What a magic little spot. Tucked away, between the southern highlands of Moss Vale and Bowral and the coastal towns of Nowra and Berry When you drive here, it becomes apparent that it really is a valley.
With steep windy roads on pretty much all sides. Coming on into the town, you see the rich rolling green paddocks, which is a sign of the rain that we have been having of late.
The town itself is only a small community, but a charming one at that. Being only a few hours out of Sydney, I am guessing it is a popular day trip, for those that like quaint little cafes or a good old pub meal.
The main street is filled with little trendy shops, cafes and the pub. A bottle shop is also just down the road.
Accommodation wise, there is some hotel/resort style places in the main street, but at a guess, and I haven’t looked, I would say that both Bed and Breakfasts and Air B&Bs would both be very popular here. It has that vibe about it.
As you roll through town, you will drive past the courthouse, police station, shops, and Pub. Keep on the road and in no time, you will come to a very unique bridge.
Hampden Bridge. Completed in 1898and named after Gov Hampden to replace the small timber bridge next to it. Ironically the old bridge was washed away in a flood, just one week after the completion of the new bridge. The bridge has 4 large sandstone towers, two on each end, in which the suspension cables are feed over then are embedded 20ft into the sandstone on each side. The sandstone was all found and shaped from the immediate area, in fact, within ¼ of a mile from the bridge site. The bridge underwent a restoration which was completed in 2012. Every timber was replaced in the decking restoration and took about 8000 bolts to fix it all together. It is unique in; it is the only surviving suspension bridge from this time period in NSW and is the oldest timber suspension bridge carrying vehicles still in operation in Australia.
After crossing the bridge, there is a pioneer museum, make sure you stop in here and have a wander around. $10 per adult will get you in, but you are also welcome to use the BBQ and picnic area. Its well set out and has its own pedestrian suspension bridge at the back of the property.
For us, our accommodation is our own caravan. The destination is just outside of the village, about 10 km, at a campground called Bendeela camping reserve. This is run by NSW Water. No pets allowed here.
Cost is $6 booking fee only; max 7 nights stay. Yes, you can stay a week for under a dollar a day. Crazy!
Grass is super green, has plenty of flat area, and is right on the banks of the Kangaroo River. Which is also one of the few rivers on the east coast to flow west, before flowing to the ocean.
There are no showers here but is drinking water and toilets. You also can not have fires or charcoal/solid fuel. If you come in winter, rug up or bring a patio heater. (Inside tip)
That aside, what it does have is, fishing, kayaking and plenty of wildlife, included the most wombats I have ever seen in one place. They are in abundance and just come wandering through your campsite.
If you prefer to stay closer to the action in town, there is 2 caravan parks in Kangaroo Valley, one next to the bridge and the other is next to the showground. We can’t help with pricing or what these are like as we didn’t go into either.
Where to eat?
Well, we like to eat what we call camping food when we go camping, which is normally something that can be done on a fire, in the camp oven or when we can’t have a fire, on the BBQ at least. We have been here for 5 nights, so here is our Dinners we had.
1st night, Leftovers from previous night heated in the microwave (remember this is our life so we almost always have our whole home with us)
2nd night, we went to the friendly inn and had a pub meal with the group that we were ate crashing at the campground. (All ultimate camper trailer owners) Highly recommend the pub. Meal was good, reasonably priced, quick service considering how busy it was. No complaints from our table.
3rd night, we got pizza from a little pizza shop in town. They do not have a huge menu, they do not have you normal westernised pizza, but what they do have is honest Italian style home made pizzas, where toppings are minimal and fresh. Just like a good pizza should be.
4th night, Roast chicken and veg done on the Ziggy at the van, this is also our 5th night meal also.
Other recommendations are, Hampdens Deli and Madison’s in the Valley for lunches.
There is also a pie shop, and I am yet to get one, but it seemed popular. Keep an eye out for my Aussie pie list, it may be on there one day.
Breakfast we pretty much had at the van, a mixture of cooked breakfast and cereals.
What to do?
I touched on it above for the campsite, but plenty of bushwalking, fishing, kayaking seems very popular with at least 2 safari tour companies I have seen here, wandering the streets, go for a drive to the coast or highlands or just kick back with a book and do nothing.
If you are lucky enough to be there on Anzac Day, the main street is closed in the morning for a service at the war memorial, and the pub does two up after lunch. We had a great afternoon there mixing it with some local
It really is a spectacular part of the world and a place we will spend more time at in the future.
Finally, I just want to shout out to Darren Banks, from Trackside Images, who happened to be at Bendeela Camping the same weekend and sent me his amazing photos of the wombats you see in this post. Thanks mate.
Thanks for reading!
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