Spring Cart Farm
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There are many places to discover in New South Wales off the tourist tracks that highlight our history. Places to really unwind from the hectic life of the city and not only find peacefulness but places to breathe. Some find peacefulness watching waves rolling onto a secluded beach, some watching sand drifting over dunes in the desert while others find it in the hills and mountains with the sound of a breeze through eucalypts and the sight of grass rolling like waves on hillsides while an eagle gracefully glides overhead looking for prey.
Adventure riders have the advantage of discovering and experiencing these places more than tourists. Fortunately, more farms are offering their hospitality to weary riders as a stopover as well as destinations to explore trails, following creeks and traversing mountains and following ridge lines that few have seen.
One such place I have recently discovered is Spring Cart Farm near Weabonga. Where is the village of Weabonga you ask? It is on a track between Tamworth and Gloucester in northern NSW on one of the most scenic back roads you could ever travel. About 30 kilometres from Limbi (Everyone knows where Limbri is). You’ve opened google maps now, haven’t you?
Riding the road between Kootingal and Weabonga in the late afternoon, the sun begins to settle and through a dusty pair of goggles, you feel like you are riding in a giant Namatjira artwork. It can be hard to keep your eyes on the road and not on the scenery. The road is in good condition with several cattle grids and obligatory potholes. A few ruts can be found on bends and be aware of oncoming 4x4s. If you ride with someone that likes to take photos, don’t be surprised if they often stop to pull out the camera. As with any country road, there are always oddities to be found. You may need to let them do their thing and meet them at the next pre-determined meeting point ie Spring Cart Farm.
Set on 1600 acres and steeped in history, the farm was originally settled by James Blaxland (the grandson of the famous explorer), then passed to his son Greg – named after his great grandfather and used as a sheep station. The original farmhouse, stables and schoolhouse believed to be built by James in the late 1800’s still stand on an adjoining farm that was once part of a larger holding. Still, a working farm, Spring Cart Farm owners, Paul and Sara Rumble are catering for farm stay holidays, retreats and of course, stopovers for adventure riders. For families, it’s a great place to show your kids farm life where they can help feed the alpacas, donkeys and goats.
They have converted the original shearing shed into accommodation with toilets and showers. There are also five campsites situated around the property. Being off-grid, amenities are basic but ideal for an overnight stay or a few days camping and used as a base to explore other back roads and villages in the area. Inside the shearing shed, relics of mechanical shearing machines are still in place as are the pens. It’s easy to picture Henry Lawson’s “Shearers’ Song” while walking through the shed imagining shearers milling around having tea, a damper and a smoke waiting for the foreman to call the start of day and bets placed to see who can out shear the gun. There are plans to collect more relics and have them displayed in the shed.
On a winter’s morning, the frost crackles underfoot while a layer of mist shrouds the dam stocked with trout and perch. Ducks circle around the dam before braving the freezing water as they land creating a wake on the glassy surface. In the warmer months, you can paddle a kayak in the 3 acre dam or catch a fish to cook over the coals wrapped in bacon with a side of roasted sweet potato and pumpkin. The greens can stay on the side, especially the kale……especially the kale.
Four-wheel drive tracks lead to campsites overlooking the river as it flows, carving its way between hills creating beaches of pebbles and gravel leaving swimming holes to explore. Turtles swim in the crystal waters as magpies sing in the surrounding trees. After a day of riding in the saddle, it’s an excellent place to pull up for the night. Fire pits are provided and kicking back, watching the bush TV, embers rise into the star-lit night creating the perfect setting for banter about the day's ride.
Any rider will know…… It’s the main reason we travel to these places. The tracks vary from easy to challenging with some just following tire tracks in the grass giving a feeling of being the first to discover this place. Getting to the top of a ridge and listening to the wind not only gives a sense of achievement but a sense of appreciation for the country we live in. You also get an admiration for the people that settled here and built fences and gates out of the raw materials at hand.
For those that enjoy our history, enjoy roads less travelled, and experience fantastic destinations and accommodation put Spring Cart Farm on your bucket list.
Spring Cart Farm (Swamp Oak Creek) is located along the Limbri-Weabonga Road, Weabonga NSW.
Run by Paul and Sara Rumble, a 1-night stay costs $35.94 per adult. Bookings can be made on https://www.hipcamp.com/en-AU/land/new-south-wales-spring-cart-farm-swamp-oak-creek-1xmh05kr?adults=1&children=0
Phone 0413 081 991
W: springcart.farm @outlook.com
222394 - 2023-07-09 12:04:39