A Rural Farm Stay and the town of Dungog

It was high time we got out of Sydney and I for one was chomping at the bit. Just as well. We headed off for a short farm stay out in the countryside a few hours northwest of the city.

Farm Stay

The farm is on the banks of the Chichester River, in the foothills of the Chichester State Forest, 20 minutes from the small town of Dungog. It is 1.5 hours from Newcastle and 5 minutes from Chichester Dam, State forests and the Barrington Tops National Park. Ideal.

We arrived just in time to feed the farm animals and check for freshly laid eggs. The photos tell their own story…

Farm hand helping out (just as well, the owner was on crutches)
Collecting fresh eggs
Feeding time
One of the farm animals
Dani with his egg harvest

The accommodation was a small cabin with enough mod cons and its own little barbeque and garden area. After feeding the animals then settling in we went to see if there were any free food in the yabby traps. A yabby is basically a freshwater crayfish. We were in luck as there were a few big enough to eat. Plus the owners had collected some larger examples a few days earlier. More on those to come…

Pulling a small yabby out of one of the traps

There is something about camp fires that kids love. I used to love making a fire with my grandad (also a Daniel) when we used to go fishing for the day. Naturally Dani insisted we make camp fires for each of the two nights we stayed here…

Getting the fire started
Full fire late on.
Fresh Yabbies ready for the pot
Cooked yabbies cooling off

Dungog Town

The small town of Dungog sits on the northern NSW railway line so it it is hardly cut off from the rest of the state. Quite the opposite. But it is remote enough (for me). It’s a great name too eh?

It’s a typically nice town of a little over 2,000 people, the sort of place regular readers will know I just love. I think it’s the fact that these places still tend to look pretty much as they were when they were built – which wasn’t that long ago in European town terms. They are kind of trapped in time as (in most cases) there are usually no new modern buildings. There is no need for any in most cases. Take a look at this place…

Dungog Cinema Classic period architecture. Love these places.

Apparently the James theatre (above) is the oldest fully enclosed purpose-built cinema continuously operating in Australia (whatever that means). The Dungog film society holds special events in this cinema and there is even an annual Dungog film festival. I must look out for that.

Original businesses on Dungog’s main high street
Classic architecture in Dungog
Dungog Post Office and phone booth

The town grew up around the timber industry due to the surrounding forests. Later dairy farming became the main industry.

And what about this place? What a find! In such a small town I wasn’t expecting to find a craft beer brewery. But here you go. Next time we will have lunch and few beers off the taps but for now I was happy to take away a few tinnies. And very good they were too. Useful for washing down the barby dinner and the freshly caught and cooked yabby collection…

Tinshed Brewery, Dungog. Find of the year (so far)
As the sign says: It’s Rustic not Rusty

As well as this brewery there are two hotel bars and a couple of classy looking restaurants. Definitely more to explore on our next visit. Another one of those surprise towns in rural NSW.

Rustic Ale. Very tasty!
Tinshed Brewery’s IPA alongside the freshly cooked yabbies

The fresh eggs were great and the yabby catch went down well as a starter before a BBQ. All in all a good day.

Pale Ale. As good as any I have tried.

It’s easy to forget in this day and age that kids are growing up without ever knowing how to use telephone boxes (as we from the UK call them) – or telephone booths if you prefer. Not only that I am not sure he has had a proper look at one before. He loved the ones we saw this weekend. It must be the novelty factor… Personally I think they are great too but I believe they are being phased out rapidly. Not a good idea in my opinion but hey; I am old fashioned like that.

Dani liked the phone booth / telephone box.

Chichester Dam and River

Not far from our farm lies the Chichester Dam which supplies much of the upper Hunter region. It has a capacity of 5,000 million gallons. So said the sign. Old money of course as it was built using the imperial system. It was full so you can safely say there was 5,000 gallons there.

Full up. Just in time for the start of summer.
The starting point for the Chichester river.
Chichester Dam lake

Feeding the King Parrots.

The birdlife in Australia never disappoints. The farm had its fair share of local colourful birds. And they enjoyed being hand fed…

Only eight years old and already has the birds eating out of his hand LOL
One female “king” parrot out of six birds…

The birds with the red heads are the males. The ones with the green heads are female. Female ‘king’ parrots! Odd that eh? Why not “queen” parrots? Let the feminist brigade mull that one over for a while shall we?

Barrington Tops National Park

This is another huge protected park covering over 76,000 hectares. The park is part of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia – added in 1986. It was added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.

We only saw a small part of it but it was worth it. Another trip to this area is definitely needed as there is so much more to explore.

One of Nature’s swings

Dani posing beside one of the many waterfalls in this national park

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