“Who the hell do you think you are? What would you do if I waltzed onto your property for a f$@king picnic?”, the she-devil snarled.
As the toxic spit dribbled down her chin, I ducked the spray to avoid certain blindness. Her demonic look and subsequent bollocking gave me uncomfortable flashbacks to being 9 years old in the headmaster’s office where I’d done something equally unbefitting of the tirade.
Startled, my first thought was that if she was serious and did actually turn up one day and want to picnic at my place, she’d first need to take an elevator to reach our cosy 250 square foot Bondi apartment (at that moment in time we were all standing on the fringe of her NSW acreage approximately the same size as Yorkshire). My second thought was if she did pop over, I hoped she’d try the homemade Fig chutney on the top shelf of the fridge, and leave the toilet seat down when she’s done. As her shouting persisted however, these hospitable ponderings passed, and soon all I could think was B.I.T.C.H.
In search of a romantic spot to gobble a picnic, our gaggle of five Sydney road-trippers had veered our campervans a few metres off the main road down a discrete driveway that disappeared off into the rolling Mudgee hills. Little did we know that at the end of this driveway lived a 21st Century Dragon in menopause. Wife’s of wealthy farmers aside however, our long weekend road-trip to Mudgee was an absolute winner.
As is usual when we head off with good friends Jamie and Katy (this time joined by tag-a-long Raul), indulgence and mooching form the backbone of the weekend. With a loose plan, some good 80s tunes and a stocked fridge, we always seem to find adventure, amusement and mischief around most corners. But, if like me until recently you thought heading North or South from Sydney were the only options worth considering for a fun weekend road trip, think again. Once past the Blue Mountains there lies some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve seen in Australia with plenty of fun things to do whether with your better half, group of friends or family.
Perry’s Lookdown is a free campsite that stands proudly upon a canyon top on the fringe of Blackheath. It’s a great stop off on a Friday night if you’re trying to make headway west after work. My advice however would be to check if there are 15 other campers asleep in their tents before you have a campervan party. We literally didn’t see tent city on arrival and felt the understandable wrath of one couple a few hours later. I’m confident Susi and K-lo’s screeching rendition of Pet Shop Boys’ West End Girls was the final straw.
Be sure to check out the sweet shop just outside of Lithgow. The range of childhood teeth rotters is so impressive here, you may never make it further west. For less nostalgic individuals, the shop also has a display of aptly named chilli sauces that’ll make you the least popular member of your group the following day – Mega Death, The Final Answer and Ass Blaster to name a few.
The landscape in Central NSW is more fertile than a prize-winning Stud under a full moon. Wine grows by the bounty full in this region, the hangovers from which probably explain the sleepiness of the towns. Towns such as Gulgong – where we saw a Home and Away actor play country music as part of the Henry Lawson Festival, and did a 19th Century photoshoot for the hell of it! Towns such as Mirrawa where we unfortunately missed this years ‘Running of the Sheep’ – 150 sheep kitted out in only red socks racing through the streets….seriously. You’ve got to love getting off the standard road trip route to uncover incredible madness such as this. West is best some say.
Despite the deceiving name, Dunn’s Swamp is one of the best campsites we’ve found in the region. Probably the best $5 you’ll ever spend. It’s imperative that road trippers from Mudgee veer off the B55 and take the tourist drive from Rylestone through Wollemi and the Garden of Stones National Park. It’s as cool as it sounds.