Hill End, NSW – 23 & 24 Oct 04

Ok, here we go. Trip report is coming!

We started off as planned at Richmond. Travelled up to Lithgow, caught up with a couple more cars. Got just out of Lithgow, and my car threw a fan belt. unfortunately, I had gave my fan belt to a mate a couple of weeks ago, and didn’t replace it. Thankfully the guys helped me, so sorry about the screw around, and thanks for the help.

Got the car fixed, and caught up with the guys at Bathurst. Apparently they enjoyed a couple of laps of Mt Panaroma (in a cruiser for God’s sake), without hitting a kangaroo! Had some lunch and then proceeded on!
Turned onto the Bridle Track and had a looka t a couple of the camping spots at the start of the track. Some of them are set up very nicely with toilets and one of them had a water tank as well. All of them had a nice area to put up a tent!

Found a nice side track at about the halfway mark. Everyone had a go, some with more trouble than others!

It basically consists of a steepish downhill with a decent washout you have to traverse, and a camping area down the bottom. Guaranteed to have a quiet time if you camp down there! The uphill section is slightly easier, apart from a couple of tree stumps which I think a couple found!

There was a very interesting water crossing near there as well. Due to the high level of the water,we were unable to cross it this time. But witha very muddy bottom, long crossing and a red dirt steep hill climb afterwards, it will challenge a lot of people with snorkels I’m thinking. Word of warning though, walf it first, it will suprise you!

The views on this trip would have to be some of the best I have ever seen in NSW. Here is a sample of a few of them!

We got into Hill End to find out that it was one of the only weekends when the Cobb & Co horse and cart visited. Talk about some luck. So obviously the photo opportunity did not escape me!

Some coldies were enjoyed at the pub in the beer garden! As well as some big kids climbing trees! 😯

And we did find some mud too!

And then it was set up camp for the night!

And that was the end of Saturday!

Sunday started nice and early due to my kids loving to wake up early! Still Richard was already awake and about – before 6am! 😯

A few left early to have a further look aorund Hill End. If they knew then what was going to happen, I think they might have hung around for a while longer 😉

The Landy must have copped a tankful of water instead of diesel. I spent half an hour trying to just get it going it was that bad! 😡 We then headed up to Hill End and waited for the other two to catch up. Then Hungry turns up by himself needing a set of jumping leads for the cruiser! Turns out that the battery had decided to give up the ghost in the Cruiser, and it needed a Patrol to get it going – never going to live that one down, hey! 😉

Oh, and to top it all off – Richard damaged his vehicle on the top of a track all of us had a play with near the camp site. Was a moderate type of track with a few challenging parts, but an overhanging tree got him !

An absolutely great morning before we even started the track. We left Hill End at 11am to continue the journey!

The first part of the drive was very easy going on gravel roads. A bit more time might have made for some more stops with some sightseeing involved. I suggest that this trek should be done on a Long Weekend – you need at lease 3 or 4 days to do the area justice.

The little bit of rain they have had up there has definetely improved life for everyone, as evidenced in the photos. Nice and green, and dams with water in them 😯

From the first homestead on, it started to become a narrower track. We let an unknown person through in his Patrol, doing 100mile up the track and not looking like he was enjoying the scenery too much. Anyway the track winds its way up the side of a hill gently, then comes down into the valley quite steeply. If your vehicle doesn’t have good brakes, or it’s wet, I would start to suggest low range here maybe!

Down in the gully is the Macquarie River Crossing. It was only around 1/4 up the rims this trip, but I can easily see why it is recommended to have a look first! BTW – if you get down there and discoer it is running to fast or is to high, you will have to reverse a good 500m back up the track to a intersection. It is too narrow to turn around. Also, if anyone is coming from the other direction, they will have to give way to you, even if they don’t like it!

From here it was a easy enough hill climb back out if the gully, where the road widens enough for very easy going. A few kms up the road after this we turned left to go towards Ophit. For the next 15km’s or so, the track was narrow with a couple of minor creek crossings (well they would be if it was wet enough), and a careful eye for potholes to catch you out. There was also some private gates to shut behind you when you went through.

At the end of this track we turned left and went down into a gully, which was the main Ophir camping/picnic area. A Ford Station-Wagon tried to play chicken with me on a U-Turn, and moved very quickly. He then proceeded to piss of everyone in the convoy. Typical. We stopped down at Ophir and has some lunch. This had taken us less than two hours from Hill End at a very easy pace.

BTW – there was some elderly gentleman down at Ophir that a few of us said hello too! They volunteer they’re time and effort to look after the area, as well as mow the lawns etc. If you see them down there, stop and have a chat, and thank them for the great job they do!

From here it was a climb out of the gully, and then a few more km’s of gravel, a left turn onto a road to Bathurst. Sign said 55kms. If there are any closet rally drivers out there – this road will single you out! Wish I was driving a WRX instead of the Landy along here! 😉

About 1/2 way up this road the fuel system started playing up again! 😡 I was only getting about 1/3 acceleration out of each gear before it would cut out on me. So the trip to Bathurst was 110km/h downhill in Neutral 😆 and 40km/h uphill. That part was painfull.

We got to Bathurst, where we parted our ways after a break, toilet stop etc (for me to change the fuel filter again).

1/2 way to Lithgow I pulled over and cleaned the filter again! I also put in a bit of diesel fuel cleaner. But to no avail. Then to top of the troubles the weather hit fast and hard.

And it got worse than that! Kurrajong got hit with some nasty hail, the Great Western was down to around 40 km/h everywhere, Northern Rd near Penrith was starting to flood as well as numerous other skirmishes.

BTW – due to my cars problems, I set a new speed record up Mt Victoria Pass

See what I mean!

P.S – thankyou very much to those that helped me, it was very appreciated! 😀

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One Response to Hill End, NSW – 23 & 24 Oct 04

  1. Tony Forrester says:

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to do these reports on your various trips Chris.I might have to get my act together and follow your lead not far down the track before i forget where i have travelled around this great land.
    Excellent stuff mate.During the new year hopefully i will try to meet some of the guys on o/l and participate in some of the trips or camp out’s.

    To you and your family Merry Christmas & fun filled new year.

    Cheers Tony Forrester.

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