Bushwalking / Camp cave / Kid friendly

Mothers Day at Kanangra Walls

Party: Tim, Michelle, Dyson, Uriah and Amani Vollmer – photos

What better way could there be to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a relaxing weekend spent living in a cave in a remote wilderness? Well apparently there are many, but they weren’t pointed out to me until after I’d already organised this.

Michelle generally shares my love of the bush, although she’s generally a little less keen on the pain associated with long, difficult walks, so I was keen to find something spectacular and remote, but still easy enough with three children in tow, including a baby.

Dyson and Uriah looking across Kanangra Gorge to Thurat Spires

More than a century ago Dance Floor Cave was a focal point of early settlers in the Kanangra region, being at the junction of several stock routes, and it still provides a spectacular camping spot, with a huge, sheltered overhang, permanent water, an easy track, unbelievable views nearby and all less than a kilometre from your car.

The walk in was easy enough, with Dyson (aged 7) carrying a day pack full of the kids clothes, while Michelle and I carried the bulk of our gear. I needed to do a second run, but only because Amani’s cot / mini-tent was fairly bulky, and he needed to be carried as well.

The kids had a great time, enjoying food cooked on the fire, exploring the nearby rocks and valley, and enjoying a chance to explore up on Kanangra Tops. In no time their faces were filthy and they looked like this was their full-time home!

We camped in the very spacious Dance Floor Cave, less than a kilometre from the road

Sitting around the camp fire was great, but it was the walk up onto the tops later in the night where we turned off our headlamps and sat under the bright stars that was both the most magical and terrifying experience for them. They’d never seen stars like that, or known such intense darkness and silence.

On the Sunday we gave Michelle a bit of a break while we went off exploring before everything was packed up and lugged back to the cars. We took some time at the lookout, admiring the iconic view of Kanangra Walls illuminated in the afternoon sun while the gorge plunged below us.

The family enjoying the stunning view of Kanangra Walls from the lookout

Best of all I spotted an amazing pair of mating Violet-winged Bird of Paradise Flys (not that I knew it at the time). In fact, the reason these tiny feather-like insects were converging on what looked like a cockroach was because the male and female of the species are so different. (I highly recommend the Australian Museum’s free identification service, I’ve used it twice now!)

It may not be the most conventional Mother’s Day gift, but Michelle seemed to appreciate the obligatory pub meal (shearers special) earned by camping in the bush. If doing a family camp in a remote cave appeals, I can’t think of many better spots than this.

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