Activity Reports.

Welcome to our activity reports page. Here we post reports from our bushwalks and social activities.

19-05-24 - Cape Bailey Lighthouse.

16 Devils plus myself set off to the Botany Bay national park at Kurnell where we began our walk. It was a bit cool and windy but fortunately it did not rain, we walked part way on the road then through bush to Cape Salander lookout where we took in the views the sea was very rough so no wales we then proceeded on the walkways which we appreciated because there was a lot of water on the ground then across cliff tops luckily we were able to step over or get around the water there, we then continued on walkways and bush until we reached the lighthouse where we relaxed and caught our breath.
After some refreshments we returned to Cape Solander where some of the walkers were able to get an icecream from a van that was there, we then returned to our cars at the once information car park. Thank you everyone for a fun day and I didn't get anyone lost.

30-03-24 - Three Views Track.

14 members and 2 visitors assembled at the front of the Kangaroo Valley pub on Easter Saturday. The village was slightly misty but things quickly cleared on our drive to the trail head on the Tallowa Dam road about 20km from town. The village of Kangaroo Valley was quite busy as preparations were being made for an Easter festival. By the time of our pre walk briefing the weather had become quite balmy.
First part of the walk passed through a heathland area which had been burnt by the fires a few years ago. Recovery was well underway and there were some pretty flowers to be seen including small Flannel Flowers, Mountain Devils and Dwarf Banksias. Trail was wide and easy to follow. Well signposted too. After about 20 minutes of walking we reached out first lookout which provided a nice view over the Lake Yarrunga reservoir and surrounding hills. Due to a minor fall from our leader we took an extended morning tea break at this scenic spot. Once refreshed, we walked about half an hour to a second lookout which provided a great view of the Tallowa Dam and spillway and some really stunning mesa shaped mountains. Really delightful spot and photogenic and we spent plenty of time here. At this point we needed to make a strategic decision as the weather was now becoming quite hot and there was minimal shade on this somewhat exposed plateau. We decided on an early finish and to enjoy the Easter festivities in the Kangaroo Valley village.
Leader plans to return to this lovely area and visit other lookouts in the nearby area. Thank you for all those wonderful Devils colleagues who shared this Easter adventure.

03-12-23 - Cabramatta Cultural Walk.

Welcome to Cabramatta, land of Dharug people (Cabrogal mob).
Cabra means an edible freshwater grub" or "head of the waters". The first record of the name is of British settlers, the Bull family , named their property Cabramatta Park in early 1800's. Migrants settled here due to the proximity of migrants hostels in Cabramatta and Villawood. The first wave of migration occured after WW2. 1940's and 50's most migrants were UK, Italian, and Greek. After Vietnam war, there was a second wave of refugees from Vietnam in the 1970's and 80's after the fall of Saigon in 1975. The first "boat people " came in 1976 ,5 Vietnamese refugees made the 3500 km journey to Darwin.This was followed by Cambodians after Pol Pot and the killing fields. This was a challenging time for non white people in Australia as the Government led by Edmund Barton had established the White Australia Policy since Federation in 1901. It was renounced by the Government led by Gough Whitlam in 1973. He was the MP in Cabramatta lived in 32 Albert St from 1956 to 1978. It is being converted to a museum. In the 1980's, Cabramatta developed a reputation for its street gangs and heroin epidemic. In 1994, the infamous political assassination of John Newman who was a strong anti drug campaigner. Phuong Ngo the former mayor of Fairfield was found guilty of master minding the killing and received a life sentence.There was a good 4 Corners documentary "Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta". The film "Little Fish "Starting Cate Blanchett about a heroin addict living in Cabramatta. The book "All that's Left Unsaid " by Tracy Lien, "The Happiest Refugee" by Anh Doa. It took the Police almost 3 years to remove the gangs and now Cabramatta is a much safer place. I recall in the 1980's seeing heroin addicts shooting up and I knew many people were robbed here. You had to be very careful especially at night.
In the last census,population 21,000
30%Chinese and
10 %Khmer (Cambodian)
I took 9 members with me on a 5 km leisurely walk starting at Cabramatta train station. I showed them some of the shops, food stalls and supermarket that I like or thought would be interesting such as:
Lucky BBQ Roast pork.
The Rise Cafe 2 John St Drinks.
Hung Vuong 65 John St takeaway.
Tan Hoan Cao 73 -79 John St.
Tan Viet 100 John St Crispy skin chicken.
Phu Quoc 117 John St Sugar cane prawn wrap.
Kim Thanh Co Hot bread Banh Mi 215 Railway Pde.
Since most members had not visited Cabramatta for long time and for some,it was their first time,there were many questions about the sights,sounds and smells especially the snacks ,plants ,seafood and tropical fruit. Some could not resist and bought some lovely orchids,fruit and souvenirs. We had lunch at Cabravale Diggers where everyone could choose from 8 different Asian cuisines at a reasonable price. We then visited the incense filled quaint Buddhist Tien Hau Temple before we caught the train from Canley Vale station back home. Everyone agreed that it was informative and fun and would like to do more cultural walks in future which I will organise in April 2024.

