This year we broke our rule about not going away at Easter as we find most places to be pretty busy and packed. But with the week before Easter off it made it a 10 day break so we decided we would chance it. We were also staying put, no touring this time.
Our destination was Lederville Rocky River Retreat which is 26km from Drake NSW. Drake is situation on the Bruxner HWY between Tenterfield and Casino in NSW. Tenterfield is 44km East of Drake. Our turnoff was just outside of Drake along Long Gully Road. It’s 26km to Lederville Rocky River Retreat from the turnoff, the first 8km is sealed the rest is a dirt/gravel road which is pretty windy, has some wash outs and creek crossings, it’s slow going but a nice drive. In dry weather a standard car can access the property.
Ed and Zoe are the owners of Lederville Rocky River Retreat and they generously allow people to camp in an area that is approximately 2km stretch along the river. The fee is a carton of Corona Extra Beer regardless of how long you are staying, Yep, pretty incredible. We have friends that were staying for a month and it was still carton of Corona Extra Beer. For groups I think they charged $5 per person per night. No need to stop at the farmhouse, Ed and Zoe will come down and see you sometime. Ed also provides free firewood; there are no facilities so you have to have your own toilet. Lederville Rocky River Retreat can also be found in Wiki Camps.
There is plenty of room to spread out with several access points to the river. We were told this was the lowest the river had been in several years. You do share the camping area with some of Ed’s and Zoe’s friendly horses who like to come and say hello and at times, try and nibble on tents, hats, clothes, solar panels, chairs etc., inquisitive bunch. At times they were too friendly and we had to gently shoo them off. As well as running horses and cattle they also grow organic garlic.
Our friends had arrived earlier than us and had grabbed a spot with a great view of the river and easy access. There are several really great camping areas it’s hard to pick a favourite.
The first few days were peaceful and restful which suited us just fine as we really just needed to chill out, relax and read a few books. It’s unusual for us to stay in one spot for so long but we have been very busy we really just needed that break.
There are also goannas around. We had several in our area and one kept trying to get the rubbish from our friends family’s camp.
Up to and including Easter more people started to arrive, we had heard they had 300 people there the year before. We were a little worried but the area is so big it easily handles the numbers. We were fortunate there were 150-200 people this Easter. Things were a little noisier but we have had worst and no one was camped really close.
During the day it was pretty warm so we were thankful for the river, taking many a dip and going Kayaking up the river. We did also have a bit of rain.
This was our first major trip with our dog Jess (10 ½ month old Labrador), she isn’t real keen on the car yet, but we did manage to get there and back without any major issues. It was the first time Jess had come across a large body of water and of course being a Labrador she loved the water. She had no issues of putting her whole head under the water if she saw something in there she wanted like a stick. She happily sat in the front of the Kayak watching the world; fish, birds, rocks etc. pass by.
There were several large groups, one has been going there for over 30 years and they have even made their own seat. This particular area is reserved for them at Easter and Christmas.
Another group had a couple of Aussie Swags one of the owners we had just met on the Aussie Swag Facebook group so it was nice to meet in person.
Highly recommend this area, be mindful it is a working property. Trail bikes and the like are not recommended. Ed doesn’t take too kindly to people riding fast around the horses.
The river is great with many interesting rocky areas with little spas and pools to sit in.
We left Easter Sunday to avoid the Easter rush back home and had a pretty good run. All in all we had a great time, we would certainly go there again but not over Easter. Think we will be sticking to our rule of not going camping at Easter.