Durras Lake Ramble

Saturday 27 February 2021

Photos courtesy of Carol, Donna and Mary

BBBW Walk Leader:  Rodney /   “Guided History Walking Tour of Durras” by Paul May

Question…….”What do we have in abundance on the south coast”?

Well, most residents, and certainly the thousands of visitors, would probably answer, “beautiful beaches and forests”  and they would be partly right.   However, look a little deeper and you will see that many places, like Bawley Point, Termeil, Depot Beach, Pebbly Beach, South Durras, Broulee and Nelligen have interesting histories to reveal. Histories that tell a story about the early white settlements, and of the industries that grew and thrived along this coast.

Of course, much of this history has been recorded in books for us to read, but nothing beats a guided walking tour, especially when the guide is a fountain of knowledge having lived and played in the area all his life.

So how lucky were 24 members of the Batemans Bay Bushwalking Club to be treated to a morning guided tour of South Durras by local Paul May.  Armed with his personal knowledge and some historic photos, we were quickly drawn into the early history of Durras, where the first recorded Land Grant was gazetted in 1840.

It was the abundance of good timber in the surrounding forests that brought the early settlers to this area.   The first recorded  “hand powered pit saw mill”  was established on the south coast in 1852.    By 1870 a steam driven timber mill was operating in Batemans Bay and soon after a steam driven mill was built at Wasp Head South Durras.

As bushwalkers many of us have come across evidence in the forest around Durras of the early timber industry,  perhaps an old overgrown logging track or the sawn off remains of once huge trees.  Alas, within the village of Durras itself there is little physical evidence remaining of the once thriving timber industry.   However if, like Paul May our guide, you know where to look and how to interpret the remaining artifacts you can quickly start to visualise the once busy timber village.

At one point our walk took us down to the wetland, a “hidden” gem in the middle of the village.   Here, slowly rusting away, were a few remains from the old blacksmith forge, as well as a couple of heavy iron trolley wheels that once hauled timbers along wooden rails to the mill.  As expected this wetland was a valuable source of  freshwater for the villagers, and was vitally important for quenching the thirst of the horse and bullock teams used in timber hauling, and the “thirst” of the many steam boilers!

There are of course many other partly hidden remnants of the timber industry if you know where to look eg a rusting boiler near Mill Beach, along with old metal mooring pins in the nearby rocks and, at the lake boat ramp and on the shore of Punt Arm, there are the remains of timbers from the old unloading and loading ramps.

Quite a few of the early small timber cottages from the 40s and 50s still exist within the village, many tucked away behind heavy foliage.   Once again Paul’s local knowledge provided interesting anecdotal stories about the lives of the earlier occupants.  It even appears that one home, now sitting comfortably in Durras, was saved from submersion during the construction of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.

As we walked from the main village area to the lakeside boat ramp we crossed a wooden footbridge over Durras Creek.  This was once the site of a single lane road bridge which provided the only access to the lake itself, as the main road into Durras at the time was Benandarah Road.

Just about everyone on the walk had visited Durras Village at some time over the recent years, and most of us had been on many club bushwalks exploring the surrounding forest.  However, we are deeply grateful to Paul for his very informative walking tour that brought the early history of Durras alive.  Today we were reminded that Durras once had a thriving timber industry, where its milled timbers were shipped off to places like Wollongong, Sydney and Newcastle as the demand for mine props and railway sleepers grew.   There is no doubt that the early timber workers of Durras, and other timber mills along the south coast, made a solid contribution to the development of New South Wales.

Mary M

Tabourie Beaches and Bush

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Eleven members of the Batemans Bay Bushwalking Club, led by Sharon, enjoyed a beautiful walk in the Meroo National Park on Wednesday.

The pretty rocks at the ocean side of Termeil Lake was the chosen spot for morning tea, followed by a view of the wild seas crashing onto the rocks below our look out.

Walking along the pristine beach in sections between the freshly rained-upon bush including a few wild flowers, had us appreciating the region where we live.

It was also lovely to see some school kids out enjoying the surf for their school sports period near Crampton Island.

Following lunch beside Tabourie Lake, complete with some noisy kookaburras above us – maybe they found us or our lunches amusing ?? –  we followed a good trail for a few kilometres back towards our cars – just in time before it rained again !

Thanks Sharon for a really nice day.


Quandolo Island

Sunday 21 February 2021

Photos courtesy of Karen and Mary

A leisurely 5 kilometre summer stroll around picturesque Quandolo Island and Moruya Heads was undertaken by 22 members of Batemans Bay bushwalking club. Selecting a low tide enabled the group to traverse the sand flats, whilst dodging Soldier Crabs and then walk around the margins of the island  as, it is heavily vegetated with Casuarina trees.

