Ophir Recreation Reserve Camping Site, Lower Lewis Ponds Road, Ophir NSW 2800 Australia
About a year ago, me and Hai visited Ophir Reserve for the first time. We discovered it on my birthday weekend last year with the tree's leaves having just turned yellow and orange.
I could never forget how beautiful that tree was, I wanted to see it again. Lucky for me, my fiance wanted to come back too. So we planned an epic camping trip for us, ten of our friends and our dog Cookie. We made the 3 hour and a half trip down, scaling gravel and dirt roads to get here.
With Hai's Jeep, we crossed the shallow river to get the more remote side. There we set up our tents, chairs and communal area. The first thing the boys did was go collect firewood and chop it up. We then had the brilliant idea of creating a fire pit with two 'vents' so that air can move through and feed the fire.
We spent our day eating ramen noodles, preparing corn cobs and potatoes for dinner, and eating home baked Anzac Cookies. We hiked the surrounding trails, started the fire with flints, caught fish, drank beer and shared our stories.
The camp reserve provided flushing toilets and a running tap on the main side of the river. It cost us a $10 facilities fee per car and it was through an honesty box - a small fee for so much fun. Whilst we were across the river, we could make our way back to the other side by foot, crossing a small concrete dam wall to reach the bathroom. Powerful torches and head lamps helped immensely.
As the sun set, our night continued with some night fishing and fueling our fire. We ate our Korean BBQ dinner - cooking up our yakiniku pork, boiled rice, and preparing our condiments - sesame oil dip, cucumber, garlic, chopped chillis, picked squid, kimchi and red bean paste.
Then we threw our corn cobs and potatoes into the fire, roasting and eating them while staring up at the bright milky way and stars. Later at night, we finished off our meals with hot chocolate and s'mores, roasting marshmallows in our camp fire. I couldn't have had a more perfect night with our friends. It was made even better with Hai by my side, hugging me to ensure I kept warm.
Directions to Ophir - From Orange NSW, start at Icely Road driving towards Lower Lewis Ponds Road. Once reaching the T intersection, turn right on Lower Lewis Ponds Road. Brown sign pointing will say "Ophir".
Follow this road (it will go from tar, gravel and dirt roads), you will pass the Carbone Council gate. The road starts descending, follow the road slowly and you will reach Ophir Recreation Reserve. The beautiful tree and river will be on your right, toilets to your left.