Kangaroo Valley

Trip Start Sep 27, 2009
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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, February 28, 2011

Our next stop was Kangaroo Valley, after driving on some really steep and windey roads we finally arrived. Kangaroo Valley is a National Trust listed village surrounded by rain forest covered cliffs, a huge river and rolling hills. To get to the village you have to drive over Hamden Bridge which was first built in 1898 and was built to resemble a Scottish castle. The village itself was really quaint and old fashioned, it felt like we had gone back in time.

After checking into a caravan park we went on a walk through the village, it didn't take long as there was only one street with a pub and a few village shops but the place had a really relaxed feel to it. The sun was shining so we stopped at a local cafe for a cream tea that Chris has been craving and Dan had a big pink strawberry shake.

We then went down to Hamden bridge for a swim in the river. There was a small beach under the bridge so we sat there for a while reading our books and swimming in the river until we saw a deadly black snake! The views of the bridge and the surrounding forest were great though. After swimming we stopped in the centre of the village, which is of course the pub called the Friendly Inn. We had a beer in the garden which had awesome views of the surrounding valley.

The next day we had arranged to go kayaking. The main reason we came to Kangaroo Valley is because we fancied doing to do some kayaking or biking in the rain forest around the village. After a quick ring around a lot of the activity companies seemed to had closed down but luckily our caravan site did a good deal, 2 days kayaking and 1 night camping for 75 dollars each.

We had to take all our own camping gear with including food and water so we packed up everything and rammed it all into the dry bags the guy gave us. The guy told us about the route and gave us a hand drawn map of where we could camp along the river bank and where he would pick us up the following day. As there was three of us we got a 2 person canoe which had to carry all the gear and a single kayak.

Our route started at Hampden bridge so the guy dropped us off on the river and away we went in our kayaks for the next couple of days. At first the river was pretty shallow and there were a few tame rapids that were quiet fun although we had to get out and push it a couple of times. Dan was in the kayak and he would go first to find a safe way to get the big heavy canoe through.

After we had left the village the river was so quiet it was unbelievable. It was just the three of us paddling along with no one else in site. The banks of the river where covered in rain forest as far as the eye could see so it looked stunning. The river was pretty rocky so we saw loads of huge lizards swimming in the river and sitting on the rocks in the sun.

After a couple of hours paddling we picked a spot on the river bank and stopped for lunch, there wasn't many places you could actually stop as the forest went right up to the edge of the river but we managed to find a good spot. We dragged up the canoes and had a picnic on the river bank. There was a rope swing hanging from one of the trees so Chris had to have a go but the water turn out to be only about 3ft deep!

After lunch it was Ems turn in the kayak and Chris and Dan in the canoe. Em was always used to having Chris help paddle so wasn't too keen to have to do all the work herself but she soon got the hang of it a was speeding off into the distance leaving the lads behind. We paddled for about another 3 hours, the river was getting gradually wider and a lot deeper and a few times we weren't too sure which was we were supposed to be going as different rivers were all joining up.

Judging by the hand drawn map we guessed we were in around the right area to spend the night so we picked a spot on the river bank and set up camp. We camped right on the river at a small clearing big enough to put up the tent and have a big camp fire, it was really cool just camping the three of us with dense rain forest behind us, no one else in sight and right on the river it was awesome.

After putting up the tent we started to collect some fire wood to have a big camp fire to keep us warm through the night. We found loads of wood just down the river a bit so we got the canoe and Dan ferried it back to camp, we also found two trees that had fallen so we dragged those back as well.

We bought a box of goon with us so we had a few glasses of wine and played some cards on the river bank before the sun went down. We made some pasta on the portable stove and then got the fire going. The fire was a huge success and was massive so we toasted some marsh mellows and finished off the box of wine. After we had all had a few we went for a swim in the river which was really freaky as it was absolutely pitch black and then took the canoe out which was good fun but thank god we had the fire going as that was the only thing leading us back to camp and dried us off.

We only had a small two man tent for the 3 of us so sleeping was a bit of a squeeze but at least we stayed warm! We heard so much wildlife outside the tent though it was crazy. There were wombats around our camp as we could hear them munching the grass all night, it was weird as the sounded like the were right next to your head and we saw loads of kangaroos!

We woke up in the morning and sun had come out and made the forest look amazing as the fog lifted of the river. The fire was still a little warm so we got it going again and had cooked some toast over the fire.

After breakfast we packed up camp and hit the water again. It was a lot hotter this morning and for some reason the wind seemed to be blowing in our face no matter which direction we paddled so it made it real hard work. It was Chris turn in the kayak so he paddled off decided which way to go as the river just kept getting wider so we had a bit of trouble deciding which way to go.

We paddled for about 4 hours mostly into some really strong winds, it was really hard work and Em felt like giving up but there was no other option than to keep paddling so we eventually got to the pick up point just in time. It was a really good couple of days, it was great to do something different, the scenery was absolutely stunning and it was great to be so isolated we had a great laugh.since it was just us. Kangaroo valley and the surrounding forest was really beautiful and we were glad we pushed the van up those huge hills.
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