4 DAGS, 4 SWAGS AND 2 4X4’S

4 DAGS, 4 SWAGS AND 2 4X4’S

60th LOUTH RACES – THE BUCKET LIST ADVENTURE

While on a weekend camping trip knocking back a few frothies by the fire. It was decided a trip to Louth for the 60th running of the Louth Turf Clubs annual races was needed. As a result, the morning after the night before and with foggy heads. The trusty HEMA road book was sourced and a route was to be planned.

We are off

After a quick load up on the Wednesday morning we left Coffs Harbour just before lunch and took a bit of back road to meet up with the Gwydir Highway and head west out of Grafton. A scenic drive in its own right, we made it to Jackadgery where we would cross the Mann River after a quick bite and an ice-cold lemon squash. From the picnic area you can see the remains of the old bridge upstream. This was replaced when the new bridge was opened on October 7 1961 for a flood free route.

3 men standing at a bbq area in a grassy camping site. They are unpacking their 4 wheel drive and have camping gear on their roof racks. The place is Jacadgerry. Written by Trickydeviloffroad for North Storm waterproof bags.
Quick stop off at the old bridge and picnic area in Jackadgery
a big brown bull standing in a paddock he is surrounded by very dry grass and there are trees in the distance on the way to the Louth Races. Photo by Trickydeviloffroad for North Storm waterproof bags
No bull! Jackadgery
The wide Mann River with the water reflecting the sky. There are mountains in the background and it looks shallow and rocky.
Scenes of the Mann River

The Celtic town of Inverell

A short haul up the road and you meander into the Celtic town of Inverell. With a quick left hooker we headed up to the Standing Stones and go for a wander.

Standing stones at inverell are large blocks of stone sticking out of ground. They have men standing next to them and the stones are taller than the men on a North Storm waterproof bag adventure to on the way to the Louth Races
The boys at the ‘Standing Stones’ at Inverell

About 40 minutes out of Inverell is the picturesque Copeton Dam. While not being high season we felt like we had the 4600ha of it all to ourselves. With dam levels at 24% when we visited, camping waterside meant a bit more of a wheel to find the perfect spot.

The copeton campsite at sunset with the 4wds (2) parked next the dam which is getting very dark. The sky is very clear with no clouds. The men are about to get some sleep before their day at on the way to the Louth Races
Copeton camp site at sunset
A funny shot of a man sitting on bucket going to the toilet at the campsite looking out over the dam.
Chriso – ‘Poo with a view’

With camp setup in a few minutes, Chriso took a ‘Poo with a View’ and I called ‘shotgun’ in the Triton for tomorrow so Chriso had to drive first on day 2.

A man standing over a bbq cooking bacon and eggs with a beanie on and holding some tongs and egg flipper at their camp spot
Chriso cooking a dinner for champions

Some of us hit it harder than a head into a brick wall (possibly me), it appeared a bit blurry in the morning that the ¾ of my fresh Jameson bottle had leaked out of the bottle and into my mouth. I don’t remember getting into my swag, rumor has it Downsy had to put me in it. Lucky he didn’t leave me in the camp chair by the fire.

the darkness is falling in on the campsite. The ground is very sandy and dry and the sun has nearly disappeared behind the hills.
The night pic prior to the Jameson bottle leaking into my mouth

With Sore heads

With the sore heads numbed by the -3°C morning temps, a quick feed was cooked up followed by hot showers on the way out. A quick Pie from the Bingara Bakery and we had our sights set on Gundabooka National Park just west of Bourke. Leaving Bingara this took us through Kilarney Gap, Narrabri, Wee Wah, Burren Junction Artesian Bore baths (which we called into on our way back) then Bourke for a top up of the tanks and then some red dirt camping at Dry Tank Camp in the National Park.

Mud map of Kilarney gap
MudMaps3 – Phone screen shot of Kilarney Gap Road no service here
Two men standing in the burren junction Artesian bore baths on the way to the Louth Races
Burren Junction Artesian Bore baths

The campgrounds have many flat camping areas with good facilities. Easy to fit in a few utes, swags and camper trailers. With the fire cranking, bovine cooking on the BBQ and a few cups filled with distilled goodness race day was approaching fast.

