Lostock School camp is around a three hour drive from the heart of Sydney. You will meander through beautiful farming districts when you’re heading north on the New England Highway towards the Hunter Valley. You can visit wineries on the way by taking a small diversion or stop in at the Gresford Hotel for a hearty pub meal.
How to get to Lostock
The trip between the Inner West of Sydney and Lostock is about 225km and takes 3 hours with minimal stops, a little longer on Friday afternoons depending on traffic. It is a 199km trip from the start of the F3. Lostock is located due north of Maitland and north-west of Dungog.
Detailed instructions on how to get there (O = odometer reading):
- Follow the F3 freeway northwards by-passing Newcastle (Link Road O: 115km), all the way to the New England Highway (O: 128km).
- Those who want to hit a few vineyards en-route might take the earlier turn-off for Cessnock at Freeman’s Waterhole (O: 98km)
- Turn left at NE Hwy (O: 128km) and travel through East Maitland (O: 135km) and onto Maitland proper
- You are aiming for the second Maitland turn-off – a large roundabout opposite Cessnock Road (O: 138km) with sign-posting to Patterson, Dungog and Lorn. Turn right at the roundabout, go over the railway line and past Maitland railway station.
- Skirt the west end of Maitland by veering left at the next 2 roundabouts, then go straight ahead at the traffic lights on High Street and over Belmore Bridge
- Travel through the suburbs of Lorn and Bolwarra Heights via Belmore Road then Patterson Road, as far as Tocal Road which veers off to the left at the Metro service station (O: 147km). Continue on the main thoroughfare from here.
- You are next aiming for Patterson (O: 158km) where you have to cross over the railway line after the main road dog-legs through the village
- Travel 20km onto East Gresford via Vacy. At East Gresford, take the Gresford turn-off (O: 178km), located at an angle of 10 o’clock opposite the old Beattie Hotel. You have gone too far If you go past the IGA supermarket on the left (but good for last supplies) or past the cemetery on the right.
- Gresford is 2km past East Gresford. Here you will see a sign pointing right to Lostock adjacent to the General Store (O: 180km). RECORD/SET YOUR ODOMETER NOW!
- The turn off to Lostock School is now exactly 18.7km away from the General Store via a meandering rural road which passes through the settlement of Mount Rivers. Have faith. To find Lostock School for the first time, travel another 400m past the turn-off to Lostock Dam (at approx 18.3km past Gresford) to a small clearing that has 5 – 6 buildings scattered around it – this point is 18.7km past Gresford.
- Welcome to “Lostock village”. At the clearing, there should be a driveway to the right going to a farmhouse with vertical distance marker sign of 1870 (18.7km), and just ahead a diamond-shaped road sign with “Narrow Bridge”. A dirt road goes off to the right almost behind you at an angle of 4 o’clock. Remember – 18.7km past Gresford. If you cross a single lane timber bridge and pass the Horn family’s dairy farm buildings, you have gone too far.
- Go 300m up the dirt road, past the rural fire service shed (right) and the old church/ graveyard (left). The school gate is at the end on the left (O: total 199km).
Maitland, Lorn and Patterson have food outlets and make good pit stops.
It is recommended that you fill up with petrol at Maitland to have enough for day trips to the likes of Barrington Tops and back to civilisation. If running low up there, the nearest petrol outlets are at East Gresford (not open Sundays), Vacy (open Sundays until 1:30pm) and Dungog (United – on the far side of town, open Sundays). The F3 has a service centre mid-journey and petrol stations are near all major exits.
Discretion is the better part of valour when you see a milk truck coming on their twice daily rounds in the morning and early evening. Ease up on speed, especially past East Gresford – they are on the rough side and winding. Cows and wildlife will be around too.