Durras Lake Paddle

Monday 19 April 2021

Photos courtesy of Karen and Mary

Today’s BBBW paddle was on Durras Lake, starting at the Lake boat ramp.  It was a perfect autumn day, with virtually no wind, so we started by heading down to the Lake entrance which is currently open to the ocean.

Then we turned around and paddled towards the head of the lake, entertained by wheeling sea eagles, white faced heron and numerous white egret hunting along the bank.  It was an unstructured route, and we ambled about with our only obstacles being a few sandbanks because we were on a low tide.

We stopped for a mid morning break, and again for lunch, enjoying the sunshine and scenery, and the company, until it was time to head home.

Karen

 

Mogendoura Range

Sunday 18 April 2021

Photos courtesy of Karen, Tom and Donna

After having to cancel the Pig Road walk, an old walk, the Mogendoura Range, was chosen as a replacement.  It had recently been retrieved from the crypt of ‘old walks’ in the last few months, dusted off and used for training purposes due to the hills, hills and more hills dotted throughout. It was last listed on the club program seventeen years ago so it was thought that it was a good opportunity to resurrect it as the replacement.

Set in the Mogendoura Ranges just west of Moruya, the walk is 13kms long and contained within the Wandera State Forest.  As the area is still recovering from the 2019/20 bushfires, vegetation is light along the tops of the ranges however this provided some nice views to Mt Wamban in the south and the Moruya to Broulee areas in the east and north east.  Down in the gullies there was some lovely walking, particularly along Snake Gully Road which skirts along a pretty creek.  Thankfully no snakes were encountered, only copious amounts of spiders and their webs which the walk leader dutifully collected on her body throughout that track.

All in all it was a nice walk on a lovely day even if the participants didn’t believe the walk leader when she chanted the age old walk leader’s mantra “this is the last hill.”  But they had the last laugh at lunchtime when the conversation took a sinister turn.  The topic revolved around the up and coming first aid course that members were attending.  The discussion initially covered the treatment for stings from jelly fish, blue bottles and the like then, to the horror of the walk leader, certain members discussed their desire to practice some CPR!  Knowing that there was still at least three kilometers to walk and the fact that the standard ten percent allowable attrition rate on each walk still applied a quick mathematical equation was applied by the walk leader to which she was immediately relieved. With only eight walkers this meant that we were only talking limbs and other bits and pieces, albeit on multiple walkers.  It was nothing that a few band-aids and compression bandages couldn’t handle until we got back to the cars.  A relief indeed!

Donna

Snowball Camp

Tuesday 13 – Thursday 15 April 2021

Photos courtesy of Philip, Erika and Ian

The postponed three day Snowball camp within Deua National Park, originally planned for February, attracted eight BBBW campers plus two colleagues from the Canberra Club.  The weather was perfect, the campsite lovely, and the walking was varied, enjoyable and, as you will see, triumphant.

We set up base camp on the edge of the Woila/Deua Wilderness Area at Breakfast Creek, on the junction of Middle Mountain Road and Minuma Range Firetrail, accessible from the Braidwood/Cooma Road.

On day one, a 15km loop through the (very) upper Shoalhaven River was a good warm up.  This almost featureless area was great practice for the skills of our new map and compass navigators.  There were many consultations!

The entire area was burnt in the 2019-20 bushfires but most of this tablelands open forest did not suffer too much damage.  Importantly, almost all the undergrowth was eliminated including the big patches of normally impenetrable Dwarf Casuarina.  Apart from some rocky ground areas, the walking across the relatively flat large basin was comfortable with good views across swamps and heath.  It is probably the only place you can jump across the Shoalhaven River without getting your boots wet.

On day two we tackled the main objective of the camp.  About 20 years ago, whilst using aerial photos in a work related exercise, your author observed a significant waterfall on Breakfast Creek where it tumbles into the Woila Creek catchment.  Upon checking the contour map, it was a surprise to see it was neither named nor marked.  Nor were the cascades associated with it.  Enquiries of locals and a search of the literature drew a blank, so a promise was made that this waterfall had to be checked out.

The aerial photos show a number of small waterfalls and cascades on the two arms of Breakfast Creek in rough, rocky, steep valleys, taking more than a day to fully investigate.  So, on this day we planned to go only to the main drop, in a 6km round trip.

We approached the gorge from the north and dropped steeply, pausing to admire one small waterfall on the way, and there were other falls and cascades which we could not get close to.  We finally reached the pretty, tree fern lined, junction of the two arms of Breakfast Creek.  After some steep and rugged traversing of loose rock and fire debris on the east side, and bashing through the remains of lawyer vine, we achieved our main goal – the top of the main drop.  It was impressive.

The Breakfast Creek Falls are about 40 metres high plus another 10 metres of cascade above.  We were able to stand on the very lip of the drop to observe the “hole” and the lower rock lined gorge but in this position we could not see the falls themselves.

