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  #1  
Old 26-06-2018, 12:47 PM
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Jsmitt94 (Jacob)
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Dark sites to camp and image?

Anyone know of any darker sky areas no further than 2-3 hours out of Sydney to camp that also have access to be able to image well?

Looking for myself and the mrs to have a 2-3 day camping trip where I can also image under relatively dark skies
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Old 26-06-2018, 01:06 PM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsmitt94 View Post
Anyone know of any darker sky areas no further than 2-3 hours out of Sydney to camp that also have access to be able to image well?

Looking for myself and the mrs to have a 2-3 day camping trip where I can also image under relatively dark skies

True dark skies 2-3hrs from Sydney, I'd love to see that. But first, 2-3hrs from which side of Sydney? It makes a difference.
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Old 26-06-2018, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by AstralTraveller View Post
True dark skies 2-3hrs from Sydney, I'd love to see that. But first, 2-3hrs from which side of Sydney? It makes a difference.
i don't mean true dark, Just somewhere that I can see more than 2 stars with my eyes

Any direction, it does not matter.

I've been to culburra down near Nowra and the skies there were amazing compared to the skies here in Sydney. I just wanted different alternatives/suggestions from places that people have been.
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  #4  
Old 26-06-2018, 03:44 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Frankly no such place to camp and observe exists - or a sizeable chunk of population would have moved there.
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  #5  
Old 26-06-2018, 03:49 PM
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Stonius (Markus)
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Keep in mind campers tend to like hanging out round campfires - if it's a public campsite, which is a hazard for lighting, seeing and transparency. I've often thought about this myself.

Best,

Markus
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  #6  
Old 26-06-2018, 03:59 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Jacob, Personally I drive home. It is too darn cold up there for camping any time of year. Have a good cup of tea (I take a thermos), and leave by 11 or 12 and the drive home is easy.

4 places where you can camp:

1. Euroka camping ground, in the national park south side of Glenbrook. Downside there - its not very dark - too close to civilisation.
2. Blackheath, within the town it is possible to camp at Blackheath Caravan Park in Prince William St, right next to the olympic pool.
3. Lake Lyell camping ground - good dark skies, but its in a valley so the horizons are terrible.
4. Newnes camping ground, a long drive on a dirt road north of Lithgow up the valley to reach this. Also walled in by cliffs.

More useful though for you:

A. Mt Blackheath lookout, at the north end of Shipley Plateau, this is a real dark sky site and at the end of the road there are NPWS tables and benches and fireplaces. As its a dead-end road, set up scopes on the road or if you like, use the paraglider launch (sloping green astroturf).

B. Hargraves lookout, has a spectacular 270 degree horizon. North horizon isn't so great but is OK. No fireplace and no camping. https://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7...s-lookout-pano

C. Mt Banks picnic area and carpark. As long as you are NOT camping this is OK.

I've used all 3 for observing over several decades.

If you can find the $$$ to do it, rent one of the Woolshed Cabins in Centennial Glen (below Mt Blackheath), make it a family thing or with friends... this is a nice spot to observe and the cabins are very comfortable.

Last edited by Wavytone; 26-06-2018 at 04:15 PM.
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  #7  
Old 26-06-2018, 04:44 PM
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The obvious answer is Bretti Reserve.
Just north of Gloucester on the Thunderbolt Way.
Dark skies, Free camp, plenty of room, no fixed lights, and most grey nomads are in bed by 9pm.
Except school holidays and long weekends.
The central Coast group go to Bretti 4 or 5 times a year.
We don't keep going back for no reason!!!

Two rivers meet here, so swimming is OK in warmer months.
There can be dew here, so come prepared.

Facilities are limited to drop toilets, the newer block is quite nice.
There are garbage bins collected once a week.
There are some picnic settings covered.

Occasionally, neighbouring farmers let their cattle graze on the field. Bring a shovel.

It is 32 K to Gloucester shops, but that is a nice drive for a day outing.
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  #8  
Old 26-06-2018, 05:34 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Rather more than 3h drive though for sydneysiders ... good for you, though.
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  #9  
Old 26-06-2018, 05:42 PM
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Rather more than 3h drive though for sydneysiders ... good for you, though.
Wiluna asnsw. Near ilford
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  #10  
Old 26-06-2018, 05:45 PM
glend (Glen)
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The obvious answer is Bretti Reserve.
Just north of Gloucester on the Thunderbolt Way........
+1 For Bretti, but allow 4 hrs from Sydney. It will be cold in winter.
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  #11  
Old 26-06-2018, 05:52 PM
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Go due west young man. Go west, go west, go west.....
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  #12  
Old 26-06-2018, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsmitt94 View Post
i don't mean true dark, Just somewhere that I can see more than 2 stars with my eyes

Any direction, it does not matter.

I've been to culburra down near Nowra and the skies there were amazing compared to the skies here in Sydney. I just wanted different alternatives/suggestions from places that people have been.
I meant that if you live on he south side heading north doesn't make sense. Anyway, I've worked out where you live and you want to go south or south-west.

You might try Gambells Rest Camping area at Bundanoon. The camping area itself is small and unsuited to observing. However just across the road, but shielded by trees, is an open picnic area which should be quiet at night (except for roos). We picnic there quite often. If it's a multi-night event you might want to consider whether you would leave your rig out of site of your camp. It should be OK but ....
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  #13  
Old 26-06-2018, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for the advice all, we will definitely take the suggestions into account

4 hours is also not too bad, definitely a consideration!
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  #14  
Old 29-06-2018, 01:14 PM
Karlzburg (Karl)
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I'm 35km out of Mudgee on property, darks skies here. Not pure dark, on the bortle scale it's a 2. We have a cottage on the property as well, a while back we had a Japanese guy stay with his 14 inch truss dob
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  #15  
Old 29-06-2018, 01:51 PM
Imme (Jon)
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You don't need to go too far from a city if you chose your camp spot well. You may not get truly dark skies but you can get pretty good skies well worth imaging in!
I'm in Vic so no help to you, however, I'm 1h 15m from the centre of Melbourne, 40 minutes from the suburbs and 15 minutes from Kyneton (pop about 5000).
My skies are mapped as a Bortle 2.
Definitely helps being in the shadow of a hill and at 600m elevation.
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2018, 08:42 PM
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You could try Wollondilly River, west of Mittagong on the Wombeyan Caves Road. I haven't been out there for years but the last time I was there it was rough bush camping at best. No showers or toilets rough. You could drive in to Mittagong in about 20 or 30 minutes. Like I said haven't been out there for years but the sky was really dark.

Wayne
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2018, 09:29 PM
Premordial (Max)
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A while back I was just outside Cowra. Surprisingly dark skies considering the proximity to town. Seeing Comet McNaught low on the horizon with its massive tail was unforgettable.
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  #18  
Old 21-09-2018, 02:22 PM
cubancigarman (Roger)
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wouldn't the beach be near good enough? say just outside of wollongong for example?
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  #19  
Old 21-09-2018, 03:10 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Astro gear and sea spray and sand don't mix.

ONLY time you go to the beach is when an offshore wind is blowing, and you don't ever take your gear onto the sand. Beach sand is LOADED with salt too.
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  #20  
Old 21-09-2018, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cubancigarman View Post
wouldn't the beach be near good enough? say just outside of wollongong for example?
I'm long time beach and seascape photographer I would never put an expensive scope anywhere near the ocean because of salt. All my lenses have UV filter because of that. Ocean's salt is oily and very sticky. When you clean it's easy to scratch surface and coating. You need to be reasonably far for not having salt in the air.
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