South Durras Bush, Lake and Beach

Thursday 11 July 2019


Photos by Carol & Ainslie/Mike

Though strong winds howled for most of the previous night, the day started with a clear blue sky and light wind,  thus enticing 18 walkers out for a 7 km walk in and around South Durras.

Departing from the boat ramp at Cookies Beach, the group were soon walking through the bush along the Old Durras Road.  After crossing the new Durras Rd, we continue through the bush until reaching Fern Drive, where we skirted behind the houses and made our way to the new boat ramp on the lakeshore.   Not only is there a new boat ramp, but the surrounding area has been fully developed including the addition of a toilet block.  However, the highpoint for the walkers was to see that the South Durras Community Association had been busy landscaping the area including the planting of over 300 small shrubs.

After lunch, we then made our way to the lake entrance noting that the lake is currently closed to the sea.    Durras Lake, along with many on the south coast of NSW, is known as “ICOLL” lakes, ie Intermittently Closed and Open Lakes and Lagoons. Most occur south of Sydney where the catchment areas are often smaller and wave activity generally higher which pushes sand into the estuary mouth.  ICOLLs open and close to the ocean naturally in a constant but irregular cycle.  These lakes become closed when a sand beach barrier or berm separates them from the sea.  If there is heavy rains in the catchment area eventually the lake water spills over this barrier and the force of the water scours a channel, and the lake re-opens.

However, wave and tide action can push sand up onto the beach and the estuary can eventually close.   It is estimated that 70% of ICOLLs are closed most of the time.

Signs remind walkers & beach goers that the sheltered dunes near the lakes entrance are a popular breeding grounds for the endangered Pied Oyster Catcher and Hooded Plovers.   Making our way down onto the beach we soon felt the full force of the wind.  However it wasn’t long before we were back behind the dunes taking full advantage of the new pathway on the homeward journey.   The final off track stretch was just behind Cookies Beach, walking under the huge Norfolk Island Pine Trees which were planted around  1945.  Another great day and another pleasant club walk.