Join Brooke and Lyndsay from the Hipcamp team as they explore Rhapsody west of Sydney in NSW.
In April, my Hipcamp teammate Lyndsay and I headed off to check out Rhapsody, a (very) remote bush camp southwest of the Blue Mountains, NSW, about 3 hours from Sydney. For an added bit of luxe, we hired a caravan from Camplify and set off. I knew this place was remote when mobile reception ceased to exist two hours before we arrived at camp, but we were on a mission—for this trip, I wanted to tick off a bucket list item of mine: seeing the massive, 10-tier Box Creek Falls waterfall in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park, about 3 kilometres from camp.
To see our video recap of our trip to Rhapsody and our time with Hipcamp Host Danny K., check out the full episode on YouTube.
Think Mists of Avalon meets Lord of the Rings.
Think Mists of Avalon meets Lord of the Rings. The two Rhapsody campsites—Wallaby Flat and Platypus Flat—are nestled deep in an ancient, cool, misty valley with the sparkling yet chilly Hollanders River on its doorstep. Here you’ll find Hipcamp Host Danny K.’s spacious, grassy private land on one side of the river and the Kanangra-Boyd National Park with its dramatic rock face on the other side. It’s here we get our first glimpse of just how wild this place is.
As we passed through the “town” of Gingkin where Rhapsody is set, we saw only a few houses and no local corner store or spots to get emergency supplies. The nearest major town is Oberon, about a 45-minute drive from camp. Our Host, Danny, provided detailed directions in advance of our trip, ones all visitors should screenshot or save before setting off—remember, there’s no mobile reception! Once you reached the farm gate, it’s a scenic 15-minute drive via a long access road through farmland to the campsites. The views are vast and breathtaking as you make your way into the valley, and it’s easy to feel like you’re heading to the end of the earth—it’s that remote. For the last 300 meters down to the campsite, four-wheel drive (4WD) is recommended and a must if the weather has been or is expected to be wet.
It’s easy to feel like you’re heading to the end of the earth—it’s that remote.
Both of Rhapsody’s campsites, Wallaby Flat and Platypus Flat, offer direct access to the Hollanders River, perfect for swimming, trout fishing, and being lulled to sleep by the sound of the river passing over stones. Both campsites are well separated on different bends of the river, so you won’t hear a sound—besides that of the river, wombats, and other wildlife. This is cosy campfire territory! We arrived at 2pm and already the sun was dipping behind the towering river gums. Any firewood lying around is likely to be damp (unless you’re staying in summer), so I recommend bringing your own dry hardwood and plenty of it. We visited in April and it was around 3°C overnight. We certainly appreciated a warm night sleep our Camplify caravan! A bit of a step up from my swag.
Both campsites are well separated on different bends of the river, so you won’t hear a sound—besides that of the river, wombats, and other wildlife.
Basic—just the way I like it. Here you’ll find one pit toilet (which was smell- and fly-free) and one open-air cold shower gravity-fed with mountain spring water. Running water is available to campers, as well as plenty of water from the river (we always recommend purifying first).
There’s no need to go anywhere! The Hollanders River is right at your doorstep. It’s mostly shallow, has deep pockets, and is perfect for swimming or kayaking. Kids will love it, as there are rapids and plenty of stones to skim, and parents love it because they can sit on the riverbank and easily watch the kids play. The river can flow fast after rain, so child supervision is a must. Pack the flotation devices for hours of fun up and down the river (a guaranteed appetite builder).
One of the items on my bucket list is now firmly ticked off: a 6-hour return hike to Box Creek Falls, and it did not disappoint! We booked a guided hike with our Host, Danny, who mentioned before we set off that he was bringing both a snake-bite kit and an emergency beacon. He also informed us that if anyone breaks a leg, the rescue would be helicopter-out material. Everyone ready? Awesome! Let’s go! We climbed down steep, rocky terrain to the river, where we waded through waist-deep, fast-flowing rapids. After a few hours picking our way through through thick bush, we miraculously arrived at what is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Australia—at least 10 tiers of pumping falls, complete with deep pools for swimming. No formed track exists to get to the falls and the area can be dangerous (Danny told us that people have gone missing in the national park), so you’ll definitely need a guide if you want to try to find the falls.
The camp oven got a good workout this trip! For dinner, we ate chicken marbella, a Spanish- and Moroccan-inspired chicken dish that includes olives, prunes, white wine, and capers, all pre-marinated at home so it was a simple throw-in-the-camp-oven meal. We made a simple damper for dessert and drizzled it with Danny’s honey, an Extra we added to our booking. And for breakfast before our big hike, we ate hearty hot porridge sweetened with apple, currents, cinnamon, and nuts, then topped with a generous dollop of yoghurt followed by more drizzles of delicious farm-fresh honey.
Chase those waterfalls! The guided hike was an experience we’ll never forget. Our city-based camera crew was cursing at me for making them hike through waist-deep rapids while carrying $25,000 worth of camera gear. At one point, I was a bit worried about my teammate’s safety (not mine—all in a day’s adventure), but it was worth the effort to see everyone awestruck when we finally made it to the waterfalls.
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