Cox’s River Campground to Bowtell’s Swing Bridge

Start: Cox’s River Campground
End: Bowtell’s Swing Bridge
Time taken: 1.5 hours round trip
USP: Drop into the Eco Lodge for a cold drink, varied bird life, picturesque river.
Distance: 1.5km

Google map of the start

After out night camping at Boyd River campground on the edge of Kanangra-Boyd National Park, we re-packed the Jeep (kindly lent to us by a friend) and headed to our next stop of the trip, Cox’s River campground.

We’d heard good things about the Cox’s River; clean water, boulder filled rapids and wide, grassy banks. The river flows for hundreds of kilometres and we would only be exploring a very small part of it, but excitement was still high. The perfect place for pitching a tent and escaping the heat, which reached 42 degrees during the drive.

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And that drive!! Rolling pastures and wide empty roads had us constantly exclaiming “Look at that view!” All was going smoothly until the asphalt simply ran out and we found ourselves on a dirt track for the final 40km of the drive to camp. Although not impossible in a two wheel drive car, we were very grateful for the four wheel drive of the Jeep. As the dirt track wound endlessly on, the temperature soared and maps were checked and double checked. Rounding one particular corner we found the way blocked by a huge Goanna Lizard lying in the sun like a prehistoric monster. It sloped off into the woods, luckily never to be seen again.

After a lot of rocky hills, rain gullies and more map checking we finally reached Cox’s River campground and jumped straight into the river.

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It’s a beautiful spot. The edges of the river are wooded, providing a good amount of shade, the ground is soft and sandy and the river is wide and shallow. A huge range of birds flitted about the trees; Olive Backed Oriole, Sacred Kingfisher, White-Naped Honeyeater. As we set up the tents, brightly coloured butterflies floated around us and a Kangaroo and her joey peacefully munched on grass nearby. Our own enchanted forest.

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As if things couldn’t get any better we spotted a hand written sign to the Eco Lodge nearby advertising food, snacks and cold drinks. Swim done and tents pitched we walked the short 10 minutes down the track to the wooden lodge, built into the hill side. We grabbed a few cold beers, settled on some stools looking over the balcony and watched day turn to dusk over the forest.

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As is usually the way in the bush we were woken at 5am by a family of Kookaburras who announced the start of the new day. It’s interesting to note there is very little bird song before these guys start calling, as if the forest is silently waiting for permission, before they all join in with a cacophony of chirps, whistles and cackles.

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We spent the next day exploring the river and walking upstream to the Bowtell’s Swing Bridge. Although it looks sturdy, it moves a surprising amount. During our stay the river was low enough to wade across at the campground but during floods, the bridge provides a way of crossing safely.

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With the temperature rapidly soaring again we broke down our camp, took one last dip in the clear, cool waters and started the drive back up the track, headed for home.

Cox’s River sits on the famous Six Foot Track. A three day hiking route that connects Katoomba to Jenolan Caves and one we will be back to do in the near future…when it’s not so hot!

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