Bathurst harbour camp sites

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Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Sun 03 Feb, 2019 2:53 pm

Okay so I’m hoping to get down to the southwest this season to Bathurst harbour for a few weeks paddling.

I already have the standard Spain bay, bramble cove, melaleuca camp spots and as suggested on parks site. But am hoping to have some times up the majority of the river systems, anyone have some gps or directions to some of the best spots to shelter?

I know one wilderness tour used to have one spot up old river somewhere, but can’t remember.

Pm me if you like to keep the areas light on traffic.

Hope you can help, I want to leave no trace down there, so if there are spots and the weather turns, I’d prefer to use an existing camp that making a new one.

Thanks in advance :D

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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby Mark F » Sun 03 Feb, 2019 3:26 pm

Old River is pretty snaggy and there used to be a rather minimalist pole line (very thin bits of tea tree) marking the channel but I am unaware of a camp site. I would be quite wary of venturing into the Old River without a very nice forecast. It could be a *&%$#! to paddle out of into a decent Sou'west gale, big waves as well as the wind.
The main issue with camp sites is water or rather the lack of it. Many of the small creeks sport rather thick vegetation and the water quite brackish. Make sure you can cart a day or so of water with you. There is Bob Geeve's old site just on the west as you exit Melaleuca Inlet into Forest Lagoon and another site a little further north on the eastern shore of Forest Lagoon. Plenty more but I'll leave them for you to find - it is meant to be an adventure after all.
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Sun 03 Feb, 2019 3:36 pm

Thanks Mark. Will be taking approx 12 litres of water in bladder bags, topped up at good sites so that I can rely on a safe port even without good water.

Thanks for the heads up too about the old rivers angry demeanour at times :wink:

No doubt with the fires, warm winter last year and dry conditions currently, a lot of the rivers won’t be so great, but hope to reverse the mad Belgians raft trip by heading up Spring River. Doubt I can make it as fast he was travelling when we were watching his ir relayed feed. :D
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby jmac » Sun 03 Feb, 2019 5:08 pm

I reckon the lower Old is fairly benign to navigate, and there are some beautiful sites for low impact camping; one particularly sensational spot about 4km up from the mouth. I agree with Mark that the Harbour itself can be nasty when the wind is strong. There are some sweet tent sites at the mouth of Bathurst Creek, but the stream can be brackish; it might be necessary to bash inland a bit or there is a little trickle that usually flows to the beach a couple of hundred metres SW along the shore.
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Sun 03 Feb, 2019 7:05 pm

Jmac, that’s brilliant, love a ‘sensational’ spot 8)

I’m hoping to give a few mt climbs a go too if weather and scrub allows. So thanks matey, will need a nice spot to lick me scrub wounds no doubt :lol:
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby cjhfield » Mon 04 Feb, 2019 6:32 pm

We spent 2 weeks paddling there in 2015. There is a good campsite at the mouth of the Davey River. There was a reasonable camp out of the wind at the mouth of the Old on the right bank heading upstream. There is a camp at the end of Moulters Lagoon I think on the east side of the creek at the end. We never found it as we were looking for sites on the West shore in a rising gale and by the time we reached the creek heading back out was becoming impractical. We camped on the sandy shore west of the creek and watched the tide rise. After 6 hours we thought we were safe from the tide and went to bed to be woken at 2am with water in the tent and our gear floating away. It seems the westerly gale and low pressure pushed the tide in much higher than the previous tides and it had continued to rise for over 12 hours. This was our worst ever night in a tent. We moved the tent in the middle of the storm and huddled up in our wetsuits trying to keep warm. After half an hour it was clear we would have to break out the down bags . By then things were a bit drier so all was ok. We were stuck there a couple more days with the gales. You need a shortwave and long wire antenna to get the forecasts.

I have some photos on Flickr and there is a link below. One pic shows the Hilleberg being hammered by the gale at the site we were flooded. We had taken all our ropes to tie it to the bushes but it still looks pretty sad. I wish we had found the correct camp across the creek. I am sure it would have been dry and sheltered.

I will clip some comments I made on another thread:

“We had a 2 week kayak meander in Port Davey in January and I have a page of photos on Flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cjhfield/ ... 540157597/

We paddled from Melaleuca to Bramble Cove then Davey River and explored the gorge. Then down to Spain Bay and walked over to Stevens Beach and the middens. Then across to the Old River and finally Moulters Inlet where we were holed up for a few days with gales.

Its a stunning area, if a little windy at times.”

