Wednesday, October 29, 2014

School Holidays Part 2 {Road Trip to Camp Cobbald}

Bright and early, the Monday of the second week of the school holidays, we packed up the wagon with all that we’d need for a week of roughing it in the wilderness, and headed north. We left behind us Dad and all of the assorted animals in his care, instructions on their feeding and use of the washing machine. Also instructions on how to send an email.  Learning curves on all fronts .

The first 250kms were broken at The Oasis, after a road we’ve travelled well and is much more pleasant than it used to be (so much bitumen). Fearing we may be lost in the depths of the Gulf Savannah from this point on, as we ventured onto roads un-travelled (by us at least!) the kids begged for a feed.


And then westward we were bound. Einasleigh and Forsayth were on the route, and so we looked forward to discovering their delights.


Deeper into them there hills we drove – with a surprisingly long and windy and HIGH range in between Einasleigh and Forsayths (the delights of both I will save for the return journey). And dry, oh my goodness. Ravaged by huge fires in the back end of 2012, it is very clear a lot of this country has a long way to go before its recovered, drought gripping this part of the country as well. Back to feeling that perhaps things are QUITE so bad at home.

And finally we arrived.


Cobbold Gorge itself is a privately owned tourist attraction on Howlong Station outside of Forsayth. Its a long way to town. They have created a wonderful camp site for travellers here, and this camp site was taken over by the organised of Camp Cobbald. Organised by one of my oldest friends, it’s a camp aimed at outback families, with a focus on bringing services to them that they may struggle to access especially in the midst of this dry conditions. Swimming lessons, sports, wood work, music and more, the kids were kept extremely busy. The mums also weren’t sitting around idly either – with sessions with inspiring motivational speakers Catherine Marriot (Influential Women) and Julia Telford (Engage Create Consulting), physio, haircuts, remedial massage. There were also educational support and physcologists present as well. As well as a huge team of helpers in the form of Chappies from around  the north and volunteers all of the way from Toowoong Uniting Church. In all there was around 230 people on site.


{aerial view of camp – in a “normal” year the pool over looks a waterhole}



{our camp site – I just provided bedding and clothing – a mere 10 metre walk to a shared toilet and shower block – but a 300 metre walk up a steep hill back up to the pool and dining hall}

We had a very busy and full week, including a fancy dress disco, sit down formal dinner for the mums (and dads) and a culminating concert on Thursday night.

Thursday afternoon we had the chance to look at Cobbald Gorge itself.  This required a short ride on a 4WD tour bus, crossing the large Robertson River on the way.  Cobbald Gorge itself is only 750 metres long, a small unique gash in the landscape.

The gorge is accessed via a walk way and specially made flat bottomed boats with super quiet electric motors. These boats were made especially for navigating the narrow reaches of the gorge.




The gorge maintains a near constant water level year round (apart from during wet season rains of course) being spring fed. The depth of water is around 8ft. The water is held up by a natural dam in the form of tea tree roots, the water drops from the top “dam” into a series of smaller “dams” very quickly before disappearing into the sand bed of the nearby Robertson River (from which the Camp site pumps its water from, via a spear into the river bed)


The knowledge of fresh water crocs residing in this water way had Angus quite anxious. (honestly! picture me rolling my eyes right now) And, from memory, his boating experience has thus far been quite limited so he was quite worried about the whole process for awhile.

The gorge is so narrow in spots that one can nearly touch each wall with arms outstretched.







Its quite a unique little spot, and protected as a nature reserve now. (although has made me realise we have some wonderful natural assets closer to home as well).

The tour of the gorge was well timed, on the eve of our departure. We packed ourselves up and were ready to leave after breakfast in the morning – with a 6 hour drive to get home we (or rather I) decided that the sessions that morning were  not vital our well being!

More adventures to share of the trip home…..


  1. Looks amazing scenery. The North is certainly a big place.

  2. We certainly have some pockets of beauty on this harsh, dry continent, just a matter of knowing where they are. I'm afraid camping holds little appeal to me, though one does what one has to ... for the kids!
    Hope you're keeping cool in current conditions. Seen any 'signs' lately?

  3. Wow! What a great place to visit. I am now going to google how far it is etc and start thinking of a trip.


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