Welcome to our activities reports page. Here we post reports from our bushwalks and social activities.
14 members & 4 visitors glad that the weather bureau was wrong again as we enjoyed the sun and beautiful weather on our walk in the Botany Bay National Park.
The ocean was at its sparkling best, even a couple of whales sprayed away for us, and a few of the walkers were even lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins. It made us glad we live in the beautiful country as we walked along this part of the coastal walk past Cape Salander over the rocks, through sand and bush on our way to the lighthouse and see all those beautiful views. On our way back to the cars it was a different scenery all together, after we beat our way through pools of muddy water, we walked through tropical forest like terrain, with palms ferns and coastal bushes. Hopefully a wonderful day had by all, thank you everyone.
10 Devils and 4 visitors left the Catho for the drive to the Wattle Ridge entry point of Nattai NP.
Through the gate and along the 11E fire trail we headed. A few uphill sections and we soon reached the Starlights Trail turn off. Along Starlights then onto the Rocky Waterholes Ck trail then turn off again onto the Ahearn Lookout Track. We reached Point Hill right on schedule for morning tea. Point Hill is a great spot for a stop as it affords some great views from Mt Jellore all the way around to Yerranderie Peak. Rested and ready we hit the track again. The track out to Ahearn is undulating but not hard, the only spot where some caution is required is when going past the Slott Way turn off. The Slott way is well worn and it is easy to mistakenly take this track instead of the Ahearn Track. We made good time and arrived at the first lookout that gives a stunning view down the Nattai River valley. Everyone was impressed with the views.
We reached our lunch spot near Ahearn Lookout ahead of schedule so we downed packs and headed over to the lookout proper. A fire has cleared out the scrub around the lookout which making the views even better than usual. Everyone agreed how good this spot is. A relaxed lunch break was enjoyed overlooking the Nattai river.
Time came to leave and the walk out is just a straight return the way we came.
P.S. - I have very recently found some more information about who Ahearn was and his story. If you're interested in his story just ask me next time we see each other.
15 Members and 4 visitors set off from the southern end of Bondi Beach past the Bondi Icebergs Club and up to Mackenzie’s Point, from where we took in the magnificent north and south coastal views.
Prior to Tamarama Beach we sighted a flying drone as we made our way to Bronte Beach, eager for a refreshment stop. Rita went ahead to claim a shelter hut with some shade enabling us to enjoy our morning tea.
Refreshed, we set off on the path/roadway up through the cliff cutting towards Waverley Cemetery for more good views of the coastline. The wooden platform walkway across the cliff face at Waverley Cemetery was closed in June 2016 because of wild storms, severe erosion and rock sides on the cliff face. A signed detour took us through the Cemetery giving us the opportunity to observe various historical scripted head stones and monuments.
We regrouped on the southern pathway then set off to Clovelly Beach (looking more of a giant ocean pool than a beach) and onto Gordons Bay known for its famous underwater reefs and marine life trail and frequented by Scuba and Snorkel divers. Upright board paddlers were seen as we passed by the sandy beach with its slipe ways and small aluminium boats.
The pathway around Gordon’s Bay is probably the steepest part of the walk with a number of challenging staircases that took our breaths away. At the top of the hill we paused for a short time to catch our breath.
Arriving at Coogee Beach, a greater number of surfers were in the water than at other beaches and Jeffery and Luis enjoyed taking their time (with huge long smiles on their faces) along the pathway past the Volley Ball Players (all feminine) on the beach. At the southern end of the beach Glenys found it amusing to see a few surf life savers lying on their boards paddling with their arms as well as bicycle riding with their bent legs. (Will it make them go faster?).
Coogee behind us we climbed the steep pathway to the top of the cliff opposite Wedding Cake Island then down to an interesting wetland section crossed by a boardwalk and steps onto the lookout overlooking Ivor Rowe Ocean pool.
From here we deviate inland onto various streets before arriving at Seaside Ave where there was a steep flight of steps leading down to the large rocky platform in Lurline Bay. Being low tide it was possible to carefully rock hop/walk across the platform, avoiding the rockpools to re-join the track at Marine Parade.
At this point Carmel wished us well, said her good byes and left to visit her family for a midday lunch. Shortly afterwards we arrived at Maroubra Beach looking forward to our lunch. Rita and Kay found a good grassy area under a shady tree. Chantel decided that see needed to lie down and regain here strength and Annie headed to the beach for a cool swim before joining us for lunch.
Before catching the bus back to Central Railway a group photo was taken by John Hardy (Luis’s camera) who had come to meet Selina and Annie.
Although the bus trip was delayed at Randwick for a change of drivers we arrived at Central Railway in good time to catch the 2.54pm train back to Macarthur.
Excellent weather made it possible for a good day’s walk. Fun & laughter enjoyed by all members and visitors.
Continuing rain through the week made the original walk plan unsafe to undertake so an alternative walk was undertaken.
A small group headed out to the RNP. Rain was our companion as we drove north through Maddens Plain but this is not unusual as the escarpment gets more rain than most areas. As we drove through the RNP the rain cleared and spirits raised. We set off from Bundeena heading along Jibbon Beach and found the track around Jibbon Head has been upgraded. The Aboriginal engravings can now be viewed from a new viewing platform. The upgraded track heads around Port Hacking Point before heading south. We missed the turn off and ended up on the fire trail heading back towards Bundeena. The fire trail is soft sand and was very tiring to walk on. We enjoyed our morning tea break on a rock by the trail.
Back on the Coastal Track we headed south past Wedding Cake Rock (stupid people continue to climb the fence to take photos on the rock) and onto Marley Beach. Along the way we took time to see if we could find a rock engraving and we did. The wind was howling and we had to head around the back of Marley Head for lunch.
After lunch I split off and headed down to Little Marley whilst Nena took the others walkers up to the fishing hut ruins behind Big Marley before we returned to Bundeena. We ended up being lucky with the weather as the worst of it seemed to go around us. We did encounter squalls and the only time we had any real rain was on the way back to Bundeena.
After rattling our teeth on the dirt road to the camp site and just about killing ourselves in the humidity putting up our tents, we had an enjoyable three days.
It was great just relaxing in the beautiful surroundings, looking at the tree covered mountains and bush, meeting the locals who came to stickybeak, including a goanna, peacocks and hens, kangaroos, and wombats using our tents as backscratchers in the night.
Some of the hearty campers went on an extended walk while the rest of us wandered around the vast camp grounds and down to the river to watch some children ride the rapids. In the evenings we enjoyed our happy hour and talking of some of the antics of past camps. The final night we all sat around the great camp fire which Jochen made for us.
The rain gods were not too bad, mainly raining at night and a few sprinkles during the day.
Thank you all for coming, hopefully a good time was had by all.
We left Campbelltown with 6 members and 1 visitor to drive to Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains National Park. We made good time arriving at Euroka Clearing just after 9:00 am. I explained that we would do the walk in reverse and start on the Bennetts Ridge Firetrail and return via Euroka Creek. Along the way we spotted a couple of wallabies and listened out for various bird calls. We took the turnoff to Nepean River and headed down the steep hill. Where the track meets the river is only a very small clearing so we paused there a while and watched some boats on the river. Looking across the river to the cliffs on the other side, we estimated that we were directly opposite a lookout (it was Rileys Mountain Lookout which can be reached on another walk on the Mulgoa side).
Then it was time to retrace our steps up the steep hill, and we took the right turn along the track that follows Euroka Creek all the way back to the carpark. We had our morning tea at a picnic table with quite a few wallabies around and a solitary magpie. From there we walked to a small creek where we could see many grinding grooves, as this area had been an Aboriginal campsite for many thousands of years.
As our walk had been fairly short, I had planned to visit a couple of lookouts in the area. The first one is Tunnel View Lookout which had spectacular views of Glenbrook Gorge and also of where the tunnel was. But from this vantage point you could not see the entrances. Sadly there were not any trains along the track. The next was Portal Lookout which gives the viewer a great view up and down the Nepean River. This was also a site for abseilers, with a very interesting overhang as the start for their descent.
Then we drove to Jellybean Pool which is still in the national park, but just before the entrance gate. Everyone agreed the road down was a bit scary, especially around the blind corners. We enjoyed our lunch here and were very pleased that it was not too crowded. Some time was spent paddling and just relaxing.
We did the short walk back to the cars and said our goodbyes. Everyone agreed that it had been a most enjoyable day.
A warm morning greeted us as we assembled at the gate on Freres Rd. It was nice to have some visitors along for the walk.
We started our walk by following the loop track around the top of Freres Reserve, which has recovered well from a hazard reduction burn some time back. As we walked we could see that 100s of small trees have been cut down at waist height, a weird sight. A short off-track and we arrived at a spot high on the cliffs above the river that gives a view down to the crossing. The trees have grown quite a lot and the view isn't as good as I remember it to have been.
Back to the loop track and we headed around to a spot that I have been told was a sawmill. Before electricity came to Campbelltown wood for fires and the bakery was collected from around this area. There is also a good chance the sawmill would have been steam powered. Not much is left to look at but still worth the stop to appreciate the history. We started to decend to the crossing by an old track that parallels the fire road. Not far from the crossing is a short off-track to an impressive cave that has some grafitti from 1929. Some debate ensued as the inscription phrasing is not clear and it may be from 1949. We soon arrived at the crossing where we had a tea break. A few in the group remembered driving down to the crossing (which was some decades ago).
After a relaxed break we set off on the "rough" (code for nearly non-existent) track to the swimming hole. Even with our relaxed pace we still arrived at the swimming hole early so into the water went most. By now it was hot and the refreshing water was a relief. After a nice swim and an extended lunch break it was time to go. By now the temp and humidty were well up and getting to the cars was a relief. Freres Crossing and beyond makes a nice summer walk.
16 Mountain Devils booked in for the walk on Sunday. 14 left from the Catholic Club carpark and we met Rosanne and Trevor down at Wattamolla. There was little sprinkling of rain on our way down to Wattamolla but although cloudy for most of the day the rain didn’t eventuate. We set off on our 8km walk and soon came to the dam where I thought we might stop on our way back for lunch and maybe a quick dip if anyone was interested. If it was going to be a hot day we would have just waked to Big Marley and back but as it was a good day for walking we did the loop past Deer Pool. 7 decided to go to navigate down to Deer Pool and Ros lead the other 9 to Little Marley where we met up for morning tea. There were quite a few blue bottles washed up on the sand. The white caps whipped up by the wind danced on top of the waves as they came crashing in on the rocks and beach while we were enjoying our break. We did stop at the dam on the way back but nobody wanted to take the opportunity for a swim or a paddle. There were a lot of people doing the walk on Sunday, it was like Pitt Street in peak hour. We had three minor falls on the walk with no injuries recorded.
We had 16 (including 1 visitor) leave Campbelltown for Appin, where we met 3 others ready for this walk from Appin Park. As there was such a large group we discussed our lunch options and we decided we would come back to the Appin Hotel. Our local resident Terri suggested we book for lunch as it can be busy on a Sunday, so we booked 2 large tables.
We started on the Kennedy Creek Walk which leads to King Street, and then at the end of King Street we joined the Market Fire Trail which took us across the George's River with very little water in it. It was pleasant walking except for uneven ground and some loose rocks. We also kept a lookout for pushbikes and motorbikes that could be in the area. We reached Marhnyes Hole in good time and we stopped here for morning tea and a general explore of the area. We met one family there - the children we having fun watching objects float down between the rocks. There are some interesting rock formations and a waterfall. Also a dam that was built many years ago by a farmer. Fortunately Glenys had a historical book on Appin which proved to be very interesting for some of us. She told us that on the other side of the waterfall there used to be a house, but all that is left now is a water tank. Michael was lucky enough to find it and take a photo.
It was still early and we had plenty of time before heading back for lunch, so I asked Terri (an Appin resident) about any more tracks leading down to the river. She said there are and she would show us. So it was probably only another kilometre further on we took off to the left and down the steep track to the river again. Quite a nice pool. She also told us that you could continue along the river for quite a way and eventually it would join another firetrail. (There are a lot of firetrails in this area!). She said the scenery along the river was very nice and there were a couple of caves too. This sounded like it would be a good idea for investigation later when the weather is not so hot. (It's good to get a bit of "local knowledge").
We retraced out way back to Marhnyes Hole and then took the track that kept close to the river back to the start of walk, but continued further along Market Fire Trail and then onto Market Steet. This led us straight to Appin Hotel. We really enjoyed that cold drink while we were waiting for lunch to be ready. By all accounts an enjoyable day, topped off with a great lunch.
5 members and 1 visitor set off from the Catho for the drive to Heathcote railway station. We parked on the RNP side of the railway station and only had to wait a short time for the train to Waterfall to arrive. Off the train and through the renovated station parking lot to the trail head. A short bush track pops out at the old oval/helipad before arriving at the Uloola firetrail. A short walk along the trail and we arrive at the memorial for five fire fighters who were killed in the area fighting a bush fire. A poignant reminder of the dangers that volunteer fire fighters face.
The Uloola fire trail is a bit on the boring side but the occasional view through the trees and the number of wildflowers can keep the interest up. After a long plod we arrived at the end of the fire trail where NPWS have built a nice new toilet block. A quick comfort stop and we headed down the hill to the camping area and it was time for a late morning tea break.
