We had two birthdays to celebrate and the nice grassy flat on the Nattai River at the bottom of Starlights Trail seemed a good venue.
So we met at the bakery at Hilltop and then set out along the Wattle Ridge Road to Nattai National Park. At the carpark, we shouldered our packs and set off along the track. The first part of this is a fire road, but you soon leave this and head down into the valley. A short way down, we left our packs and walked out to a nearby lookout which provided good views of the Nattai Valley and Mt Jellore.
The track slowly descends into the valley. Its easy going – and the track was probably made to take cattle in and out of the valley. Whether it was actually used by the bushranger and cattle duffer Captain Starlight seems to be doubtful. As an aside – I can recall old Mr Tindale of Myrtle Creek property in Widden Valley saying (sometime back in the 1970’s) he had actually met Captain Starlight when he was very young. He was regarded as a “Gentleman Bushranger”. According to Wikipedia, Captain Starlight, the bushranger character from Rolf Bolderwood’s “Robbery Under Arms” is largely modelled off Henry Readford who originally came from the Cudgegong District near Widden.
We soon arrived at the campsite, and it was much like I remembered – a large grassy area. But the nearby Nattai River had changed. Floods two years earlier had carved out a large billabong and the whole river flat was covered in debris – boulders and smashed trees.
Towering above are the bluffs of Ahearns Lookout.
This lookout is a memorial to Leon Ahearn, an early ranger at Nattai National Park who died in 1985. More information about him can be found in the discussion here.
A cool evening was forecast, so we collected a large amount of firewood and soon and a nice fire going. That evening, we enjoyed fine food and wines and had a very pleasant evening.
For those camping at the bottom of Starlights Trail, the creek that the tracks crosses near the Nattai River is often dry, and the Nattai River is polluted. But good drinking water can be obtained from Troy Creek a short way downstream. Just below Troy Creek is Emmet Flat and the site of Emmet’s hut. An old stove can be seen here –
Next morning, after a lazy start, we departed in the early afternoon and walked out the same way – via Starlights Trail back to the cars.
More photos from this very pleasant weekend in the bush are online here.