Some red dirt camping at Dry Tank Camp in the National Park. With 2 4 wheel drives parked and a fire burning
Some red dirt camping at Dry Tank Camp in the National Park
Fire cranking and bovine cooking on the BBQ  at the campsite with two men drinking hot drinks. There is a lot of food on their camp table
Fire cranking and bovine cooking on the BBQ
A feed and few cups filled with distilled goodness around the campfire. Two men sitting on camp chairs eating and drinking
A feed and few cups filled with distilled goodness around the campfire

On leaving Dry Tank Camp in the morning we backtracked about 20kms towards Bourke to see our first Aboriginal rock art at the Mulgowan Aboriginal Heritage site.

3 men looking at the Gundabooka National Park Rock Art information board
Gundabooka National Park Rock Art information board
Yapa Rock Art turn off sign sitting on the side of a road that is made up of very red Australian dirt
Yapa Rock Art turn off sign
3 men walking along the rocky Yapa Rock art Walking Trail
Yapa Rock art Walking Trail

The Yapa Rock Art site is only a short walk from the carpark on a very well-defined track. We were blown away by what we saw. I’m sure there are more sites in the area that would be great to explore and admire.

Aboriginal rock art at the Yapa Rock site (1) the painting appears to be of a family of 4 and an emu
Aboriginal rock art at the Yapa Rock site (1)
Aboriginal rock art at the Yapa Rock site (2) The painting appears to depicting some sort of water
Aboriginal rock art at the Yapa Rock site (2)
A man checking the air pressure of his tyres
A quick tyre pressure check
2 men sitting in an old rusty abandoned car in the red dirt bush
The backup vehicle

An old backyard with a very old house with a rusty tin roof
An old homestead

Squiggly 4×4 tracks

On heading out towards Louth only about 60 kms from where we were we saw evidence that after any amount of rain out here the journey could go from an hour to a whole day. Squiggly 4×4 tracks in the crown of the dry and dusty road about 3-4 inches deep showed of someone’s struggles to keep it out of the swale drains and a boggy mess.

Dry and dusty roads heading out of Louth very red dirt
Dry and dusty roads heading toward Louth
Squiggly 4x4 tracks in the crown of the dry and dusty road about 3-4 inches deep
Squiggly 4×4 tracks in the crown of the dry and dusty road about 3-4 inches deep

This re enforces why I only run Muddies on my ute because you never know what may happen.

Road sign showing only 32 km to Louth,  252km to Wilcannia and 68 km to Bourke
32km from Louth

With live music pumping

Rolling into the Port of Louth on the near empty Darling River it was time to go find a camp spot on the river bank then head up to Shindy’s Inn for a few amber ales. With live music pumping the crowd continuing to swell and beer flowing faster than King Gorge Falls in the wet they were on target to get the 70% of their yearly income in two days trading. The town swells from its regular population of about 43 to over 4000.

People walking toward the very busy Shindy's Inn tavern at Louth
Time to head up to Shindy’s Inn for a few amber ales
Chriso sitting on the back of his ute tray drinking a beer at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River
Chriso – at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River
Brook - at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River
Brook – at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River
Mick at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River drinking a beer
Mick at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River
Jez at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River
Jez at his camp spot on the river banks of the Darling River
A man sitting by the darling river eating some food with his dinner plate resting on the stump of a tree
A feed of smoked trout by the banks of the Darling River
Looking at the lights coming from the Shindys Inn from our camp spot shining over the top of the banks of the river
Looking at the lights coming from the Shindys Inn from our camp spot
4 men toasting the camera with their beers all smiling happily wearing hats
Beers with the boys at the Shindys Inn
The Darling River run at Louth's information board
The Darling River run at Louth’s information board
The Darling River sign map
The Darling River sign map
View of the section of the Darling river camp spot
Camping on the Darling River
Houseboats of the Darling River one is sitting on edge of the water and the other is left high and dry
Houseboats of the Darling River

Race Day!

