I am a freelance photographer and writer from Port Stephens NSW Australia. Visit my web site at www.philipduncanphotography.com
Published April 11th 2015
When the weather turns a little cooler and the beaches around Newcastle are not as appealing as they would be on a warmer day it's time to think about heading for the hills.
The Watagans Mountains is only a stone's throw from Newcastle and Lake Maquarie. There are several picnic grounds and even a couple of camping spots if you are feeling really adventures.
Today I am taking you to one of my favourite picnic spots in the mountains so you can get a taste for adventure. Then in some following articles I will introduce some other picnic spots and a great camping area or two.
The Watagans is made up of state forest and National parks, so if you do visit here with your 4 legged friends they are welcome in the State Forest areas but not in the National Parks areas.
Also this is a Forest area and the roads are not sealed. You do not need 4WD. Most 2WD and AWD cars with a decent amount of clearance will be fine to access any of the main roads in normal conditions. But be aware that it can become slippery in the wet and have some big potholes so drive to the conditions.
There are sometimes logging trucks that operate in the area, so be careful around them as well.
Boarding house dam picnic area
To get to Boarding House Dam is an easy drive from the Greater Newcastle lake Macquarie area. You can also make a day trip from Sydney with ease as it is just off the M1.
Take Cessnock (Freemans Waterhole) exit off the M1 Turn right into Freemans Drive then right onto Mount Faulk Road (unsealed after 3 kms) Turn left into Watagan Forest Drive
Turn right into Boarding House Dam Road
The picnic area is at the end of the road
The forest roads are well marked so you will not have any trouble finding your way. When you leave, why not take a little detour through the forest and come out on one of the other exits.
I would recommend going right as you come out of the picnic area onto Watagan Forest Drive past the Pines picnic area and come out at Martinsville. Turn right on Martinsville road and you will come out at Cooranbong. From there you can make your way to the M1 or home.
The moss wall at Boarding house dam
Don't forget to bring every thing you need as there are no shops close by. There are gas BBQ's to use at the picnic area and plenty of parking is available.
If the weather is warm enough the kids can have a paddle in the creek. There is plenty of room for them to run around or have a game of cricket or footy. As well as an easy walking trail that will take you on a loop past the dam and into the forest on both sides of the creek. There are lots of photo opportunities on this walk, so bring your camera. One one side of the creek you will find a very long rock wall that is covered in moss. There is also a little waterfall just below the dam.
Small fall below the dam
Why not get out of the house and enjoy this little piece of paradise in our own backyard.