Tops that rock

hunter dustEarly in March I went to the Coolah Tops National Park for the first time. Averaging 1100 metres, they offer what would be stunning views over the Liverpool and Breeza Plains—if the Hunter coalmines’ dust haze hadn’t got that far. But I’d actually come for the Coolah Tops Jazz Festival.

coolah screerocksbandBefore the music began I did note that each ridge top was of loose basalt rocks, that screes on mountainsides were common, and that certain freestanding rocks were glaring rather balefully at the tourists snapping them.

Then the Bogalusa Strutters started strutting about, making music on the move and being cheeky. We left the rocks alone.

As the afternoon progressed towards evening, the Eskies and folding camp chairs multiplied, coats and beanies replaced the sunhats, and artists like the George Washingmachine Band and Julie O’Hara took to this stage at the edge of the world.

In between we had displays of Australian wildlife such as writhing but friendly pythons, a closely held crocodile and even an amiable Joanna Goanna.

NPWS guides led short bushwalks nearby for those who wanted to stretch their legs or slow down on the Shiraz.

It was a fun country sort of day in a great setting, where most people camped overnight nearby, after dancing in the dark on a dance ‘floor’ the size of a football field. Bit like picnic races I imagine.dancefloor