The Watagans is just one hour inland of Newcastle, and offers plenty of quiet campsites, single-tracks for dirt bike riders, hiking trails, gnarly four wheel driving, and even pet friendly camping in the state forests.
We take a left turn down a road from the town of Millfield and begin the steep drive up the dirt road towards the elusive campsite that Mark has told me about numerous times. Parts of this road are rutted out pretty badly, but luckily for us the road has recently been graded.
Along the way we stop off at Flat Rock Lookout. This giant rocky outcrop looks out over the valley, and is also part of a walking trail. At this point I wonder if the campsite we’re going to will have views as good as this.
As we turn a sharp corner, we look ahead to see a black wild dog standing on the road. When it hears us approaching, it darts off into the bush. These wild dogs are timid, and more afraid of humans than we are of them. We have our nine month old puppy in the back, who is eager to get out of the car and run around, even more-so after spotting a few wallabies jump in front of the car.
When we reach the turn off to the campsite, we see a piece of toilet paper tied to the tree branch. Mark becomes disheartened as the paper looks fresh, and he thinks someone has already snagged the spot. We continue down the track anyway, and are relieved to see the campsite is empty.
Ted loves his glow-in-the-dark ball to death. As we set up camp he persistently brings us the ball, and drops it at our feet. Every now and again, the ball rolls dangerously close to the edge of the rocky outcrop. At this point, we decide to put the ball away. Ted can thank us later.
As the sun sets, the stars come out, and the lights in the town of Millfield in the distance switch on. We hear cows mooing in the valley below us, and hear a wild dog bark far off into the distance. It’s otherwise very quiet at this campsite, unlike some of the other more popular campsites in the Watagans, this one is far from all the action.
Ted is on edge, and I become a little paranoid that the wild dogs will come to our campsite in the night – no doubt setting him off. We keep him with us in the tent at night, and luckily have no unwanted visitors.
Tips for Camping in the Watagans
- It’s important to take all of your food scraps and rubbish out of the park with you. Don’t throw your food scraps in the bush, there are wild animals living here that won’t digest your meals as well as you might. Safe to say, never ever feed wild animals.
- If someone else has snagged a secluded campsite before you, don’t be a douche and camp right beside them. First in best dressed – better luck getting there before the other person next time!
- The Watagan Mountains are made up of numerous state forests and national parks, so before you set off with your pet, make sure the region you’re exploring is pet friendly.
- There are no facilities at many of the free campsites in The Watagans. You need to bring a jerry can filled with water, and keep in mind there aren’t any toilets.
- Dispose of your waste ethically – don’t leave it out in the open, dig a decent hole. If you don’t have a shovel, take a trip to a nearby town. Don’t ruin it for everyone else.
If you want to know the location of this campsite, you’ll have to use the hints I’ve provided in this article to find it for yourself. It’s a great spot, and in the spirit of “Where’s Mildo”, take a real 1800s style adventure and find it for yourself.