03-12-23 - Dharawal Pools.

Seven members and an international visitor met at the Dharawal National Park car park in Victoria Road Wedderburn. Our intention was to explore the recently reopened Jingga Track leading down to O'Hares Creek. This was a warm, clear late spring morning and there had been a heavy downpour with hail the previous evening in the local area.
Our pre walk briefing included a little Spanish to make our visitor from Peru feel more welcome. We passed through the park gate and headed off towards to trail head for the Jingga Track. The Jingga Track was now wide and easy to follow but is extremely steep for one section of about 500 metres. We passed a number of bright blue fairy wrens that entertained us with their plumage and cheerful songs. Previous walks on this route with our club have always featured a fall but we broke with tradition and no one fell today. Well done to all! After walking for about half an hour we rested in a shady overhang overlooking the Jingga Pool. This was a truly delightful spot and the recent rain had recharged the flow in O'Hares Creek. The concrete weir was still in good condition and functioning well. Returning up the steep hill was a challenge on a warm day but we made steady progress and returned in good time.
Our rapid progress opened the possibility of a second walk so we decided to walk out to the Minerva Pool. This proved to be an inspired decision. On the way we saw lots of pretty flowers including fringed lilies, pink trigger plants and lesser flannel flowers. We passed close to a massive lace monitor (tree goanna) on our way to the Minerva Pool. We had a relaxed lunch at the viewing platform and explored to vicinity of the pool and cascade. A delightful short-beaked echidna decided to join us for lunch. Our new friend was curious but a little apprehensive. After being a little shy it decided that it had more important things to do and slowly wandered off. Day was becoming hotter now.We all decided that we had a wonderful day and reluctantly returned to our cars. Thank you to all members of our group who attended and contributed to this memorable activity. Andy

24-06-23 - Royal National Park Whale Watch.

11 members and one visitor met at Audley visitor centre before the drive to the trail head in Beachcomber Ave Bundeena. There we met one more member. it was a lovely early winter day and about 20 degrees. We held a short briefing during which Luis was presented with a replacement of his iconic Hi Vis hat which he lost on a recent walk. Now the proud owner of a golden hat. We set off along the coastal track. Lots of people had the same idea this day and the parking in the surrounding streets was tricky to find. Once we reached the coastal lookout at The Balconies we immediately saw whales. Plenty of whales and fortunately they were quite close to shore. we had an early morning tea break and enjoyed the spectacle. Quite an emotional experience to see these remarkable creatures in their natural environment. after about half an hour we continued further down the coastal track and stopped for regular breaks and more whale sightings. We passed through the Water Run which is always a lovely spot. Despite the season there were plenty of colourful wildflowers. We continued to Wedding Cake Rock where we took another break. Remarkably Wedding Cake Rock is still standing more precariously than ever. Saw plenty of whales at Wedding Cake Rock and these delightful creatures did their best to put on a good show and entertain us. We even saw 3 or 4 breaches right at Wedding Cake Rock. Remarkable! We continued to our turnaround and lunch spot at Marley Headland. We enjoyed a panoramic view of the Marley beaches and the coast further down. We made good time on the return journey and saw plenty more whales. Judging by the number of foreign accents of other people walking this track has become a pretty major tourist attraction. Leader would like to express his gratitude to those who shared this great day and to those whales that made this a remarkable experience.

