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Published October 6th 2014
Camping with dogs, kids and 4wds
Camping is not my first love when it comes to holidays but I tolerate it a couple of times a year because my partner and a number of our friends really enjoy it. So far I've managed to keep my camping trips confined to South East Queensland's beautiful beaches. This time however, I was expected to go bush.
The order for the October long weekend was to be Levuka Rainforest Recreation Park - a 4wd-ers paradise located just outside the sleepy town of Urbenville in North West New South Wales.
All of my camping experiences to date have involved going to places that have no facilities whatsoever. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at just how well organised Levuka actually is. When you check in Robert (the very friendly property owner) hands you a laminated map of the 600 acre property and is happy to answer any questions you may have. It was a busy weekend and he and his wife did a sterling job of keeping the shower and toilet facilities clean and well stocked with soap and other necessities. They also arranged live music, helicopter joy flights and a number of lucky draw prizes for the long weekend.
Levuka is friendly to all families, whether they be ones with real babies or fur babies. Our group of three couples took our three canine companions along for the ride and it definitely was a doggy paradise. Those groups who had children also seemed to be having a great time playing in the grounds. The camping areas are so spacious it would be hard to imagine that even the largest group could not be catered for. The downside of this however is, on busier weekends, it can get quite noisy and unfortunately boys will be boys so be prepared for nights of loud music and louder cars. Even though night driving is supposedly prohibited, it definitely still occurs.
Levuka is a working cattle property so you also have to be prepared for the odd herd that will wander by your campsite. With cows there of course also comes cow poo - an abundance of it in fact but luckily enough one of our group was a boy scout in a past life and informed us that it goes very well in a campfire. Most sites come equipped with their own pre-prepared fire pit. You can bring your own fire wood if you want but we found it far easier just to buy some on site. Robert has a seemingly endless supply of good quality timber to burn for just $10 per 35kg bag.
Chad the lovable farm dog will no doubt stop in for a visit or three
I'm no great 4wd-ing expert myself but the boys all seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. Options range from open farm tracks, to rocky climbs, bog holes and tight rainforest drives. The aptly named playground is apparently a must for those wanting to test their skills. Tracks are graded in difficulty from 1-5 so you always know exactly what you are getting yourself into. For those who prefer their weekends a little slower paced there is also bush walking available around the property and Lake Levuka for a swim or a kayak. There is also apparently dams stocked with fish on the property but our resident fisherman said, at the time of our visit, they were less than impressive.
For a reluctant camper, I found Levuka to be a very enjoyable weekend. Whether you are looking for a country escape with the family or a weekend of high octane fun I would highly recommend this beautiful piece of New South Wales countryside.
We stayed here for a long weekend a few years back. The facilities are basic but adequate, in working order and clean. We were able to tether our dog on a very long line and woke up each morning with cows rubbing themselves on our camper trailer. This is a perfect, low key, family type farm stay without the compulsion to participate in farm work. It was wet when we stayed so we left the numerous 4wd tracks alone but the more adventurous had a wow of a time!