Yerranderie campout

Fri 26 September 2014 02:00pm

Julian Robinson

This is an exploratory trip to a fascinating and relatively unknown ghost town set deep in the Blue Mountains.  There’s plenty of Spotted Quail-thrush, Wonga Pigeons, Lyrebirds, Whipbirds &c, and potential for any of the summer migrants and other birds of both wet and dry eucalypt forest.  Unfortunately Bell and Noisy Miners are close to the campsite, though they don’t seem to have cleared out other species yet.  I tried spotlighting in March, finding only one Ring-tailed Possum —  hopefully greater expertise available in Spring may do better.

Yerranderie was a silver mining town until production ceased in the 1920s. Despite subsequent efforts to restart mining, its fate was sealed when Warragamba Dam was completed in 1959, cutting off the direct road to Sydney.   The township was later purchased by a now-elderly woman Val Lhuede who developed it into a quaint wilderness tourist destination. In 2012 due to her advancing age Val donated the town to NSW National Parks. Not much has changed since her time and it’s still pretty much as shown on her original website at .  Access from Sydney is now through Oberon so visitors are relatively few considering that, according to Val, “One quarter of the population of Australia is within 100 kilometres of Yerranderie.  It deserves to be better known.”

Yerranderrie-villageYerranderie is 250km from Canberra but driving time is 3 1/2 to 4 hours due to the last 70km being gravel with some narrow. steepish winding sections and a couple of shallow creek crossings. The road is not difficult but may be a little nerve-wracking and navigationally difficult at night, so the plan is to travel in daylight, in convoy. Depending on people’s availability we will depart Canberra at 2pm Friday (arrive at dusk) or 8am on Saturday morning (arrive at lunch time), with a couple of short stops at Taralga and a bush picnic area in Blue Mtns National Park. The program for Sat, Sun and Mon morning will include a few bird walks and time to fossick around the town. We’ll depart about 9am Monday to enable an exploratory walk on the way home at another mine site, to what is reputed to be a spectacular waterfall.

This is primarily a camping trip, however participants can choose to stay in ye olde cabin-style accommodation adjoining the campground – there’s two rustic cottages or basic individual rooms available in the old post office. Anyone wanting to do this should book for themselves by ringing the caretaker on 02 4659 6165, stating that you are associated with the COG trip. The campground is pleasant, green and undulating, surrounded by the old cottages and mine paraphernalia. Camp fees $12 per person per night. The photo is  taken looking from the campground up to the old post office building.

Trip limit is 15 people. The road is OK for 2WD vehicles unless it is wet; ‘soft’ 4WDs would give added security but are not necessary unless wet.  Car sharing will be arranged closer to the time.

Please register with Sue Lashko at

As I will be away until September please book or enquire with Sue Lashko 6251 4485.

Post event report

Canberra Community Day long weekend gave seven COG members the chance to go via  Goulburn to the old Oberon Colong stock route that leads to Yerranderie. This dirt road winds around steep mountains and along narrow ridges with spectacular glimpses over the sandstone bluffs and valleys of the Blue Mountains National Park and Yerranderie State Conservation Area. Yerranderie township is a remnant of a boom town settled by silver miners in the late 1800s and  deserted during WWI. Mining never became viable again, especially after the Warragamba Dam cut the access road from Sydney. Now only a few buildings remain nestled in the bottom of a valley overlooked by rugged mountains. Most of the group camped here, side by side with the kangaroos who keep the place constantly mown.

The morning chorus of birds was rich, varied and beautiful. We woke to the sound of Bell Miners, Superb Lyrebirds, Satin Bowerbirds, Olive-backed Orioles, Noisy Miners, Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, Grey Butcherbird, Eastern Whipbirds, Grey Shrike-thrush and many more.

A confusing network of fire trails and derelict walking tracks provided us with plenty of scope for our birding walks. One special moment was when our group paused for several minutes to watch a furtive male Spotted Quail-thrush making its alternately slow and  then darting progress in an arc around us.

The habitat varies from dry eucalypt forest to steep damp slopes of tree ferns, and gullies and streams with mixed paperbark, casuarina and semi-rainforest species. This variety is reflected in our total count of 59 bird species for the trip.

Thanks to Julian Robinson for organizing the trip and to John Goldie who filled in as leader when Julian couldn’t make it at the last minute.

Muriel Story



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