11-06-23 - Couranga Track

After travelling from the Catholic club the group met more walkers at the car park of Waterfall Railway station. Total of 15 for the day including a visitor. This was a delightful clear early winter day. After completing practicalities of our car shuttle we held a short briefing at the Uloola Trail head. We departed along the Uloola Trail. Passing the helipad and onto a section of recently graded fire trail. After about 1km we reached the memorial to several RFS members who sadly lost their lives in the course of fire fighting duties. Really moving memorial. A short distance further on we arrived at the turn off for the Couranga Track. Track headed easterly through some dry forest featuring several really picturesque trees especially scribbly gums and Angophoras. There were also some really pretty Banksias which provided a colourful display. In some areas the track was a little damp underfoot. After about 20 minutes the track started to descend and got a little rougher but was easy to find the route. Stopped for a couple of short breaks to check that everyone was OK and to have a breather. A little further on the track started to descend more steeply and became quite rocky but we all kept our feet. Eventually we reached a small stream which had some small cascades and the vegetation started to change. More ferns now and rainforest trees and vines made their appearance. Over about one kilometre we transitioned to a rainforest environment. Tall Eucalypts, Turpentines and Cabbage Tree Palms became dominant. Track always remained clear and easy to follow. After a further kilometre or so we arrived at the west bank of the Hacking River. Took us a few minutes to find the correct crossing point via a link track. Crossing the Hacking River was a little challenging and 2 walkers had unscheduled swims but that is the joy of bushwalking on a winter day. Everyone got over safely and we had a good chuckle. To reward those good efforts our leader announced a well earned lunch break on a small beach area on the river bank. After lunch we walked a short distance to connect with the Forest Path circuit. We decided to complete the Forest Path circuit which was highly enjoyable and pleasant walking. One of the features was a number of really pretty bird's nest ferns and the palm trees were really delightful. After about a 3km walk we reached the picnic area near Lady Carrington Drive and had a restful break. Lovely spot!. Walk was completed by short walk to a car which we had parked near the bottom of Lady Carrington Drive at the start of the day. Car shuttle certainly made for a more interesting and easier walk by avoiding the long slog back up the hill to Waterfall. All that was needed was to return our drivers to the cars which were left at Waterfall station. Leader would like to thank those who shared in this great adventure in the Royal National Park.

29-10-23 - Appin Road to Darkes Forest and Maddens Falls.

We had 14 members and 2 visitors meet at Appin Park, and then we car-pooled for the 10 km drive to the start of the walk. We assembled at 10B Gate, and then took a narrow track off to the right to join the track from 10 Gate. This is usually a very pretty walk through a forest of many gymea lillies, but unfortunately due to the very dry weather, there were not as many of these beauties around. Nevertheless, everyone enjoyed the walk through this forest, especially those who were here for the first time.
Then it was an easy walk along the fire-trail heading towards Darkes Forest. A few more gymea lillies were spotted too as we passed through bloodwood forest and dense scrub. After a while we came to a crossing over Maddens Creek with very little water over the rocks. Just a short way now and we reached Darkes Forest Road, and then crossed over to the Glenbernie Orchard (home of Darkes Cider) where we were having our morning tea. I had mentioned that there would be a Coffee Cart open so many were looking forward to that first coffee! But it was not to be!! It had been open the previous weekend when I checked, but closed today. Much groaning going on. We all spent time in the shop purchasing all sorts of stuff - cider, sparkling cider, apples, sauces & even some honey tasting. Our 2 visitors decided (with my permission) to head on back to the cars, as they were walking a bit slower than the rest. They had done this walk before, so all good.
After our extended stop-over we crossed the road again and proceeded down the 1 km track to Maddens Falls. A good amount of water flowing over today. It was getting quite hot now, so we all tried to find some shade and had our lunch with the waterfall and scenery in view. Some crossed over the top of the falls for a different view. Good conversations and friendly banter while we picnicked.
Then sadly it was time to return the way we came. It soon became apparent that our return journey was slightly uphill all the way, with a few steeper hills too. Eventually we went through the Gymea Lilly Forest and we were soon back at the cars. We drove back to Appin Park where we dispersed into our own cars. It had been a pleasant and not too hot a day. (I think I owe a few people some coffees!)

28-05-23 - Blackheath Escarpment Walk.

A dozen Devils members met up at the front of the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath. A weather change had moved through overnight so the weather was clear but pretty cold. The maximum temperature on the day in the upper mountains was a brisk 6 degrees Celsius. First we drove out to newly-renovated Evans Lookout carpark to leave a couple of cars for a car shuttle. We then moved on to park the remaining cars near the start of the walk in Prince Edward Street, Blackheath. After a short briefing we were keen to get walking to warm ourselves a little so we made our way to the start of the Popes Glen Walking Track in a nearby street. over the next hour or so we slowly descended down through Popes Glen which is a really pleasant and well maintained walking route. Seemed like there had been some fire damage from the severe fires 3 to 4 years ago but it was still a lovely walk. Decided to have morning tea at a small pool on the creek and a well earned break. We continued on passing a lovely cascade and then emerged onto the cliff top track near Govett's Leap. A steep climb was required to reach the lookout but the stairs were well maintained. The Govett's Leap Lookout site was undergoing a major facelift including providing disabled access so we had to bypass the construction area. According to the NPWS office the plan was to re-open the site in a few days. We caught our breath for a few minutes then continued along the cliff top track in the direction of Evans L:ookout. Our group went over a bit of a ridge then descended to cross Govett's Leap Creek just above Bridal Veil Falls. A few minutes further on we opted to stop at the next Lookout for a deserved lunch break. One of the coldest lunch breaks we had experienced on a Devil's walk! The view of the Grose Valley from the lookout was outstanding on this lovely clear day. There was a great view up the Vall;ey to Mount Banks, Mount Hay and Lockleys Pylon. Down below were the forests of the Grose Valley and Blue Gum Forest. The cliff walls opposite were starting to illuminate in the afternoon sun. There were also a couple of waterfalls. we noted that NPWS had left some materials along the route of Rodriguez Pass below raising the hope that this route will be repaired and restored in a few years. After lunch we made good progress down the track on the escarpment and after about an hour arrived at Evans Lookout. Our group had enjoyed a wonderful day. Some group members commented that they felt this was their most enjoyable walk which made it all feel even more rewarding.. All that was left was to complete the car shuttle and return home safely. Thanks to all those wonderful Devils who made this such a memorable day.

