Shoalhaven River Paddling Camp

Sunday 5 – Friday 10 May 2019

Photos by Erika, Philip & Karen

Thirteen paddlers made camp at the North Nowra Ski Park overlooking the Shoalhaven River for 4 days of paddling some of the many Shoalhaven waterways.

Day 1: An 18 km trip from camp upstream on the Shoalhaven River to Calymea Creek near Bamarang Reservoir.  This involved a fairly lengthy car shuffle, but the towering sandstone cliffs lining the river made the effort worthwhile.  Excellent paddling weather.

Day 2:  Drove north through Berry to Wharf Road and the launch spot on Broughton Creek.  Paddled upstream to where the creek forks into 2 arms and explored both.  Returned to launch spot and drove back to Berry for lunch.

Day 3:  Paddled downstream from camp, under the highway bridge to Bomaderry Creek.  Joined the remainder of the group who chose to launch at the boat ramp in Bomaderry Lions Park off Bolong Road.  Paddled Bomaderry Creek upstream.  Very windy conditions.  Returned to Bomaderry Lions Park boat ramp.

Day 4: Paddled downstream from camp to Nowra Creek and explored the main creek and its tributary.  There is also a walk on both sides of the creek called Ben’s Walk.

Then paddled back upstream past camp to explore Cabbage Tree Creek opposite the zoo.  This creek ends in a spectacular rock amphitheatre.  Paddled back to camp and more jaffles around the fire.

Thanks again to Ian for organising the camp paddle program and logistics, and the evening campfires.

Karen

 

Wasp Head to North Head

Saturday 11 May 2019

On a bright Saturday morning ten members and two energetic visitors gathered at the Wasp Head car park for what must be one of the most beautiful walks in the Murramarang National Park. The forecast had predicted heavy seas but the outlook across Emily Miller Beach was placid. The Beach is named after a wrecked ship and the rocky headlands between all the beaches on this walk attest to the dangers for early shipping. The walk passed across seven named beaches but there are other rocky and often dramatic small coves in between. After the climb out of Emily Miller we descended to the ominously named Dark Beach (but only named for the colour of the sand), then up again and down to Myrtle, with its rocky platform to cross and grassy backdrop.

Photos by Christine & Karen

On all the ridge tops the stunted gums evidenced the fierce and chilly southerly winds that cross the ridges. That did not seem to stunt the ancient burrawangs, however, and our off-track sections had us pushing our way through these unfriendly natives with their knife-like leaves. Up again and down to Richmond Beach. By now the wind was rising and the waves were getting up. These south-facing beaches were catching the rising wind  the sea was no longer enticing for a lunchtime dip. A quick drop down to Little Oaky Beach, across two dry creek gullies and then down to Oaky Beach proper for lunch, close to a native bee nest embedded under one of the cliffs.

After a sunny lunch, footpaths became the order of the day, passing Honeysuckle Beach and providing a civilized end to our walk to the North Head camp site. A splendid walk, with lovely clifftop views along the coastline, on a beautiful day.

Rodney

 

Moruya’s Other Granite Quarry

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Photos by Donna

Bushwalkers visted Louttit’s Quarry on another perfect winter day for being outdoors.  This granite quarry on the south side of Moruya River produced the lathe turned granite columns for some of the grandest buildings in Sydney, including the GPO, Queen Victoria Buildings, Customs House, St Mary’s Cathedral and for the statues of Captain Cook, Queen Victoria and the Centotaph, among others.

The walk was nearly all off track and we are grateful to Bob for leading this excursion and relating the story of this largely forgotten piece of our local history.

Karen

Back to Tomboye Road

Sunday 5 May 2019

Photos by Donna & Denise

16 members and 1 visitor enjoyed a pleasant walk in winter sunshine along good forest tracks through the bush near Tomboye Road, north of Batemans Bay.  After a brisk 7.5 km and a few hills, you can’t go past the East Lynne Road House and their famous sweet pies for afternoon tea.

Karen

 

Gulaga (Mt Dromedary) Side Tracks

Thursday 2 May 2019

Photos by Helen, Karen and Mary

Six brave female souls joined Donna up Gulaga for her second walk as leader. After being assured that nobody would be lost, or rather pleading with everyone not to get lost on the walk, the group was given the good news and the bad news.  The good news being that a nice new shiny toilet had been installed up the mountain.  The bad news was that the walk didn’t go as far as the toilet but that didn’t matter as that meant that we didn’t have to walk further up the mountain!!

We set off for a four km uphill walk in sunny, humid conditions and located the rarely used and unmaintained Battery Track.  In addition to its significant indigenous cultural history, Gulaga has a European history which involves the mining of gold from 1878 to 1920.  Stampers, boilers, aerial tramways and even a cyanide processing plant were housed on the mountain during this period.  At one stage there was also a school in the area as well as dwellings to house the four hundred or so miners and their families who lived there permanently.

The purpose of this walk was to follow the remnants of the Battery Track, which is now overgrown and difficult in sections, to locate artifacts and relics from the gold mining period.  The walk was a very scenic one with the lush rainforest harbouring some beautiful tree ferns along the way, even a Pinkwood tree was spotted nestled amongst them.  It really was a surprise to see such a beautiful rainforest in stark contrast to other parts of the mountain which are quite dry.

