As in all the previous times that we’d camped, the rain eventually caught up with us. It started raining on our last night at Riverwood Downs, and was still going when we woke up the next morning. That meant not much of a breakfast and another wet pack-up. Soon we were on the road back to Sydney. What a contrast from the hot and dry landscape of the previous few days!
One lady who was happy was Bridie. She relishes getting her nose out of the window no matter what the weather.
She really enjoyed having the wind in her
We took a drive to the nearby town of Dungog, about 25km away. To get there we had to navigate the gravel ‘main road’ over the forested Monkerai Nature Reserve.
And then across the pastured valley leading up to the town.
Dungog seemed to be the hub of the district, with the usual amenities, and the local high school too. We were there at 3pm when school ended for the day, and the line of school buses were endless. There was even one to Monkerai, near Riverwood Downs.
Back on the main street, there was the usual cross-road cairn and selection of quaint pubs. This pub was located, as you would expect, opposite the oldest bank in town. Unusually, in this age of bank conversions, it was still a bank.
The arts/crafts/antiques set had also arrived, but hadn’t totally dominated the main street like in other towns.
And there was an assortment of cute cottages about too.
Dungog was perhaps how the Hunter Valley used to be before viticulture took over; laid-back, quiet but still with a good supermarket and a few cosmopolitan cafes (the one we went to for lunch served a good vegetarian selection and was dog-friendly).
Cattle graze across much of the district, so it wasn’t long until we passed some cattle on the side of the road.
We had to stop and eyeball each other.
It’s fascinating the wide variety of these cows, despite the fact that they are probably all the same breed.
I took the photos from the safety of the car, as some of the cows looked rather mean.
When the sun went down, the temperature dropped to more comfortable levels, and the wildlife made an appearance. First up were the water birds who had their dinner on the lawn.
Then the almost-full moon appeared, and quickly rose up high.
At bed-time, the moon was very bright indeed.
It wasn’t until about 2 or 3am that the marsupial wildlife made an appearance. There were possums scouring the campsite, looking for food and mischief. One even had the gall to climb on to the fly! We were cleverer though. All our food was locked up tight in the car.
We walked past a tangled-up tree.
To the next door neighbour’s drive way. There was a corrugated iron shed, and a field with a wonderfully green crop.
The two dogs accompanied us all the way there and back. They reminded me of Red Dog in that they loved to walk, even if it was only down the road and back. They were also very friendly, even to our sometimes anxious beagle.
It was a lovely way to end our camping trip. Early the next morning we packed up in the rising heat and humidity, and headed back home. I must say that this was the loveliest, most chilled out camping trip I’ve ever had. Even in the company of a beagle.
We are having one last walk down the road.
This time it was hot with lots of flies.
The cows and horses were in a different paddock, but we did meet some new friends – two friendly farm dogs.
The pine tree trunks river side were contorted into some interesting shapes.
But I must have one more view of the tranquil river.
I had one last morning wander by the river.
All was beautifully still.
The next day, we were woke up to a symphony of moos.
The cows had moved up to the area besides our camp site, and were having breakfast, playing in the river, and mooing.
Not a bad way to wake up, actually.
Soon it was time to turn back.
A second helping of that awesome scenery.
With the added bonus of fading afternoon light.
And one last glare at the horsey (it’s a large dog, isn’t it?).