05 to 07-05-23 - Canberra - Namadgi Camp

20 Devils members staying at various locations met at the Namadgi NP visitor centre in Tharwa at 10 30am on Saturday morning. Some had travelled the day before, several had travelled down that morning. A few hardy souls had chosen to set up camp at Mount Clear camping area near the southern border of the ACT with NSW.
After the preliminaries, our group drove about 40km to the access point for our first day walk at Brayshaw's Hut. The plan was to complete a circuit visiting 3 highly historic settler's huts which had been restored by the KHA. Phil who had been personally involved in some of the restoration work explained some of the principles of the restoration according to the Burra charter. Very informative. Brayshaw's Hut was certainly interesting and worthwhile to visit and we marvelled at the authenticity and attention to detail in the restoration work. After viewing Brayshaw's we set off for our next destination through some really pleasant walking country featuring a mixture of dry forest and some more open areas affording distant views. Plenty of chatter from the birds as well as the members of our walking group. After about an hour or so we reached Waterholes Hut which was more basic and was primarily used as a temporary shelter. As the name suggests, the surrounding area was somewhat damp and the restoration work had included a well-designed drainage system. The area around the hut was quite scenic and had some restored sheep pens. We chose Waterholes Hut as our lunch spot. Another hour or so brought us to Westermans Hut which was different again. One of our group members, Phil, had not visited the hut for about 20 years but had been closely involved in several work parties involved in the restoration in the 1990's. He told us some remarkable stories including how the hut was linked to a Victoria Cross recipient. We spent plenty of time at this remarkable hut. The weather was starting to change and the evening was closing in so somewhat reluctantly we were forced to move on. Due to a bit of creative navigation by our leader the return to the cars took a little longer than expected. Some of the group members rewarded themselves with a dinner at one of the local sports clubs that evening. During the night the weather changed and it snowed but this did not deter the hardy souls camping out at Mount Clear!
Next morning was a bit damp and snow was clearly visible on the drive from the campsite to the meeting point at the Alpha Motel at Tuggeranong. Despite the somewhat damp conditions we decided to explore a section of the Murrumbidgee Discovery Trail on the western outskirts of Canberra. Despite the rather challenging weather our group did a delightful return walk from Kambah Pool to Red Rocks Lookout and were rewarded with a really stunning view of the valley. Can't doubt the Devil's spirit and positive attitude. Think we would all enjoy a longer walk in that area one day but the weather was proving a bit of a headache so we chose to call it a day.
We had all enjoyed a great weekend filled with great history, terrific walking and companionship and a variety of experiences in this great region. Leader wishes to express appreciation for all who were involved in this memorable weekend.

23-04-23 - Mt Annan Summit - Mt Annan Botanic Gardens.

Seventeen Devils assembled at the parking lot to conquer Mt Annan summit. This was accomplished with a bit of huffing and puffing and then we meandered around the back paths and tracks through the more traditional part of Mt Annan where the trees are all named and even found a Devil Tree. Then walked on down to the Indigenous walk where we found William (Badger) Bates sculpting away repairing the monument to the stolen generation which had been vandalised during covid. He was happy to tell the story of his sculpture which made it more meaningful to all of us there. Coincidentally I saw Badger on Australian Story the following night working for environmental issues. The walk concluded after lunch and a simple walk had been enjoyed by all.
Steve and Carmel.

16-04-23 - Grey Hat Falls.

