't try to take any pictures of dinner. The firelight was not good enough illumination anyway. However I can tell you that the steaming hot mug of Chai by the fire was certainly the best beverage I've had in some time.
Relaxing on the fallen tree branch, serving as a bench, I was able to experiment a little with my new camera and took some shots of the stars overhead. I haven't seen that many stars in the sky since I was in Nepal years ago, and they were just as breathtaking as I remembered.
I was up bright and early the next morning, at 6am! The birds were chirping and the river bubbling. Prodding the embers of the fire a little I was able to get it to come to life again and adding a little more wood on, I started breakfast!
I had brought my home baked bread, cherry tomatoes from my balcony garden as well as eggs, gourmet sausages from Coles, and a can of Heinz baked beans (which I just chucked into the side of the fire).
After breakfast, and a little more lazing around, we had to leave...all too early for my liking as we had talked about extending the trip another day, but I had an appointment with my dentist I couldn't miss the following day. We did get to get a few good shots of the chickens and geese kept on the property on our way out though! All in all, a great trip. Too quick, but I will definitely be back.