I never really thought that I'd do it again, after all the Watagan mountains are only a 20 minute drive from where I live, but last weekend saw me making an unusual pilgrimage to the Pines camping area, and in particular the Casuarina campsite. It rained on the way in and the Jeep got covered in rich red mud, the two tone effect was "interesting", although 4wding was really out of the question for the weekend, because this was a men's weekend to just walk and relax (I did the relaxing bit). It took me unusually long to put up an unfamiliar tent that I'd purchased 3 years ago and had never used, and a tarp (I left the van at home - silly boy!), and I then sat down at the fire and observed the ring of dak-dak campervans that surrounded me. A number of the lads enjoy camping and travelling in these confined vehicles, and I suppose I could see the advantage for this type of vehicle for a weekend or short stay . . . still I'd rather the old van and my 4wheeler. It was a nothing-type-of-weekend with the only excitement occurring when Clancy (my dog) tree'd the same very large and irritated goanna twice in a couple of hours. But more about the camp site: this nestle's in among casuarinas, turpentines and type of pine; the ground is covered in the soft needles making it cushiony under both body and foot, and there is more than enough shade. Careful choice can give you a more open site that allows the sunlight in, or one that is larger, more suitable to a bigger group. We had this camping area to ourselves. Just up the track at Turpentine and Pines camping areas was an infestation of bush bikies who only really caused us an ear ache early in the morning when they departed and late in the afternoon when they returned. Well maintained clean toilets are provided, as is fresh tank water and firewood, and garbage bins! By now you must be realising that this is not in a National Park - and you're right! - there's no doubt about how well the NSW State Forest people make you feel welcome. They even have a friendly ranger who pops around to see if everything is ok. In past years we've used places like this as a base for 4wd day trips, although we usually preferred getting away from the crowds by bush camping on little known trails. It is interesting to note that the good old National Parks have once again closed off quite a number of tracks with large shiny silver gates, that a mate and I checked out only a few months back (this side of Christmas!). One shudders at what they hope to achieve - perhaps a replication of the bushfire tragedies in Victoria would satisfy their foolishness. I know there are a lot of "cowboys" in our movement, but most 4wders are responsible and will repair tracks and not "hoon" around or enter when the area is fragile. Anyway, try Casuarina campsite for a quiet weekend or a base camp, you'll enjoy it.