10 Devils assembled for the drive to Glenbrook where we met up with 2 more Devils at the Campfire Ck car park. The walk follows the Red Hands Cave track along Campfire Ck. The creek valley is very lush and the track is easy to follow making for pleasant walking. Eventually the track crosses the creek and heads up a side creek to Red Hands Cave. Unfortunately our leader was not in the best of health and was having difficulties with the walk. We stopped at Red Hands for morning tea.
After a good break it was decided to turn around as our leader really wasn't well. The walk back was along the same path. We were very lucky to encounter two Lyrebirds just across the creek and also took the opportunity to take our time and investigate the area. We got back to the cars and everyone still enjoyed the day even though we didn't reach our goal for the day. Thankfully several walkers had not been to Red Hands before so they still got to enjoy a new experience.
Unfortunately one of our vehicles wouldn't start and the NRMA had to be called for a battery replacement. A few of us got to enjoy each others company as we waited and once the battery was replaced we headed home.

26-03-23 - Thirlmere Lakes N.P.

We had a good number of walkers meet at Lake Couridjah parking area - 13 members and 1 visitor. The weather report for the day was good, with only a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. From here we went south along the main track, and then veered off to our left towards Lake Baraba. Further along I stopped at a spot where there was a geocache (hidden in a log). We duly signed our club name on the paper, and examined the contents which were interesting. Phil even found an unopened can of beer.
We continued past this small lake and soon arrived at Lake Nerrigorang where I planned to have our morning tea. Here there was an extensive steel seat around a BBQ (which had seen better days). We all managed to find a spot, some sitting on logs too. Not long into our lovely rest and morning tea we soon discovered many leeches seeking out our bodies! This caused most of us to stand on the seats to get away from them. I had never seen leeches here before. Anyway we soon headed off on the track that goes up a short steep hill and follows the ridge-line heading back to the main track. We saw many mountain devils bushes and some lovely trees.
Joining the main track we went around the back of the Lakes for another couple of kilometres. All the Lakes have plenty of water now, and there were quite a few young people (probably a scouting group) paddling canoes and having lots of fun judging by the noise. I split up the group at a point where a smaller track goes up to the cliff-line - I think this track has been made by cyclists, but at the moment it looks unused. So about half the group followed me while Alan lead the rest along the track and continued along the road back to the cars. There is quite a magnificent overhanging rock up on the top. The track up here would have been very exciting for cyclists. Then I led my group down to join the main track, and had to fight my way through some shrubs as this side-track was so overgrown. We got back and continued to the road which eventually led us back to the cars.
It was quite busy here but we managed with one picnic table and enjoyed our lunch with discussions about leeches. I believe some of the leeches hitched rides home too. Alan found a squashed one in his bloodied sock when he go home. It had been a very enjoyable walk.

04-03-2023 - Marley Beach.

Eight members and a visitor assembled at the visitor centre at Audley before the drive to our trail head for the Marley track on the Bundeena Road. The weather forecast was a little confusing with light showers expected but these failed to materialise. There had however been some fairly heavy rain in the area the night before meaning that the walking route was pretty wet and boggy in parts. Progress was a bit slow towards the Deer Pool but our party determinedly plodded on. There were still some seasonal wildflowers on display with fringed lilies being a particular highlight. Honeyeaters and wattle birds seemed to be enjoying the day. After about an hour the party reached the Deer Pool and our leader decided to stop for a relaxed morning tea at this idyllic spot.
Water level in the creek was fairly high after the overnight rain but we managed to cross uneventfully. Up the hill we trudged to reach the Marley Fire Trail. Group headed towards Big Marley Beach for a well earned lunch break. Some members decided to have a bit of a paddle but we adhered to the well documented advice to avoid swimming at this dangerous and non patrolled beach. Lots of young folk passed through the area on the Royal National Park Coastal Track. Always popular but today was exceptional. Day was warming but there were some slightly ominous clouds in the Illawarra direction. Return trip to the Deer Pool was fairly uneventful. A few comic slips in the slippery creek crossing at the Deer Pool provided a few laughs, some abrasions and some unexpectant refreshment. Ironically the first to slip over was our leader who showed a great example with the stupidest and most comic fall into the creek. Well deserved! A short break and we resumed our return journey to the Marley Track car park.
It had been a wonderful day in the beautiful Royal National Park which never disappoints. Leader would like to express appreciation to all those Devils friends who attended on this great day.

19-02-23 - Warrimoo to Sun Valley via Fitzgeralds Creek.