After lunch, with a bit of steep rock scrambling through the remains of dense half burnt undergrowth and “fire resistant” lawyer vine, we were able to get almost to the base of the falls.  Most importantly, we could photograph it.  The recent rains provided a good water flow and the cameras went into overdrive.

Eventually, we had to leave. The climb back out immediately west of the falls was very steep with lots of loose rock and other material requiring careful avoidance of descending debris.  There were some unforgettable moments.  One climber still insists on “sensing a football whizzing past my head”.

The difficulty of getting into, and out of, the site was well worth the effort but, unfortunately, it also came with a small cost.  Bringing up the rear (a bit unusual but ensuring everyone got out safely) “dear leader” copped a large rock on the foot.  Back at camp, the bruising, particularly to one toe, was revealed to be severe enough to cancel the third day’s walk (prompting some wag to try to call a toe truck!).

 

Nevertheless, on the third day, after decamping, we visited the planned walk area anyway and drove to the Big Badja Trig site on the Great Dividing Range.  It is always worth a visit because it gives 360 degree glorious views.  It is one of the few mainland sites where, in winter on a clear day, you can see both snow and ocean.

Notable features were Gulaga and the rugged rock outcrops of Mother Woila in the east, Wadbillaga to the south, and the broad open plains of the upper Murrumbidgee around Cooma.  We also recognised the near meeting of five significant river catchments – the Shoalhaven, Deua, Tuross, Badja and Queanbeyan Rivers.

Still within sunshine, we headed home to coffee, warm showers and other trappings of civilization.

In summary, the camp was successful and the main objective of getting to a long planned significant waterfall was achieved.  The (now named) Breakfast Creek Falls are impressive and, considering the scarcity of significant waterfalls on the South Coast/Tablelands, it is curiously unknown.  It should certainly be marked on the map, possibly formally named.  Further exploration of the upstream cascades and downstream gorge of Breakfast Creek, is well justified.

Ian

Plovers Lane Jindamar Ramble

Thursday 15 April 2021

Photos provided by Brian and Helen

Batemans Bay Bushwalkers travelled south of Narooma for this midweek walk.  It’s a long way for our walkers to travel, but our destination was a beautiful little pocket of Eurobodalla National Park featuring a scenic coastal track, a couple of beaches and Nargal Lake.

We started by walking the newly graded Bogola Head Road to the coast, and then turned north onto Plovers Lane which undulates over the headlands towards Handkerchief Beach.  After a long break on a grassy headland opposite Montague Island, we retraced our steps, descended to Fullers Beach and walked south to the dunes behind Nargal Lake.  There we had another long break overlooking the lake and the ocean.

Our return leg was on an old forest track littered with recently fallen trees and festooned with spider webs – something of an obstacle course.  Our circuit totalled about 9 kilometres.

Karen

Navigation Day

Thursday 8 April and Friday 9 April 2021

Sixteen members of the Batemans Bay Bushwalking Club took part in the map and compass navigation course last week, developed and presented by Ian.

After receiving a very positive response to holding the course, Ian very kindly decided to offer it over two days, so that the groups would be more manageable. I was in the first group and certainly the smaller groups were much better.

Ian took us through the theory of navigating, positioning oneself, planning and following a route, using maps and compass to find our way.  There was more involved than I had expected and it was a good feeling, when one got that ‘light bulb moment’ and it all started coming together.

We put all of our theory and compass practice to the test after lunch, when Ian sent us off into the bush to find our way back to the cars.  With the thick undergrowth and no tracks, I, for one, was certainly glad I was getting the hang of using that compass!

Thank you Ian from all of your ‘students’.  We appreciate all of the planning and effort that you put into developing the Navigation Day and particularly splitting it up into two days to allow smaller group sizes.   In return, we promise to practice, practice, practice!

Gay

Sproxtons Circuit Walk

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Photos courtesy of Karen, Anne-Louise and Gay

Thirteen seems to be my lucky number as again today, I had thirteen walkers for the Sproxtons Circuit walk.  We welcomed one visitor and were happy to see some new members joining us again for their second or third walk.

After the rain last night, the air was fresh and water droplets glistened in the leaves of the trees lining the track.  The 5.2kms was a very pleasant ramble along 4wd tracks east of Nelligen with a few luminous ghost fungus spotted along the way.

We completed the circuit in just under two hours and some walkers were heading off to either treat themselves to a nice lunch in the Bay or a swim, as it was lovely and sunny but a tad humid.  Overall, a very pleasant morning walk.

Gay

Myrtle Beach, Big Tree

Sunday 4 April 2021

Easter Sunday saw more people than usual on the beaches in Murramarang National Park near South Durras, but we generally had the bush tracks to ourselves, apart from a couple of cyclists.

Our 10 km Easy/Medium walk started at South Durras Village and traversed Mill Beach and Wasp Head.  We passed above Emily Miller Beach and Dark Beach, then dropped down onto Myrtle Beach for a morning tea break in the shade.  The group then took forest tracks to the west and then north through dappled shade.  This section of the forest has quite a few large trees and branches down, which we skirted.

