A highlight of traveling is the small joys a long the way like a drive that turns out to be more scenic than expected. The Bylong Valley Way which stretches and winds for approximately 140 kilometres between Sandy Hollow and Ilford in NSW is one such drive.
After spending a couple of days camped at Wallaby Rocks Crossing campground in Sofala we made our way to Battery Rock campground in Gungal NSW. Our route took us from Sofala along the Castlereagh Highway to Ilford where we got onto the Bylong Valley Way following it to its end and then taking the Golden Highway to Gungal.
The Bylong Valley Way makes its way past the Wollemi and Goulburn River National Parks as well as through farm lands, vineyards and forestry all which add to the rich scenery.
There are also the townships of Kandos, Rylstone and Bylong. We visited Rylstone a place Daryl spent a lot of time during his childhood as his father managed one of the local farms. We also stopped in Bylong for a picnic lunch at the rest stop and took a brief walk to the local church and graveyard.
Wallaby Rocks Crossing, Hill End Road, Crudine NSW: This campground is on the Turon River near Sofala and although water levels are low due to poor rainfall and the ground is dry it is a nice quiet place to camp for a couple of days. The campground is dog friendly, has no amenities and bins for general rubbish. The track down to the area by the river to camp is almost 4WD only but with some care other vehicles may manage it. There are 4WD tracks some of which we explored by foot. The wooden bridge is worth a look.
Battery Rock, 3488 Golden Highway, Gungal NSW: Dog friendly campground and picnic area with tables and chairs, very clean drop toilets and a flat gravel area big enough for a few vans although we were here alone. There is a creek that would add to the scenery of the site but is currently bone dry.
As a point of interest Battery Rock is named after the rock formations found here. The rock formations are an example of horizontal columnar jointing also known as polygonal basalt columns. These are created by basalt lava some 35 million years old. The jointing is caused by shrinkage as the lava slowly cools. For more information see (source) Geological Sites of NSW.
Next we head through the Upper Hunter and make our way to Newcastle where we will make like tourists for a couple of days before we start our journey north to find the warmer weather.