Eight members were joined by 2 visitors at the visitor centre at Glenbrook, After a few hot days, this morning was milder and not unpleasant but still uncomfortably humid. We travelled to our start point and also arranged to leave a few cars at the end point of the walk. Our journey started near the sports oval at Warrimoo. After the introduction and briefing we headed out onto a ridge in an easterly direction. Soon we reached the Cripple Creek junction which provided our leader an opportunity to serenade us with some country music courtesy of Earl Scruggs and Lester Flett. Managed to get a bit of a laugh and some toes tapping to that banjo! We continue out onto a couple of lookouts over the Fitzgerald Creek valley with views towards Winmalee to the north. We enjoyed the views and had morning tea.
No one was bitten by bull ants but the little critters were looking at us disapprovingly. We backtracked a little and then walked down a steep gravelly fire trail towards Fitzgeralds Creek. Day was warming but we made steady progress and eventually reached a pleasant crossing point on the Long Angle fire trail. The area of the creek crossing is a really pleasant spot with majestic mountain blue gums in abundance. Enjoyed a leisurely lunch break. About half an hour later we packed up and headed up the Fitzgeralds fire trail towards Sun Valley. The ascent was gentle and quite scenic which made for fast and easy walking. After we arrived at our destination at the sports fields in Sun Valley. We will remember a lovely day in the lower mountains and an opportunity to share a great day in the bush with our visitors. Leader would like to express thanks to all who attended.

15-01-23 - Forty Baskets Beach.

23 members and 2 visitors met as Circular Quay and had a scenic ferry ride to Manly wharf. It was a warm mid summer day but clear and bright and spirits were high. After about half hour wait we connected with the route 162 Seaforth bus to the start of the walk at Balgowlah Heights. We made out way to Grotto Point which has an excellent indigenous art site and good views over Middle Harbour and Balmoral. One member of our group was curious about the Grotto Point lighthouse and made a short side trip there on a rough track. Temperature was quite high and we were a little exposed at this part of the walk so we decided to move on. The track back towards Manly was initially fairly level with a couple of good lookout points offering stunning harbour views. There were some lovely flowers including flannel flowers, fringed lilies and some fuschia heath. One highlight of this area is the local population of Eastern Water Dragons which were familiar with hikers and happy to pose for our photos!
After about one hour of walking the track started to descend from the plateau and some taller vegetation made the progress a little cooler. A bit of a sea breeze also helped considerably. A lovely shady area behind Reef Beach made a pleasant lunch spot. We spent a good time there and some of our group decided to go for a bit of a paddle on the beach. We reluctantly decided to move on and passed Forty Baskets Beach. To stay dry we needed to make a short diversion inland and through some suburban backstreets. Some lovely gardens with photogenic Hibiscus and Bromeliads were a particular highlight. We had another break in the shade at Fairlight Beach. All the swimmers and picnickers looked like they were having a great day!
Another half an hour or so brought us back to Manly wharf for the return journey. Total distance was about 7km and it was a highly enjoyable summer walk. Some members of the group took the opportunity to explore Manly but most decided to embark on the return ferry trip. Leader would like to thank the members and visitors who attended and made this a great day.

07-01-23 - New Years Twilight Walk.

27 Devils and 2 visitors gathered at the start of the walk in Kentlyn. Yes, we had 29 people on this walk. Setting off we headed down past the houses and off to a nice lookout that gives us our first view of the Georges River. The 2022 floods have scoured the river, the flood levels must have been really high going by the damage. From here we take a footpad past the old farm ruins and turn off to a lesser used track. We came to the one and only scramble and everyone got down without any problems. A pleasant track takes us around a point with some good views of the river and a nice range of vegetation. We got back onto the firetrails and enjoyed an easy walk as the light faded. Torches and headlamps came out as darkness engulfed us. The cloud cover hid a full moon from us so it was really dark.
We turned onto a side firetrail and headed to our break. Break was taken at a location with lots of spots to sit and rest. We had a generous break before setting off again.
Not long after starting back on the trail one of our walkers spotted a Koala in a tree. This made everyone happy, although the Koala seemed unimpressed by us. Many photos and much chatter unsued. A short time later we arrived at a junction and it was decision time. It was already after 10pm and everyone agreed to take the short trip along the road back to the cars. Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk and all made it to the end.

