Birds & birding in the Blue Mountains & Capertee Valley, Australia
The Capertee Valley: page 3

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1. Introduction and birds of the valley
2. Vegetation and habitats
» 3. Advice for visitors: facilities, accommodation, weather, etc.
4. Directions to the valley (print-friendly format)

Advice for visitors: Getting to the valley

First of all, you'll need a car: there's no public transport in the Capertee Valley. The trip from Sydney to Glen Davis is around 210 kilometres or 3 hours driving. Katoomba to Glen Davis is about 110km or one and a half hours.

On page 4 you'll find detailed directions for driving into the valley from various directions. Before you visit, please read the important note below.

Scroll down for facilities, accommodation, camping, weather, etc.

Important note regarding safety and etiquette while birding

When visiting the Capertee Valley, remember that you are on public roads and sometimes cars or trucks travel along these roads in a hurry. If you stop to look at a bird or anything else,

PLEASE PARK IN PLACES THAT OFFER ONCOMING TRAFFIC A GOOD VIEW OF YOUR CAR IN ADVANCE AND PULL WELL OFF THE ROAD BEFORE STOPPING,
even if this means walking some distance to where you want to birdwatch.

PLEASE DON'T LEAVE YOUR CAR DOORS WIDE OPEN
and
DON'T STAND ON THE ROAD AT BLIND CORNERS.

This is common sense but unfortunately is not always heeded. In the past there has been at least one accident and several cases of angry confrontation resulting from birders stopping their car in dangerous situations or leaving doors open in the path of traffic. While I am sure most birdwatchers are usually careful and considerate, it's easy to be distracted in the excitement of seeing a new bird.

If you're using a scope and tripod, don't set it up on the road. You might think you're keeping an eye on things but it's very easy to be momentarily distracted and step away only to find that a car suddenly appears around a bend, heading straight for your telescope!

You'll find that when parked carefully and birding responsibly by the roadside many of the locals will smile and give a friendly wave.

Please respect private property and don't climb fences or enter properties without an invitation from the owner. It's possible to see an excellent variety of birds from the roadsides or on public land throughout the valley. If going through a gate for any reason, always leave it as you find it, open or closed.

Much work has gone into nurturing good relations between birdwatchers and land owners in the valley. This is important for the conservation of Regent Honeyeaters and the other birds we love so much to see. Please don't put this in jeopardy. Help to ensure that birdwatchers are always welcome in the valley by acting responsibly and with courtesy to other road users and land owners. Thank you.

Peaceful Dove. Photo Nevil Lazarus.

Facilities

There are no shops, restaurants or petrol stations in the valley, so you'll need to bring all your own food and drink for the duration of your stay. The closest store is at Capertee where the service station sells fuel, limited groceries, cold drinks, and newspapers, etc. The nearest pub is the Royal Hotel at Capertee. Capertee is approximately 30 minutes drive from the Glen Davis/Glen Alice area. The closest large town and shopping centre is Lithgow, one hour away from Glen Davis.

To the north of the valley, the towns of Rylstone and Kandos offer a selection of grocery stores, delis, bakeries, cafes/restaurants, pubs, petrol stations, mechanical repairs, banks, etc. These two towns are only 7km apart, Kandos being the larger, more down-to-earth place, with its cement works providing employment for many of the locals, whereas Rylstone has a more "arty" charm with its old stone buildings, art/craft shops and cafes. These towns are 30-45 minutes drive from the main birding areas in the valley.

Within the valley, Glen Davis today consists only of a small cluster of homes, a campground with toilets, children's playground and community hall. During weekends and holiday periods the local community association may open the hall (in the campground) to sell drinks, snacks and ice creams. Try and support them and while you're there, check out the bird sightings book.

Glen Alice consists of a community hall, church and cemetery, small school and bushfire brigade shed, and a scattering of farm houses. On some maps you may notice a place called Bogee in the northern part of the valley. This is not a town but a locality so don't expect to find anything there except farm houses and a bushfire shed.

Mobile phone reception in the valley is very patchy with Telstra the only carrier with a decent chance of a signal. Don't assume you will have coverage. There's a public telephone at Glen Davis and another at Glen Alice, both of which accept coins and Telstra phonecards.

Public toilets are located at Glen Davis and Glen Alice. Picnic tables and fireplaces are also at both these sites.

