The last bush walk of 2016 started from a cleared area just off the Kings Highway about a kilometre east of Pooh’s Corner, on the slopes of the Clyde Mountain.
The group of five set off in a gentle morning mist under the low clouds cloaking the mountain. We walked gradually down a large spur, through areas of juvenile grass trees, spindly wattles and native holly. From time to time, as we pushed our way through the scrub, we would receive a light shower from the branches overhead, which were still wet from the previous night’s rain.
About an hour into the walk we turned south and started down the side of the spur towards the creek below. Our descent to the creek was undertaken with care due to the loose wet surfaces underfoot and the steepness of the slope. As we neared the creek the vegetation became lush and the canopy gradually closed in above us.
Walkers pause along the creek
Pooh bear on an adventure
Erika amongst the ferns
A quiet pool along the creek
At the top of the gorge
On reaching the creek we stopped for morning tea in the soothing surroundings. We found ourselves in a world filled with rounded rocks, ferns, tall palms, slow flowing water, mosses, logs, vines and fungi.
Following morning tea, we set off downstream following the creek bed with an occasional detour around deeper water, fallen trees or slippery rocks. The air was filled with the scent of decay and of new life and each turning of the meandering creek revealed a vista apparently more beautiful than the last. At one point we came upon a large log jamb, in the middle of which was trapped a small Pooh Bear. He had presumably been swept down the gullies from Pooh’s Corner and into the creek. He had endured the ordeal well, and once extricated and cleaned up a little, he was found to be in reasonable condition. He was placed atop the log jamb so that he might continue his journey.
We walked on, the water flowing constantly and relentlessly past us, seemingly babbling stories from the primal time of Gondwana. After about two hours of walking down the creek we reached the top of Gorgeous Gorge, where the creek narrowed and started a steep fall through the time worn rocks. The sides of the gorge were steep and narrow, and flanked with dense vegetation. We could hear the water cascading and we tried to find a vantage point from which we might see the waterfall, but to no avail.
After a break for lunch we commenced the return leg, back the way we had come. It had become clear by this time that the estimated six kilometre total walk length was closer to ten or eleven kilometres. We retraced our route back upstream to an exit point from the creek a few hundred metres before the point where we had earlier entered. From there our ascent back up to the top of the spur was once again slow. On the top of the spur the going was easier but after a tiring couple of hours we were glad to reach the clearing and see the cars again.
15 paddling bushwalkers met at Bermagui last weekend for 2 days of kayaking on Wallaga Lake and the Bermagui River.
Our campsite at Regatta Point is on the shore of Wallaga Lake, so we didn’t have to go far to launch on Saturday morning. Our first paddle was across Wallaga Lake towards the ever looming Gulaga and into Dignams Creek, returning via the northern shoreline to the bridge and into the estuary leading to the opening of the lake to the sea. Along the way we spotted many middens and 2 huge sea eagle nests.
After lunch a smaller group crossed the lake again to explore Narira Creek as far as Black Lagoon.
Turning back at the log jam
The end of the line
Shady lunch spot
Bob cools off in the river
Photos by Lin, Mary and Karen M
On Sunday, we drove into Bermagui and launched into the Bermagui River. We had a following tide all the way upstream, exiting the river into Nutleys Creek. We were finally stopped by a big log jam across the creek, so paddled back to the junction to have lunch on a shady beach and wait for the tide to turn for our return journey.
Many thanks to our Camp Co-ordinator Ian for planning the weekend and overseeing the expeditions. Bermagui is so close, yet most of us hadn’t been there since our last Bushwalker Camp 8 years ago, and Regatta Point is a wonderful base for both paddling and walking.
Morning tea by Lake Durras for Leaders Geoff and Elizabeth with Pat, Susan and Donna
Geoff, Rob, Mark, Bob and an elevated Philip
One big leap for Rob
The gap we all had to leap
Walkers moving through the rock formation
Denise, Mark and Donna carefully pick their way across the rocks avoiding the water
The group on a rock platform
Geoff stands by to offer a helping hand as walkers scramble above an incoming tide
Photos by Donna and Mary T
Geoff and Elizabeth led 12 hikers on a walk that lived up to its name – “Durras Lake and Coastal Highlights”.
The day started out getting progressively hotter but our walk took us through shady forests down to the shoreline of Lake Durras. This was a calm and picturesque site for a morning break.