A relaxing break was followed by a visit to the falls above the camp ground. Back on the Uloola Falls track and off to Karloo Pool. The climb out of the creek valley took us past Uloola Turrets before the track flattens out. Lots of wildflowers and the occasional city view along the tops before the trail starts back down again heading for Karloo Pool. Arriving at the pool we were greeted by a big, beautiful pool of crystal clear water. Only problem was it was also the destination for lots of people and became very crowded, something we are not use to as we normally go to more out of the way places.
Finishing lunch we set off on the long climb out of the valley taking a couple of rest stops on the way. It was amazing to be passed by lots of people that were heading down to Karloo Pool for a swim. The track flattens out for a while and offers some pretty views and more wildflowers before one last uphill section and we arrived back at Heathcote.
Clear skies all day made for a warm walk especially in the open sections but this is a very enjoyable walk in the RNP.
12 of us including 5 second time visitors made our way by train and bus to Rozelle for the start of an urban walk. Here we split for half an hour or so to explore the collectors markets. Then we strolled along Darling Street admiring the interesting shops, houses and buildings. Not much to see at the next markets. We then diverted down and around some hilly and narrow streets passing several grand old mansions. This included Clontarf Cottage 1844, the oldest brick house in the area 1838, the elegant Hampton Villa 1847 and the ornate Ewenton 1854.
Now down by the water, we continued around Ewenton Reserve by Camerons Cove, then up a particularly steep laneway lined with curious little old cottages. From the top we soon descended again, then along a waterfront reserve and down more steps to the water where there were some "stepping stones" in the harbour leading to Illoura Reserve. Lino was game to give it a go, but wisely no one else was, so we retreated to a safer approach. Along the reserve we stopped for lunch at a nice shady area facing across to Barangaroo .After lunch the group split, some catching a ferry to Darling Harbour, others a ferry to Circular Quay, then a train home after an enjoyable walk.
With back burning predicted for the Hornsby area it was a bit touch and go whether the walk would still go ahead but luckily they decided to defer the back burning due to the rain on Friday.
6 Devils met on the train for a bit of train hopping to Thornleigh arriving at 9.12am. We had a short walk along the streets to the start of this section of the Great North Walk. It was an ideal day for walking as the temperature was mild with a cool breeze. With Harry leading to set the pace, it wasn’t long before we saw bush turkeys looking for a feed. The bush was burnt and blackened from an earlier back burn a bit further on but that didn't stop us. We continued to Waitara Creek where we stopped for lunch with the water dragons watching on. After lunch we continued on to The Berowra Bushland Park for a quick rest before tackling the 280 or so steps out of the valley. Lino did offer Harry a ride to the station in a shopping cart but Harry declined. There was a short wait at Hornsby Station for the train trip home.
On a beautiful cool sunny morning 13 members and 5 visitors set out from Taronga Zoo Wharf up the roadway for a short distance before descending onto the bushland track, which was a mix of graded gravel, wooden platforms and rough limestone steps, through red gum tree areas where we saw Australian Native Turkeys scratching around in the bush, a number of termite nests high up in the trees as well as many wildflowers. Splendid views of the Sydney Skyscrapers, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House were photographed.
At Bradley’s Head we noticed the limestone jetty jutting out from the amphitheatre (popular site for weddings), the naval ship HMAS Sydney’s Mask erected on the headland and a circular sandstone monument with plaques commemorating lost naval ships during WWI and WWII.
At the memorial information sign Carmel recalled the last time she had done this walk in 2014 the group had waved to the Prime Minister Tony Aborted, in a Commonwealth car, who was at Bradley’s to commentate the plagues and the 22 native trees.
We continued along the track sighting large and small dragon lizards lying on rocks in the sun or hiding in the bushes and paused at Taylor’s Bay were the information sign noted a Japanese midget submarine came to rest after its WWII torpedo raid in Sydney Harbour. Arriving at Clifton Gardens many picnickers were enjoying the sunny day and a few brave swimmers were in the tidal baths. Our morning tea break was at Chowder Head on an unfenced rock platform providing us with stunning harbour views of South Head, Vaucluse, Rose Bay, Shark Island and Bradleys Head.
Refreshed and refuelled we set off to Georges Head and at the intersection at the Bacino Bar we pick up the steep stone stepped walking track to the top of Georges Head Battery and the Lookout. At the Lower Georges Heights section of the track we passed by the Artists' Colony and the WWI Hospital arriving not long after at the intersection of the track and Military Road.
After descending the long flight of stairs to Balmoral Oval we arrived at Balmoral Beach. Protected on the track from the coastal winds we tried to keep warm in the cooler blustery winds at Balmoral Beach whilst having lunch on the Esplanade. Arriving at our destination earlier then planned we cut short our lunch break to catch the bus back to Taronga Zoo Wharf for an earlier ferry back to Circulate Quay and the fast train home. An enjoyable day for all members and visitors.
We had 15 members and 1 visitor meet in the usual place, and then drove out to Appin to start this walk. We parked at the beginning of 10B firetrail on a lovely sunny morning. From there we had to make our way to firetrail No. 10 gate (where there is not much parking). It was a narrow winding track with an abundant number of gymea lillies and some waratahs in full bloom. Then we followed no. 10 firetrail past more wonderful lillies and waratahs - this would take us all the way to Darkes Forest. We stopped at an intersection where we looked for shady spots for our morning tea. It was starting to warm up now. Many photos had already been taken.
A little further on we came to Maddens Creek and easily crossed over the water. Then a short distance to Darkes Forest Road, where we crossed to the other side (for safer walking). We spotted a large goanna near the gutter and Lorraine thought she would take it's photo, but alas - it was not alive! The track to Maddens Falls starts on this road, just opposite the Appleshack Orchard which looked very interesting. We walked down to the waterfall, where we took photos and then had an early lunch. Some of us explored a bit, and found a track of some sort down to a rock ledge (halfway down the waterfall) which gave us a better view and more photos. Some of us also walked back up the creek, through some prickly bushes and across rocky waterholes.
It was soon time to start heading back the same way, and quite a few of us wanted to see what was for sale at the apple orchard. Luckily they had apple cider tasting (excellent cider, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) plus fruit and lots of other items for sale. So some of us would be carrying extra weight in our backpacks!! A few of us did buy an apple cider for drinking on the way (not mentioning any names!)
On the way back along the firetail it was noted by some that it seemed to be uphill (slightly) all the way back. It was a bit of a slog, but interesting banter along the way kept us going. We were glad to arrive back at the cars, as it was quite hot now. An enjoyable day with a nice group of people.
With an overnight change in the weather forecast from possible shower to 60% chance of RAIN a re-think was in order. I decided to still go to Heathcote NP but do a shorter walk in the south-east of the NP.
5 walkers left the catho for the drive to Waterfall. We set off and headed down the knee cracking descent that is Waterfall Gully. We took the fire trail that heads towards the old railway dam that is Lake Toolooma. Arriving at the lake we stopped to inspect the old steam boiler. Charlie shared his knowledge about steam boilers which really added to the experience. We also checked out the dam wall before heading back towards the Bullawarring Track.
Didn't take long till we reached Kingfisher Pool and decided to take advantage of the picnic table and have morning tea. Checked out the waterfalls and pools nearby. We finished our break and continued along the Bullawarring before turning off to head up Myuna Ck to the first waterfall. Someone has been putting out cairns and flag tape up Myuna Ck, interesting to know we aren't the only people that wander up Myuna Ck. We had another break here to take in the ambience and have a chat about the hidden gem that Myuna Ck is.
For a bit of variety we headed back to the cars via the Mooray Track. This track slowly ascends Mooray Gully and crosses the gully creek before ascending to Bondel Ridge. At the creek crossing we were able to identify three different types of Sundew plants. An interesting find. Mooray Track crosses Bondel Gully passing through Angophora/Ironbark forest filled with Lomandra and Gymea Lilly. Such a pretty location. We got back to the car by midday so we decided to drive over to Sublime Point for lunch. So much for the 60% chance of rain as we only had a few drops fall as we drove to sublime Point. A relaxing lunch in the picnic shelter and a visit to the lookout was followed by a short walk. For a hastily rejigged walk it went well and we all enjoyed the walk.
11 members and 1 visitor set out from Manly Wharf on an overcast morning just as it start to drizzle lightly. Harry joined the leader at the front and Nena offered to act as tail end Charlie. As we walked along the foreshore pavement there were various historic and commemorative plagues, including plaques commemorating Manly's many Olympians, past and present. At Federation Point we passed by the bronze busts of Sir Henry Parkes and Sir Edmond Barton on the sandstone plinths at the stairs just below Commonwealth Pde.
Passing by Delwood Beach we noticed on the walkway white painted images and signs warning us that there were Penguins About in this ‘Wildlife Protection Area’, but we didn't see any birds. As we walked on through the harbour-side suburb we were able to see the contrast between the old and new homes.
It wasn't long before we descended to the foreshore at North Harbour Reserve and some people spotted small fish swimming in the calm crystal clear water. Comments were made about the beautiful calm, clean water around Manly Cove and the Harbour.
The Clarence Street pedestrian bridge, south of North Harbour Reserve was closed. Council had erected detour signs to assist users of the Manly Scenic Walkway to find their way around the closed bridge. This detour route added an additional 500m onto our walk. As we passed by the North Harbour Sailing Club, whispers of 'when will we be on track' were heard at the front of the group. It was only a short distance after this that we saw the Scenic Manly bushland track walk sign. Entering the track it wasn't long before a very, very friendly Australian Bush Turkey walking on the track stopped the group allowing photos to be taken of it scratching around. However, when someone mentioned 'Roast Turkey' for dinner the bird quickly took off into the nearby scrub.
A short comfort break at Forty Baskets reserve was very welcomed, more spectacular views of Manly Cove and the entrance to Sydney Harbour were seen before taking to the southern foreshore to scramble across the beach rocks, keeping our feet dry from the receding tide, to re-join the North Harbour track walk near Reef Bay Beach.
Although it was still showery our morning tea break was very welcomed, having climbed many, many sandstone stairs and walked through the scrub to reach the Arabanoo Lookout (named in honour of the first Aboriginal man to live among European settlers) at Dobroyd Head which offered more fantastic views of North and South Head and glimpses of the city skyscrapers.
From the south western end of Tania Park we re-joined the scenic walk track on the Grotto Point track. We continued to notice lots of wildflowers just starting to come into full bloom and stopped at the Aboriginal rock engraving site to see the well preserved etched images of a giant kangaroo, boomerangs, a whale and several small fish in timber enclosures with informative signs.
Back on track again and it wasn’t long before we came to a defined side track that lead to the historical Grotto Point Lighthouse. The leader said the Lighthouse was ~200 meters (a definite miscalculation, more like 700 meters one way) down the track so half the group elected to wait whilst the other half with the leader walked down the well-marked track to the Lighthouse. Again the views of the harbour were marvellous and we were fortunate to see two cormorants standing like statues on a very large rock outcrop at the water’s edge below the cliff.
On the return walk we saw another Australian Bush Turkey as well as tiny Red-breasted Wrens darting in and out of the scrub. By now our group back on the main track were becoming concerned (possibly tired of waiting too) with the length of time we were away and sent out a number of Cooee Calls which he returning group heard when ~50 meters away from the anxious group on the main track.
Continuing along the Grotto Point track it wasn’t long before we passed by Castle Rock Beach, walked carefully down the well-constructed timber platform stairs and onto the Duke of Edinburgh track. The rocky rain-like forest bush was different to the bush scrub we had experience earlier on the tracks. As we approached Clontarf Point we sited the Spit Bridge and in no time we reached the end of the track at Clontarf beach. Now that it was low tide we were able to leisurely walk along the Clontarf beach to the eastern end of the Clontarf reserve where we pasted a giant concrete structure which looked like it could have been some type of sewer outfall. (Found out later it was a Syphon for the Northern Ocean Outfall Sewer which crosses the Harbour at this point, mirroring a similar structure on the Spit side).
As the day was still overcast and unsettled, very few people were in the reserve so we had no trouble in acquiring the two picnic tables and seats under the shelter for a well-deserved lunch break and hot coffee from the Kiosk.
With our destination (Spit Bridge) in clear sight we set off with renewed strength and enthusiasm along the foreshore roadway, past Sandy Bay and onto the Fisher Bay Walking track with its sub-tropical rain-forest bush and turquoise green water in the Bay. Shortly on, The Scenic Manly Walkway track finished at a large reserve area just short of the road way leading up to Manly Road and the Spit Bridge. As we crossed the bridge the group had spread out. Our leader in front and a short distance from the bus stop hailed the driver of an oncoming government bus, but it didn’t slow down or stop. Believing the next bus wouldn’t be along for at least 30 minutes we were all pleased when a second bus traveling to Wynyard came along in 5 minutes. Our travel into the city passed quickly and it was even more pleasing at Wynyard station when we noticed our train to Macarthur would arrive within 5 minutes. We said our farewells down on the station platform and split up into two groups, some going to the front and back of the platform to wait for the train.
Although the walk start in overcast weather and drizzle that later developed into light showers everyone enjoyed the scenic walk and we were lucky the rain held off until we were on the train back to Macarthur.