Walkers then headed along the beaches and up to the clifftops where they enjoyed the ocean views and cool breeze and explored the historic graves nearby.

By lunch time the temperature had reached the predicted 28 degrees Celsius and with humidity high, everyone was happy to picnic in the shade or return home.


Comerang Mountain

Sunday 21 February 2021

Photos courtesy of Rob and Amanda

Seven hikers set off on an Exploratory walk to visit some interesting geology seen on aerial photography in the creeks downslope from Comerang Mountain. By definition an Exploratory walk has not been reccied but we examine the topographic maps beforehand to evaluate terrain and access roads to propose a walk estimating walk time and route so club members can decide if this walk is for them.

The reality can often be very different. The first thing we discovered was that B-Travers road, a well-used mountain bike road before the 2020 bushfires had not been cleared of fallen trees so our walk increased by 2km just to get to the starting point. I had proposed to use a number of logging roads to get the best access to the creeks but they have not been used in decades which made navigating them difficult due to the forest regrowth and fire damage.

When we finally made it to the creeks everyone was pleased as the geology, waterfalls and ponds were spectacular. In one pool we saw an eel and many small fish.

As walk leader I then realised that we were not going to be able to visit all the outcrops I had hoped to see and so we headed back upslope to Comerang Mountain. We knew this was going to be tough and with the high humidity and temperatures exceeding all of the projections, seven weary hikers were very glad to see the cars.

I will plan another Exploratory walk in the winter that will go straight to the larger outcrops via a different route as I am hoping it will be even more spectacular than what we saw today.


Walk, Swim and Picnic – Start of the 2021 Walking Year

Thursday 18 February 2021

Photos courtesy of Bob, Mary, Ainslie and Tom

The club’s first walking activity for 2021 was held at Longbeach Reserve where two walks were held and attended by 42 members and 1 visitor.



The Easy/Medium Walk Leader, Glenn, welcomed a lively group of 26 walkers which included 3 newcomers on their first club walk and the visitor. The plan for the 8 km return walk was outlined and walkers were asked to observe Covid precautions. The walk started along the grassy verge behind the beach before climbing a long hill up to the attractive Spotted Gum forest covering Square Head.

Morning tea was taken on the beach at the mouth of Cullendulla Creek with expansive views across the broad Clyde River estuary to Batemans Bay.

The Easy walk, led by Mary, took the group of 15 in bright, sunny weather along coastal tracks, beach and the local residential area.

After their respective walks, the two groups met up again back at the Reserve picnic area for lunch.

Joan, Meriel and Grant (still on a high from his 100th birthday celebrations), also joined us at lunchtime.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with each other, renew friendships and plan further club activities.

Bob, Mary and Gay


Congratulations Grant – Celebrating 100 Years Young !

Wednesday 17 February 2021, marks an incredible milestone for one of our members – Grant’s 100th Birthday!


Grant and Meriel are original members of Batemans Bay Bushwalkers Inc, joining the Club at its inception in 1985.

Grant was elected (by ballot) as the second President of BBBW in 1987, and again for a second term (unopposed) in 1988.  During his 2 years as President, Grant presided over the incorporation of the Club with NSW Corporate Affairs, and the acquisition of Public Liability Insurance.

In later years, Grant acted as ex-officio Club Historian, collecting and collating BBBW records, and very generously storing them at his home.

From 1989 to 1994, he led 3 camps at Bungonia Gorge, Nerriga and Mt Seaview, and contributed further to the Program by leading walks and hosting Social Events.

Grant and Meriel were on our first camp to Wilsons Promontory in 1986 and were part of the group who did the overnight walk to the Lighthouse.  33 years later in 2019 they were back with our group at the Prom, enjoying a slightly less challenging itinerary.  Wilsons Prom was Grant’s last walk with the Club, with 2020 rudely interrupted by bushfires and Covid.

Meriel and Grant have been enthusiastic supporters of our activities for 36 years.

Happy 100th Birthday Wishes for Grant from all of the members of the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers Club!

Karen and Gay


Moruya River Paddle – Yarragee to Town Boatramp

Monday 8 February 2021

Photos courtesy of Mary, Karen and Gay

Five Members of the Batemans Bay Bushwalking Club and one Visitor, started the week with a paddle on the Moruya River.

This was my first paddle and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My kayak is on the smaller side and I was a little concerned that I might hold everyone up but an outgoing tide and no wind made sure I was able to keep up – well mostly!  No-one was in a hurry to go anywhere and we took out time meandering along the river from our launch site at the end of Yarragee Road.  Perfect conditions for a perfect paddle!