We then headed through forest towards the coast and as we got closer the cool coastal breeze was much appreciated. Our Walk leaders know this area well and we stopped for lunch on Dark Beach in the shade of the cliff. We then headed back into the coastal forest before turning to Emily Miller Point.
This was the start of an exciting series of rock platform scrambles as the rising tide told us to move quickly before it cut us off. No one got wet and the interesting geology of the rock platforms kept us amazed until we emerged back onto the beach at Murramarang Resort.
This section of the walk was truly ‘coastal highlights’ and the sea breeze helped us forget summer has started. What a great hike to end the season visiting the Durras area – Lake, Forest, Beach, Rock Scramble and Surf.
Elaine, Betty, Karen, Val and Deb taking a break in the forest
Shady track on Mogo Village Bushwalk
Photos by Karen M
A happy group of 14 bushwalkers met at Mogo to begin the first walk of summer led by Bev B to the start of the track near the entrance to the Mogo Goldfield Village and into the Mogo State Forest. This track wanders through lush bushland around the perimeter of the historical goldfields and there were high hopes of sighting Blueberry Ash trees in flower.
However, amongst the many Acacia Cognata plants and various Eucalyptus species there were Cymbidium Suave, Fringe Lillies and many other smaller native plants, plus there were several Blueberry Ash trees without a flower to be seen, until near the end of the walk they were sighted in flower out in full sunshine – perhaps a need of this plant not to be had in the more shaded bushland.
Also, towards the end of the walk where the track led behind the back gardens of Mogo homes there was a delightful meeting with two beautiful and friendly miniature horses over their back fence. After this highlight the group walked down Bateman Street to the highway and headed to the coffee and ice cream rewards for one and all after a most enjoyable walk and a big thank you to Bev.
Leader Ian shows walkers where they will spend the next 2 days
Walking along the creek
Brian, Wendy, David, Mark & Martin at the top of Waterfall No. 4
Waterfall No 2
Crossing over the rock barrier
Wendy, Ian, David, Martin, Mark and Simon at Unnamed Falls
Photos by Ian, Brian and Simon
Twenty kilometres directly west of Moruya lies the 18,000 hectare Burra Oualla Wilderness within the Deua National Park. This area has not previously been explored by the Club. Indeed, because of its rugged nature, and a massive rock barrier on its eastern edge which restricts access, few walkers venture into this area.
Seven Club members (Simon, Mark, Wendy, Brian, David, Martin & Ian) explored the middle catchment of Burra Creek using a route selected to sample the interesting topography and vegetation of the area.
If one studies the maps and aerial photos, a line of sudden change in topography, running north south, aligns with Diamond and Donovan Creeks. This is pretty much the Donovan Fault Line, running over 20 kilometres from near Hanging Mountain on Sugarloaf Road to north of Mt Donovan. To the west lies undulating to hilly country on mostly granite and it looks like most eastern escarpment foothills – a bit ordinary.
But, in stark contrast, to the east lies a 15 kilometre north south slug of complex solid rock formations up to 600 metres high, the remains of ancient volcanic activity. Any visitor to Moruya can’t help but notice the rocky peaks west of town.
This rugged barrier is broken only by Burra Creek. To the west of the fault line lies a broad basin of Diamond, Coondella and Donovan Creek catchments, all of which converge at the barrier to join Burra Creek which then cuts its way eastward through a gorge and on to the Deua River.
Ian & Wendy at the top of Waterfall No. 4
Mark and Wendy taking a break
Mark and Brian “skiing” down the scree
Top of Waterfall No 4
Waterfall No 3
The selected route of our walk sampled three features of the area – the rocky gorge of Diamond Creek, with its waterfalls, the broad basin of Coondella Creek, and the rocky gorge exit of Burra Creek.
We started from the Coondella Fire Trail at Diamond Creek, well known to Moruya locals because of its easy 4wd access and its waterfalls. On this walk we visited the four waterfalls marked on the 1:25,000 map plus the cascades between. Compared to the central and north coasts, the south coast is relatively devoid of waterfalls, but to have four in quick succession on one creek is rare.
With the exception of the last waterfall, each fall required a scrubby detour to gain access to its lower deep, pool but in each case it was always worth the effort. Because of our intended exit route, we didn’t go to the bottom of the last waterfall, which is actually a fall of 40 metres in two drops, but we viewed its impressive dimensions from above and we were very impressed.
