Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Review This - Camp Ground - 14#


Girraween National Park is nestled in the granite clad hills of Stanthorpe and runs along the boarder between New South Wales and Queensland. Its unique beauty is heightened as many of the plants and animals are endemic to the region and the area serves as a time capsule. Wombats, a tiny bat and other small native birds are the furthest northern inhabitants here and are flourishing under the National Park rangers care.

Campers can choose between two camp grounds only 500 meters from one another – yet each offer a different experience. Castle Rock campers can choose shaded treed sites nestled amongst large granite boulders. Our family camped there in high season during the holidays and the camp ground had been booked out for weeks. Despite this – you could only see a few camper vans or tents at one time. The namesake of the camp ground – a huge monolith and collection of granite boulders held at any one time at least fifteen children, all exploring the caves and crevices. The wonderful comradery of the camp children ensured that even the youngest child was looked after and included in the ever changing games and dynamics of the group – all without parental guidance or instruction – a refreshing insight inot the future of our society.

Many campsites have access to a raised fireplace – or one directly in front of it. Fire wood is available from the local shops 15 km away or local farmers often have bags of split wood at their gates on an honour system of payment. Castle Rock campsite has a timed hot water shower – a luxury in most national park camp grounds.

The other camp ground is more open and better suited to campervans and caravans. It is surrounded by the granite maze – a huge collection of granite rocks which form a maze – again a great pastime for camping children.

Both campsites are within an easy walking distance of the creek a series of water way and billabongs perfect for a quick dip. The murky slimy green water didn’t entice me – but many campers assured me of the cool delights.

There are challenges and walks for every skill level – The Pyramid one of the most popular walks – to the top of a bald granite mountain shaped like its namesake. The last part of the walk is a scramble up shaley granite and can be treacherous in wet or windy conditions and not recommended for children.

The walks of Girraween are all one way, with most well graded and maintained. September is the time to visit Girraween with all the wildflowers blooming. The walk to the Junction – where two creeks meet is the best to do with either unfit walkers or small children – the return walk just under 5 kms

Campsites are on relatively flat ground and the rangers are systematically building leveled sites on road base. Prices within National parks are a fixed rate and are on a per person basis, regardless of the size of the tent used. Most must be booked on line and several weeks in advance – see the link for further info.

Girraween can be reached on bitumen roads suitable for 2 wheeled drive vehicles. Just three hours from Brisbane along the New England Highway. When the walks and the natural beauty tire you – there are over 50 boutique wineries and 30 specialty delicatessen cafes to visit throughout the region.