Olney State Forest is about 90 minutes drive north of Sydney, just to the west of the central coast. Together with the Watagan National Park, which it sits alongside, it offers a huge range of tracks and trails.
Getting into Olney is an easy drive, it is a dirt road but well packed and would be easy enough in a 2wd in anything but heavy rain (although the Ford Mustang we saw did look a little out of place…)
We weren’t, however, there to test our off-road skills, but to get out into the woods and enjoy a relaxed camp.
There are roughly 5 official campsites (and no doubt many others), with 4 of them in close proximity. Arriving at 10.30am, in mid winter, it was surprising to see how many people were there. Turpentine camp was quieter, probably as it does not have toilets (it is a 150m walk to the Pines camp toilets), with a great secluded spot at the end.
The Pines itself was busy, including the obligatory clown sharing their music at high volume that night (bad country & western rather than doof-doof in this case), It wasn’t so bad where we were, but pity the people next door. Ignoring the noise the Pines was a decent camp, so long as you don’t mind being alongside others.
A feature of the camping here is that it is among the trees. It wouldn’t be a place to come for a week and rely on solar power, as most of the time the sites are shaded.
Another aim of the trip was to test out a new acquisition. For a while now I have been thinking about getting a battery chainsaw for firewood gathering. Why battery and not petrol? Two reasons, firstly no need to carry fuel around and secondly it is much quieter. OK it is not as powerful but I’m not gathering a winter store, just enough for a night or two.
So how did it go? It performed very well, easily cutting enough for the night / morning and some left over and still have three quarters charge left on a 5Ah battery. From 20m away it is no noisier than standing near to a hairdryer.
Perhaps next time we will let the tyres down and explore the bumpy stuff…..