Next paddle is on Tuesday 23 February at Durras Lake.  So come along and try out a paddle with us!


Bushwalkers prepping for 2021 – Walks Program and a Paddle Program

Monday 25 January 2021

While most Batemans Bay Bushwalkers are taking a break over January, there is work being done behind the scenes by some dedicated members.  With the first quarter walks beginning on 18 February 2021, some members have been out and about undertaking reccies of walks and areas that were affected by fires.

Additionally Ian and Mary are working on a Paddle Program which is expected to be published soon.

A couple of walks recently reviewed was the 6km Square Head walk which is to be one of the first on the program and a 14km walk in the Coila Creek area.   Coila Creek was a delight for the walkers as there was quite a bit of water in the creek and it was particularly pleasant to be able to follow the creek along for some distance before heading up and out of the gully and back into the bush, which was pretty thick.  We sent Rob in first!  A great walk and hopefully we will see this one on one of our walks program later in the year.

Looking forward to catching up with all Club members soon – Happy Bushwalking!

Gay, Publicity Officer


Budawangs – Wog Wog to Yadboro

Tuesday 1 – Friday 4 December 2020

Walkers:  Phillip & Erika, Rob, Bronwyn, Barry, Wendy, Lin, Ian.

It seems we do this classic walk across the Budawangs about every four years.  But this time it was different in that almost the whole area was heavily burnt in the 2019-20 bushfires, significantly changing the nature of the walk.

The views were outstanding, the last of the spring flower meadows beautiful, and the walking, free of undergrowth, very pleasant.

It was pleasing to see the wildlife finally returning as the green gradually overpowers the black.  We saw a good variety of insects (flies, ants, butterflies and dragonflies), and even two snakes – white lipped and (suspected) tiger.  The grass trees were flowering prolifically and the insects were loving the nectar.

The only down side to a perfect walk was the heat on the first day and too many pesky flies blown in on the accompanying northwest wind.  Otherwise, the weather was perfect.  The second and third days of cool, low cloud added mysticism to the rocky peaks around us, and the fourth day of clear sunshine was perfect for the views.

Because we took our time, camping at Burrumbeet, Mt Cole and Cooyoyo, we were able to visit many highlights and take some interesting short side trips.  We visited Corang Peak, Corang Arch, the Donjon crevasse, Green Room, Emerald Room, Natural Arch, Eagles Nest, and explored the rocky ramparts of Monolith Valley.

The rock is wonderful.  There is not only a lot of it but it has great character, particularly in Monolith Valley where the pagodas resemble a miniature Bungle Bungle wonderland.

On the last day in perfect weather we climbed The Castle which, for some of us, enabled us to finally knock it off our bucket list.

The photos from Phillip, Rob, Erika, Barry and Ian tell the story.

A big thanks to Miriam and Rudy who assisted greatly with the drop-off and pick-up.


Point Upright and Depot Beach

Thursday 26 November 2020

Photos courtesy of Tom, Amanda, Karen, Brian, Chris and Gay

What a perfect day to lead the last walk of 2020!  The sky was blue, the sea was a bright turquoise and yes, perhaps it was a little warm, but the walkers were treated to a lovely breeze at the top of Point Upright lookout and again down below as they walked back around the point along the rock platforms.

Due to the low tide being at 1p.m., the walkers left a little later than usual at 10a.m. from Depot Beach.  A nice steady uphill walk through the village up onto the Burrawang track to Point Upright brought out some beads of sweat, but it felt good to be out in the open, enjoying the regeneration of the forest.

The lookout at Point Upright is a good solid structure with wonderful views towards North and South Durras.  The group paused for a few photos then tackled the steep downhill track and steps to North Durras beach to find several swimmers enjoying the crystal clear water.

Time for a coffee break before the Walkers cut through some low scrub endeavouring to get as far along as possible around the Point before having to head down to the rocks.  The tide was still higher than expected and some wave sets coming in washing across the rocks meant we had to scramble over the rocks for some distance before we could venture down to the drier rock platforms.  Some members spotted some fossil mussels (Euridesma) on the rocks but a lot had their head down taking it very carefully as they wound their way over and through the rocks.

But what a treat once we reached the rock platforms. After a few jelly beans to boost our energy and with a nice seabreeze, the group took time to study the cliffs and rocks, lots of small pools and stress fractures filled with starfish and sea urchins, small fish and quite a few jellyfish.

The walkers meandered their way slowly back to Depot Beach enjoying the platforms and the views out to sea, with the waves crashing nearby.  Lunch was enjoyed in a large cliff cavern though some of us weren’t too sure about sitting under those imposing cliffs.

All in all a great day out!