4-12-22 - Kangaroo Ck, Royal National Park

The visitor centre at Audley provided a meeting point for 7 members and a visitor on a perfect late spring day. After our introductions and briefing we departed up a steep but well formed trail towards Robertsons Knoll. First 15 minutes were reasonably hard work but the trail soon levelled off and walking was generally pleasant. As expected for this time of the year there were some lovely flowers and our visitor was enlightened about the significance of the mountain devil flower. The Angophoras and scribbly gums were a particular highlight on this trail. After about half an hour we started to descend steeply towards Kangaroo Creek. During this descent there were several flights of steel stairs which made for rapid progress. The valley of Kangaroo Creek where it meets Engadine Creek is an absolutely stunning spot and well worth a visit. You can walk to this spot or alternatively you can hire a canoe at Audley and row upstream in Kangaroo Creek. We met some folks who had chosen the latter option.
We spent a considerable time at this delightful spot and explored the area. Many photos were taken. A couple of group members found an abandoned motor bike. After a long morning tea we returned to Audley. A couple of members found a beautiful little green tree frog which was a real surprise and lifted our spirits. The day was warming now. We had finished ahead of schedule so were decided to extend our activity with a walk along the Hacking River on Lady Carrington Drive. This was also a pleasant walk with many pretty spots. Saw a couple of interesting things. A couple had chosen one of the picnic areas for their wedding ceremony including the use of a boat on the Hacking River. We wish them well! Also saw a wonderful little echidna going about its daily activities and having an absolute feast at an ants nest at the side of the trail. The echidna was remarkably tame and did not seem to be particularly fussed by our presence. Maybe those ants were particularly tasty. Thank you for all the walkers who shared this special day and contributed to this memorable activity.

20-11-22 - Blue Gum Forest - Grose Lookout.

After meeting at the visitor centre in Glenbrook 9 members drove to the end of White Cross Rd in Winmalee. Day had threatened to be hot but was a pleasant walking temperature. It was however rather windy.
After a briefing at the trackhead we proceeded along a well formed, clear trail towards Blue Gum Creek. Trail was a bit steep and gravelly at first but soon levelled out. At the start there was a dry forest but the further we went the trees got taller and straighter and some lovely mountain blue gums appeared (Eucalyptus deanei). These lovely forest giants would become a real feature of this walk. There were some other lovely flowers especially trigger flowers and lots of delightful ferns. Many nice birds were heard and seen including black cockatoos. Over the next hour or so we slowly and gently descended along the Blue Gum Creek valley. Walking conditions were close to ideal. as we walked further the trees seemed to get taller and straighter and some became gigantic and stunning to see. Eventually we reached the turnoff to Grose Valley Lookout but proceeded 5 min more to a nice spot at the crossing of the creek for morning tea. We were making good time and spent a while at this lovely spot.
After this break we retraced our steps to the trail junction and walked towards Grose Head South up Bees Nest Hill. We ascended for about half an hour up this steep hill and there was a felling of real relief when we reached the summit. The day was now starting to warm somewhat. Once we had reached the top of the hill, another 10 minutes of fairly level walking brought us to Grose Valley Lookout which provides a spectacular panorama over the lower Grose Valley extending up towards Richmond. We chose to have an extended lunch break and many different culinary delights emerged which is pretty standard for a Devils activity! The day was warming and there were some tired bodies so we decided to return along Blue Gum Creek rather than completing a circuit and walking along Shaws Ridge which required a steep climb. We made pretty good time on the return journey and completed a highly enjoyable day. The leader would like to thank those who joined this walk and made this a great day in a wonderful area.

29-10-22 - Sculptures by the Sea.

Once again luck was on our side, with the recent rain & clouds nowhere to be seen, as 10 Devils set off on a cold breezy morning towards the Eastern Suburbs for the usual yearly outing (except for the COVID cancellation). A noticeable difference this year were the crowds, who are now starting from Bronte instead of Bondi. Hitting the coastal walkway, we all enjoyed the sunshine, which had been missing lately. The brilliant blue water of the ocean was very enticing as we took in the sights & sounds. Slowly, we all started to strip off, sometimes accompanied by our "musical talents". As Tamarama came into view, so did the first sculptures that were on the beach, no one took their shoes off to have a close look at those in the sand. Here a young lady in a bright red shirt was asking for donations for the artists, with a tap machine in her hand, just in case you tried to use the 'only have cash excuse'. Moving on we finally reached Marks Park, the same time as the whales offshore. One magpie took pride of place in the middle of an artwork, which was a delight to those of us close by as he sang & posed for photos. And yes, he really did ham it up for the crowd!!!
After coffees & time to wander, the almost claustrophobic bit of the pathway to Bondi was started & eventually conquered, with all Devils arriving in one piece. Maureen & Sue decided to leave here so I walked them to the closest bus stop while the rest of our group headed to the Bondi Pavillion, our meet up point. Crossing Campbell Pde & walking towards Bondi Beach primary school, we had a few minutes to wait for a bus to Watsons Bay & a ferry home. Thanks for coming guys.

Jibbon Head to Marley - RNP.

