Like you I have the same great memories. Lucky I still have a memory and the old zimers has not kicked in yet.
When I was a kid we camped at Newnes, NSW out from Lithgow.
We spent weeks exploring the old ruins and walking back and forth to Glen Davis.
Collecting coal out of the river to use on the fire and being scared to death when a red belly came swimming towards you when out swimming.
Or having to get a tractor to tow the Falcon back across the flooded river so the kids could return to school, whilst some parents stayed behind a few more days till they could drive home when the flood waters dropped.
That was when the pub was still a pub and it still sold alcohol. Before it was moved to the other side of the road and lost its licence.
There was a happy medium, the bikies used to come away for weekends out there which kept the 4x4 hones away. (Not saying all 4x4's are hones). I have had one my self. The bikies left and it became more popular with the trail bike and 4x4 crowds.
We used to be able to drive all over the place and camp as far up as the old police station and garage.
Then the tracks were washed out NP decided not to allow repair work.
Last time I was there it seemed to have lost its appeal to me. All camped shoulder to shoulder, 4x4 to 4x4.