In spite of the dire warnings issued by the Leader at the previous Club Meeting about the parlous state of the track and water being knee deep in places, fourteen brave Mountain Devils left the Catholic Club car park in enthusiastic and light hearted mood for our trip down to the Royal National Park and the Curra Moors Track. A rain free week had worked wonders and although it was still muddy and wet it was passable and creek levels were down from the hairy recon. Of the week before. The Leader revelled at being the head of a laughing, articulate column once more and we surged down through the mud with aplomb. We passed the Hippo tree, so named by Reg the Legend all those years ago, over the creeks and down to Eagle Rock for morning tea. The briny looked nice and clear with a nice sharp horizon and the waterfall overflow was well down on the previous week. We then continued up along the coastal track where a number of Gymea Lillies caught the eye before turning inland onto the loop track and back up the last slog to the car park for lunch. I have to report that three Devils fell over on this walk and I shall not name them BUT one was the President/ Welfare Officer another was the Safety Officer and the third was the Leader/ Secretary so there!!!. No injuries were sustained but our pride, its all part of the fun really lol. The Devils showed their chivalrous side when seven young Asian Students stumbled out of the track head as We were finishing lunch. They were hopelessly lost and trying to find Garie Beach so Nina took four and I took three and We gave them a lift so they could rejoin their friends. After that We picked up the rest of our gang and headed back to the jewel of the south west after yet another golden Mountain Devils Day Out.
A good rollup of 17 members and 1 visitor set off by train and ferry on a beautiful sunny winter's morning. From Rose Bay wharf we walked through Lynne Park, then up part of Heartbreak Hill before descending to the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. Some improvements on this track with boardwalks replacing eroded tracks, but still plenty of steps up and down through woodlands with craggy cliffs, secluded coves and spectacular harbour views.
Spotting a shaded area with seats in the expansive grounds of the historic Strickland House, it didn’t take much persuasion to stop for morning tea. Then on and down across the picturesque Nielsen Park and beach and out to Bottle and Glass Rocks.
Back out on the road, we admired some of the multimillion dollar houses then descended to the suspension bridge over Parsley Bay. With the 18 of us on this 100 year old pedestrian bridge, it soon started to sway, so we quickly moved to the other side. The majority then decided not to divert down to the bush track circuit walk so we continued on to Robertson Park, Watsons Bay where we spread out and enjoyed lunch before catching the ferry back to the city.
A good day was had by all.
Seven members and three visitors set out from Campbelltown to drive to Winmalee early in the morning. We made good time and set off on the fairly level track in mild weather and lovely sunshine. We took the right fork in the firetrail and after some time headed downhill, all the time keeping a look out for cyclists who frequent this area. We did see a couple of cyclists early in the day and they were not going seriously fast. Our morning tea was had at a campfire spot just before the first creek crossing. Alan and I did mention that the trail looked as if it had been upgraded - it was in very good condition, much better than last year. It also looked as if they had done some work (and drainage) at the creek crossing too.
We were in the lower section of the forest now and could see some Blue Gums and other trees and beautiful ferns. At the next intersection we turned right and headed up a very steep part of the firetrail to Bees Nest Hill. Then with another turn to the right we followed the trail to the Lookout. This is an unfenced lookout with views to North Grose Head opposite, with the junction of Springwood Creek and the Grose River directly below. We had our lunch here enjoying the magnificent views, and luckily one member had a look further up the track and found a spot with even better views, so we spent time enjoying that lookout as well.
Then it was time to start our way back, and down the steep hill, which seemed slightly easier than our trip up. We took a right turn at the signpost, so this would make our walk a circuit. It was lovely to be in the forest area with tall trees all around again and we eventually arrived back at the start of the walk. The weather had been fantastic and the firetrail was very good - it is quite often very muddy! Thank you to everyone who joined me for a very enjoyable walk.
The rain gods had decided to sleep in this morning as it was a glorious day. With 12 members and one visitor we did our car shuffle and left one vehicle at the end of the walk. We started off from Lambeth Park along the Georges River and the ground was a little wet in parts from all of the previous day’s rain. We climbed up the hill and had morning tea on a rock ledge and then picked up the trail again. We continued along the top of the ridge and then came down at the ranger station in the National Park where we had a quick pit stop before continuing on. The National Park’s utility building was a bit overgrown from the last time we had done the walk and it soon became the adventure walk. We found our way through to Henry Lawson Drive where we walked beside the road to the fire trail. At the end of this trail was like a dump site for all of the building material in Panania. We were climbing over rocks and broken roof tiles to get through to the river. The track along the river was very eroded in spots which made for another challenge for the day. We stopped for well deserved rest and lunch under the bridge before continuing on along the river behind the mangroves and then up the hill to playground. There was a little bit of street walking before starting our way along the boardwalk back to where we had left the one vehicle. Our visitor Steven who is also deaf had a great time on the walk as so did we all.
This was our second attempt at doing some exploring of this area (our previous attempt did not go to plan).
A cold wind greeted us as we started out along the 10H trail. The cold wind made the first decision of the day for us, we left the 10H and headed down the old (less windy) 10M trail. 10M is very overgrown with plenty of very spikey Neddle Hakea to push past. The trail does open up and becomes much easier to walk along. And whilst we walked I noticed something unusual off the trail. We decided to investigate and were amazed to find piles of dumped hydroponics equipment. The weird things you find whilst bushwalking. We returned to the 10M trail before turning off and heading down to Dahlia Ck for morning tea. The creek was babbling away nicely, which added a pleasent ambience to the area.
Our leisurely break was soon over and we headed back up to the 10M trail. There is a layer of clay soil that gets exposed along the trail which creates a glass like surface to walk over. Slipping and sliding on flat ground are an unexpected problem to deal with while walking in this area. We soon arrived at our first off-track exit point for the day. Things were going well till we hit the first upland swamp and a wall of thick scrub. A rethink ensued and we decided to divert to the NNW of the swamp and see how we go. During the scrub bash that followed Lorraine found a tube of Aerogard. Nena thought it was hers and had fallen out of her pack. Later at home Nena found her bottle of Aeroguard, the one found in the middle of the scrub wasn't hers. We don't know where it came from and can only suppose someone had been this way before us and dropped it. After scrub bashing for a while I decided to head south back towards the 10M trail and try a different location. A short walk along 10M and we headed off-track again. This proved to be a much easier area to walk through and we found a nice rock shelf that gave a good view down to Dahlia Ck. It was nearly midday and everyone was a bit weary from the scrub bashing so we decided to break for lunch.
A relaxing lunch break was only interupted by music coming from somewhere to the west of us. What a weird day we were having. Dumped hydroponics equipment, Aerogard container and now music.
I was happy with what we had done so far so we decided to head back to the cars. Our return trip took a slightly different path back and we got back to the cars happy with our efforts. This was a good walk and has given me some ideas for further exploring of this area in the future.
This walk has been two years in the planning and it was worth it. 8 devils left the catho for the drive to Wattle Ridge where we met two more devils. A fresh 4C morning met us as we sorted ourselves out and headed off from the car park.
The first challenge of the day was finding the start of the track. Major burning-off in the area had obliterated an already faint track head and we wandered around a bit before finding the right spot. The track is covered in burn-off debris but is still reasonably easy to follow and heads north along the plateau. After a couple of k's the track starts to head down into the valley and links up with the Disappointment Trail. Here we turned left and started our descent down along Martins Creek. It wasn't long before we arrived at the swamp which turned out to be very swampy after all the recent rain. We made it out of the swamp alive (well that's what it felt like) and continued along the creek. To our advantage the recent burn-off by NPWS had resulted in lots of orange flag tape being placed along the route of the old fire trail down along Martins Creek. This was really useful and made finding our way a lot easier. A late morning tea break was enjoyed in the warming sun.
Even though there was a lot of flag tape we did have a few spots of bother finding the track and wasted some time backtracking before working it out. A relatively easy undulating walk soon had us at the next turn off and we managed to cross Martins Creek before realising that we had missed the final turn-off. Another backtrack and we found the rough track down to the waterfall. The waterfall was a great surprise. A series of small waterfalls drop into a mini canyon that looks like it would be a great spot for a swim on a warm day. And we arrived just on lunch time.
After a relaxing lunch we re-traced our steps until after the swamp were we took the Disappointment Trail back to Nattai Road. I must say the Disappointment Trail wasn't at all disappointing, it was a nice easy trail that meanders up the valley and is a great way to get back to Nattai Rd. A short walk along Nattai Rd and we were back at the car park. Thanks to everyone who came on this walk, I was very happy with the outcome and we will do this walk again.
We all met at Campbelltown where 8 members and 2 visitors turned up for the Mt Kembla Summit walk. Our first stop was the Mt Keira Lookout for some spectacular views over Wollongong and Lake Illawarra.
Then we drove through some lovely scenic bushland to get to the start of the walk. We briefly looked at a map showing the area and then headed on up the hill. The track is a bit undulating but mainly uphill, so we took it slowly and had a few stops. We were accompanied by quite a few bird calls, but we think it was a couple of lyrebirds trying to fool us. The view was getting better as we came closer to the top, and after the leader went a little bit off the main track (which was quite easy to do) we continued on, finding some spots a bit difficult, but we all managed very well. Then up a small ladder, which thankfully had been added some years back, and then it was not too far to the lookouts at the very top. We had our morning tea/coffee here (some of us on a rock just above a very large drop).
Of course, it was all downhill on the way back, but that does not mean it was any easier getting down. Some of us found our walking sticks and sticks picked up on the way very helpful! There were quite a few other people going up and coming down, and we met a young couple going up who needed reassurance that they WERE on the right track.
Next we went to the Windy Gully to have a look at the graves (mostly from the 1902 explosion of the Mt. Kembla Mine) and to read some inscriptions and poetry. Then we visited the Anglican Cemetry in town where there is a memorial to the disaster which lists the names of the 96 men and boys who lost their lives. Although it was important to read about this tragedy, it left us all with a feeling of sadness.
We finished our walk down at another more recent memorial where there were more plaques, and ate our lunch in the lovely bright sunshine. Everyone agreed it had been an enjoyable day, with an exhilarating walk, and lovely company.
14 members and 1 visitor set off bright and early on a beautiful autumn morning. After boarding the bus at Wynyard, the curious bus driver asked us where we were walking. So rather than shout from the back of the bus, Nicole moved to the front seat and discussed bush walking with him for the 20 minute trip.
From Sugarloaf Crescent we soon descended into the pretty bush track high above Crag Cove. Soon we then descended down to the water’s edge and enjoyed morning tea on a large flat rock looking out to the picturesque Sugarloaf Bay. We then continued on through ferns, bracken banksias and smooth barked angophoras. The track was getting somewhat undulating now and Trudi reminded me that I told her there would not be many steps. We then descended steeply to mangroves and large palms and climbed up again. Now we were on an easier service track along Castle Cove. After 3.5 hours we finally reached HC Press Park. Some were happy to just drop there and have lunch while others went back another 20 minutes to a prettier waterfront spot.
Then back along the North Arm Track. Some of us were fairly tired now. In fact I left my walking pole behind and was most grateful that Lino and Charlie went back for several minutes to retrieve it for me. We finally emerged along the streets and were happy to enjoy the air conditioned bus and train home.
Even with unsettled weather (it was raining in Campbelltown), we had 11 members and 3 visitors turn up at Lake Alexandra carpark. We left 3 cars there and all drove to Boxvale Track to start the walk. It had stopped raining and it looked like it may clear up a little. We started off on the track and pointed out where the rails for the tram-track once were, and also the dam that was once water supply for Mittagong township. When we came to the turn-off for Forty Foot Falls, sadly it was noticed that some of the signs had been vandalised. So Lorraine and a few others tried to prop them up as best we could.
We continued on our way to the top of the falls where we had our morning tea. Then down to the waterfall where we had to climb down a couple of ladders. Once there, a couple of adventurous people climbed over a very wet slippery log to see the waterfall up close. The rest of us continued on our way. We crossed over Nattai Creek where there was a pretty pool and lovely rock-holes and ferns. Not long after that we came to another fallen log over the track. This one was much bigger than the last. Only a couple of us managed to climb over it, but I decided that it may be easier to crawl under (near the roots, although it was muddy and a bit awkward). Once we were all safely past that obstacle we continued on a nice track to the Nattai River.
The going was fairly easy but the track did narrow and all the ferns were very wet from the previous nights' rain. So the first few of us were getting a couple of leeches, and that made us go even quicker through the bushes! Finally we all arrived at the cement bridge to cross the Nattai River again, and then up a very steep set of steps. Then it was time to check for any leeches and dispose of them! We had a nice stroll back to Lake Alexandra, although there were a few moans and groans, as there was another steep climb.
We arrived back between 12:30 and 1:00pm and had lunch in a picnic shelter. Everyone agreed that it had been a good walk with a couple of interesting challenges. Then we said our goodbyes and drove the drivers back to their cars at the Boxvale Trackhead. I thank eveyone for joining me on one of my favourite walks.
Under threatening skies and a growling wind 15 stalwart Mountain Devils and 1 Visitor boarded the T2 Airport Line train at stops between Macarthur and Ingleburn hoping the weather would improve. We had to change at Central and barely made it in time to catch the Ferry from Wharf No.2. at Circular Quay. We picked up Maria here and we all legged down the Jetty where a friendly crew man held up the boat and Leader Harry counted all his charges up the gang plank. We were now 17.
