Mallacoota Walking Camp

Monday 9 – Friday 13 September 2019

Photos by Karen M, Mary T, Donna, Brian, Jim and Tom

31 members enjoyed 4 days of walking around the seaside village of Mallacoota in Victoria in early September 2019.

Day 1 – Tuesday

About half the group spent an hour or so visiting the excellent WWII Bunker Museum on the Airport Road, Mallacoota. The bunkers have been restored by local Volunteers and tell the story of Mallacoota’s contribution to coastal surveillance during WWII.

Meanwhile several other members walked the 2km loop from Davis Beach Carpark to the mouth of Betke River and back along Betke Beach.

Then everyone met at Betke Beach Picnic Reserve to walk the Mallacoota Coastal Track.
Easy Walkers walked to Quarry Beach and back via the Betke River Loop – 6 km
Easy/Medium Walkers walked to Secret Beach and back via the Betke River Loop – 9.5 km
Medium Walkers walked to the end of the track at Pebbly Beach and back via the Betke River Loop – 11.6 km

Day 2 – Wednesday

Easy Walkers started at Davis Beach Carpark and walked the Heathland, Casuarina, Shady Gully and Lakeside Tracks back to Mallacoota Wharf – 4 km car shuffle.

The rest of the group started at Mallacoota Wharf and walked through the Caravan Park to the Pittosporum Walk which leads to Bastion Point. From there they rounded Bastion Point to Tip Beach and Davis Beach Carpark. Then they followed the Heathland, Casuarina, Shady Gully and Lakeside Tracks back to Mallacoota Wharf – 8.5 km.

Day 3 – Thursday

Easy Walkers started at Buckland Jetty Boathouse and walked back to Mallacoota Wharf on the Lakeside Track – 5 km car shuffle.

Easy/Medium Walkers started at the Captain Creek Jetty Trailhead and walked to the Jetty on the Top Lake, returning the same way – 7 km. They then visited the Double Creek Nature Trail – 1 km.

Medium Walkers drove to the Genoa Peak Trailhead and ascended the Peak – 3 km return. They then visited Genoa Falls – about 500m return, followed by Double Creek Nature Trail – 1 km return.

About half the group spent Thursday afternoon cruising the Bottom Lake through the Narrows to the Top Lake with one of the local commercial tour boat operators, spotting sea eagles during the trip.

Day 4 – Friday

Easy Walkers started at Mallacoota Wharf and walked to Bastion Point via the Pittosporum Walk – 6 km return

Easy/Medium walkers started at Buckland Jetty Boathouse and walked along the Narrows Track to the Top Lake – 8 km return.

Both groups then visited Genoa Falls and Old Genoa Village.

Medium Walkers started at the Captain Creek Jetty Trailhead and walked back to Mallacoota Wharf via the Narrows Track and Lakeside Track – 15 km car shuffle.

Evenings were spent in the rustic camp kitchen at the Mallacoota Foreshore Caravan Park cooking dinner and toasting jaffles over their two open fires. Or enjoying a meal at the pub or Lucy’s Restaurant. Not to mention the excellent local bakery for breakfast, lunches and sweet treats.


Benandarah Forest

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Photos by Erika

Eleven bushwalkers and two Canberra visitors set out at a brisk pace, just north of Batemans Bay and west of the Princes Highway to walk 12 kilometres of trails in the Benandarah Forest.

The walk entailed several gentle hills and gullies as well as the crossing of 4 bone dry creek beds.  A few spring wildflowers did manage some blossoms but there seemed to be an almost total absence of birds that normally fill the forest tree tops with their noise and spring activities. Perhaps the dry conditions have led them to relocate to wetter regions.

Future walk leaders be warned, Rob has set the bar even higher than usual by bringing along with him chemist quality glucose jelly beans and handing them out to boost the flagging energies of walkers before they embarked on a 2.5 kilometre section of bush bashing.

The group paused for lunch at the bottom of a dense, bushy gully right next to a failed and long abandoned marijuana cultivation endeavour.  Buckets, plastic fertiliser bags, fluid containers and other items just left in the bush.

Refreshed, the walkers climbed up the gully’s side to the road above and hiked another 2 kilometres back to the cars.  It was a good workout that stretched muscles and quickened pulses.
Thank you Rob.



Mummaga & Brou Lakes from Dalmeny

Thursday 5 September 2019

Photos by Denise & Mary

Batemans Bay Bushwalkers’ midweek walk started at the bridge crossing Mummaga Lake at Dalmeny.  The lake has receded, and doesn’t look open to the ocean after 3 months of no rain.  We picked our way through the scrub between the beach and the lake to a spot by the water for a morning tea break.

