As the constantly travelling weekend warrior I really can’t turn down the prospect of a fun weekend trip away from the city. A few friends had set up a camping trip to Kangaroo Valley and invited me to come along. The plan was pretty simple: hire canoes, paddle until we found a camping site, camp, pack up and canoe to our rendezvous spot. A quick little 2 day adventure into the outback.
For a little background, Kangaroo Valley is a deep wooded valley formed by the Kangaroo River that lies about 2 hours south of Sydney. It was the original home of the Wodi-Wodi Aboriginals and wasn’t discovered by white settlers until the late 1800’s. It’s a quaint little place with a bunch of small towns and winding country roads. Driving around reminded me a lot of where I grew up in Southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley. Once you leave the main motorway you drive along rustic country roads surrounded by green fields and cows all around. They even have a charming little slogan: “Australia’s most beautiful valley”. Having only been to a few other valleys in Australia I’m not really one to judge whether or not they are full of it.
After some frantic packing Friday night and even more frantic packing Saturday morning I was off and loaded up with enough provisions for a trip to Everest base camp. My buddy Chris was nice enough to offer to drive so I spent the 2 hour drive taking in the views and briefly getting us lost. That, I blame on Apple maps.
This being my first time canoe camping I really didn’t know what I was in store for. To start, the canoe hire company gives you waterproof buckets to store your gear in.
I was allotted 2 buckets and did my best to jam my backpacking bag, food, sleeping bag, and towels into it. Needless to say, it was a tight squeeze and not really waterproof. Tip: put your sleeping bag in a plastic trash bag first…
Once all of your gear is stowed away, the canoe company drive you down to the river to launch the canoes. Once the canoes were loaded, we picked partners and set sail.
I joined up with Sara and took the steering position at the rear of the boat. We spent the next hour taking in the sights and mastering the art of making our canoe turn around on itself and face upriver. Let’s just say I’m not the best canoe driver.
The hot sun and canoeing can really take it out of you so I recommend staying hydrated. Here, I’m hydrating with a nice box of Australian Shiraz.
At the two hour mark we were all ready to hop in the cool water and have a little splash… and some more shiraz and indian dancing…
We hung out there for a bit, had a swim and some bevvies, and even got so see some wild kangaroos!
Once rested up, it was back to the boats and off for a few more hours of paddling.
After scouting out a few spots we found a really nice one that even came with a camp toilet. That means we didn’t have to dig our own hole. If you’ve ever camped you know what I mean. For the girls, this was luxury.
The day quickly got away from us with alternating between unloading, setting up our tents and taking swims and sunset paddles. I have to say, the sunsets were amazing.
You really get the feeling that you are miles away from anyone.
Me and Aileen.
While we were out Chris and Lisa took care of making the bonfire.
The rest of us did odd jobs, like Mel making beer bread from scratch. Very impressive.
Dinner was followed by some fire dancing
Our lovely ladies
We spent the night telling stories, drinking our finest boxed wine and going for a midnight dip in the warm river.
It was an amazing night, I just wish I had taken some more pictures.
The next morning we made a few new friends while packing up. In this case, a rather large Huntsman spider that refused to go away.
With hurting heads and blistered palms we made our way the remaining two hours to our rendezvous spot.
All in, a fantastic weekend with good friends and amazing scenery. Really, I couldn’t ask for more.
JJ – out!