New adventures await in the rugged and spectacular Deua National Park, with the journey into this remote park half the fun!
Once you conquer the challenging journey into Deua National Park - located 45km from the historic town of Braidwood, be prepared to discover a magical spot that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again…
1. Set up camp
Free camping is available at both the Araluen Nature Reserve and Deua River camping ground. These large, shady campsites feature basic facilities that include non-flush toilets, gas barbeques and bins.
You’ll need to bring your own drinking water, however. Peaceful and secluded, with forest-clad mountains on every side, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
2. Hike to the Big Hole
First discovered in 1832 and explored in 1862 by a young man called Boxall, this natural phenomenon must be seen to be believed.
The relatively easy bush walk starts from the Berlang car park and the adventure starts when the track crosses the Shoalhaven River. The trail gradually starts to climb, affording spectacular views across the national park.
There is a platform, built on the edge of the impressive chasm, to give you a good look into the Big Hole. If you have a fear of heights, you’ll want to stay away from the rail as the 96m roofless cave demands respect. It’s said a lyrebird lives in its depths and can be seen early in the morning or late in the afternoon searching for food.
3. Go caving at Bendethera and Wyanbene Caves
The 8km trek to Bendethera’s main cave gets quite challenging (and steep!) in some parts, but enter the 15m high cavern – complete with limestone formations – and you’ll discover it’s well worth the effort.
The trip to Wyanbene Cave is a lot shorter and easier, especially with younger kids in tow. Gaze upon the stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones that have formed in the narrow cavern, and watch out for the population of insect-eating bats that call the cave home!
4. 4WD from Araluen to Majors Creek
This trip, along the dirt road up to Majors Creek Mountain, is a must-do. The former road to the goldfields winds its way around the densely forested hills until you reach Clarke’s Lookout – which offers incredible views across the Southern Tablelands (and is a great spot to watch the sunrise!).
5. Stop in at the Araluen Valley Hotel
Rejoin civilisation with a hearty meal at the historic Araluen Valley Hotel. The hotel dates back to 1870 when it was used as a general store during the feverish days of the gold rush. In 1927, with the gold rush boom starting to fade, the general store was converted into the hotel you see today.