Road Trip – Hunter Valley to Lightning Ridge

We are about to embark on our first real camping road trip and while we have been camping plenty of times, it’s never been for more than two consecutive days. This road trip will be the real test to see if the camper trailer is the right option for us, will it be a raging success or a straight up disaster? We will find out soon enough.

We currently have to two plans. Plan #1: Go to Lightning Ridge and take the short way home. Plan #2: If everything goes well, we will be take the long way home with a little Queensland detour.

Campsite set up Camping Watagans National Park. The Pines

April trip itinerary

We are trying to cram as much action and discovery as we can into this trip and we only have a couple of weeks to do it. We do however have 4 young children so need to ensure we are offering them exciting stops and aren’t on the road for copious amounts of time each day. Below you will find our trip itinerary for both of our plans.

The short way

The map of the long planed route. Starting in Maitland NSW, Warrumbungle’s, Lightning Ridge NSW and Mount Kaputar NSW.

Day 1: Maitland to Warrumbungle National Park
Distance: 363 km – 4 h 20 min
Camp location: 
Camp Blackman
$6 adult, $3.50 child, unpowered site
Amenities: Toilets, showers, picnic tables, BBQ’s
The Warrumbungle National Park is known as Australia’s star gazing capital and the only Australian dark sky park, which also hosts the Sliding Spring Observatory.

Day 2 & 3: Warrumbungle National Park to Lightning Ridge
Distance: 298 km – 3 h 20 min
Camp location: 
Opal Caravan Park
Amenities: Toilets, showers, picnic tables, camp kitchen, BBQ’s, fossicking area, swimming pool 
 $42 per night, unpowered site at the full facility caravan park
Opal fossicking, Opal mine tours, Australian Opal Centre, Amigo’s Castle, Bottle House Museum, Artesian hot boar baths and a big emu named Stan.

Day 4: Lightning Ridge to Mount Kaputar National Park
Distance: 303 km – 4 h
Camp location: Dawsons Spring Campground
Cost: $6 adult, $3.50 child, unpowered site
Amenities: Toilets, showers, picnic tables, BBQ’s
Attractions: Sawn Rocks, Mt Katutar Summit.

Day 5:  Mount Kaputar National Park to home
Distance: 400 km – 5 h 20 mins
Attractions: my comfy bed, WiFi.

Trip total: 1339 km

The long way

The map of the long planed route. starting in Maitland NSW, Warrumbungle’s, Lightning Ridge NSW, Texas QLD, Girraween QLD, Wollomombi NSW, South West Rocks NSW and Diamond Head.

Day 4: Lightning Ridge to Goat Rock
Distance: 445 km – 5 h
Camp location: Goat Rock Campground, unpowered site
Cost –
$20 family pass
Amenities: Showers, toilets, BBQ’s, picnic tables, pet friendly, hot water donkey
Attractions: Goats, just kidding it’s a sheep farm. Granite boulders, farm animals, wildlife, bushwalks and stargazing.

Day 5: Goat Rock to Girraween National park
Distance: 163 km – 1 h 52 mins
Camp location: 
Castle Rock Creek Campground
Cost: $24.60 family pass
Amenities: Showers, toilets, BBQ’s, picnic tables
The Pyramid, Granite Arch, The Junction.

Day 6: Girraween National park to Wollomombi Falls
267 km – 3 h 6 mins
Camp location: Wollomombi Falls Campground and picnic area
Amenities: Toilets, BBQ’s, picnic tables
Attractions: NSW’s highest waterfall – Wollomombi Falls 224m drop, Chandler Viewpoint, Edgars Lookout.

Day 7: Wollomombi Falls to Trial Bay – South West Rocks
215 Km – 2 h 50 mins
Camp location: Trial Bay Gaol
Amenities: Showers, toilets, BBQ’s, picnic tables
Attractions: Gaol, beach and the small coastal town of South West Rocks.

Day 8: Trial Bay, South West Rocks – Crowdy Bay National Park 
122 km – 1 h 38 mins
Camp location: Kylies Beach Campground
$12 adult, $6 child, unpowered site
Amenities: Toilets, showers, picnic tables, BBQ’s
Attractions: Beaches, walking tracks

Day 9: Crowdy Bay National Park – home
Distance: 209 km – 2 h 24 mins
Attractions: my comfy bed, WiFi.

Trip total: 2057 km

Toyota Fortuner towing camper trailer offroad | camping disasters

Follow our adventures as we hit the road on our first real camping road trip, with our Black Series camper trailer in tow. Our road trip from the Hunter Valley to Lightning Ridge and everywhere in between, could be an epic adventure or it could be full of laughs at our expense.(Like this camping disaster). Either way it will be good value!

Have we missed a must see, do, try or taste experience along the way? Tell us below!

EDIT: To see how our trip went, CLICK HERE.

Get Social
Latest posts by Happy Go Travel (see all)


  1. 06/04/2017 / 12:32 pm

    Have fun!! When you get to the Ridge make sure you do the Car Door Tours. You can get a “self drive” map from the tourist info centre and each tour takes you to all the awesome stuff the ridge has on offer. We are off to Yamba and Gold Coast to brave the crowds – we are staying at Kylie’s on the way home too but not til 23rd/24th 🙂 Look forward to following your trip!

  2. Mark
    08/04/2017 / 11:13 am

    Sounds like a great trip. The Opal Caravan Park however seems a little pricey considering it’s unpowered.

    Are you taking a pet?

    • 17/05/2017 / 2:04 pm

      We thought so as well Mark until we stayed at Stanthorpe and it cost us $70 per night. It was insane and not worth it at all.
      No pets, just the kids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.