Waking up on Race Day we were dustier than the dry river banks, it was off to the hot showers with a gold coin donation and then get ready for the punt. One tip for newcomers, it’s not like Birdsville Races where the pub tickets are accepted at the racetrack, the Turf Club only take cash. After a few wins and losses on the punt, the Race day was ending and with that the after party began. Not as messy as after the Melbourne Cup, the party began back at Shindy’s and then along the banks of the Darling River till early in the morning.

A lady and a man walking away toward the rack track / turf club along a dry and dusty side of the road
The short walk to the turf club

4 men standing in a line smiling for camera ready to have a good day at the louth races
Louth Lads at the races
Trying to pick the winner
A man about to go and place a bet with the bookies at the louth race track
Louth punt time!
lots of people standing trackside waiting for the horses to run past them
Giddy Up – here they come
The crowd standing around tents at the Louth Race Day
The crowd at the Louth Race Day
4 men standing at the gates at the end of their louth races day still smiling and all holding beers
At the Louth Race days end

The return trip

Our return trip would see us traveling even more remote and less travelled routes.

The car dash board ready to go along the kilareny gap road
The road ahead at Kilarney Gap Road
a car in the distance driving up a very dusty dry dirt road known as back creek road
Back Creek Road

We journeyed through some spectacular country which I estimate we did on 70% dirt roads.

A car driving along a very rocky dusty road
Back Creek Road (2)
A view over the very dry and sparse Kilarney Gap lookout
Kilarney Gap Lookout
Back Road rest stop with 2 4 wheel drives parked by the side of an old toilet block with very dry grass
Back Road rest stop
The beautiful Ebor waterfalls flowing very strongly for a great height
Ebor Falls

They boys made it home in one piece

4 men standing besides their 4 wheel drives on a beach
Back at home in Coffs Harbour
4 men standing besides their 4 wheel drives jumping in the air with delight saying woo hoo we made it home
Woo hoo! We made it!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment….

history and facts

Standing Stones – The first stone was raised on September 7, 1991. Officially opened by NSW Governor on February 1st 1992.

Copeton Dam – Covers 46km², has a wall length of 1.48km, Capacity is about 3 time that of Sydney Harbour and construction began in 1968 and completed in 1973. Copeton Reflections Holiday Park

Gundabooka National Park – 63,900ha, First noted by Charles Sturt in 1829. Wasn’t pastoralized until the late 1800’s. Has Aboriginal Rock Art sites highly significant to the Ngemba and Kurnu Baakandji people of western new south wales, Old homesteads and Shearers quarters.

Louth – Established as a Port in 1859 when Thomas A Mathews built a pub ‘The Daniel O’Connell Hotel’ to cater for the passing River trade. Known for its Racing Carnival and the Shining Headstone of T.A Matthews wife.

Louth Races – Village Races date back to 1880 where the first Christmas race was held on the 27th December that year.

The second race was held in 1889 and was a 2-day event – Day 1 a 2-mile hurdle event then a 5-race program. Day 2 had an 8-race program.

Live Coordinates of these locations

Jackadgery – Mann River – Lat -29.5771, Lon 152.5549

Standing Stones – Lat 29.7413, Lon 151.7519

Copeton Dam – Lat -29.9051, Lon 150.9242

Kilarney Gap – Lat -30.1323, Lon 150.0804

Artesian Bore Baths – Lat -30.1142, Lon 148.9956

Dry Tank Campgrounds – Lat -30.5180, Lon 145.7146

Mulgowan Aboriginal Heritage site – Lat -30.6404, Lon 145.7680

Shindys Inn – Louth – Lat -30.535080, Lon 145.115459

Ebor Falls – Lat -30.4024, Lon 152.3438

Boambee Beach Coffs Harbour – Lat -30.3130, Lon 153.1404

Words and Images by Jereme Lindsell of Trickydevil Offroad for North Storm waterproof bags

WHERE TO FIND Jereme?

Instagram: @trickydeviloffroad 
Youtube: Trickydevil Offroad
Facebook: Trickydevil Offroad

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