A lovely surge across the Harbour to the Taronga Zoo Wharf and We disembarked and headed past the zoo visitors and held our introductory circle.We then walked along the boardwalks and went to the end of Little Sirius Point for morning tea. After We rejoined the track a good 70% or our Walkers decided to venture down into the Curlew Camp for a nose around. We then headed up round Sirius Cove nearly being flattened by a hundred milling dogs as they hurtled after balls thrown by owners armed with ball throwing devices, which looked like relics from a medieval battlefield. We then enjoyed the long climb up the stairs and across and down Charles Dances steps and around Mosman Bay. The wind had gone by now and the sky was fast clearing. Hearts rose with the temperature and as we passed Old Cremorne Wharf, those who where there that day remembered when we got absolutely sodden by a downpour in the 15 metres between the cover of the jetty and boarding the ferry. Things were much better today as by now there was hardly a cloud in the sky. We then walked around to Cremorne Point Wharf and enjoyed our lunch whilest waiting for the Ferry. The Harbour was bouncing with every type of craft on the water from canoes to the massive amphibious warfare ships of the RAN. Two stately tall ships also made their way up the Harbour. Back from Ferry to train to home all tired after a great day out. For the writer the next day held an even earlier start with the Dawn Service and flag carrying duties at the main march in Sydney, so after tea it was a case of out of the Tyrone and into the pineapple. Life is certainly NOT dull in the Mountain Devils.
13 theatre loving Devils met up at Campbelltown Golf Club all dressed up and rearing to go! We arrived at Corrimal with time to spare before the matinee so some went and had lunch, others a coffee or drink at the club before the show. Another 2 members, Trevor and Rozanne, met us at the theatre and it was terrific to catch up with them. The show to put it bluntly was fantastic and thoroughly enjoyed by all the Devils and everyone else in this lovely little theatre. We had a safe trip back to the club where most of us sat outside and ate our meals alfresco. It was a lovely, happy day, enjoyed by all who attended.
10 members and 1 visitor set off from the Catholic Club at 8am. I stopped at Appin where 2 more visitors were waiting for us. It was a pleasurable drive down the coast under the cloud cover. We all set off on the walk along the streets to Bombo Beach which seemed like never ending sand and then up to the quarry where we had morning tea. After morning tea we set off again to Boyd's Beach which has a very steep set of steps down to the beach that were badly eroded and in need of repair. It wasn't until we were at the bottom of the steps that we saw the sign (Steps condemned do not use) we all made it safely to the bottom. We had a quick stop for lunch in the park and then headed for the train which arrived 5 mins after we did so we all jumped on the train back to Kiama.
I take my hat off to Ellie for tackling the undulating landscape and the condemned stairs with the assistance of Charlie. Well done Ellie!!
On a perfect Sunday morning, eight Mountain Devils and two Visitors set off down the Appin Road towards Mount Ousley and the ever faithfull Brokers Nose walk. It had been a while since I last led this walk and the last time it was due it had to be cancelled because of heavy rains. Conditions were ideal and we held our introductory circle at the base of the escarpment. We set off up the track, which seemed much darker than usual caused by the thickened vegetation overhead so We had to take care around a number of fallen trees which appeared out of the gloom. The trees soon cleared and We were able to enjoy the first lookout. Onwards and upwards was then the order of the day as We climbed up the hill through the thinning trees, the Leader knowing that on this walk ALL tracks lead to the top. We came out onto the fire trail near to the top and used the Radio beacon as a guide to the summit. Here we enjoyed morning tea and with only light cloud and no wind we gazed at the million dollar view. Eight Bulk carriers stood off the coast awaiting their turn at the loading docks and we spotted the lighthouse near to our lunch spot with gleefull anticipation. The trip down the hill always seems to fly and We where at the cars in no time. A swift drive down to Belmore Basin and our fish & chips were enjoyed in a bouncing hodge podge of multiculture. Time was passing so we headed for the cars and a pleasent drive back to the jewel of the South West after yet another great Mountain Devils Day Out.
It's been a few years since I last walked this loop and I was expecting the old trails to be a bit overgrown. We set off from the southern end of the 10T trail down towards Stokes Ck. Walking down the 10T trail Michael got stung by some Bull Ants, never a good experience as they have the most intense sting that can linger for days. Arriving at the first crossing of Stokes we found the creek flow was very low, the lowest I have seen it in years. The good thing is it does make for an easy crossing. Up the hill we go along a very worn old trail before the walk heads south. The trail was overgrown but no near as bad as I had expected and we made good time. Morning tea was enjoyed on some rocks overlooking the creek. The tempeartue was rising and the humidity was making the walk feel harder that it is.
We continued on and just as we popped out of the scrub onto the 10B trail we encountered NPWS and Police 4WDs out making patrols of the area. They stopped and we had a good chat to them. Always a good idea to introduce yourself so they are aware that we make use of the NP. A long slog on the fire trail including a rest stop at the second crossing of Stokes made us all hungry and tired. We left the fire trail and followed the upgraded track to Minerva Pool. So nice to arrive at the pool, several people changed into swimming gear and went for dip whilst others lounged on the rock shelf above the falls in the shade.
Our extended lunch over we headed back up to the 10T trail and the 2km walk back to the cars.
After making our way by train and bus, 9 Devils started the walk by descending 100 steps across a reserve. We then walked along a track through a deep bush valley, where Jochen commented how could there be so much bush so close to the city.Further on rather than crossing the busy River Road, we descended some roughbush steps and walked through a large stormwater pipe under the road. The ever ready Lino assisted by shining his torch through the dark middle section. Back on track past Lilly P illy Falls we climbed many steep bush steps to a welcome morning tea break at the top. Some street walking next where we admired how the “other half” live in Northwood. Soon we descended again into Warranoon Reserve,then along wetlands to Port Jackson Fig trees growing out of cliffs at Tamborine Bay. Around St. Ignatius College then down to Burns Bay for lunch. Finally across FigTree Bridge and up to a bus back to the city. This walk was shortened by about 2km from what was originally planned, but judging by the “noises” from some at the end, it was enough!
We had 15 walkers (11 members and 4 visitors) drive to Bundeena where we met another 4 visitors. We encountered a couple of light showers on the drive down to Bundeena but it quickly cleared. The 19 of set off down the street and then across Jibbon Beach where the tide was a little unpredictable with the waves sending a couple of us scrabbling for higher ground. We stopped a read about the Dharwal people and the arrival of the convicts. We continued on to the Aboriginal engravings where a few photos were taken. From there we continued on to the point where we stopped for morning tea overlooking the waves crashing on the rocks below. After morning tea we continued on along the coast where there was a red belly black snake slithering along in front of me. I didn’t let everyone know that there was a snake so as not to scare our visitors off on their first walk with us. After the encounter one of the visitors, Charlie offered to lead so without hesitation I accepted but made sure we were following the correct trail. It wasn’t long before we came to the area where all the coast trees had been knocked down in the cyclone that went through a couple of weeks ago. We carefully navigated through until we reached the sand track back to Bundeena where everyone enjoyed their fish and chips. Thank you Charlie.
A relatively small group gathered at Weddeburn for our new years walk. Walkers who hadn't been here since the area was done up by NPWS were surprised at how much had been done. A quick stop at the new toilets before we headed off to the first lookout. At the lookout a small group headed over to look at the Angophora growing on top of a rock shelf. This is always a surprise to people who have never seen a gum tree growing this way before.
The walk continues along the old road and not long till we reach the dirt fire trail. The trail surface is pretty good for a fire trail but it still has some sections of loose rock which unfortunately resulted in ellie tripping and hurting her knee. Although not a bad injury ellie decided to return to the cars and some of the group agreed to escort her back, which was very nice of them.
We reached the second lookout well ahead of time and had to wait for the light to fade. The hazy sky meant we didn't get much of a view. We could just see a little of North Sydney, Bankstown Airport was visible but the city was just some very faint sparkles. A quick trip back to the cars meant the ealiest finish we've had for years.
A very warm, very humid and windless day greeted us. We set off along the old fire trail on the south side of the soccer fields. A short side trail takes onto the trail that runs down to the Georges River. The walk down is on a trail that was made to access a water pump that had been used to pump water out of the river. It's a pleasant and interesting walk down with some odd ruins and embankments. Once down at the end of the old trail a short scramble takes you down to where the water pump was. Judging by the size of the pipe that runs up the hill it was a big pump. A short side trip takes you down to another spot on the river where a lot of green algae was observed.
Back up the trail and the heat/humidity was taking a toll. One of our group, who wasn't feeling 100%, decided to pull out, luckily our walk passed a spot that wasn't far from the cars so an early exit was possible. Back on the fire trails we headed around to the north east of the soccer fields. Whilst stopped for a quick re-group we had the pleasure of a Little Eagle fly straight over our group. Turning east the fire trail ends in a turn-around, from here a footpad heads down the hill to a nice spot on the river. It was time for morning tea. By now it was hot and humid which was draining our energy so the break was well enjoyed. Some scrambling around the rocks on the river and many photos ensued before we packed up and started back. The climb out wasn't that bad considering the weather and we enjoyed a stroll back to the cars.
Ten members set out on this walk from the Nellies Glen carpark in the Budderoo National Park. The weather was perfect for walking (not too hot), but the track was muddy in parts as there had been good rainfall in the past week or so.
We took the track to Warris Chair Lookout and admired the wonderful view. Continuing on another track we passed farmland and an interesting small creek crossing and then through a forest of trees to the next lookout (in the vicinity of Missingham Steps). We enjoyed a short morning tea here. We continued back to the main track where we planned to do a circuit that would take us to the carpark where we had started. When we reached another creek crossing we found the water was quite deep and decided the rocks may have been slippery. So it was decided to go back the way we came, but Alan said he wanted to try the shorter route (across the creek) and would meet us back at the carpark. It was not too long before we arrived at the cars, and found Alan casually reading the Sunday paper.
It was decided that we should look at Nellies Glen picnic area and swimming spot - this is where Alan had come through on his own. A very pleasant area and lots of photos were taken.We then drove around to the Carrington Falls carpark, as the level of the water across the top of the falls was much more than expected. After a leisurely lunch we took the tracks to each lookout vantage point and also went down to the top of Carrington Falls where we admired cascading water and pools.
It was just a short stroll uphill, where we finished a very enjoyable walk and said our farewells. Alan had decided that he needed to visit the Robertson Pie Shop before going home!
After a leisurely breakfast at our campsite at Bent's Basin we had 10 members set out for the walk through Gulguer Nature Reserve. We went passed the locked gate and started up the steep hill, which went mostly up for quite a while. After about 1 kilometre some of us turned right and went on to look at Gulguer Gorge Lookout where we had a good view of the Nepean River. Then we retraced our way back to the main track and picked up the others who had waited. We followed the ridge of this area called Little Mountain through a forest of ironbark, grey gums and turpentines. Back in 1954 this area was proclaimed a Fauna Protection District.
At another fork in the firetrail, just off to the left are two memorials which mark the spot where Shaun Franks and Fraser Shannon lost their lives in a helicopter crash on 20th June 2003. We continued along the main firetrail for about another kilometre and then the track starts to head down-hill. A few members decided not to go any further as it is very steep. So the rest of us took our time down the hill and finally came to the river. There is no evidence of where Campbell's Ford is now, but I pointed to the general direction (at a bend in the river) where it may have been. We spent some time there taking photos of the river and the very rare Camden White Gums in the area. We headed back up the trail to join the others who were waiting in some shade.
On the way back we stopped at the turn-off to the lookout and found some logs to sit on and had our lunch. By this time it was getting quite hot, and Lino and Nena decided to go straight back to camp. We were not that far behind them, and were all looking forward to an early "happy-hour" and rest.
Ten members and one visitor turned up for this walk in Winmalee (lower Blue Mountains) on a lovely Sunday. The firetrail starts off fairly easily and then heads down a steep hill. We were on the lookout for cyclists, as this track is used frequently by them. We had morning tea at a small area with a fireplace in amongst the ferns and bushes. Then off again across a creek crossing, but this was completely dry today, so all the other crossings would probably be the same. About a third of the way along we took a right turn and headed up a very steep road which seems to go on forever. We all continued at our own pace, some complaining (I was too), but managed to get to the top of the hill. Just a short stroll and we arrived at Grose Mountain Lookout, which was quite spectacular. We tried to find some shade while having our lunch, and took one more look at the stunning scenery before heading back down the hill.
Then another right turn along the firetrail and through some magnificently tall blue gums and vast areas covered with ferns. We encountered a few cyclists along the way, and all went well until we reached the end of the track and the cars. A very pleasant walk with lovely weather (not too hot) and great company. Thanks to everyone who joined me on this walk.
Glenys and 8 members and 2 visitors left Campbelltown knowing that the weather forecast was going to be in the mid 30’s and maybe the walk would be a bit challenging. The climb up from Garie Beach tested some members, but taking our time was the answer. Along the tracks the wildflowers were still looking beautiful and lots of photos were taken, Nena informed us of the names of all the flowers we saw. Morning tea was enjoyed by all and it was such a lovely place to sit for a while. Not too far along the cliff tops members were able to view Eagle Rock, by this time it was very hot and no shade in site. Arriving at Wattamolla we could hardly find a patch of grass in the shade to eat out lunch as the warm weather brought many families to picnic and enjoy the outdoors.
The Mountain Devils Bushwalking Club decided to attend one of the open days at Joadja Heritage Site with 11 members and 3 visitors. Joadja Creek was the original site of the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Company Ltd which started mining shale oil (also known as torbanite) in the late 1870's.
We arrived there in the morning with plenty of time to enjoy our morning tea. Some of us bought coffee and cake, etc from the cafe while others had there own supplies. The staff there were very friendly and we were assured of a place in their 11:00 am tour. There were plenty of other people turning up for the tour, but no problem as they had two vehicles with trailers to accommodate us all.
Val, the owner and resident historian gave us the history of the area and the once thriving township that had housed up to 1,200 residents. Most of these residents were from Scotland, and the interesting thing was that they were encouraged to bring their families with them. At this time in the development of the Southern Highlands, Joadja Creek had a larger population than Mittagong, Moss Vale and Bowral combined.
