As much as national parks can often not be rivalled, we do love a good private 4x4 park.
Matt had been fortunate enough to stay at Rover Park in the past on a 'Boys Trip', so when a group camping invite popped up to visit over the Easter long weekend I couldn't wait!
Situated in Northern NSW, Rover Park isn't huge, but it does feature two distinct areas – one for Motorbikes and one for 4x4 – making it a brilliant spot for those who indulge in both (as some of our friends do) not to mention it it's just shy of an easy 4hr drive from Brisbane.
There's a lot to do a Rover Park - just one look at the map confirms this (if you can make out what is written - there's so much packed in!).
A lot of people opt for some of the central sites, as if you have motorbikes with you they're not allowed outside of the motorbike zones. We however, found a small spot not far from a creek. When we first arrived, we headed to a swimming hole not far from our campsite. After a morning spent driving, it was a nice way to relax and settle in before heading back to camp and cooking dinner.
Having purchased our new rooftop tent as a factory-second-bargain just a couple of weeks prior, Matty and I had decided that although Rover isn't the best spot for a RTT (fixed-spot sites suit fixed-spot sleeping arrangements), it would be good practice in setting it up and down. Testing it out on this trip allows us some time to work out any potential kinks before we use it for a month straight (yikes) in September for our trip to Cape York.
As with most 4x4 parks, Rover has some challenging tracks, but you don't have to do them if you don't want to. The tracks are rated on the provided map and often labelled at crossroads as well. We found that for every place we went on the property we were able to send the modified vehicles on some challenging tracks and the less capable ones on simpler ones, still arriving at the same destination at the same time.
There were two clear highlights for me at Rover Park, the first was a waterfall, situated in the Motorbike area of the park, cars are allowed down the few tracks that reach the top of it. After a fairly steep walk down (wondering how hard the return journey is going to be), we reached the base of the falls - a grassy, dried-up creek bed. Sections of the waterfall were visible between the bushes, and it was pretty clear this was a special spot. Despite busy numbers at the park that weekend, we had the place to ourselves.
It was also pretty cold at first, but we managed to get used to it pretty quickly. We were there in early March, and I think perhaps any later than April or earlier than October and you might find it a bit tricky to stay in!
Rover park also has a HUGE water slide, a bit of a novelty at a place like this! We spent about an hour, riding the mats down into the dam and running back up the hill, progressively trying more entertaining manouveres on the way down.
The other highlight would have to be the afternoon we had at Panorama Point. Another super steep decline, but what a reward! The bush opens up to a rocky river, snaking it's way through the valley. The water here was beautiful, the perfect temperature. The rocks also make for great climbing, allowing for those who are a little more adventurous to explore the area a little.
After what was a pretty big day we headed back to camp. Our friends brought a cracking portable badminton set (it packs up into it's little green base) and it was heaps of fun! I'm not amazing at tennis or ping pong, but this was super easy to play. It also brought out peoples competitive side which was great for a laugh.
With our final morning being Easter Sunday, our friends were very cute and set up an egg hunt around the site, and we followed that with coffee whilst we toasted hot cross buns over the campfire and lathered them with butter. The culmination of which was probably one of the best Easter mornings I've had as an adult.
Then, as with all good things, it was time for it to come to an end! We packed the tent (thoroughly in love with it by this point – it's SO easy), pumped the tyres and headed home!
Until next time, Rover! x
Brisbane-based lover of travel, off-roading, camping and photography.