Wattle Flat Campground. Peace, Seclusion… And The Occasional Platypus

Wattle Flat Campground is a beautiful secluded campground right on the edge of the Styx River, in the New England Region of New South Wales. Easily assessable from the Styx River Forest Way, you’ll be surrounded by dense bush in a secluded valley.

Camping at Wattle Flat, Styx River.
Plenty of space with peaceful camp sites.

And if you’re patient, you’ll most likely see a platypus or two late in the afternoon. More on this later.






Getting There

You really should travel in a four wheel drive vehicle, as the road out would be slippery after any rain. Having said this, we were surprised to see a huge Winnebago-type vehicle camped there! Mind you, it did have high clearance.

Head East from Armidale towards Ebor then turn right onto the Armidale to Kempsey Road. After about 20km (tar until Styx River, then a good gravel road) turn left onto Styx River Forest Way. Follow the signs into the campground, you really can’t go wrong. The campground is a bit over 6km from the turnoff.

And on the way out, continue on the Styx River Forest Way towards the East. It’s a beautiful drive. Call into the lookout on your right just before you leave the State Forest. You’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view over a wild valley. From there, it’s just a short drive North to re-join Waterfall Way.

Styx River State Forest, Wattle Flat Campground.
The Styx River Forest Way.

Tall Timber

The country surrounding the campground is steep and rugged. Across the river, the land rises almost vertically to a high ridge-line with some huge trees hugging the steep slopes. In contrast, the campground has several excellent camp sites on gently sloping ground.

Camping at Wattle Flat Campground.
Our campsite on the edge of the river.

When we visited, the New England region was dry and crying out for rain. In contrast, Wattle Flat Campground was green and vibrant. It seems this part of the world is protected from the elements, tucked in as it is between steep ridges. A mob of kangaroos clearly thought the same.

A few others were camped there, and some had obviously been there for a while. However, you don’t feel crowded and privacy is not an issue. Thankfully, all campers were enjoying the serenity.

A Relaxing Swim

We’d been unsuccessfully seeking out places to swim in the Wild Rivers National Parks for the past week. The dry spell meant most of the usual swimming haunts were almost dry, with rivers reduced to a trickle. So the healthy flow in Styx River was a sight for sore eyes!

Styx River at Wattle Flat Campground.
The river is beautiful.
Styx River at Wattle Flat Campground.
Peta after a swim.

Arriving after a hot day, we were soon in the water. There aren’t too many better feelings than lying in the rapids, with warm water providing a natural spa.






Patience Rewarded

Late afternoon, another camper told us there were platypus in the river. So we sat quietly at the edge of a large pool and waited. After 10 minutes or so our patience was rewarded. A cute little platypus surfaced, had a bit of a scratch then dived again.

We watched this performance for nearly an hour, mesmerised by this beautiful creature. It would dive for a few minutes, surface for 30 seconds or so then endlessly repeat its feeding ritual.

Platypus in the river, Wattle Flat Campground.
No it’s not the Loch Ness Monster… that white dot in the water is a platypus, no more than 30cm long.





Summing Up

Wattle Flat Campground would be perfect no matter what time of year you visit. While winter camping would be pretty cold, you’d have the pleasure of gazing into a campfire and watching a blanket of stars overhead.

Just remember to bring your own drinking water. A drop toilet provides some creature comforts… and nature provides a beautiful place to unwind.


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Any errors or omissions are mine alone.


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