The closest hospital is at Rylstone (30-45 minutes from Glen Davis/Glen Alice), and a larger hospital on the Great Western Highway at Lithgow (one hour from Glen Davis/Glen Alice). The closest police station is at Capertee.

Accommodation within the valley

A number of farmers and landowners within the valley have cottages available as birdwatchers' accommodation. Most of these are self-contained with cooking facilities, and provide a wonderful opportunity for individuals or small groups to stay overnight in the midst of this birding paradise. Here are a few suggestions with my own comments added:
  • Annabilla, 2601 Glen Davis Road. Four-bedroom cottage available on a working farm in a central location with good birding at the back of the property. Species include Hooded Robin, Plum-headed Finch and Southern Whiteface. This is also one of the most reliable spots in the valley for mobile phone reception (Telstra). For more information see www.seaforth.com.au/annafarmstay.html or phone Jan and Ian on (02) 6379 7243.

  • Glenbrook cottage is a three-bedroom cottage that sleeps 8. Bedrooms wise there is a queen bed with ensuite, a double bed with ensuite and a 4 bed bunk room. It has a fully equipped kitchen and large living/dining room. The cottage is set on a 90 acre property with fantastic views across the valley. It's a known Regent Honeyeater site with many other great bird species in the woodland behind the cottage. Bookings can be made via STAYZ: www.stayz.com.au/accommodation/nsw/explorer-country/glen-davis-capertee-valley/172414.

  • Oskas Cottage, Lot 1-3 Nanga Street, Glen Davis. Studio accommodation in a great location near Glen Davis, with excellent birding including Rockwarbler and Turquoise Parrot regularly seen along the track at the back of the cottage. Regent Honeyeaters are also sometimes seen here. Accommodation is in one room with kitchenette and separate bathroom. For more information visit www.oskas.com.au or phone (02) 9713 5344.

  • House in Naroo Circuit, Glen Davis close to the camping area, sleeps 4 (double and 2 singles) in two bedrooms. Plenty of great birds at Glen Davis including babblers, Speckled Warbler, Rockwarbler, Turquoise Parrot, Little Lorikeet and the chance for Regent Honeyeater when the White Box and Yellow Box are flowering. Bring your own linen and food. The house has a satellite TV, kitchen facilities. Very reasonably priced. For enquiries and bookings phone John Davies on (02) 6379 7304 or email john.davies@westnet.com.au.

  • Glen Alice Farm, 105 Huntingdale Road, Glen Alice. One-bedroom self-contained cottage and 3 bedrooms in the homestead B&B on a working farm. In a great location with Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and Diamond Firetail in the garden, close to Plum-headed Finch and Hooded Robin sites with the Capertee River Genowlan bridge also nearby. The cottage verandah has possibly the best view in the valley. Evening meal available by prior arrangement. For more information see www.glenalicefarm.com.au or phone Roger and Di Page on (02) 6379 7777.

  • Brymair, 60 Brymair Road (off Noola Road), Bogee. Sleeps up to 6 in renovated shearers' quarters on a farm in a scenic location in the northern part of the valley. With extensive tree planting for the Regent Honeyeater project the property has a good variety of bush birds as well as grassland species. Fully self-contained with an open fireplace, electric blankets, kitchen, etc and reasonably priced. For enquiries and bookings contact Rose and Lionel Delaney on 0477 710 855.

  • The Kurrajongs, Glen Davis Road. Accommodation for 2–14 people in the Kurrajongs Homestead and "The Last Resort" cottage on a 320 acre property which backs onto Coco Creek. A regular site for Plum-headed Finches as well as many other species. For more information visit www.birdwatching.net.au.

  • The Poplars, Glen Davis. Accommodation for 2–20 people in two cottages situated in a secluded location at Glen Davis. Another excellent birding site and adjacent to the historic Glen Davis shale mining ruins. For more information visit www.birdwatching.net.au.

  • Capertee National Park has a renovated old homestead (sleeps 14) and a basic cottage (sleeps 6) available for visitors to rent. Access from the end of Port Macquarie Road through a locked gate with an access code. Contact NPWS Mudgee on (02) 6370 9000.

  • Glen Davis Boutique Hotel. The big building in Glen Davis has been renovated and is available as accommodation for groups as well as offering a venue for conferences and functions. Close to all the Glen Davis birding sites and with spectacular views from the rooms. Meals provided. For more information visit www.glendavishotel.com.au.