At each historic site Val gave us very interesting information on the people who lived here and what hardships they must have endured. In terms of educational, scientific and historic value, Joadja is perhaps one of the most significant places in New South Wales. Most other oil shale enterprises have either disappeared through lack of care and maintenance or have been demolished. Here at Joadja they are trying to renovate some of the old cottages to show how it was over 140 years ago.
After our tour of the ruins Val gave an informative talk on his whiskey distillery, and some of us sampled his sherry from Spain (the whiskey is matured in these sherry casks).
We then had a picnic lunch on the grass/logs, and everyone said they really enjoyed this fascinating part of the Southern Highlands.
8 members travelled to Glenbrook to start the walk along the historic Zig Zag Railway at Lapstone. The air was cool as we crossed the freeway to begin our walk. We turned left and walked up our first of many undulating hills for the day. The fire trail made for easier going to the Lennox Bridge built in 1833. The local Bogan tribe had marked its territory with the traditional graffiti on the walls of the historic bridge.
After leaving the bridge we headed uphill to Marges Lookout over looking Emu Plains. We then carried on to Elizabeth Lookout where we stopped for quick bite of morning tea before tackling the downhill steps to the bottom of the Knapsack Viaduct. It was commented that we thought that they had forgotten to put the last step in on each set of steps as there was a huge gap before your feet hit the ground again. After crossing the creek and climbing up the (what seemed like never ending stairs) we carried onto the quarry where we crossed under the freeway and followed the track to the old tramway where we stopped for lunch and just in time to watch a coal train emerge from the tunnel with four diesel engines pulling a lot of coal. After lunch we walked back to the cars for a relaxing trip home.
Fourteen people, including four visitors boarded a train on the Macarthur line for the Spit to Manly hike. The hike started off with blue skies and very warm weather which soon became a very HOT day. It was decided that Nicole (our ice block lady) would take the tail-end-charlie postion before the hike began. At 10am, our group stopped at Clontarf Reserve for morning tea where we saw the Spit Bridge open for marine traffic and then close again. After morning tea, we set off on our hike where the group divided inot a couple of maleer groups. It soon becam apparent that with the hot weather, one group coped better. I'd like to thank Lino for taking this group. On the trip we also saw magnificent views of the harbour and the wildlife including the Australian Water Dragon and the Aboriginal engravings. Also, on this part of the walk, I would like to thank Nena and Glenn for staying back with Nicole as there were a number of people struggling with the heat. We all met up at Reef Beach for a well deserved lunch break with views over to North Head and Manly. It was here where Nicole was able to get an ice block from a mobile water based vendor. The two groups set off after lunch for Manly Wharf where after arriving Nicole bought a box of ice blocks to share with everyone, which I know I appreciated. We caught the ferry and train home just before the big storm rolled in. I hope evryone enjoyed the walk and the four visitors join us again.
Harry and Roz stepped into the breach caused by the postponement of Kevins Market Day Out and put on the ever popular (so we thought) walk along the Cronulla Waterfront. The very few people who turned up were rewarded by conditions of absolute perfection. The weather was glorious, pure blue skies flat calm seas, no wind, high tide and the whole area heaving with browning bodies. The walk was very enjoyable and we finished our day with a pleasent light lunch at the RSL. By the time we emerged the wind was getting up and white caps were showing across the Bay but we had well had the best of the day. A big thank you to Jochen, Ilse, Trish and David for sharing a good day out with us.
11 Mountain Devils met at Mittagong RSL for a very nice dinner before we headed off to see the stage show Fawlty Towers at The Mittagong Playhouse. It turned out to be a really funny show with the antics of Manuel and Basil Fawlty having everyone in stitches. A show well worth seeing.
After a sleepless night worrying about whether we would all get drowned again, myself and 14 other Mountain Devils made our way to the Zoo wharf, where the Sun Gods were shining brightly on us as we commenced our beautiful walk around Sirius and Mosman bays onto Cremorne Point wharf.
It was great taking in the ambiance of the best harbour in the world, watching the yachts bobbing on the crystal blue waters. Apart from dodging an occasional jogger or dog and quips about how walk leaders tell fibs about stairs etc. and looking as if we were drunk trying to walk straight on Cremorne Point’s rocking wharf we had a terrific day. Thank you everyone for coming.
Few some time NPWS have had a hazard reduction burn scheduled for Heathcote NP. Whilst only a small burnoff it was near to where I had planned to exit from the Bullawaring track. After many weeks of delays the burn went ahead on Saturday and the mop-up operations scheduled for Sunday. As a result I decided to come up with an alternative walk plan.
We headed over to Heathcote NP and started at the Warabin Rd entrance. The steep track down Waterfall Gully is always hard on the knees. We reached the fire trail and headed towards Lake Toolooma. Stopped to have a look at the dam and the old steam engine that was used to pump water up to Waterfall railway station for the steam trains. We headed for Coutts Gully and followed what looked like a promising track up to the power line fire trail. We lost the track and had to bush bash the last 100m which was fun and challenging. A short walk along the fire trail brings you to the track up Mt Westmacott. A few steep scrambly bits are found on the way up. We stopped for morning tea on the top of Mt Westmacott and enjoyed the excellent views.
Back down to the power line trail and we headed for the Bullawaring track. Plodded along Bullawaring for a while and we turned off to have a look at Kingfisher Pool. The water level was so low the falls where just a dribble. Continuing on we crossed a bone dry Kingfisher Ck. We reached the turn off for Myuna Ck and got to above the first major waterfall right on midday. Myuna Ck was just a dribble. The whole area is so dry at the moment. A relaxing lunch break was enjoyed in this peaceful location.
Now time to head back to the cars. Back tracking along Bullawaring you come to the Mooray track. Never having walked back to Waterfall this way the opportunity to explore the Mooray track was taken. This turned out to be a good choice.
A small group comprising of Nicole, Armando, Lynette and myself had a great day doing this reasonably challenging walk. There was good camaraderie and conversation and a few jokes being told. I believe the size made for a big part of this. Going up and coming down Martin's Lookout was the hardest part of the walk but by taking our time it was not so bad. The walk itself was quite pleasant with plenty of trees and greenery as well as creeks. All up the walk took us almost six and a half hours. Nicole took some very nice photos which we looked at when we finished the walk. Got back to Campbelltown at about 4pm.
14 members and 4 visitors set off from Darkes Forest. A cool wind greeted us as we ready to head off. We walked out along the 10H trail. Didn't take long before we arrived at the side trail that leads down to OHares Ck. The track down was rough in parts but easy enough to follow. We arrived at a pretty spot on OHares Ck and had morning tea. Thankfully the sun was shining and we were out of the breeze.
After tea we headed back up the track to the main fire trail. Another plod along gets us to a disused trail that takes us straight down to Dahlia Ck. We pushed through some overgrowth and stepped over many fallen trees on the way down to the creek. The lengthy dry spell had taken a toll and Dahlia creek was just a dribble. The last time we were down here it was running nicely. Even though we were ahead of schedule we stopped for lunch here.
The return trip to the car was just a plod along the main trail back to Darkes Forest. All up a nice walk to a couple of spots not many people would ever visit.
14 members and 1 visitor braved the early morning cold for the journey to Forestville. We started by descending the steep and broken fire trail all the way down to Carroll Creek. From here we followed the creek on a track firstly under a long interesting rock overhang. Soon we crossed the creek on stepping stones and picked up the Governor Phillip Track which climbed away before dropping back to Middle Harbour Creek. From here the challenges started. The track became rough and undulating and negotiating the big rock rises and drops in particular tested us all. As we came high above a bend in the creek, a break for morning tea was welcomed.
Back on the rough track now with more confidence, we soon again crossed the creek. The track again followed the creek then climbed high along exposed cliffs before descending steeply back to the creek. Soon the Lyrebird Track turned into a fire trail. All easy going now to eventually reach our lunch spot by the water. Afterwards the easy section was soon to end and we climbed out and up the hill to the welcome air conditioned bus and train home. A few aches and pains but lots of comments about it being a good walk.
After several cancellations, just 12 members set out on a lovely winter's morning. Firstly along the boardwalks through mangroves and foreshore reserve. Here we could admire the waterfront homes high above on one side as well as the rugged sandstone banks opposite. Emerging opposite Yeramba Lagoon, we next climbed up the rocky nose of a spur to a lookout way above the river. Here we enjoyed morning tea. Next we left the main fire trail and followed the edge of the cliff line high above Cattle Duffers Flat. This time we were able to continue along the previously obscured track and descend right at the former Toll Booth.
Next we had lunch on the rocks by Morgans Creek, then crossed the beach before the steep climb out. Emerging from the bush at the top at a playground, we paused for a breather and to allow Lino to try the seesaw and other fixtures. Clouds were looming now so we soldiered on to the last section being a boardwalk by Salt Pan Creek. Even though we have done this walk several times, it was enjoyed by all particularly those who hadn’t done it before.
16 members including new member Terry got off to a delayed start when our train didn't arrive. So after catching the next train, we were keen to stride out by the time we arrived at Gordon. We soon entered the undulating Blackbutt Creek track which eventually emerged out to the busy Lady Game Drive. By now we were busting for morning tea, so after a short steep hill, we paused in a small suburban park. Next we re-entered the bush and soon joined the Great North Walk where the track narrowed through sandstone overhangs and around a huge boulder. Here Ros slipped on loose soil and unfortunately as we found out later, broke a bone in her foot. As we were now well into the walk, she soldiered on with the rest of us. Now high above the river, we passed cliffs, grass tree forest and rocky platforms eventually emerging near Fullers Bridge.
After lunch, four left the walk including Ros and were able to catch a bus to Chatswood. The rest of us walked back into the bush on a flat grassy track. Soon of course came the long climb out. Back out on the road was made more interesting as we admired some of the grand north shore homes.
Eleven of us enjoyed this walk in the Lower Blue Mountains near Springwood.Terry completed his second walk with the club and will no doubt become a member.
The planned walk was to go as far as Grose Mountain Lookout,but as we got there early (about 11:30am) some decided to go further up the mountain to a Trig station. Lino phoned me to let me know that thats where they would have lunch. I myself walked to the top of the mountain but decided I should join those that stayed behind at the lookout. The Trig Station I understand was a little further on from where I decided to come back. There was one particular view I enjoyed on the way back down and stopped for about two minutes to take it in. After lunch we all headed back down to the main track to continue the walk.
Everyone thanked me for the walk but I particularly appreciated Armando's comment which was something like "I liked the walk, especially the last half with the tall trees and ferns". For me this part of the walk was one of the most pleasant walks I have been on since joining the Club - the ambience of the forest with the tall blue gums and the copious ferns on either side of the track made it for me a delight. On the way back Lino's passengers and mine stopped to buy some fruit before heading back to the Catholic Club. Ray and Jillian and Armando and Editha travelled in their own vechicles. Again, a very enjoyable day.
Surprisingly for a Saturday walk, we had 19 walkers and that was after some cancellations. After working out the logistics of the car shuffle with the input of some, we were finally ready to start walking, which happened to be from the Vishna Nirmala Dharma Meditation Centre. Maybe a, by then, somewhat stressed Kevin should have checked in there!
Anyhow, off we went along undulating fire trails through dense forest. The only plant we saw in flower was a Mountain Devil. After about 6kms we stopped for morning tea at a rocky outcrop with views down the valley. Nicole commented that the ledge was somewhat thin and worked out who would be at risk in the unlikely event of it collapsing.
Next a very steep descent to the historic Picton Weir where a couple of walkers dared to step on to the end of the wall. From here the walk became more picturesque along the forested Bargo River with steep and craggy escarpment. Lunch was near the end of the walk on a rocky section of the river. Being all on fire trails made it a very social walk with people two or three across chatting along the way.
This was another walk of mine that I thought might not go ahead because of the weather, but again we were lucky. I enjoyed the actual walk more than I did the pre-walk. I seemed to notice the sounds of the birds more and the river below as well as occasionally looking down at the river. Some parts of the walk were a little more rugged, but everyone managed ok. Two first time walkers were among the eleven of us. Everyone enjoyed the day.
After days of rain, 18 members made the train and ferry journey to Taronga Zoo Wharf on a welcome sunny morning. Not long after starting, we were stopped by two Naval Officers who diverted us around Athol Hall. The reason was that all of Bradleys Head was secured as the Prime Minister was due to arrive to unveil a memorial walk honouring naval ships lost at war. This cut about 1km off our walk, but we were still able to enjoy spectacular harbour views as we made our way through the angophora forest around Taylors Bay and onto Chowder Bay where we stopped for morning tea. Fuelled up we now tackled the significant climb out, then paused to admire the panoramic views from Georges Head Battery.
Out of the bush track and onto the road. As we approached Middle Head, the road narrowed and we had to walk single file. A Commonwealth car approached us and as it passed, we noticed the PM in the back seat, just arms length from us. After inspecting the Middle Head and Inner Middle Head fortifications we enjoyed lunch on a shady grassy knoll. Back up the hill then down around 265 steps to Balmoral Beach where we started to make our way home in the comfort of air conditioned transport An enjoyable walk and day out.