Then we headed into the spotted gum forest on old tracks through Eurobodalla National Park towards Brou Lake to the north.  We had lunch in a sheltered spot at the mouth of Brou Lake (also closed), and then followed a National Park Track along the top of Brou Beach dunes south towards Dalmeny.  Our last 1 km was along Brou Beach back to the start.



Cullendulla Creek and Square Head for Bridal Veil Orchids

Saturday 31 August 2019

Photos by Rodney

A fine sunny day encouraged 17 bushwalkers to enjoy the walk to Square Head, Long Beach from the car park at the top of Blairs Road.  This walk is surrounded by Spotted Gums and Burrawangs while giving extensive views to right and left of the Bay and Long Beach as the track leads to the edge of Square Head where a wide expanse of the ocean out to the Tollgate Islands can be seen.  On this day there was no sighting of a playful whale but there have been times when a group has been lucky.

From Square Head the track follows around the clifftop and then descends via steps down to Cullendulla Creek where the group followed the shore line and then on a track through Casuarina trees where at this time of year there is a blooming of Dendrobium teretifolia orchids (otherwise known as Rat’s tail, Pencil or Bridal Veil Orchids).  They are known as epiphytes – a plant which grows on another plant – and mostly grow on Casuarina tree trunks along creeks/rivers often near mangrove areas.  This year was noted by regular locals as the best year ever seen for these orchids on this walk.

The track follows Cullendulla Creek and led the group to a small wharf to sit and enjoy lunch before heading back with the unusual sighting of four Pied Oyster Catchers on the opposite shore.  The group then made their return up to the car park, finishing a well enjoyed walk by one and all.

Joan and Bob

Snow Shoe Day Walks: Kosciuszko National Park

Monday 26 – Friday 30 August 2019

All photos by Karen

Day 1 (Tuesday) Porcupine Rocks:  As you can see from the map this walk starts at Perisher Village and heads towards Porcupine Rocks on the escarpment.  We had good snow cover which was firm, and perfect for getting used to the snow shoes.  Our track was 8 km in total, and as the day was fine, clear and sunny we lingered along the way to soak up the magic of the experience.  We came across a lot of very friendly cross country skiiers and several pairs of snow shoers who also couldn’t believe their luck in finding themselves out in the snow on such a gorgeous day.

We hired our snow shoes from Wildnerness Equipment in Jindabyne ($69 for 3 days), and Dave lent me his walking poles which had big crosscountry snow baskets at the base which helped a lot in the softer snow.


Day 2 (Wednesday) Cascade Trail:  Our track today was 8.5 km and as we started walking the trail from the carpark, we were wondering if there would be enough snow to comfortably complete the circuit.  The trail itself had good snow cover, but the surrounding hills were starting to look a bit bare.  However, after crossing the Thredbo River bridge, we headed upslope and into deeper snow.  I’ve spent very little time in snow, and I found this whole experience to be really quite something.

We had the back country above Dead Horse Gap to ourselves on this occasion and Dave unerringly led us off track in a wide circuit, and finished by descending through a mercifully unburned forest of snowgums.  We saw one brumby near the start of the walk and once again, because the weather was fine, we were able to linger a while and enjoy the day.


Day 3 (Thursday) Plains of Heaven:

Having checked the weather forecast the night before, there was a high possibility that it would be snowing  at Perisher today.   However we were delighted to find, on opening our curtains at 7am, to see that it was actually snowing in Jindabyne!

So fully prepared for possible snow showers, we once again headed up Kosciuszko Road towards Perisher.   Today’s start point was Dainers Gap, a popular roadside “play area” for non skiers, about 3 km past Sponars Chalet.   Alighting from our cars we were instantly aware that today was going to be much colder, we would need to wear those extra layers that we had been carrying for the previous two days.

Due to its popularity the first part of the slope was  pitted with deep boot prints, however as we climbed the snowscape changed to softer snow with fewer tracks.  Continuing to climb in a northerly direction we soon left the road well behind, and found ourselves  looking down over the “Plains of Heaven”, a narrow plain between us and Kerry View Hill.   Before descending onto the plain we spent a little time examining an interesting cornice edged in fine icicles.

The initial objective of our intrepid leader Dave, was a Trig Point on Kerry View Hill.   The lighter snow cover on the plain, which often just covered the ground hugging bushes, led to a more cautious stride in order to prevent the snowshoe breaking through the surface.  Though it was a steady climb up Kerry View Hill to the Trig Station, as this was to be our morning tea stop, we could relax and enjoy the magnificent view across to the Main Range.

With snowshoes back on it was time to descend a little to the east before tackling “The Devils Staircase”.  Though the descent, through beautiful snow-gum forest and around granite boulders, was continuous it wasn’t quite as difficult as its name had implied.   Mind you, a few times someone’s snowshoe and boot would disappear as they broke through a false cover of snow.

