Thursday 22 July 2021
Photos courtesy of Tom, Gay, Helen, Elizabeth, Meredith and Peter
In the last few weeks, the Batemans Bay Bushwalking Club had suspended its planned walks noting the current Covid health restrictions. However, on 22 July, a small group ventured out on one of the scheduled walks meeting Covid conditions – complete with QR code check in, social distancing and walkers wearing face masks. That made for a strange sight indeed. Whilst a face mask is not the friendliest of bushwalking equipment to wear, the 14 walkers (divided into two groups of 7) saw it as a small inconvenience to enjoy a pleasant bush walk on a sunny winter’s morning.
Despite the dawn temperature being zero, the sun came out in a cloudless sky to make the weather perfect for this short 3 km walk through the bush lands of the Bower Retreat and into the Illawong Nature Reserve, west of Broulee. Thanks go to the Bowers’ owners, Sue and Mark Berry, in allowing access through their land.
The two groups, skilfully guided by Tom and Gay, were directed to the sights on offer. On the right a weathered granite ridge – and for those into geology- a remnant of neo tectonic movements after the mid-Oligocene era that had diverted the Clyde River, then many kilometres wide, which had then run into the sea at Broulee. In present day, there on what is left of the ridge, were the strategically placed luxury retreats of the Bower offering secluded accommodation for their guests.
Once in the Reserve the track meandered through bush that had well and truly regenerated after the fires. The track passed the impressive, and on this morning almost rainbow-coloured, Illawong Wetlands. Although no water birds were to be seen, for those with keen eyes, in the treetops, were rosellas and lorikeets and the odd grey fantail finch. Both groups stopped for a photo opportunity at an ancient spotted gum, whose girth was too wide for even the most enthusiastic tree hugger, before moving on following the fence line back to the start.
Although not a walk to bring up a sweat, it was a pleasant way to spend a sunny winter’s morning. There were many vistas, even if for those of us wearing glasses had to see them at times through misty lenses.