Wooldridge Fossicking Reserve is about 6kms out of Uralla. Rocky River runs through the reserve where you can fossick for gold and gems, hence why it is called a fossicking reserve. Gold pans can be hired from the Uralla Visitor Information Centre if you want to have a go at panning.
Information brochure from the Uralla Visitor Information Centre lists Crystals, Diamonds, Gold, Garnet, Mica, Sapphires, Topaz, and Zircon as gems that can be found.
Fossicking aside, Wooldridge is a nice place to stop for a free camp. I’ve stopped here a couple of times travelling between Sydney and Brisbane. There may not be hot showers and a kiosk but there are long drop toilets available and you can’t complain about the price.
There are two camp areas, the first is a little more secluded, basically because there isn’t a lot of room. The second has a lot more space, picnic tables, and has easier access to the river.
The river has a large sandy bank, accessed easily from the second camp site. On a hot day the a dip in the water would be refreshing. The first time I was here was after a long period without rain and the water was stagnant. This time the water was wonderful and inviting.
I will certainly consider Wooldridge Fossicking Reserve as a stopping point again when travelling this way.
To get here:
Turn into East St from New England Hwy near the Matilda service station. Continuing straight ahead, East St becomes Kingstown Rd. Turn right into Devoncourt Road, about 3.5kms from New England Hwy. Keep following the sealed road all the way to the end. There will be a hard right turn part way along with a brown sign pointing you in the right direction. At the end of the sealed road you will drive over a cattle grid onto a dirt road, with a brown sign “Wooldridge Fossicking Reserve”. From here it is about 500m or so to where you can turn left into the first camp site, or continue another 200m to the second camp site.