12 walkers set off for the short drive to the start of the walk in Dharawal NP (DNP). The unseasonally warm/humid weather made walking conditions uncomfortable. We set off along the Seven Creeks Way (SCW) under scattered clouds. The SCW is getting overgrown and had a lot of debris across it (not to mention the erosion control measures put in by NPWS). After a couple of k's we turned off the SCW onto a fire trail that heads north. After a lengthy plod along the fire trail we stopped for morning tea. I scouted around to see if we could get down to and cross Stokes Ck but found two cliff lines, a very steep descent and a boulder strewn creek below which I considered too risky to take a group this size through.
After morning tea we turned around to head back the way we came. On the way back we investigated the old powerline service trail and found a ground water testing station (a 10cm wide steel pipe stuck in the ground) and stopped to enjoy the view from the end of the trail. It wasn't long before we made it back to the SCW and headed west towards the cars. We crossed creek number 7 and turned off the SCW onto an old trail made by illegal motorbike riders. This trail heads north for a few kilometres and joins the 10N trail at where 10N intersects with another part of the powerline service trail. It was time for lunch.
We had a good lunch break on some rocks a short distance along the old powerline trail. From here it was just a case of walking along the 10N trail till we hit the road and then a short walk to the cars. Arriving at the cars I discoverd that I had left my microfibre hand towel at our lunch stop. In the end we managed to walk about 15 kilometers which was good.
P.S. I was advised later that one of our party suffered a Leech bite. This is the first time I have heard of a Leech bite in this area. We did see one Leech on the other side of DNP but never this side. Just have to be mindful in future that Leeches may have spread across DNP.
21 walkers (including 3 visitors) set off from the start of the walk. A short road section had us heading off down a fire trail to a our first stop of the day at a lookout. Heading back from the lookout we stopped to have a look around the ruins of several buildings that appear to have been a small farm. From here we took the long way around to a track that leads down to a nice beach area on the river. Even though we hadn't covered a lot of distance we had already been walking for 1.5 hours so we decided to follow the track back to the main fire trail and have a tea break overlooking a pretty hidden valley.
More fire trail lead us to an lonely fire place (with a chimney) that is just sitting in the bush with no evidence of a building or anything around it. Continuing on we stopped at a spot that looks to have been used as a quarry. We followed the myriad of fire trails enjoying occasional views across the river gorge. The day was starting to warm up and the humidity was high which only made the temperature feel worse than it was.
After a bit of a plod we headed down another footpad which leads to a very nice beach on the river. A 10 minute snack break turned into 20 minutes as some walkers decided on a quick swim in the river. The track was in poor condition and it took a while to walk back to Harrison Rd.
Another road plod had us heading away from the Georges River and towards Peter Meadows Creek. We stopped for our lunch break a little later than had hoped at a nice spot overlooking the creek valley.
After lunch a small group decided to return to the cars early whilst the rest of the group continued on to the Bull Cave. The vandalism at the Bull Cave has made the charcoal drawings almost impossible to see now which is a great shame. One more stop at another tin shanty ruins before we finished our walk back at the cars. Our distance ended up being about 13km which was about 1km over the estimated 12km distance.
The weekend weather forecast was for scattered showers so we decided that didn’t sound too bad – we could cope with a few showers. It started to drizzle as soon as we set out and then there was fog at the top of Mt Ousley and then rain as we travelled south. By the time we reached Nowra the rain had stopped and it was a bit clearer. The road from Nowra is narrow and bendy so it was a slow trip – even slower after a wallaby bound across the road just in front of my car.
On arrival at Coolendel we paid for our stay and then looked for a good camping spot. We found a large shelter shed quite close to some excellent facilities and decided to take over part of the shed rather than putting up our shelter domes. The shelter shed was equipped with two sinks with hot water, lights and power points. We set up our tents and got organised and then explored around the camping area and down to the river. Five of our members who were sharing a cabin joined us for Happy Hour. The plan for Saturday was to walk in the morning and kayak in the afternoon as Nicole had her two kayaks with her. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans. The rain started on Friday night and it was still raining in the morning. We had breakfast and then discussed our options. Four hardy and well prepared walkers donned their wet weather gear and set out on a four hour walk. Another four opted for a shorter walk along the river with some great views even though it was still raining. The other five stayed at camp. The afternoon was spent talking, reading, some more exploring and playing a game called Rummy-O. It’s a good thing we weren’t playing seriously as Joan kept remembering more of the rules as we were playing! We were very glad we had chosen to use the shelter shed as our shelter domes are shower proof only so we would have got rather wet. A group of campers arrived on Saturday afternoon to put up their tents in the pouring rain. They decided to put them up under the shelter and then move them outside so there was a lot of supervision. Happy hour started at 3.30pm as it was too wet to do anything.
Luckily the rain held off on Sunday morning so that we could pack up without getting soaked. Campers left when they were ready between 9.00 am and 11.30 am. Unfortunately Maria had trouble with her car along the unpaved part of the road and had a long wait for the NRMA. Although it was a disappointing camp in terms of the weather, Coolendel is a beautiful spot with wallabies, wombats, goannas, peacocks and lots of other birds.
19 Devils set-off from the end of Victoria Road for another enjoyable twilight walk. The weather was spot on although it did cool off a bit later in the evening. We made good pace and reached the new lookout that NPWS has built. The lookout is wheelchair accessible which is a nice idea as not many parts of Dharawal are wheelchair friendly. We enjoyed the views from the lookout before heading off the track a bit to have a look at the most amazing Angophora Costata on a rock shelf nearby. Back to the main fire trail.
Keeping a good pace we had a few stops to admire the wildflowers and the occasional bush Cockroach. We made a quick stop at another lookout overlooking OHares Creek. Our arrival at the final lookout ahead of time so we didn't have much choice but to have an extended break.
As the sun goes down twinkles start to appear across the horizon. We could make out some twinkles from the city but the wind was against us and we just couldn't see Sydney Tower. It is worth staying till at least last light to enjoy the night time views.
With not much light from the moon (phase was a waxing crescent (18%)) the walk back was relatively dark. This added to the enjoyment of our rest break on the way back. We revisited the new NWPS lookout and got a good view of the lights from the colliery at Appin. By this time a cool southerly wind had come up and made the evening a lot cooler. We made it back to the cars just before 10pm and headed off home.
With overcast skies, 7 members and 3 visitors (2 now members) travelled to Mittagong to meet up with Ray, Gillian and 1 other visitor in the car park at the start of The Boxvale Track. We stopped at the dam which was quite high due to all the rainfall during the week. After stopping at the picnic table for a quick morning tea we continued onto the tunnel where we had to give way to two mountain bike riders who were also going to the lookout.
We showed the visitors the steep incline that was used for the removal of the coal and they were most interested in doing the longer walk past the 40 foot falls and coming up the incline in the near future. We reached the look out around 11.30 and it was a bit early for lunch so we just had a quick snack and coffee before heading back to the cars.
Arrived back at The Catholic Club at 1.30pm after a short heavy shower on the freeway and a parrot attack as the we were driving in. Everyone enjoyed the walk.
On a beautiful sunny day (at last) 16 members and 4 visitors which included 2 previous members (Roz and Harry) set off at 8am to drive to the start of the walk to Winifred Falls. It was good to see some old faces return for a walk.
Lino and I had pre-walked this several times to find the best way in and out. I decided on a car shuffle from a fire trail near Manibar to finish at Mount Bass which added another 5kms to the walk. The ground was a little wet under foot but everyone was quite happy to continue. There were goods views of the city although a little hazy. Walking down to Analise Falls for morning tea, you could hear the water thunder over the falls but when we arrived it was the water rushing through the holes in the rocks making all of the noise. We continued on down to Winifred Falls where we had to walk in the shallow water that was flowing over the top of a small fall.
We all opted not to remove our shoes and socks for safety reasons. Arriving at Winifred Falls which were quite spectacular after all of the heavy rains that we had received we continued on to where the salt water meets the fresh water. This was a little bit of off track as the water was a little higher than on the pre-walks. David thought he would go for a swim but didn't realise how deep it was but nevertheless he swam like a dolphin. We returned back to Winifred Falls for lunch where everyone had the option to either have a swim or paddle their feet but no one went in. A big thank you to Carmel for finding the only leech on the walk.
Seven intrepid walkers headed off to the above not really knowing what to expect weather wise. Fortunately it was not that bad, light drizzle dispersed with the odd brief shower and no precipitation as well.
It was quite foggy just east of Robertson but it soon dissapated. We were not far into the walk when Kevin thought he had lost his expensive glasses and Jochen his walking stick. Soon after this it started to rain heavier and Trevor, although he had a wet weather jacket only bought along a pair of shorts, which were getting quite wet. He decided that if it continued like this his shorts would soon be saturated. We had a pow wow. He then decided that he would return to the cars fearing that the rain might continue. After another brief discussion it was decided that the rest of us would continue. I gave Trevor the keys to my car. Keven asked him if he would look out for his glasses and Jochen's walking stick on the way back. Fortunately for us the rain eased and the rest of the walk was mainly light drizzle.
After 6kms we reached "Stoney Bridge", a slightly elevated natural bridge, that straddled the river. But because of the heavy rain the day before we were not able to cross; and so our 8km walk turned into 12kms. I have forgot to mention that a lookout about 3kms from the start was of no use because of the foggy conditions. When we got back to the cars we had barely set down in the shelter to have lunch when it poured. It was only about 4 minutes but it was very heavy. And Trevor had found both Kevin's glasses and Jochen's stick. Peter, the seventh walker,who had just completed his second walk headed back home to Crookwell (I think). I understand he visits his parents in Campbelltown most weekends. Kevin and his passengers decided to head home while Trevor, Rozanne and I went to look at Carrington Falls. The Falls were spectacular because of the heavy rain the previous day. The depth was about 30 metres deep and about six or seven feet, wide and they roared. I said to the others that it seemed like it was saying, "I am strong and I am powerful" and the others concurred. The three of us then rounded off the day with a pie and coffee at the Pie Shop before heading back.
We had 12 members (including the leader) meet at the Catholic Club, not sure of what the weather was going to be like in Mt. Kembla. As we got closer to Mt. Keira Road turnoff, it did not look too promising and the fog was rolling in. Anyway we decided to drive down the hill to Mr. Kembla as there were some interesting historical plaques to look at in the village. A light rain had started, so we all put on raincoats and hoods and set forward bravely. It was decided not to go to the lookout as it was quite steep, and could have been slippery in the wet.
The sub-tropical rainforest was very pretty and had a mystical feel about it, especially in the light drizzle and fog. We did not stop for morning tea, there being no shelter but kept going until we came to the road. Shortly after that we investigated the Windy Gully Cemetery where 33 of the 96 victims of the worst mine disaster in Australia (in 1902) were buried. This cemetery was consecrated in 2002 and stands as a poignant reminder of the dangers encountered in the early mining industry.
Returning to our cars we were greeted by Ray and Gillian who had decided not to do the walk. But they did tell us that the local pub does do HOT COFFEE, TEA, CHOCOLATE! So it was not long before we were all enjoying our various cups of coffee, tea, etc. While we were chatting and having a lovely time, one of us noticed a grub? climbing up on her trousers. Oops, it was a leech and had to be disposed of immediately. We think it hitched a ride quite some time ago.
We all returned to our vehicles and by now it was raining properly, but we had enjoyed our brief walk and morning tea together.
On Sunday 13th October 2013 nine Mountain Devil members and one visitor left Campbelltown for the trip up the mountains. The weather was looking great and hopefully not going to be TOO hot! When we arrived at Perrys Lookdown it was decided to have some early morning tea, as the steep walk down (650metres or so) could take more than an hour. We stopped at both Perrys Lookout and Dockers Lookout to admire the wonderful view into the Grose Valley. On the way down there was an array of native flowers and beautiful waratahs to look at. We were also keeping a look out for any wildlife(especially snakes) but only heard bird calls. We finally made it to the bottom of the steep track and read the sign noting the history of how the Blue Gum Forrest became a protected area. We also did a short stroll to the Grose River and had a welcome splash in the shallow water, with one member almost falling in!
We then set off for Acacia Flat where we had an extended lunch, admiring the area. All too soon it was time to head back up the mountain, and we were all thinking "this is going to be very hard-going". It was also getting a little warmer and a bit windy. So we all set off at our own pace, and over the next couple of hours found out that our leg muscles were certainly not used to such a steep climb and large steps. But with many stops we all made it to the top and congratulated ourselves on a great effort.
It was a lovely day, and well-timed as it was only at the end of the week that Lithgow and the Blue Mountains were ravaged by several bushfires.
After negotiating trains which terminated early and crowded bus terminals, we arrived near the start of the walk as the heat was increasing. Walking through reserves along the cliff edge, our views were somewhat blurred by the bushfire smoke. Passing the CSIRO 1950’s astronomical site, we continued along the coastline, then descended into Diamond Bay with its spectacular and rugged cliff formation.
After morning tea in Christison Park we meandered around Macquarie Lighthouse and the historic Signal Hill gun fortifications. From here it was all downhill along sheer sandstone cliffs past The Gap and Gap Bluff. We then cut through The Armoury and onto Camp Cove and finally out to Hornby Lighthouse. Strong winds were now blowing so we sheltered in the old gun emplacements for lunch.
From here it was a short walk back to the Watsons Bay ferry passing the nudist Lady Bay Beach where David spotted the only female. Winds had blown the smoke away so we could now enjoy the great views back to the city.
12 members and 3 visitors set out for the short drive to Victoria Rd, Wedderburn and the entrance to the Dharawal National Park. There is a very large rock just before the gate which should have had a plaque on it commemorating the opening of the park but the plaque was missing. Everyone was impressed that they didn't have to climb over the fence but had a proper entrance.
