Sometimes you have to count your blessings in life. Happy, healthy family, food and a roof, working on a business that has you driving around in a kitted out fourby and access to one of the best off-road trailers on the planet – life’s good. COVID put a halt to another, smaller blessing in my life last year. You see, the school my kids go to has an annual “Dad’s Camp”. Usually at Upper Colo campground, the floods and fires put an end to that this year and I found out it was going to be held at Glenworth Valley. My initial thought was – “Great, all this gear and it’s going to take me about an hour to get there and there’s showers and toilets?? Boring…”
Having spent this weekend just gone camping there, I have to say it was a pleasant surprise – and an incredibly easy way to get your camping kicks if you’re a Sydney sider. If you’re reading this and COVID had you purchase a new fourby or trailer and you’ve only done a handful of trips, or you’re just not sure where to start, it’s ok. Read on for what I think is the easiest way to get out of Sydney, under the stars and feel like you’re 4 hours away!
Glenworth Valley is a hour from the heart of Sydney; easily accessible regardless of your location in the metropolitan area. Once you’re on the M1, it’s a 40-or-so minute drive with a turnoff towards Peats Ridge. We were staying at Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures, a facility with a 50 year history. There’s a multitude of different activities available including horse riding, kayaking, laser skirmish, axe throwing, abseiling and more. With a 200-acre creekside camping facility, there’s plenty of space to sprawl out and find a great spot to pitch a tent or setup your trailer. I didn’t really investigate any 4X4 tracks based on the nature of this particular trip – but there are some fire and pipeline trails close-by. I can’t comment on whether they’re gated or not.
One of the things my girls wanted to do was go on a led pony ride. The facility prides itself as Australia’s largest horse riding centre – and the girls had a ball riding Orion for half hour stints across the broad paddocks.
Access to the facility is quite steep, but was pretty much a sealed road with some patches of dirt. On this particular trip there were all sorts of different vehicles on the campsite which attests to the ease of access, and the centre is an attraction with lots of different people coming in throughout the weekend (luckily the main reception is about a kilometre away from the campsite).
Given it was a wet weekend, many were scrambling for high areas in our allotment, which wasn’t too hard but left vast areas unoccupied. This wasn’t a bad thing as it meant the 100 or so kids were able to spread out when they weren’t swimming in Popran Creek which as mentioned, meanders through the campsite. On that, what a wonderful feature! It is tidal, but it seemed kids were swimming and playing in the water from sun-up to sun-down despite what was at times, pretty inclement weather. It would be a magic spot on a hot summers day!
So as off-roaders, facilities are things we often prefer to be remote of. But for those who are new to the scene or just prefer the option of a flushing toilet or a hot shower, Glenworth Valley has it in spades. Impressively, despite the demand, hot water never ran out and the facilities were cleaned once a day. There are no powered sites, but there is water available should you need it.
This short trip reminded me how good it is to have access to the Track Tvan. It quickly became a hub – with kids in and out playing, getting out of the rain, dads charging their phones and a place to cook some grub or make a cuppa over the weekend. At the end of the trip the tailgate also made a great shelter for the kids, With the rain starting soon after I had packed and hitched up!
I was pleasantly surprised with this spot and if I’m in a bind would come back for a short weekender. Easy and quick access, plenty of entertainment for the kids, but still gives me some time in the bush. The quick return trip meant I was home and on the couch to watch the start of the Bathurst 1000 – another great win for the weekend!
If you’re new to the game or time poor, check it out!
Location: 69 Cooks Road Glenworth Valley NSW 2250 (1 hr from the centre of Sydney)
Cost: $30 a night