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The South of Sydney Camping trip — Day 5 (Kangaroo Valley -> Belanglo State Forest)

Posted on Monday 3 June 2013

Yes, the destination for the day is the same place ‘The Backpacker Murderer’ buried his victims. I’m not superstitious, and Belanglo has facilities like a toilet and ‘infinite firewood’, so I was interested in comparing it to the Sunny Corner campsite. (And there’s the hope its reputation might help repel the dreaded family campers as well…)



A wombat kicked dirt all over my tent and took a crap on it. Fuck you too, Wombat.



The overnight/early morning temperature wasn’t too bad this time– only (plus) 4 degrees.



The previous evening, a worker had taped-off a section of the open campground near the toilet block to allow the ground to recover, but had left a mattock behind. In the morning when I made for the toilet, I noticed it was still there– but broken and covered in wombat shit. There’s some real punk-ass wombats around.



My nearest neighbour was an young American couple, the husband being Justin, who were camping around the world after marriage. Justin was also a motorcycle rider, and had owned a 100cc-class bike like Postie when they were in Thailand, and we spent heaps of time chatting about riding small motorbikes, and how camping on one (around Australia) had been for me.



Justin convinced trolled me into taking a refreshing early morning swim…
Everything felt warm afterwards.



Found a small camping chair thrown into the scrub behind the Scouts’ shipping containers– packs onto the bike almost-perfectly!




Duck patrol.



Hard to tell if the damage was caused by campers or wombats. Probably also a good photo to show how much gear I pack.
And yes, why are all my clothes hanging from the bike…




Going north from Kangaroo Valley meant more mountain climbing along the Moss Vale Road, through Fitzroy Falls, and up to Bowral. Postie was not very happy about the ~10 kilometres of hills– had to rest the engine part-way up.



Lunch (discount Woolworth doughnuts \o/) at Bowral, with food and snacks for the next two days, and across the road I didn’t forget to buy another gas-oven cylinder.



One of the car-campers at the last campsite mentioned the weather forecast was predicting rain for the next day. I hunted around for a hardware store, and bought a large plastic tarpaulin from a very helpful CRT to use as an extended tent fly. When I returned to the bike, I busted a guy eyeing it over– however he was another Postie rider!

Russ was a pilot from Victoria, and he could tell at a glance this was a Hardcore Adventure Riding Postie from the specific set of modifications I’d done to the bike– the ’stubbie holder’, the extended mirrors, the USB power converter, and several other things that I explained the whats and whys of. One of the first things Russ pointed out was a missing nut meant to hold the exhaust to the frame (noticing those was his habit as a pilot, he said) and not wanting that to break and fall off, I opened up the panniers, removed the petrol, and then got out my repair tools to look for a replacement 8mm nut…. I didn’t have one, but Russ was floored that I had all that with me. (Kind of like “omg! You’re Adventure Riding RIGHT NOW!”). Russ said he was keen to do a long-distance ride on his bike up to Cobar, and after seeing my bike, he now knew how it would be possible. He thanked me enthusiastically when he had to leave.

I ducked back into the CRT to find a replacement nut for the exhaust, but everything they had was Imperial-sized. I placed a hose-clamp around the muffler and used a cable-tie to hold it in place for the meantime.



Took something of a backroad route to Belanglo.



That sign really doesn’t help…
Of course, it’s supposedly intended to warn people about the working pine plantation that makes up the accessible part of the state forest. I think Milat actually hid his victims in the larger, non-plantation areas more to the west.



The main campground in Belanglo is Dalys Clearing, towards the middle of the plantation. There’s a few fire-rings, a composing toilet, good tenting grass, a nearby dam (but that’s almost always fished-out of yabbies), lots of edible mushrooms (Saffron Milkcaps and Slippery Jacks) during the picking season, and lots of wood.



When I arrived, there were two caravaners already– a Grey Nomad couple in one, and a guy named Richard in the other. Not long after, a guy on a motorbike (Giovanni– a young Italian guy on a working Visa) camped in, too.

Richard was someone I call a “Forgotten Male”– one of those lonely guys in their 60s who’re Nomad’ing it, having never married or owned a house; they’re often a bit reluctant to interact with people at campsites because of their self-consciousness of not being ‘normal’ like the retired-rich-and-married Grey Nomads in the big RVs, but I’ve been able to get on well with them. I helped Richard out by helping him move some heavy equipment (generator), and he opened up and chatted about the best parts of the Belanglo, including the ‘gum tree campsite’ (that I would look for later).

Giovanni was traveling with all his belongings in a backpack, from a place he’d worked at in Victoria, up to a new job in northern NSW, and was just staying overnight. He had a (relatively) big beast of a bike, a Kawasaki KLE 500. His bike had a handmade pannier brackets much like mine. He was very interested in my experiences of bike touring on the postie, and my life experiences that got me into it… Fortunately maybe, I got to tell him about Ivan Milat’s activities in the area after he’d got some sleep. :)



I wanted this extra space so that I wouldn’t be cooped-up inside the tent when the rain happens. The extra tarp packs onto the bike very well, so I’ll be bringing it in future.



Campfire time. The area I was in was littered with piles of rejected mushrooms, so I wanted to see how well they could burn or otherwise be useful to the fire.


The fire I started to cook with had its coals going cold before the curried chicken and garlic bread were properly done.


So I had to scrounge up more fuel in the creepy dark forest (nah..) for a second fire.



Baking the chicken takes about 45 minutes, so I did some long-exposure night sky photos to pass the time.



Cheap supermarket chicken legs rarely taste better than this…


Day 6

Day 7
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4


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