We walked along the bitumen road and were further impressed by -the clear signage and three wooden benches spaced out along the way. The wild flowers were quite sparse but very colourful. After the bitumen we continued along the dirt track. The plan was to stop at the usual lookout for morning tea but as it was early when we got there we continued on and on and on…. We surprised a lizard along the track which decided to play dead and hope no-one would notice it - no such luck. Annette picked it up for a photo opportunity and then returned it safely off the track. We didn’t reach the end of the track but found another lookout to admire the view. Lino alerted us to a beautiful orchid growing on the side of a rock.
We then returned on the dirt track until we reached a lookout for morning tea. We checked out the new O'Hare's Creek lookout which is wheelchair and stroller friendly – a wide, level track with a viewing platform at the end and a variety of wild flowers around it. There is also a great view down to the creek.
We then went along the 10T track and found the pink tape tied to a tree (thanks Michael*) that indicated the start of the narrow track to Minerva Pool. Some of the walkers decided to wait at the start of the track as they were not comfortable with the steepness of the track. The rest of us enjoyed lunch in the beautiful surroundings of Minerva Pool. We met another walker who joined us for the short walk back to the cars (we don't often finish with more walkers at the end than at the beginning!). Then it was a short trip back to the Catholic Club.
* - No need to thank me, I didn't put any tape out.
A group of nine (including myself) enjoyed a lovely walk on Sunday 8/9/13. We looked at and pointed out to each other the many coloured flowers either side of the firetrail, an enjoyable experience.
The Forest Path section, although much the same overall did vary enough to be enjoyed, some parts very pretty including the ambience. We avoided a short boardwalk which presented some danger - a slippery surface, particularly when wet. We commenced the walk at 9am and arrived back at our vechicles at 1:30pm.
We set off for Govetts Leap in Blackheath on the last day of winter. All I could muster was 8 victims, oops sorry, bushwalkers. The weather was just right for the 14km trek that awaited this adventurous group of devils. Arriving at the start of the walk we assembled for the obligatory circle and after a bit of chatter we set off along the Breaside track. After a short distance we came across a sea of yellow. Mother nature had put on a magnificent spread of Wattle. Spring was truly here, so was the hayfever. Reaching Bridal veil falls we headed up the long climb of stairs to Govetts Leap for morning tea. There we were greeted by a 'Spectacular' view with the suns rays at the right time of day bouncing off the cliff face.
After having morning tea we headed off to Pulpit rock. Coming round a bend we were surprised to find this bloke had pitched his one man tent on the narrow track with a sheer cliff edge close to the tent. After negotiating our way past the tent Michael commented "he wouldn't want to go for a toilet break in the middle of the night". Arriving at pulpit rock we were again greeted by "spectacular" views of the valley, returning back to Govetts Leap we detoured off to Popes Glen and headed back to the cars. A good day was had by all.
4 devils set out on a cold and windy morning to see if we could find our way to Dahlia Ck along some of the disused fire trails in Dharawal NP. We started from Darkes Forest and headed along the 10H fire trail. As we wandered along 10H we found so many animal tracks in the sand on the fire trail it was amazing. We turned off 10H onto an unnamed fire trail that I will call the Dahlia Ck Crossing Trail or DCT for easy reference. Lorraine lost her balaclava without realising it at the DCT turn off. We followed DCT till it meets the 10M trail at a crossroads. From here we turned left onto the 10M trail. Our task was to walk along and find the point where 10M branches and see if we could find the right hand branch. We walked for quite some time without finding the fork. Once I realised that we couldn't find the turnoff a reassessment of our walk was in order. We decided to continue on to the end of 10M. A sunny spot was found and we stopped for a well deserved tea break.
10M heads west and after a few kilometres finishes at a spot with good views across OHares Ck, we enjoyed a relaxing sit down rest stop here. It is a straightforward return run along 10M to the DCT intersection (keeping an eye out for the lost balaclava as we went). Not far from the crossroads we came across a Goanna that made a hasty exit up a tree. We also found an old fire trail that looked like it could be the one we had tried to find earlier. Unfortunately a later check of this trails location on the map shows it was not the one we were looking for earlier in the day. False trails are an all too common problem in Dharawal. Back at the DCT/10M intersection we turned left onto DCT and headed for upper Dahlia Ck. Except for a few places that are overgrown with Needle Hakea the trail down to Dahlia Ck was easy to follow. We arrived at a really pretty spot on Dahlia Ck with a small waterfall and pools of crystal clear water. This turned out to be great spot for lunch. I wouldn't mind exploring a little further along the DCT trail but unfortunately you soon cross into the headwaters of the Woronora River. This is catchment land and access is a no-no.
Lunch was over too soon and it was time for the several km walk back to the car. The cool breeze we cursed earlier in the day was now a blessing as the sun was very warm. Arriving back at the 10H trail Lorraine's balaclava was found by Michael laying on the trail, a good result. We plodded along till we reached the intersection of the old 10M trail and the 10H trail where a rest stop was in order. Off again and we managed to get a glimpse of a Kangaroo. This was a nice distraction on the long plod back to the cars. Later comparison of GPS track log and the GPS odometer showed we had done around 17.5km all up. This was a bit of a surprise as it hadn't felt like we had walked that far.
We didn't find the original goal for this walk which means there will be an Exploring Dahlia Ck Part 3 in the future.
After tea at the Campbelltown Catholic Club, our group of 20 excited theatre goers headed over to the Campbelltown Old Town Hall Theatre to see "The Full Monty". It was great to catch up with Rino who was selling raffle tickets before the show. Our seats were in the middle of the theatre where we had a great view. The show was excellent with lots of laughs, great singing and dancing and a very talented cast. One of the highlights of the show was the performance of Helen as Jeanette - a hard drinking, eight times married former performer who played the piano for the unemployed steel mill workers who decided to put on a strip show.
There were some serious moments in the show but it was a fast moving performance. The highlight for most of the ladies in the audience was the final scene where the guys performed their strip – and yes, they did go the full monty!
What a great day! 14 members of the club left the Campbelltown Catholic Club at 8.00am for the drive to Garie Beach. After dropping off the passengers, two drivers went to Wattamolla to drop off a car and then returned to Garie Beach. The walk started along the beach – there were lots of surfers out in the waves but they were all lying on their boards – we didn't see anyone catch a wave – obviously they were waiting for "the" wave. Then it was up the very steep steps to the top of the escarpment with a couple of stops to enjoy the amazing views down to Port Kembla. The steps are very uneven and were certainly a challenge to most of us but we agreed that we preferred to go up them rather than down.
Once up at the top of the escarpment the track is either level or slightly down hill and much of it is on metal grid. The vegetation is mostly heath with Gymea lilies. There were even some wildflowers already in bloom and there were many birds seen and heard. After a few complaints of "Is it time for morning tea yet?" we reached a lovely spot with lots of rock seats, a waterfall and views of the ocean. The stop was extended slightly to give Michael and his helpers the chance to retrieve his sunglasses which had been dropped in a crack in the rocks. The time was spent productively by taking photos and enjoying the view.
Then it was on to Eagle Rock and some more photo opportunities. The track then goes along the rocks with views out to sea. We were rewarded with the sighting of two whales. We then continued to Wattamolla with a short break at Curracurrong Cove where two of our members took the opportunity to wash their boots – the track was quite muddy in parts.
The Royal National Park is the most popular of the state’s national parks and was visited by 4.05 million visitors in 2012. We certainly met a number of other walkers of all ages on the track. When we arrived at Wattamolla we were greeted by the smell of barbecues – and we only had sandwiches! After lunch it was time for the drivers to return to Garie Beach to pick up the cars while Michael took the other walkers to view the dam.
The weather was great and it was another successful Mountain Devils walk.
With the bad weather causing the cancellation of the last couple of walks, we had a great many members turn up for this one. 25 members and 1 visitor set out from Campbelltown towards Wollongong via Wilton and Picton Road. Turned off at Mt Keira Road and continued up to Mt Keira Lookout where we had a toilet stop. There was no holding back everyone’s enthusiasm to admire the magnificent view from the top, and many photos were taken. Then back into the cars for the short drive down to the entrance gate where we started the walk.
I mentioned that there was a tree and thick scrub blocking the track further down, and for people to take care getting over this obstruction. We set off down the steep track, mostly single-file, admiring the lush sub-tropical rainforest and tall eucalypt trees. We all managed to climb over the fallen tree and scrub which slowed us down a little, but there were no mishaps. A couple of times a mobile phone was needed to keep in contact between the walk leader (me) and the latter half of the group as we were stretched out along the track so much. Lorraine took a couple of photos of the whole group at one stage, which she has since forwarded on. About an hour and a half from the start we arrived at Geordies Flat, where we all walked down Mt Keira Road to avoid a wet and muddy bush track. Leaving the road we passed the Girl Guides Camp and Lino proudly told us that he was one of the workers that had made the rather large gate into the Girl Guides Camp. So another couple of photos were taken.
We had a very enjoyable morning tea at Byarong Park; the sun was shining brightly and it was getting warmer. Now it was time to start on the gradual uphill trek along the convict-built part of the track. I pointed out Robertson’s Lookout which looked quite high, but convinced most people that the track was not too steep, but a gradual ascent. Walkers could, if they wished, leave the track near where the cars were parked, and did not have to go to the Lookout. The views were getting better the higher we climbed, and then we descended down to a pretty gully which crossed over Byarong Creek. From here we could hear many different bird calls, and also hear an elusive lyrebird which made a brief appearance.
When we arrived at the junction of Jumpers Track (which leads to Robertson Lookout) two walkers decided that they would have a rest, and waited by the cars. The rest of us plodded up to the Lookout and were well rewarded with a fantastic view of the sheer southern cliffs of Mt. Keira, and Lake Illawarra and the coast. After more stunning photos were taken we made our way down to the cars, and finally drove back up to Mt. Keira Lookout where we had a well-earned lunch and discussion on a very enjoyable walk with great views. We were joined by two other members of the Club who were out with their grandchildren.
One of our members, Michael, had a new app on his phone that tracked the walk for us. The total distance was approx 7.5 k and the elevation ranged from 400 metres (start) down to 200 metres (middle) and up to 450 or so metres at Robertson Lookout. Time taken, including stops was about 4.5 hours.
Two withdrawals due to illness left us with a group of 4 walkers. We parked at the end of Freeman Rd in Heathcote and took the Goburra Track to the Pipeline Rd. Headed north along the Pipeline Rd until we got to a point east of Watchorn Hill (GR152278). From here we off-tracked across Watchorn Hill heading roughly NNW towards Heathcote Ck. The scrub was thick but a long way off the worst I've encountered in this NP. We reached Heathcote Ck and found a scramble up through the cliff line (GR15032834) to the Scouters Mountain fire trail. The scramble included a boost up onto a rock shelf and our illustrious leader copped an accidental boot across the face. We stopped for morning tea at where the fire trail splits (GR146282).
From here it was just a straight forward plod along the fire trail heading south. My research indicated that a footpad existed heading roughly south-west along Tarmaroo Ridge from pylon #130 (GR144266). Of course pylon #130 was the second last pylon on the fire trail. We did stop and enjoy the views from a few of the pylons along the way and there were a number of different animal tracks in the sandy ground. As we came around the bend before pylon #130 I could see the track cairn straight away and the start of the track looked very overgrown. After a rest stop to admire the views we started along the Tarmaroo Ridge footpad.
I was surprised that the footpad was easier to follow than expected and we were able to maintain a very good walking pace. We only hit a few dead ends which can be a common problem with rough indistinct tracks. All was going well till we got near to the lookout and someone has put out a series of cairns that split off from what looked to be the trail proper. We made the mistake of following the set of cairns that split to the left which all too soon just petered out. We spent some time looking for any sign of foot traffic or more cairns. We did find the odd cairn but that was it. Fortunately we were so close to the cliff line (and lunch) that a bit of a scrub bash wasn't a problem. Thankfully we popped out of the scrub about 100m to the east of where I had hoped and well ahead of our estimated time schedule.
Lunch was taken on a rocky outcrop (GR13382593) with stunning views across the NP and into Holsworthy. We all sat down low between the rocks out of a cool breeze that had come up and enjoyed a well deserved break. What a great spot, ideal for a relaxing lunch stop. The cool breeze made the decision to get going again for us.
We followed some cairns (that where literally just metres to the east of our lunch spot) which led to a gap in the cliff line and started the scrub bash down to Lake Eckersley. Our target was to pop out on the Lake Eckersley Track and after much zig and zag we did pop out about half way along it. (Several years ago I was researching walks in this NP and I found a website by a local that had notes for walking up Scouters Mountain by following a series of cairns from Lake Eckersley. On my first visit to Lake Eckersley I remember seeing a couple of cairns heading away up the hill, I now wonder if these cairns could have been the ones mentioned in that old website.) We headed up to the Pipeline Rd from the Lake Eckersley Track. We had a sit down break at the Battery Causeway picnic table before plodding back to the cars via the Pipeline Rd and the Friendly Track.
With 18 members and 1 visitor, we commandeered our usual train carriage. Alighting at Lindfield, a short walk took us to the beautiful Seven Little Australians Park with angophoras, ferns and streams. Of particular interest were the sandstone overhangs which appeared to be supported by dry stone pillars. However a sign later described them as being a pre WW1 army engineer training exercise.