After an exhausting scramble up and out of the gorge over loose scree (two steps up, one back, another rest!), we soon hit granite and enjoyed a more open forest. We cruised northward down into, and across the Coondella Creek catchment and began a bush bash climb north to Burra Creek. It was here we ran into heavy undergrowth. We found the remains of an old pack horse trail and followed it in sections but the overgrowth was thick and we often lost it.
Over the saddle we entered one of the densest patches of Burrawangs known on the planet until, late in the afternoon, and after 8 hours of hard walking we were in the open forests of the Burra Creek catchment and, with relief, plopped into our camp on the Creek bank.
L to R: Ian, Mark, Wendy, Simon, Brian, Martin, David around the camp fire
An unopened 6 pack but all cans are empty
Around the camp
Walkers enjpy a well earned meal by Burra Creek
The camp needs special mention. It was nearly a “10 out of 10” – a large flat area beside a large creek with short green grass under open forest. But it was also obviously the site of a past horse riders camp. There were remains of a primitive shelter, bush furniture, pots and pans, old horseshoes etc, even a crowbar and axe! We did wonder though, that a six pack of Tooheys Old unopened cans of beer had mysteriously emptied over the time since abandonment.
The site appeared to not to have been used for many years, and nor was there evidence that anyone else had visited the site since. Nevertheless, it was a very pleasant camp site.
Next day, within a few hundred metres of leaving camp eastward, we entered the gorge where the Burra Creek punches 5 kilometres through the rock barrier’s portals. Through frequent crossings, we were able to rock hop and walk its banks all the way. And, there was more evidence of an old horse trail. After the Coondella Creek junction the gorge tightened, the rock walls became higher, the creek bed changed from small boulders to solid rock bars, and the pools between became longer and deeper.
Toward the gorge exit the old horse trail climbed steeply up the southern bank, apparently to avoid a rocky pinch in the creek bed. Soon after, we also exited and panted up the remaining 300 vertical metres to Coondella Fire Trail which then required a further walk back to the cars.
Notably, very little wildlife was seen in the two days – not even a lyrebird or wallaby. However, there was plenty of evidence of feral pigs wherever there was granite geology or sandy creek banks.
Martin meets a Water Dragon
Brian, Martin, David at Waterfall No 3
A cool spot along the creek at Waterfall No 2
The remains of the horse trail are of heritage significance. It linked Moruya via the Coondella ridge with the Burra Creek area and then onto the Coondella Creek area which subsequently linked on to the Georges Pack Track. Collectively, they all linked Bendethera with Moruya in the early 1800’s. The following web link shows old trails in the Deua and Monga National Parks http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/protectedareas/horseriding/140326hrwildddmongofs.pdf . Efforts to restore these heritage trails are ongoing.
This was a hard walk, particularly because of scree slopes and undergrowth on the first day, but overall, we sampled a variety of topographys and vegetations, saw some lovely creek features, and I feel satisfied some more exploration of this area is warranted.
Route (Bendethera 1:25,000 sheet):
Leave cars at 611171, descend Diamond Creek to top of last map marked waterfall, climb westward to ridgetop, descend north to Coondella Creek at 600199, proceed north over saddle to Burra Creek camp at 601219. Second day follow Burra Creek downstream to 627213 and climb ridge southward to Coondella Fire Trail. Walk fire trail to cars (or, if you have more sense than us, leave a second car at the exit!).
Bob Thurbon telling walkers the story of Frank’s Beach
A goanna basking in the sun
Walkers on the beach
Walkers strolling near the rocks
Showing off our magnificent coast
Photos by Ruth and Karen M
13 Batemans Bay Bushwalkers enjoyed a 9 km stroll along the coast between Barlings Beach and Guerilla Bay on the weekend. The weather was mild with a cool breeze which was fortunate as the track is relatively hilly.
The walk initially passes through land owned by a private bush retreat, and we had previously gained their permission for access. This bushland is dominated by large Bangalay gum trees (Eucalyptus botryoides) with reddish bark and dense green canopy. Due to their location near the coast, many spread huge branches close to the ground. We spotted an echidna trying to hide from our curious gazes and a large goanna who thought he was sufficiently camouflaged by stretching out on a fallen log.
We passed through a deserted sandy cove known as Frank’s Beach accessible only by foot, where we paused for a refreshment break. The track then took us high on the headlands to Burrewarra Point with continuous views back towards Broulee Island and further south. The track around the Point goes through great stands of Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata) and we checked out the working lighthouse and WWII radar bunker along the way.
Lunch was on Guerilla Bay Beach among some of the oldest rock formations on the east coast, enjoying the view north to Jimmies Island and beyond.