We made our way to what is left of the manager’s residence, which was just some bricks, bottles and remnants of some type of cooking utensil.  We had lunch at that location and then followed our path back out onto the main track.  Once on the track everyone was appreciative of Mary collecting all of the leeches residing on Gulaga so that none of us located any on our bodies!  We made our way back to the cars and some of the group indulged in some retail therapy at the new nursery, having earned that right. Meanwhile the walk leader pondered over why no males had attended her walk.  Was it the degree of difficulty or something more sinister?  Perhaps we may find out in the Deua…….

Donna

Tomakin Circuit

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Photos by Ainslie

Bev, undaunted by the gathering of 30 walkers, led a circuit of Tomakin. We started with the lookout at Melville point, where several others were enjoying the view, including the local mullet fishermen, waiting for the big “bully” mullet to run out of the river to spawn on the beaches.

Following the shoreline, we walked along “racecourse” beach, so called as it was used in the past for horse races, as the sand is flat and hard at low tide.  On reaching the estuary, we then walked around the big sand spit and up to the ramp.  Although the remains of the wharf have now been removed, in the past, coastal freighters docked here, taking on freight and passengers.  Due to runoff from land clearing and dirt roads, the estuary is now so shallow that this is impossible, but in earlier times is was deep enough for small coastal ships to navigate.

After morning tea in Jack Buckley Park, we resumed our circuit, returning via the new housing estate near Barlings Beach.

Bob

Ian’s Other Waterfall

Sunday 21 April 2019

Photos by Erika, Mary and Philip

David led 5 club members to the site of an unnamed waterfall on a tributary in the area of Quart Pot Creek. The drive to our start was through pretty forest, and rough dirt roads necessitating the crossing of 12 ‘creeks’ all of which had varying levels of running water.

We started with an immediate launch into the forest and a bush bash up a dry creek bed. We soon came upon the creek tributary where the waterfall was situated. The creek although by no means flowing all the way through contained sufficient water for small water holes to form around which we found round holes that we believe were made by the yabby.

Features of the area are large boulders, rocks and tree trunks covered in bright green moss. The moss while pretty on the trunks of tree is treacherous under foot requiring careful negotiating for the day. As we worked our way up the creek we came upon spent orchids and birds-nest ferns. As on other recent walks there was a display of interesting fungi.

After much rock scrambling, some rock climbing and having to take to higher ground to find a way around deeper water we reached the 15m waterfall where some water was falling. David then led us up above the waterfall so that we could look down into the canyon below. There was a choice of lunch site, on the side of the hill in the sun or down near the creek in shade. Leeches were in good supply so the party split up evenly. Those of us already having had a close encounter with these hitch hikers opted for the sun, while the rest walked down to enjoy the last of the creek.

A good paced walk out to the cars along the fire trail, complete with obligatory black snake; completed a great day in the local bush. Thank you David.

Mary

Billy’s Hut & Gold Diggings

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Photos by Denise and Mary

On a mild autumn morning Glenn led a group of 13 walkers down into a forested gully, along a mostly dry creek bed and along scrubby trails to the stony remnants of Billy’s Hut. There Glenn described to the group, Billy’s life in that isolated spot.

The occupant of Billy’s Hut was William McCarthy, an Irish immigrant who arrived in his late 20’s and built a dry stone walled, 2 roomed hut in the forest near Nelligan. He became locally known as “Black Flat Billy.” and was a true bush character, an illiterate bachelor whose only  companions were a dog, a pig and a diamond python. The hut is now almost invisible amongst the forest, only a few metres from the creek he used for water and the quarry that were the centre of Billy’s small world.

Prospectors began making gold strikes in the 1890’s but it wasn’t until 1960 that the Mines department commenced a more systematic record of mine shafts. It can be assumed that shafts not included in the McIlveen Study were insitu prior to 1890. It is a testament to the skills & knowledge of many early prospectors that they could detect a site that would yields “liveable” amounts of gold.

Our group sat reflectively on a log and tried to imagine Billy’s life but perhaps that reality is just too different from this day & age.

Thank you Glenn for our walk & our trip into the past.

Denise

 

Denise

Paddle Mummuga Lake

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Photos by Erika and Mary

 

Dreaming Track – Congo to Tuross One way

Saturday 13 April 2019

Photos by Donna, Erika, Helen, Mary and Philip

On a perfect autumn day, with our transport arranged for us (thanks Karen) and no need to car shuffle, Mary led a group of seven walkers on the full length (13.6km) of the Dreaming Track from Congo to Tuross.

Traditionally over thousands of years, the Brinja-Yuin people used this route, linking their campsites, sites for ceremony and trading, fresh water and plentiful food sources. The area is rich in archaeological sites.

We were not disappointed, beautiful picnic spots at Meringo headland and Coila Lake, amazing sea scapes, pristine beaches, an abundance of large fungi, shady wooded areas and plenty of bird life on the lagoons and lakes.

There may not have been any hills, but the soft sand and good pace ensured good use of our muscles!

However, the highlight of the walk, was the show a pod of dolphin put on for us near Grey Rocks. 10 dolphins surfing a clear blue wave close to the shore right in front of us. All of us with cameras in hand, we had to have got the shot!

Helen