Lake Keepit, a pet friendly destination found smack dab between Tamworth and Gunnedah. If you’re travelling to the lake from the eastern coast, there’s a dramatic change in the landscape. After crossing the Great Dividing Range, thick green and daunting mountains quickly turn into dusty rolling hills, sparsely lined with gum trees and livestock. Roads begin to stretch on for miles into Australia’s endless horizon. Quickly you see why water can be a very scarce commodity out here, making the dam at Lake Keepit a necessity.
Fortunately, the winter brought with it an unusually high amount of rain, filling the dam to 98.8% capacity. The highest it has been in nearly 5 years. Just like Lake Glenbawn, Lake Keepit offers surrounding towns with hydropower, irrigation and recreation. You can spend endless days fishing, boating and camping.
Since Sarge was with us, we had to stay in the bush camping area. It’s located on the opposite side of the lake, a few kilometers from the entrance. Basic amenities are available in the bush, including outdoor showers.
Out in the bush we were pleasantly surprised to find plenty of open space and decided to set up camp next to the lake. Facing west, we were treated to beautiful sunsets and vast starry nights. It was rather cool that evening, so we decided to have a fire in one of many pre-constructed fire pits around the park. (If you haven’t brought wood with you, it can be purchased from the reception area).
While we sat around the fire, the sounds of fish splashing about in the water every few seconds was very taunting. So much, that we decided to get our hands on a fishing pole the next morning. To our delight, Tamworth was only a short 40-minute drive away. The friendly staff at Tamworth Fishing Tackle & The Great Outdoors were more than happy to help address our fishing requirements. Including licenses, which are mandatory in the state of NSW.
There’s plenty to do in the Tamworth area. Recognized as the Country Music Capital of Australia, there’s a lot of history in town. Learn all about the humble beginnings of Australia’s country music scene at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. The staff are super friendly and very passionate about country music. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor’s center, to snap a photo next to the iconic Big Golden Guitar.
If you’re travelling through town with kids, they have a bad-ass playground for them, that also has free WiFi with a lovely café nearby.
If country music is not you’re thing, then get a hold of some fossicking equipment, another highlighted feature in the area. Explore historical fossicking sites along NSWs fossicking trail. Try your luck searching for precious minerals, gems and even gold.
Once back at camp, armed with our new fishing pole, we realized that the shore line was pretty shallow and grassy. Since we had no access to a boat, we decided to do something a little unconventional. We grabbed our surfboards and tried our luck fishing from them. It does sound and look a little silly,
but we did manage to catch something! It was only a carp, but it was a pretty dam big one to reel in on a surfboard.
Looking for something different to do in the area? Why not pop into the Lake Keepit’s Soaring Club for an introductory glider flight. Or, stop by the small town of Manilla and give paragliding a go at Fly Manilla. The owner Godfrey Wenness, is one of the best paragliding instructors in the world and offers a first-class experience for those interested in the sport.
Lake Keepit is a welcomed change to many common costal holiday destinations. The lake will keep you cool on hot summer days, the surrounding towns offer unique experiences and the available recreational sports will keep you busy for days.
For those of you travelling with your pets, please keep in mind that dogs are only allowed in the bush camping area. They are not allowed on the other side of the lake, where the main park facilities are. But worry not, you have plenty of space in the bush.