24.06.2018 – Cells Jeep Trail, Cottan-Bimbang State Conservation Area, NSW

Following making enquiries with authorities at Taree regarding fossicking, we were guided to “The Cells”, a conservation area within the Cottan-Bimbang National Park, specifically, the Cells Jeep Trail, a 4WD track where fossicking is currently allowed with a metal detector.  (This situation may change in the near future we are told.)

We left the Sunliner parked at Dingo Tops Campsite and headed off in our Suzuki, initially taking a wrong turn and travelling ‘single lane’ dirt roads 20 minutes south instead of north. Once again, our calculation of travel time was way off, even allowing for the detour south.  From our campsite, it was to be a 44.km trip to Cells Jeep Trail. We deviated literally ‘up’ a side track from Knodingbul Road to the Blue Knob Lookout within the Bulga Forest. The track had a steep incline in very wet clay with deep wheel  ruts and further up the track, rocks and hollows to negotiate. But having reached the peak, we were rewarded with amazing 360° views and the feeling of being on top of the world.

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After Mike slid the Suzuki back down to the main track, we continued on to Cells Jeep Track and travelled along until we reached a point near the intersection of a stream and Cells Creek, which we deemed just too steep and too slippery to safely tackle in our little Suzi.

As far as we know, it had not rained in the area that day, but the stream and creek area was wet and lush vegetation was all around. Along the creek everything was covered in moss and ferns. Trees that had fallen over were covered in thick moss and providing a platform for the formation of new growth. Lee took time to photograph the smaller vegetation while Mike (unsuccessfully) did a little fossicking.

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We started leaving this area shortly after 3.pm and by the time we arrived back where the Sunliner was parked at the campsite it was almost dark, and only approaching 5.pm!

With needing a signal for the next morning for Lee’s work, we travelled south to camp back at Wingham Riverside Reserve. We had not travelled this gravel road previously and definitely won’t be doing it again with our Sunliner, although it handled it all very well, as did Suzi being towed behind.  It was another ‘one lane’ road and very rough with exposed rocks, pot holes and eroded parts. Mike drove very slowly to negotiate the hazards.

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