As the temperature climbed towards 28 deg C, we stopped at the top of a hill for lunch, and then it was an easy meander back to the village.

Karen

Eurobodalla Regional Botanical Gardens

Thursday 1 April 2021

Photos courtesy of Helen

A perfect Autumn day for a stroll around the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens. Jill greeted 10 walkers in the car park and after the usual Covid registrations all 11 headed off.  Three members enjoyed ‘back to childhood’ rides on the slippery dip and then we all observed how the bush is regenerating after the fires. So much has been done clearing tracks and burnt trees. Well done to all who have achieved so much to date.

It was wonderful to hear the bird life and see 2 kangaroos who preferred to observe us from a distance.

We enjoyed our morning tea snacks in picnic style. After the recent rains the contrast of the brilliant green vegetation and the charred trees was wonderful, and witnessed many ants nest along the tracks.

Some walkers decided a coffee at the Gardens was a perfect way to end a delightful morning.  Thank you Jill.

Helen

Lemon Tree Creek

Thursday 1 April 2021

Photos courtesy of Karen and Helen

Thirteen Batemans Bay Bushwalkers were very happy to be out and about hiking in the bush behind Lake Tabourie on what was shaping up to be a glorious autumn day.  The Sun was shining, the air was fresh and clean after all the recent rains and it was just good to catch up with friends again on the track.

The bushwalkers wound their way through the bush – along fire trails, mountain bike trails, two short stints on gravel roads and some smaller tracks down near the creeks which fortunately we were all able to cross without getting our boots too wet.  The undergrowth was pretty thick which made the hiking very pleasant as it was all green and the burnt trees didn’t quite stand out as much.

No snakes to be seen but loads of cobwebs across the track and incredibly one very industrious spider had already spun a new web across the track for our return leg!

All in all a pretty straight forward 10.3kms hike with a few long slow hills to get the heart rate up and with the bit of humidity about we all enjoyed stopping for morning tea and lunch to cool down.

Gay

Jagungal Wilderness Recce

Monday 15 – Friday 19 March 2021

Photos courtesy of Rachael, Donna, Glenn, Helen, Mary and Gay

Seven keen Batemans Bay Bushwalkers headed off in to the Snowy Mountains last week to undertake a recce of the Jagungal Wilderness Walk.  It’s a 44 km circuit starting from the carpark at the beginning of the Round Mountain trail and we did it over three and a bit days!

 

It was my very first backpack walk over a few days carrying what felt like everything bar the kitchen sink in my pack!  I haven’t been sure if I was really into this type of overnight multi day hiking but have to say, I am now hooked!  We were very fortunate with the weather – light misty rain overnights but good walking weather during the day – or as Donna, would say, Perfect!

 

This was an opportunity for those of us inexperienced hikers to ‘have a go’ with some like minded hikers with no pressure and lots of discussions on equipment and general hiking tips and advice.

 

It was about a 6 hour drive from Moruya to the carpark with a lovely stop in Nimmitabel Bakery for morning coffee and lunch at the Adaminaby Bakery.  On Monday afternoon we walked 1.5kms to the Round Mountain Hut campsite arriving about 4.30p.m.

 

On day 2, we walked from Round Mountain hut to O’Keefe’s Hut campsite – approximately 13.8kms including a river crossing!  Mary tried the garbage bags over her boots but alas it was not very successful.  The rest of us had croc type shoes which did work well and were light to carry.

 

On Day three, we walked 5kms to the Mt Jagungal trackhead at Tumut River.  Three of us were keen to walk to the top and left our packs at the trackhead while the others walked on the 2.3kms to Derschkos Hut and had an afternoon of rest and relaxation.  The walk to the top of Mt Jagungal was 5.7kms return in a very diverse environment – head high heath, some rocky scree to negotiate, a lovely ridge but in gale force freezing winds, and then the clouds over Mt Jagungal.  Well worth the effort and once the clouds cleared, the views were amazing.  We eventually joined up with the others at Derschkos Hut around 4p.m.

 

Day four and our final 14.5 kms to complete back to our cars and given it was all on good tracks (except for a few surprise hills!) we were back at the cars by 1p.m.

 

Our final night was spent at Three Mile Dam and then after a very quick pack up in the morning due to the inclement weather, we headed to Adaminaby Bakery for brekky and Cobargo for lunch arriving back in Moruya around 2p.m.

 

Everyone was really happy with their achievements and I, for one, can say that I am ready to do more multi day hikes!

 

Thank you Karen for organising, Mary for inspiring us, Donna, Glenn, Rachael and Helen for being part of this awesome team. And if you are like me and are interested in multi day hikes but not sure whether its right for you, don’t hesitate to talk to us.  We would love to regale you with our experiences!

Gay