For the five-day Easter long weekend we headed off to a working farm named ‘Brooklyn’, located in Tooloom, about 20km from Urbenville in northern New South Wales. A cattle and plantation hardwood farm, Brooklyn straddles Kangaroo Creek and is bordered by Beaury State Forest.
Driving down on the Thursday afternoon, we departed the Gold Coast at about 1.30pm and after a two hour drive heading out through Beaudesert, Rathdowney and Woodenbong, arrived at Brooklyn at about 3.30pm. Without taking a break, we all set up camp quickly and it wasn’t long before we were sitting around the fire with beers in hand.
Terry (the owner)
On the Friday we went over to the homestead to meet the owner of the property, Terry. A few of the guys we were with know Terry well, having camped and run 4wd club events on his property for a number of years. A typical old farmer, Terry’s shed has just about any spare part you could ever need, tyres to fit any type of vehicle you could imagine and more car bodies than you could poke a stick at. Terry was kind enough to lend us one of his many trailers and with chainsaw in hand, we headed out into one of the paddocks to find some fallen hardwood for the fire.
Just on dusk, Terry rolled over to our camp with a couple of beers and joined us for a bit of a yarn. Having lived on the property his whole life, Terry has a wealth of knowledge about the property and the local area, with plenty of tales to tell. From the Pumas and Panthers released by the American forces at the end of World War II to the Yowies that make the occasional appearance around the local area, it was enough to make you want to stay close to the fire.
On day three of our trip we decided to go for a drive along Paddys Flat Road, down to the Clarence River to check out the World War II-era concrete tank traps, part of the so called ‘Brisbane Line‘ of defenses. Although having been there since the early 1940′s, many of the concrete defenses still remain and stand in stark contrast to the stony banks of the Clarence.
Although relatively tame during our visit, it was apparent that the Clarence swells her banks vastly during flood and it was amazing to see a large tree wedged in the fork of another trees’ trunk a good 10 vertical meters from water level. From the Clarence River, we continued onto Tabulam and then back to Brooklyn via Bonalbo, Bean Creek Falls, Yabbra State Forest and Urbenville.
The Waterfall Track
Two of the guys in our group, Lance and Mark, are both members of the Toyota Landcruiser Club of Queensland and regularly visit the property on club events. A few weeks prior to our visit they came across a subsidence blocking the Waterfall track and given we had plenty of time on our hands, decided to take Terry up to the subsidence to look at options for rebuilding the track.
We headed off from camp at about 3pm with three vehicles and although only a short drive, black soil and recent wet conditions made the track fairly slick in a number of spots. Just short of our intended destination, the lead vehicle, a Toyota Surf, ended up half off the track after losing traction on a rock while trying to go up rise. Being a tight spot on a slope it took the two remaining vehicles to recover the Surf and having spent 45 minutes doing the recovery, we decided to turn back before the daylight faded, having not ended up reaching our intended destination.
The Yowie Cave
Beyond the spectacular views from the top of the surround hills, one of the many sites on the property is the ‘Yowie Cave’, a rock overhang on the edge of one of the numerous rainforest remnants on the property. Although it wouldn’t have provided much shelter to the resident Yowies, it looks like it would be a nice protected spot to sit out a rainy winter’s night.
Being the nearest town, we visited Urbenville a number of times and even attended their ANZAC day ceremony. A quaint little town, it consists of a pub, a shop/service station, post office, a few streets lined with houses and not much more. On the outskirts is a recently abandoned timber mill and just like a lot of country towns, Urbenville looks like it is beginning to die a slow death as its traditional industries fade away and it has to rely on the region’s farms and passing trade.
Brooklyn is an amazing property with a raft of scenery to keep you occupied. Our camp was small but it was enough for six couples, a large communal tarp and a fire pit but best of all, being a private property, there were only a handful of campsites and the nearest was a good 500 meters away from us. With crystal clear days and perfect starry nights, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a relaxing Easter break.