4wd club

Bilpin to Newnes via Burralow Creek Campground

trip report

Written By ~ Mark Thorogood

Participants ~ Ian Terley & Sarah Kiely - Trip Leaders
Mark Thorogood
Steven Booker
Simon & Lyndall Tregoning
Malcom, Aaron & Kurt Moody
Joshua & Kristi Chu
Matt & Jo Wright
Tony & Elisha Jeff
Jorge & Danny Ferrari

Duration ~ Two days
Destination ~ Newnes

Highlights

Enjoying lifting a wheel or two and the satisfying sense of achievement as the hills are crested out. Then there's a large mud area. After digging through some sticky mud.....

trip report
trip report
trip report
trip report
trip report
trip report

Report

Sometimes the time from end of work on a Friday and the start of a trip on a Saturday is a very long time, so how do you resolve this situation? Tack a mini trip on to the start of the trip of course. With this idea in mind, the emails went out and a small “advance” crew of four cars wound up at Burralow Creek campground on Friday night, huddled around a crackling fire as the temperature headed south and the tales of previous trips got taller. Early nights were the call of the evening as the anticipation of what was to come, grew and grew. Early the next morning (well, about 6:30am anyhow – so not too early really) we rose and discussed how much nicer it is to wake up in the bush before a trip than it is to wake up at home. With that said, and not to mention a few chuckles at Matt and Jo attempting to pack up their “easy pack up tent” we were off up Patterson Range Fire Trail to meet the rest.

In two’s and three’s everyone began to arrive. Matt ducked out to top off the tanks and on his return we were off for another Terley Trip. Turning into the car park at the Zig Zag Railway, tyres were let down and the excitement began to build – discussions of the Power Lines Track began to emerge with previous successes discussed and failures to be overcome planned out. Setting off at a leisurely pace it wasn’t long before we turned off the main track in search of a more challenging line. A small loop de loop and a heavily overgrown side track led us back to the main track and provided a good warm up to the true power lines track that arrived shortly later. Stopping at the bottom, Ian attempted the harder line and was stopped a third of the way through the first section with both opposing wheels in the air. With him abandoning his attempt for the time being, I sidled up for a go. Carefully picking the line (with a little help from some sneaky lockers) all was going well considering someone forgot to let their tyres down, until mistaking the left hand pedal for the right hand pedal launched the little Jeeps’ rear end about a metre sideways, airborne. Its ok, I never liked that brake light anyhow. Steve, in his mighty 100 Series followed closely behind and took things a little more intelligently, aided by a quick snatch from Ian, came through unscathed.

On up the hill we all trekked with everyone enjoying lifting a wheel or two through the next section and a satisfying sense of achievement as the hill was crested out. Leaving the hill, we entered a large mud area. Most people chose to thread through the left hand puddle, with Matt choosing the right hand line – and promptly bull dozing himself into a hole. After digging through some sticky mud, followed by a quick snatch from Joshua, we were again back on our way. Turning our attention back to the Power Line Track, we looked down into the valley and considered our options. The general consensus was “Give it a go, see what happens, and anyhow the insurance is paid up? Right?” Threading down into the valley it was quickly discovered to be not as scary as it looked from the top of the hill with an option of easy, medium and hard on the way out. Steven, Jorge and I opted for the heavily crossed up section with again many wheels up in the air – it was fast becoming one of those trips! A little guidance saw the rest of the trip threading their way through the medium section. Congratulations to all for making it through with no damage to anyone, or anything.

Cruising down the other side of the hill saw us enter a small grove that consisted of many different lines in and out. The obvious line – straight up the other side - was so completely rutted and muddy that it was not an option, so finding a more sedate option out, we travelled on to the lunch point where the plan for the afternoon was hatched. Moving on to Blackfellows Hand Trail, we began to head towards the campground. A quick stop was made on the way through to take in the sights of a large number of rocky outcrops with everyone climbing to the top of the rocks to take the requisite group photo and enjoy the view, with one last stop to grab a modest amount of firewood. Coming to the end of Blackfellows Hand Trail and back to the main road, we began the long tour into the Newnes Camp Ground. This is one of the most spectacular campgrounds I have ever stayed in with towering sandstone escarpments on all sides and the remains of the old town sprinkled up the valley. With the construction of the Emirates Resort in the area, expect a lot more people to be coming and going from this area, so get to it now whilst it is still relatively untouched.
Camp was set up with everything from the humble swag to the latest in quick pitch camps. It was then discovered why it was so difficult for Matt to pack the tent up that morning – it had been “decided” that the rug should be left inside the tent to make setup that evening that much easier. Well, it was easier to setup that evening, so I would assume that it was a success. 

The weather again headed into the low single digits and with the fire struggling to keep us all warm it was agreed that we need to make another quick run to get more wood before the sun went down so again, out came the saws. Everyone began to settle in to eat dinner with Jorge and Masterchef Danny keeping everyone fed on roasted chocolate banana’s which were the equal of any dessert ever served – soon to be a regular on many trips I am sure. Later in the evening, as about half the trip had wandered off to bed a new friend from another camping group came to regale those still awake with stories of her adventures, again and again and again.

The following morning, the trip was “officially” over and the goodbyes began to flow. A quick suggestion as routes were discussed for the easiest way home from the campground was that Blackfellows Hand Trail and the Power Lines Track could be tackled in the reverse direction – decision made. Others decided to take a few more hours to pack up and then take the bitumen home. Ian and Sarah, Steven, Jorge and Danny, The Moody’s, and I headed off to run through the trip in reverse. Travelling back through, we approached the section of the Power Lines Track that stopped us the day before. Crawling down the track with a small amount of road building, we slipped to the right as we approached the edge but managed to all get through fine, meeting a group of trail bike riders at the bottom. After stopping for lunch near the cross up section from the day before, we peered down the hill that we had been advised to “not even consider” – consider it we did till it was decided to leave it for another day as the shadows were getting long and the drive home would already take us into the early evening. 

One last obstacle was encountered however – a seemingly small and shallow rut filled with mud and water hid the grand canyon on the right hand side that proved a nice end to another fantastic trip and an even coat of brown mud to the right hand side of everyone’s vehicles for bragging rights at the office on Monday.