Oh where to next ?
Capertee is tiny town along the Castlereagh Highway between Lithgow and Mudgee. It is one of those towns most of us drive through but not take to much notice of what it has to offer. Capertee was once a busy town as it was close to proximity to the fascinating shale mining ghost town of Glen Davis and its access to the beautiful Gardens of Stone National Park and the impressive Capertee Valley.
The town has a public school, police station, bush fire brigade hall, community hall (Progress Hall), public house (Royal Hotel), public telephone, two (rare) fibro constructed churches, and a combined garage/shop/post office. A community market is held on the third Sunday of each month in the Progress Hall.
Today, it is popular with landscape painters, photographers, bird watchers and walkers. In the (2007) US published book Fifty Places to Go Birding Before You Die, author, Chris Santella lists Capertee Valley as one of only two locations in Australia selected in his top 50 world bird watching locations. Bird watchers are attracted by the diverse birdlife in the area. One "destination" bird is the rare regent honeyeater (Xanthomyza phrygia). Pearsons Lookout located is only about 2 km south of the town offers views of Capertee valley.
Things to see and do
There is a wonderful map available at the Lithgow information centre called Map & Guide to birdwatching or you can download it on this link http://archive.lithgow.nsw.gov.au/tourism/caperteebirds.pdf
The Capertee Valley is well know around the world as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is one of 50 top birdwatching locations in the world. Many species have found refuge here as the area is surrounded by trees and spectacular sandstone cliffs, the valley is in a transition zone where the forests of the Blue Mountains give way to the woodlands of the NSW western slopes. Vegetation varies from semi-rainforest to open forest, grassy woodlands and farmland grasslands. Not as heavily cleared as many other rural areas, the valley retains large areas of the critically endangered White Box–Yellow Box–Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland. Many woodland bird species, whose populations have fallen alarmingly elsewhere, remain relatively common and easily seen here.
Please note the following if you are setting out
Part of the valley’s charm is its comparative isolation. There are no cafés, no petrol stations, and, depending on your service provider and location, there may be no mobile phone coverage.
All 19 bird-watching sites shown on the map are easily accessible. A small section of the route is unsealed but suitable for 2WD vehicles.
After rain you may need a 4WD vehicle to visit Site 8.
If you wish to enter Capertee National Park (Site 14) call NPWS Mudgee office (02 6370 9000) for the padlock access code.
There are many gravel roads in the Capertee Valley. Beware of livestock and wildlife on the roads.
Don’t enter private property unless you have the owner’s permission and leave gates as you find them.
Please do not use bird call broadcasting (playback) as it can be stressful to the birds and disrupt breeding.
Make sure to pull off the road and park safely before birding.
Walk around the town.
If you have time, Capertee is a nice place to take a walk as there are a few old and interesting places around.
Capertee is a photographers dream with old abandoned buildings and has many old building still in use like the Royal Hotel Capertee.
Here is a link to the hotels history...https://tourism.lithgow.com/royal-hotel-capertee/
Go to Pearsons Lookout
Pearson's Lookout is 2 km south of Capertee on the Castlereagh Highway. It has breathtaking views over the Capertree Valley to the east. The valley, is 30 km across and is believed to be the world's second largest canyon with layers of coal and oil shale layer underneath it.
Visit Glen Davis Ruins
The Glen Davis Shale Oil Works, located in the Capertee Valley, was one of the largest employers in the area. Producing gasoline, the operation was an important strategic resource during the war era. In its heyday about 2,500 people lived in the township. Vertical sandstone cliffs stand guard over the crumbling vegetation covered structures lending a surreal impression.
Today, the ruins of this once thriving industry can be toured every Saturday at 2pm.
To find out more about these tours call.. (02) 6379 7380