Though Dave had hoped to push on to the next hill, which also had a Trig Point, we decided that we would have to leave that for the next snowshoe adventure.

A large granite rocky outcrop provided the perfect dry spot for a leisurely lunch before tackling the climb back up “The Devils Staircase”.

As we did not need to revisit the higher Trig, our climb was shorter taking us to a point where we simply followed a contour around the hill.   Soon we were looking back down onto the “Plains of Heaven” not only with the knowledge that it was but a short walk back to the car, but regrettably knowing our days snowshoeing were coming to a close.

This has been an incredible snowshoe camp. We have experienced sunny days and snowy days.  We have walked through open plains, snow gum forests, and around granite boulders.  We have climbed and descended snow covered hills that offered incredible views.   Except for the occasional animal tracks in the snow, we have been alone out there in this pristine environment. We have experienced all this, not only in the good company of fellow members, but also under the expert leadership of Dave, whose knowledge, skills and experience made for an incredible three days snowshoeing.  The snowshoe camp closed with dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Jindabyne.




Malua Bay to McKenzies Beach with Pink Pool

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Photos by Helen and Mary

The Bay Bushwalkers always like a coast walk and this was no exception as 22 hikers turned up to see the coast between Malua Bay and McKenzies beach. The walk crossed the beach and then hugs the cliff top where the edge of the cliff and property boundary fences are sometimes less than 2 metres apart. With cliff erosion this track will be inaccessible in the coming years. The views from the cliff top to the north and south are truly spectacular.

Our Leader Mark always adds a ‘feature’ to this walk and being close to low tide we were able to traverse the shore platform to the south of McKenzies Beach to the famous ‘Pink Pool’. Spoiler Alert – the pink colour is not produced by the rock outcrops or someone’s attempt to create a gaudy coloured ocean swimming pool. The pink colours are algae growing on the rocks between low and high tide in a small section of the rock platform. Mark’s challenge before he leads this walk again is to have the Latin name of the algae ready to impress the walkers and visitors.



Bevian and Ridge Roads Forest Circuit

Sunday 25 August 2019

Photos by Mary and Rodney

This area is close to home and yet provides lots of opportunities for a forest-focused day out. Nearness to home is attractive so twenty walkers, and a visitor, turned out on this cool cloudy day. While the walk was relatively short (about 7.5 km) it provided good exercise with plenty of small hills. From some points you could get attractive views down to the coast near Malua Bay. Some of the track was a bit gravelly and all of it was dusty following our long dry period.

Although this part of the Mogo State Forest has been well worked over for timber production there are still good specimens of Iron Bark and Spotty Gum, and Banksias were flowering in the understorey. Perhaps the botanical highlights of the morning were the several areas of Iron Bark Orchid high high on the bark of some of their host trees. Some were even at knee height but you had to get off the track to find those. More peculiar was an unusual fungus that no-one could identify, it was christened the “Elephants Foot” on account of its extraordinary shape.

On our return we encountered a couple of horsemen out enjoying a ride in the forest, an excellent way of covering the ground quickly and seeing the forest from a higher vantage point.



McKenzies Beach to Circuit Beach

Thursday 22 August 2019

Photos by Helen

Beaches, cliff tops and rock platforms are usually the attractions on the McKenzies Beach to Circuit Beach walk, however big seas and strong winds saw Brian substitute urban exploration for rock hopping!

While the cliff tops afforded magnificent views of wind swept seas and dramatic skies, the bush tracks surprised with patches of wattle and maidenhair fern, thriving despite the dry conditions and walking high on the sand was the only way to keep dry feet on the beach sections. Morning tea at Cafe Three66 at Mosquito Bay was somewhat extended as a reward for braving the cold winds and, more importantly, for catching up with friends. The final section around Lilli Pilli headland was more sheltered from the winds and saw the 8km walk completed by lunch, as expected.

Thanks to Brian for leading and organising the transport for the day.



Golden Gully

Saturday 17 August 2019

Photos by Helen

On a great day for walking, thirteen very lucky bushwalkers were out in the hills of Moruya’s State Forest, enjoying each other’s company and pleasant surroundings.

The weekly bulletin had described the walk as “hilly” and our leader, Mary delivered on that. Most hills as usual felt upward, but what goes up most come down, so our knees also got a downhill workout.

The walk also lived up to its name “Golden Gully” with a good stand of golden flowering wattle trees, followed by the gold of some yellow tailed cockatoos and then golden everlasting daisies struggling to flower in the dry conditions.  We were also on the look out for Acacia cognata (Bower Wattle) that had previously been seen there, and this too, we think, was delivered, pending confirmation from the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens staff.

So, thanks Mary, success all round and we are fitter for it!