A 1200 acre haven of rugged bushland in New England, NSW, which offers amazing bush camping for the independent traveller.

If you want to experience slow camping in as natural and unspoilt environment as you can find in the whole of New South Wales, give Bullock Mountain Homestead a try. We booked into their ‘Number 1’ campsite in January, and found it so peaceful and relaxing that we actually extended our stay. Overlooking the Beardy river, the campsite was surrounded on all sides by glorious views of this spectacular granite country region. Set at the end of a pretty rugged trail, which called on low-range and all of my off-road driving experience, this particular campsite offers few facilities, except for a mown area and a fire pit, so you’ll need to be totally self-sufficient. You’ll also need a 4X4 with good ground clearance and reasonable tyres, although if you take it easy and drive carefully, you’ll have few problems. We towed our Marlin Escape camper-trailer and had no issues, even after rain. (Note that Bullock Mountain has a whole range of other campsites, many of them more accessible and 2WD friendly. They’re also pet-friendly.)

White-faced Heron on the Beardy River.

No sound but the birds

With no other campers within earshot and no signs of human habitation visible, we found it a wonderful place to wind down, turn our phones off, and just soak up this very special environment. This is a highland region, with a quite particular ecosystem, so the birdlife is quite different to lowland regions, with many species with which we which were unfamiliar. However, it’s much easier to hear the birds, rather than see them, as many of them are very vocal, but are not inclined to stay in close view for long. The dawn chorus in particular was absolutely stunning, although there was a certain amount of frustration on my part, as so many of these mountain birds were new to me and difficult to identify. This led to a determination on my part to get myself a decent pair of birding binoculars.


Swimming and kayaking in the Beardy river on some long hot days was an absolute treat in the clear, cool, mountain water, while Yabbies and some amazing Shrimps (?) with long thin pincers, literally nibbled at (on!) our feet. The river itself winds its way through a series of rapids and through some quite deep swimming holes. Don’t be tempted to dive in though, as the river is full of black granite outcrops, many of which rise vertically from the bottom.

Wildflowers were abundant on the many bush trails.

There are no livestock on the property, but there is an abundance of wildlife. Besides the numerous bird species, which include many different varieties of Honeyeater, Reed Warblers and Kingfishers, there are Wallaroos and even Quolls. We watched as Wild Goats clambered across the rapids, and we also saw Fallow Deer in the area. Feral species are managed, while native Australian species are encouraged.

Stringybarks are among the many types of trees found on the property.

Many interesting bush trails snake along the river bank, and across the property, and we and our two dogs (always on leash) thoroughly enjoyed these. With swimming and trail-walking, there was plenty to do in the day time, and in the evening we relaxed and enjoyed the glorious sunsets across the river valley. There was plenty of firewood available to forage, so we could sit around the fire when it got dark and watch as an amazing abundance of stars begin to peep out of an unpolluted night sky.

Camp fire at night.

Glen Innes, a fair sized town, is only 18kms away, and it has a launderette, as well as the usual chain stores where you can get any provisions you might need. There are also toilets and hot showers at the Bullock Mountain homestead itself.

Full details of how to book and the types of accommodation available can be found on the Bullock Mountain web site and also on HipCamp.

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