Chris up close and personal with orchids in the wild
Walkers on their way down near a rocky outcrop
Leader Brian finds a shelter in case we had rain
Nature’s bridge on the Discovery Trail
A recent fall on the trail
Photos by Helen, Brian and Mary T
Walk Leader Brian called his walk The Secret Door because the start point is a very overgrown track off Mt Agony Road, North Durras – hard to find, even if you know what you’re looking for. But Brian had no trouble locating it today and after pushing through tangles of vines, and climbing over fallen trees and branches, the Secret Door opened into a magic world. A world of deep gullies vegetated with temperate rainforest and stately blue gums, spotted gums and cabbage leaf palms. There were old tree stumps crowned with flowering snake orchids (Cymbidium suave) and a rocky outcrop tumbling down the hill, covered in moss, more orchids and with a commanding view of the surrounding rainforest.
After lunch among the rocks we went offtrack, pushing our way through rainforest vines and thickets, over a creek and up a hill to find the Discovery Trail, a short National Park circuit through some really outstanding Murramarang forest. To finish our magical mystery tour, we emerged on the shore of Durras Lake, and followed the Lake Track along the waterline for a few kilometres back to the start.
The dire weather forecast of 90% chance of 15-25mm of rain did not eventuate until we finished the walk and started our drive back to Batemans Bay.
Leader Jill consults the map as Susan enjoys a break
Val and Jill chat on the track
Joan, Simeon, Carol and Denise admire a Xanthorrhoea resinifera
Photos by Karen C
Gathering by the riverbank in Batemans Bay we felt sure that today’s walk would be a good one! So off we set, thirteen of us, the walk start point being the forest in the Brooman area.
Having parked the cars it was not long before we crossed a small creek surrounded by rainforest, including many Cabbage Tree Palms. We knew that we had a few hills in front of us, however the many wildflowers along the track, and the sight of some majestic trees still standing after forestry logging, kept us sufficiently distracted so that the hills slipped away under our feet.
Though much of the track was shaded, we certainly welcomed the slight breeze that greeted us on the crest of the hills! Eventually, with 9kms under our belt, and the day warming, our cars were a welcome sight indeed.
Information board and lookout on the Aboriginal Trail
Walkers climbing over a rock platform
Photos by Mary M and Mary T
The mid week club walk of 18 members was from Merry Beach to Bawley Point, a distance of 9 km. A car shuffle ensured we did not have to walk twice this distance and allowed for a leisurely lunch at the end on the grassy reserve at the Bawley Point car park, picnic area.
The main features of this walk being magnificent beaches, expansive rock platforms and a trail through Murramarang Aboriginal Area. Of particular interest is the ‘midden’ grounds protected from damage by a raised, steel footpath. Our leader Mary M provided additional interesting details to the excellent information boards; by giving us some history of the early European settlement in the area that dates back to the mid 1800’s.
As added bonuses to the day, White Sea Eagles drifted over our heads and a large Sting Ray swam near a rock edge. A little judicial side stepping and hopping to avoid wet boots from incoming waves; added a degree of challenge and all to a backdrop of big waves and blue sky.
Thank you Mary and Stan for another delightful day. An old club walk but one that never fails to please.
Thirteen walkers turned up to walk the 14 km of The Corn Trail, 10 BBBW members and three guests.
Using a “passenger trains” and “freight trains” analogy helped explain to participants how the car shuffle was to work – well, sort of. We unceremoniously dumped most of our walkers on the Kings Highway for an hour while we shuffled 4wds into the car park on No Name Mountain Road. Upon returning and feathers smoothed again, we proceeded to the top of the mountain for a start.
The walk was straight forward, leaving the Dasyurus picnic area on the Mongarlowe River in Monga National Park around 10am. Now being used by horse riders, the track was quite open and uncomplicated. As we proceeded over the escarpment the westerly wind picked up and even down in the valley it was still quite blustery.
A late lunch, and drinking water, on the Buckenbowra River was welcomed. After enjoying some small patches of rainforest in this section, including a flowering Orange Blossom orchid, we slowly slugged it out to the waiting cars, arriving at 4.30pm.
Lucky we put a chainsaw in the back of the car because the strong winds knocked a tree barrier over the road. Dispatching of that, many turned for home while a few of us finished the car shuffle, arriving in Batemans Bay at 6.30pm.
Six and a half hours of walking, four hours of car shuffling. And we just might have some new members joining up!