Camping

There is a camping area at Glen Davis. Flushing toilets, hot showers, barbeques, fireplaces and picnic tables are provided, in a spectacular setting amongst White Box and Yellow Box trees. Although free, you might like to give a small donation to the Glen Davis Community Association. On weekends and holidays, local residents open the hall in the campground to sell snacks and drinks.

The Coorongooba camping area is located further down the river in the Wollemi National Park. For access turn left into Goora Street about one kilometre before reaching Glen Davis and follow the signs. It's a further 4 kilometres from here and four-wheel drive may be needed. National Parks Service have now installed a toilet here.

There is also a camping area in the Capertee National Park. Good birding near the river and a possible site for Regent Honeyeaters. Access from the end of Port Macquarie Road through a locked gate with an access code. Contact NPWS Mudgee on (02) 6370 9000.

Weather

The Capertee Valley is in a rain shadow, so it's distinctly drier than the surrounding areas which can make it a good option for birding on days when rain is forecast elsewhere. The average annual rainfall of around 600mm is about half that of Sydney, and less than half of Katoomba. The highest rainfall occurs in summer with January the wettest month; and May, July and September the driest months. On days when it does rain, it's often a dramatic experience with brief showers and storms sweeping across the valley, providing the exhilaration of an intense downpour on a parched landscape which clears again to reveal a blue sky as quickly as it appeared. Rainbows are a common sight. At the time of writing (2006) the valley is still suffering from drought.

Temperatures can, at times, be extreme. At the height of summer it's not uncommon for the temperature to exceed 40°C during the day. In winter, overnight frosts can be severe but the winter days are mild. Most of the time though, the Capertee Valley weather can be described simply as glorious! The table below shows average monthly temperatures for Glen Davis.


  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean daily max °C 30 29 27 23 19 16 15 17 21 24 27 29
Mean daily min °C 16 17 14 9 6 4 2 3 6 9 12 15
Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for Glen Davis. (Ref. Bureau of Meteorology website.)

Click here to see the full climate statistics for Glen Davis.
Click here to see the latest weather forecast – scroll down to Central Tablelands.


Maps

The Capertee Valley is covered within the Wollemi National Park Tourist Map, second edition 2002, published by Land and Property Information NSW and available at some of the outdoor equipment shops and newsagencies in Sydney and the Blue Mountains. This will probably be adequate for a casual visit, although unfortunately it has less detail than the first edition Wollemi National Park map, published by what were then the CMA (Central Mapping Authority) in 1984. This earlier map is probably no longer available.

Most road atlases or car touring maps will show the main access roads. Some now even label the Capertee Valley. The Mountain Journeys Touring Map and Greater Blue Montains Drive Touring Map will give you an overview.

If you plan to do any serious bushwalking or exploring the area in detail, or for extended visits, you might want to buy a topographic map. The valley is covered by the following 1:25 000 topographic maps: Ben Bullen, Mount Morgan, Gospers Mountain, Glen Alice, Bogee, Coorongooba. Alternatively the 1:100 000 scale maps Wallerawang and Mount Pomany cover the valley.

Postscript: With today's sat nav devices and various digital mapping systems, you might consider the above paragraphs redundant. Personally, I reckon you can't beat a paper map to unfold and see the entire landscape at a glance. It's usually more reliable, doesn't depend on a power source and you can use it anywhere!

Respecting private property

Diamond Firetail. Photo Nevil Lazarus.
Most of the valley floor is private property which is not accessible to birders. However there are many excellent birding sites along the roadsides or on public land so every visitor should be able to find interesting birds. Remember in all cases that the other side of the fence is someone's property – please don't trespass. There are several good ways a visiting birder can gain access to private land not normally accessible to the public:
  1. Stay at one of the cottages available as birders' accommodation within the valley. Most of these are located on excellent birding properties.
  2. Come to one of the tree planting weekends, held in April/May and August each year. The planting sites are always on private land.
  3. Get involved in the Regent Honeyeater survey weekends organised by some of the NSW birding clubs during the breeding season each year.
  4. Sometimes outings organised by birding clubs for their members will include visits onto private property.
  5. Hire a guide who has access to some of the properties.
Please email me if you would like further information on any of the above opportunities.


Go to page 4: Directions to the valley (print-friendly format)

Top of page Capertee Valley banner: Sunset near Glen Davis, from a photo by Cathy McBey.

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© 2006 C. Probets, www.bmbirding.com.au. Updated 2014.