Soon we came to a tunnel, thankfully with not enough water to have to take off our boots. Ascending into the Two Creeks Track we found a good spot for morning tea. However Lynette announced leeches which got everyone up and checking. The group became quieter as the track narrowed with ascents and descents, but here we enjoyed views of Gordon Creek and Middle Harbour. We then turned into Moores Creek where it became darker with mangroves and long sandstone overhangs.
Diverting into Little Diggers Track with more overhangs and a couple of waterfalls, our agility was tested with some narrow steep sections. Too early for lunch, so back to the main track along Middle Harbour, under Roseville Bridge and onto Echo Point Park where we were able to secure some sheltered picnic tables for a comfortable lunch.
A steep climb out then relaxing on bus and trains home.
Ever since first visiting Boobera Pool in 2007 I have wanted to get back there and spend the night in this beautiful location. 5 of us set off from Heathcote along a rough bush track that descends quickly. We soon joined up with the Friendly Track which winds its' way down towards the Pipeline Rd. Thankfully a gantry and stairs make getting over the water pipeline easy. We took a short cut to avoid a loop in the road which turned out to not be a good idea as it is very steep and slippery. After slowly navigating our way down we rejoined the Pipeline Rd. From here it's a few kilometres to our exit and the track over Boobera Ridge. We pushed on and eventually stopped for a late morning tea at the picnic table at Battery Causeway. The rest break was welcome as the day had already warmed up.
Off we set again continuing on the Pipeline Rd. Didn't take long until we reached the turn off for Boobera Pool. This track is hidden away and hard to find if you haven't been shown it. Thankfully the track looks like it has been getting some wear and was a lot easier to follow than in 2007. We took our time with the trip up over the ridge and down the other side. We crossed the Woronora River and reached the campground. It was time for lunch.
To our surprise whilst we were having lunch two other bushwalkers arrived at camp. One has taken a shine to the area and is now a regular visitor and has been maintaining the track and campground (this explains why we found the area around the fireplace raked clean). He even showed us where he had hidden some fold out camp chairs for us to use. They left after a while and we set about collecting water, firewood and exploring the area. Evening arrives early when your in a valley and Nicole got the fire going and we settled in for dinner. Our fire kept us warm and entertained as the near full moon rose in the east bathing the area in bright moonlight. Everyone drifted off to bed at their own pace.
A cool morning greeted us but it soon started to warm up. Breakfast was enjoyed before a little more exploring then pack up time. The walk out was just the reverse of the walk in except for an occasional breeze that gave some relief from the warm day. We got back to the cars in time for lunch and enjoyed a nice break reflecting on our enjoyable trip.
12 Mountain Devils left the Catholic Club on a beautiful sunny morning. David graciously agreed to take his car as we had 10kms of dirt road at the end but David later informed me that it was only 8. We met Armando and Editha at Glenbrook and after a quick toilet stop we were off to Leura. The dirt road was a little corrugated and dusty so I was glad that I hadn't washed the car. On arrival at the parking area I was a little surprised to see a few cars were already there. Over the course of the day we passed a few people who were taking advantage of the sunshine and the views. The wind was very strong up in the mountains a little chilly around the ears. After battling the winds we climbed to the top of Lockleys Pylon where some of the Devils contributed to the stack of rocks.
Armando was like a boy in a candy store at the opportunity of taking some photos of the magnificent views. We continued on to the end of the bluff which once again was very windy. Coming back up the stairs which we all decided to count with variations between 192 & 196 we decided to average it out at 200 steps. I discovered that Ray had a hidden talent as a fly whisperer. The fly couldn't take his eyes off of Ray even when he put his hand only 1cm from the fly. Luis has decided he doesn’t need Botox after his close encounter with ground. Everyone enjoyed the walk even the little extra up and down the 200 steps.
A cool morning belied the day ahead. 6 Devils left Campbelltown and 2 more met us at the start of the walk. We set out on the lengthy fire trail slog that is the start of the walk. As the temperature started to rise the breeze seemed to disappear. The 10H trail eventually closes in becoming a footpad and after a few km's comes to an end at a side tributary of OHares Ck. To our surprise we didn't find a quiet creek valley but a mini canyon with massive boulders lining the side of the creek. We ended up heading up the creek valley till we found a break in the boulders that would allow us to ascend the other side. After a strenuous climb we found a nice spot for our morning tea break. We all needed the break.
Rested and refueled we continued the off-track section of the walk heading for the old 10M trail. We popped out onto 10M just a little east of where I had hoped which was good. We were very surprised to discover that someone had been out with the hedge trimmers and cleared the trail making progress along it very easy, this was very unexpected. We walked to the end of 10M and had a 10 minute rest stop before turning around. I had anticipated that the 10M trail would be very overgrown and difficult to follow. Turned out to be the opposite, well that's at least until we got to a few k's from the intersection of 10M and 10H, then the scrub closed in and we had to push through. It was time for lunch and as we kept our eye out for a suitable spot to stop we unexpectedly reached the 10H trail. We headed down a un-named trail that I know of looking for a some rocks and shade for lunch, thankfully we didn't have to walk far.
Lunch was a good and we all enjoyed the break as the day had gotten quite warm. Finally a breeze came up but unfortunately it was just as we were walking the last few k's back to the cars.
Just a few members and one enthusiastic visitor came on this different walk. After following the waters edge from under Iron Cove Bridge we ascended many wooden steps and into narrow lanes to Elkington Park. Here we enjoyed views across to Snapper, Spectacle and Cockatoo Islands. Continuing past Dawn Fraser Pool back along the waterfront, then up and down until reaching Louisa Road, the premier road in Birchgrove. Along the way we admired the multi million dollar terrace homes before settling down the end at Yerulbin Point Park for morning tea with great harbour views.
Then through Birchgrove Park and onto the new Ballast Point Park where we spent some time admiring the impressive redevelopment. We then walked around Morts Bay, down some more interesting streets and laneways, finally reaching our secluded lunch stop at Simmons Point Park. Just a short walk now to an awaiting ferry back to the Quay.
All agreed that a lot of interesting history and scenery made an enjoyable day.
In the end three enthusiastic Devils set off for an overnight stay at Emmett's Flat via Starlight's Track in Nattai National Park. We arrived at the end of Wattle Ridge Rd and found a group from Sutherland Bushwalkers ready to head off for a night at Emmett's Flat as well. We managed to set off before they did. We took our time with the first 1.5kms (nearly all uphill) and headed off along the Ahearn Track to Point Hill for a late morning tea. From our vantage point we cooed the group from Sutherland as they past below us on the Starlight's Track. After a lengthy and relaxing tea break we headed back to Starlight's for the long walk downhill to the campground. Our first stop was Toothache Rock, it was here we had the first and only fall for the day. Michael took a tumble while trying to do two things at once and not concentrating on where he put his feet. The day had warmed up quite a bit, couple this with high humidity and sun exposure and the walk down got hot and sticky so we maintained a slow pace (not too mention the overgrown track and large number of fallen trees to climb over). A group decision was made to stop and have lunch at the top of the switchbacks. A solitary tree provided enough respite from the sun for us all and we relaxed and enjoyed our lunch. Rested and fed we made the final push for camp. The switchbacks have been eroded by people taking short cuts so we took it slowly to avoid falling and injuring ourselves. I was amazed to see the creek that runs down the valley next to Starlight's Track was actually flowing at the bottom of the valley, something I have never seen before. We made it to camp.
The afternoon was spent setting up camp, gathering water and just wandering around enjoying the area (or in the case of Lorraine passed out in her tent for an hour or so). The camp ground is quite overgrown compared to our last trip down here and I must say it does make the area look very pretty and green. Whilst Nicole was getting the camp fire going, with her new fire starting toy, another couple (Shelley and Rhys) arrived and set up camp nearby. We had a very enjoyable evening chatting with them around the camp fire. It was very warm well into the night before a change finally came through and dropped the temperature. All up a quiet night except for a Boobook Owl that decided that hooting for hours on end was a good idea.
Under no time pressure we had a relaxed start to the day. Packed up and ready to go by mid-morning we decided to stop for a late morning tea just past the climb up the switchbacks. The walk out is just a slow slog back up Starlights. Us and the Sutherland group kept leap frogging each other until we all ended up at Toothache Rock for our lunch breaks. Toothache Rock is always a welcome site as it means there is less than 1km of the uphill part of Starlights to do. Good pace on the last 2.5km's saw us back at the car in good time. I signed us out of the walkers logbook before we drove into Hill Top for a drink and an ice cream (both were nice). Thanks to my companions for their company. I think we had a great trip.
At 5 to 7 on Sunday morning I had 14 on my list and by 7 o'clock I was down to 11. So it was a case of another Coles' walk for Hazza (down, down numbers were down). During the drive over to the Royal National Park the numbers nearly shrunk to zero as the rain started lashing down and continued until we were nearly there. However, it stopped and fortune favoured the brave and we set forth on a lovely morning, the rain having scrubbed the air leaving it cool, fresh and invigorating as we strolled over the delightful if a trifle wet heathland. Humidity started to rise so it was a joy to enter the rainforest section and brush through the wet bush getting an instant cooler.
We climbed down to the big rock for morning tea and a hint of what lay ahead when the first leeches came out to feed on us!!! We scampered on like the last patrol heading for Dunkirk and Hazza was in such a hurry to cross Bola Creek he slipped into the water to everyones amusement. We continued at speed and at purple alert, spraying, bashing, tugging and prising the leeches off our shoes socks and trouser legs until we crossed the Hacking River and they petered out as we approached Lady Carrington Drive.
The Forest Island loop was given a sharp thumbs down and we headed straight up Lady Carrington Drive and were we glad as on arrival at the end of the walk a couple of young tourists stood forelornly and shoeless with blood seeping down their legs having just finished a circuit of Forest Island. Our girls soon sorted them out.
All week the walk was in doubt due to bad weather. Sunday morning dawned overcast but dry. So we were off!
There were 14 of us including Carol McWilliam our member from Townsville and her sister, Maria, who joined the club on that day. Walking on the Blue Mountains is always a pleasure. The temperature was perfect for walking and we were all in good spirits. The track, Prince Henry Cliff, took us along the top of the cliff with beautiful views of the Jamison Valley, going west towards the Three Sisters 2.6km away.
Morning tea was at Echo Point with views of the Three Sisters, during which time some of us took the opportunity to visit the visitor center or take a look around and enjoy the view. After morning tea we descended the Fubber Steps to the valley below passing creeks and beautiful waterfalls which were running really well after the rains of previous days. These included Witch’s Leap with its hanging garden and Katoomba Falls. Our way back was via Federal Pass at the bottom of the valley with majestic turpentine trees.
By the time we reached Leura Forrest (our lunch destination) we were ready for a stop. After lunch we started the climb out of the valley. It was quite challenging as we had to go up some 1100 steps to the top however the effort was worth it to see the water cascading down rocky cliffs and creek beds. It was good to reach the top and a well earned rest. All in all, at the end of it, we were all tired but happy to have met the challenge.
With 2 cancellations we still had a record 27 members. Thanks to Rino in the middle and Lino at the rear, the group was held together which prevented the possibility of anyone straying into one of the many side tracks. After crossing Congwong Beach, we entered Botany Bay National Park, firstly walking down to the pretty, secluded Little Congwong Beach. Then we ascended through the coastal forest including angophoras, banksias and westringas. Many of us took a steep descent to get the great bay views from Browns Rock. Then onto Henry Head where we had morning tea and explored the 1890’s fortifications.
Now following the coast on an impressive new "boardwalk" we descended to Cruwee Cove where we rock hopped to reach the footbridge to Cape Banks. Carmel and Nicole decided to explore a hazardous cliff top track and rejoined us a bit further on. At the point we paused to watch the power of the ocean against the sandstone rockface. Carol told us the story of the nearby shipwreck SS Minmi.
After lunch we walked north pausing to look at the remains of the Coast Hospital infectious diseases cemetery. Then further on to a boardwalk through low forest and finally to a lookout over Bare Island and back to our cars past the site of Happy Valley depression camp. A really enjoyable day.
All up 31 members braved the heat for this very enjoyable evening.
Our pre-walk BBQ was a treat. A huge thank you to our hosts for their hospitality.
The persistent heat forced a half hour delay to the start of the walk. We car pooled for the short drive to the start of the walk. It was still quite warm and a relaxed pace was set. Our first stop is a lookout over the gorge created by OHares Ck. The nice new track installed by NPWS makes it a lot easier to get there. Back on the West Vic' fire trail and our progress was briefly halted by a small Brown Snake crossing our path. Thankfully it was spotted in enough time for us to stop well out of harms way. The air was still very warm and the 3m+ heath was doing a good job of blocking the occasional breeze that would come up as we walked. The main fire trail has recently been cleaned up and is quite wide at the moment making for easy walking. I decided on a short stop at another gorge lookout to give everyone a few minutes break. We reached our rest stop at the final lookout in good time considering the weather and our pace.
A heavy haze hung over us, couple this with a strong NE wind blowing the city pollution our way and I knew we would not be able to see Sydney Tower on this trip (unfortunately Sydney Tower can only be seen when the pollution is being blown away by a westerly wind). We still got good views from the Meccano set (the traffic lights at Woodville Rd and the Old Hume Highway) across Bankstown Airport and the Bankstown plateau.
Everyone seemed keen to get going, maybe it was the propect of coffee and cake after the end of the walk. We made good time on the return leg and had our traditional stop where we turn off our torches for a few minutes, enjoy a small speech by the walk leader and then enjoy the night sky.
Cake and coffee after the walk was well received.