Ladies Well in Barrington Tops is a magnificent, pristine, and breathtaking natural swimming hole that makes you feel a million miles away from civilisation. 

From the moment we stepped out of the car at the entrance to the Chichester State Forest I could hear water cascading over the nearby falls. Located on the Upper Allyn River just a 2-hour drive from Newcastle, it was the obvious choice for a weekend getaway. 

During the car trip, on our way to the beautiful waters, we came across something else that I guess you could describe as beautiful in its own weird way. The famous ‘Boot Hill’ came into our sight and it knocked our socks off…literally. 

It’s a sight to see. Hundreds of shoes, boots, bras and other miscellaneous items are hanging from the fence and tree for god knows what reason. We decided to add our socks to the mix.

Boot Hill

Cow after cow, we finally made it. The Allyn River camp ground is a free camping ground for those like me who like to save a buck. We were delighted to see bins and campfire sites and the perfect place to set up shop. 

Surrounded by lush forest, large boulders and wildlife the setting is a photographer’s paradise. It’s clear this spot is beautiful all year round, even now that the cold has hit. We chucked on our winter woollies and set up camp.

The crisp river waters are admittedly freezing, but it dragged us in anyway. My puppy jumped in first, followed by us two scaredy cats. After a quick swim and freezing our butts off, we built a campfire to thaw ourselves out.

There’s a bunch of surrounding hiking trails, camping spots and places to explore so if you’re feeling adventurous there is always something to do. 

We explored the Allyn River Rainforest Walking Track which is only a 20-minute stroll, perfect for us inexperienced hikers. It was stunning and so worth it. We took in sights of magical trees, giant roots and hanging vines and headed back to camp feeling peaceful.

If there’s one thing you remember to take with you, make sure it’s warm clothes because the night was very chilly. Takethe biggest, fluffiest and warmest blanket you own. And do not, I repeat, DO NOT, hang your only pair of socks on ‘Boot Hill’ on the way there.

The night away was a beautiful change from the hustle and bustle of home and work. Even though I woke up thinking my feet had fallen off from the cold, I would definitely visit again. 

This escape is exactly that, an escape. Many of us forget what it’s like to get back to nature. Don’t fall for the luxury of a hotel getaway, because the luxuries of nature are much more beautiful. Pack up the car and head to the Ladies Well on your next weekend off.

Head to www.forestrycorporation.com.au/visit/forests/chichester for all camping, hiking and adventure information.