Monday, June 08, 2009

coolendel camping and cabins, west of nowra

Look Ma, wombat!!
Coolendel is located about 30km west of Nowra, and features camping grounds as well as cabins set in a nature reserve. We camped for just one night and enjoyed getting to know the local wildlife...

We spotted a peacock being shooed out of a family's tent - definitely keep the doors zipped up!

It was amazing how nonchalant the animals were about the humans hanging around. This wombat was very content just to keep munching grass and grooming him/herself. One of his/her friends woke me up in the middle of the night with his/her very audible late night snacking.

There's a wallaby hidden there in the undergrowth...

The wildlife theme continues - I thought that the end of the branch right at the top of the picture here looked a bit like a wombat. Or was I just imagining things?

Apart from the wildlife, there's also canoeing to try in the Shoalhaven River, plenty of space to pedal around in and bushwalks to wander through. It's definitely a very family friendly place, with hot showers, free BBQs/gas stoves and flat fields perfect for kicking a ball around. My only miff was loud music/conversation continuing beyond around midnight; the group of teens were good about turning it down though once chapflap had a word to them about it.

Aaaaww... we love camping :) Definitely a change from my high school Duke of Ed days, when a rolled up jumper serving as a pillow was the height of luxury! Not only does Coolendel have hot showers (and very clean toilets) and cooking facilities, but there's safe drinking water which I was told is sourced from the Shoalhaven River and treated on-site. So even though you could readily bring your own drinking water in (since you can camp right next to your car, saving the need to lug things from a carpark to the actual site), there's really no need.

Coolendel Camping and Cabins
Grassy Gully Road
Coolendel NSW (approximately 30km west of Nowra)

(02) 4421 4586

Cabins from $100/night (off peak season, sleeps up to 6 people)
Camping from $16/night (off peak season, per adult)

You can find more information here

Coolendel was reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald a month or so back but I can't find the online version now. All I remember was that it was a very favourable review. I actually found out about the place before the review came out (just by looking around on the web, there are a lot of reviews of the place on 4WD websites and the like) and was worried that it'd get booked out with the SMH review! There's definitely no need to worry though, there was plenty of camping space to go around when we were there.

Note that the 30km drive out of Nowra to get to Coolendel is very straightforward for the first 20km or so (100km/h, excellent) but then the last 11km is windy and unpaved (but fairly compacted, so it's not like there's dirt flying everywhere or anything). The drive's do-able in a 2WD (good suspension will make the ride more comfortable...) but try to set out a bit early so you can get through it before dark (and setting up a tent is always much easier with natural light... no, there were no hissy fits when we were setting up our tent at 6pm, none at all...). If you don't want to risk the 11km windiness, we saw the entrance to another campsite along the 20km paved road called Grady's Riverside Retreat. Looks like there are no wombats resident there though unfortunately :( There are clear signs leading out of Nowra to Coolendel, just follow the directions on the Coolendel website (and once you turn out of Nowra towards Coolendel there's only really one road you can go on, so it's unlikely you'll get lost)


  1. Looks great, sounds wonderful, but I still say it's not camping! :p

    Love the wombat shots :)

  2. I think the term used commonly now is "glamping" (glamour camping?) or as my friend put it, "princess camping". I wanted to smuggle a wombat home, but I don't think catflap would approve!