“We had a handheld VHF to contact boats in an emergency but there were very few around and we didn't use it. We had a shortwave with a long wire antenna which was essential for getting detailed weather forecasts. Except for the crossing to Davey River and back it is enclosed water paddling so not demanding. The best day was the paddle from Davey River down past the Breaksea Islands , Hannant Inlet and on to Spain Bay. Dolphins escorted us through the swells for about half an hour. Spain Bay is spectacular as was the walk over to Stevens Bay and the aboriginal middens. The weather was great. We thought it was the best days paddling we had ever done.”

It’s a fantastic area to paddle.

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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Mon 04 Feb, 2019 9:42 pm

:shock: Oh boy! Yes I had been warned about the rather high tides. Another bloke I know woke to his tent floating about at 2am :shock:

We have a satellite phone in case our radio stuffs up for the weather, and a very thick book to read just in case :lol:

Thanks for the tips, everything helps. Will go check out your piccies now. Again thanks for locations and warnings 8)
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Mon 04 Feb, 2019 9:58 pm

Hey there Chris, I see What you meant about swamped tent. :lol: laughable now but I’m sure it wasn’t during the event.

Those photos of yours are magnificent. My heart just fluttered looking at the rugged Beauty of the harbour. So peaceful too. I’ve flow down twice with paravion with touristy friends in tow. Once on a very hot 36c Australia Day.

So you had a compact or inflatable kayak then? How’d it handle in the wind?

Thanks again
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby cjhfield » Mon 04 Feb, 2019 10:11 pm

Wind forecasts allow you to decide where you can go without being trapped. We had good weather the first week and did the outer harbour. Heading for Davey River there were 2 metre swells once you cleared the Breaksea Islands. That’s about as good as it gets. Even with that swell there was breaking white water from reefs on the East side of ? Bond Bay. We came back the other side to avoid that. We headed for the more enclosed waters for the second week with the forecast gales. The swell was 7 metres that week but we were tucked away inside. The Breaksea Islands do a good job. We listened to the shortwave forecast twice per day religiously. We also drank a lot of hot chocolate and read ebooks on bad weather days. We took our largest tent (Hilleberg Kaitum) so it was pretty comfy.

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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby cjhfield » Mon 04 Feb, 2019 10:25 pm

Our boat is a Feathercraft K2. It’s a folding boat. Not really inflatable but it does have air tubes . It is very rugged and copes with wind and waves well. Sadly Feathercraft have gone bust.

If you run into Reg who runs the kayak trips there as well as being a very nice bloke he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of every possible landing spot in different swell conditions. His advice was very useful.

If the weather allows get out to Spain Bay and the aboriginal middens. I really enjoyed that part.

There is camping where the Port Davey track crosses at the narrows on both sides. It is not an area you can just camp anywhere as the shoreline can be steep or the scrub thick. But people have been living there for a couple of hundred years. There have been quite significant settlements at times of sealers and piners. So if you explore a cove out of the wind you will probably find someone has been there before you with the same motivation. Of course now there is almost no one there.

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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Tue 05 Feb, 2019 1:48 am

A great craft then for the Hard to Get to places. We are being dropped off at Spain bay, and I’m really looking forward to not only visiting the First Nation locales but coming round south west cape. No scrub bashing just enormous rebound washing machine like conditions lol!

I think roaring forties will be down there crossing over our extended time, but not sure if reg will be there as their flinders trips start approx this time of year. Nevertheless you’ve given us some great spots to paddle hard for rather than harming this magnificent area with new camp sites. I want to be as leave no trace as much as possible.
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby north-north-west » Tue 05 Feb, 2019 5:39 am

cjhfield wrote:There is camping where the Port Davey track crosses at the narrows on both sides. It is not an area you can just camp anywhere as the shoreline can be steep or the scrub thick. But people have been living there for a couple of hundred thousands of years.

Fixed.
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Tue 05 Feb, 2019 6:25 am

60,000 give or take eh nnw? :wink:
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby cjhfield » Tue 05 Feb, 2019 6:40 am

Yes. Of course I was talking of the destructive late comers who leave campsites but the whole landscape was changed/managed for many thousands of years by fire to produce the bare hillsides. They certainly had some great seafood parties on Stevens Beach to produce those middens. When I first saw the middens I thought they were smart enough to sustainably manage the shellfish indefinitely . Today it would be over exploited and destroyed in a generation. Even so living off the land would not have been easy down there. I doubt the population was ever large.

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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby TasTygerGrl » Tue 05 Feb, 2019 8:28 am

And to think the women swam out there....brrrrrrrr
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Re: Bathurst harbour camp sites

Postby potato » Tue 05 Feb, 2019 9:29 am

cjhfield wrote:Yes. Of course I was talking of the destructive late comers who leave campsites but the whole landscape was changed/managed for many thousands of years by fire to produce the bare hillsides. Chris


Those bare hillsides were there before people came along. Look at the pollen/peat/lake sediment records.
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