9 devils set off from the catho and two more devils joined us at Bundeena. After formalities and a short loo stop we set off. We headed along Eric St to Jibbon Beach. This is a very nice beach and would be an ideal spot to take kids as the eastern end is well protected from the surf. Leaving the beach we head along the Jibbon Loop track. We stopped to have a look at the magnificent Aboriginal rock engravings. The viewing platform really helps to put the scale of the engravings in perspective. Not much further along the track we come to Port Hacking Point. Great ocean views resulted in many photos. Heading south along the coast it was very wet underfoot and it took longer than expected but we made it to Shelly Beach for morning tea.
High tide made the Jibbon Bombora a sight to see. Break over we continued heading south through more wet and muddy tracks. Eventually we reached the turn-off to the old cliff top section of the Coast Track. This is a much better way to go than the track (sorry, fire trail) that you normally walk. Exceptional ocean views as we passed Cormorant Rock, then The Cobblers. Before we rejoin the Coast Tack there is one interesting descent into a cove with a cave that someone has built a wall across with an entrance in the middle. Climbing out of the cove proved to be slow and challenging as the rains have made a mess of the old track. 3 devils walked past a Brown Snake before it was noticed. Thankfully it wasn't interested in us and took off into the bush. At the Balconies we joined the Coast Track. We continued on but since we had lost so much time due to puddles, mud and track damage we ended up stopping for lunch at a spot just north of The Waterrun.
During our break a birthday cake appeared and we sang Happy Birthday to Andy. Lunch over we decided to trim the walk back and only walk to Wedding Cake Rock. A few stopped and decided to wait instead of walk to the rock which was OK as we were heading back this way. A quick visit to Wedding Cake Rock and it was not as white as it used to be, not sure why but still interesting. Time to head back to Bundeena. Whilst heading to the Waterrun an Echidna scurried across the track in front of the leader. On the north side of the Waterrun we were lucky enough to see a Whale and her calf swimming just off-shore. No problems getting back to Bundeena. After a loo stop we arrived back at the cars for the drive home.

02-10-22 - Curra Moors.

With the start of daylight saving and early rise was required for this one. After a rendezvous at Heathcote station we made our way to the start of the Curra Moors Tack on Sir Bertram Stevens Drive in Royal NP. Eight members and a visitor attended. Weather had been threatening during the week but the day turned out nicely. As we descended from the carpark the track was noted to be quite eroded and damp in parts and could do with a bit of an upgrade from the NPWS given its high rate of usage. The walk was however pleasant and many nice birds were heard and seen as well as some lovely early spring flowers. Lots of Waratahs were prominent. We had to straddle a fallen tree and cross a couple of small streams. Even encountered a leech! After about half an hour were emerged onto the Curra Moors heathland proper.
Walk was much more open now and was a heathland featuring mallee eucalypts. We decided to walk a triangular route and explore the area further. At one point we passed a couple of yellow tailed black cockatoos. One seemed to be a juvenile pestering a parent for a feed. Lots of lovely flowers were seen including Boronias, Epacris, Christmas Bells, numerous Waratahs, Correa, Tea trees, Comesperma, Grevilleas, Banksias and even a few Sun Orchids. All these flowers were competing for the attention of the local pollinators. It was a truly wonderful to walk across this colourful natural garden. After another hour or so we joined the coast track and proceeded northward towards the direction of Wattamolla. Next few kilometres were largely along a boardwalk across the heathland. A sea eagle surveyed the landscape in the distance in the Eagle Rock area. At one spot we saw a pod of whales only a few hundred metres offshore. They were clearly enjoying their day and happy to show us their flukes. Pace was pretty quick through this section. Given that it was a long weekend the number of other walkers was surprisingly small.
We had a lengthy morning tea break at a lovely creek crossing just before Eagle Rock. Delightful spot and hard to leave. Our next destination Eagle Rock was just a few minutes away. On the way we took a short diversion to look at the waterfalls dropping over the cliffs into the sea which are really stunning. Lots of photos and some video footage captured. One more creek crossing brought us to popular Eagle Rock. We found more people there who had trekked in from Wattamolla some of whom were a bit rowdy it should be said. Took some lovely group photos and generally enjoyed this stunning iconic place.
After half an hour or so the weather had started to turn. Wind had sprung up and there was a light shower so we decided to begin our journey back to the cars. Despite a broad fire trail there were several large puddles and the going was slow through some sections. The upside was that it gave us extra time to fully appreciate the lovely heathland flowers. We re-joined our original track and arrived back mid afternoon. Thank you to those who joined me on this memorable and highly enjoyable day.

18-09-22 - Seven Creeks Way, Dharawal NP.

Hopes were high for a memorable early spring walk in the area close to Bulli Tops in Dharawal National Park. 8 members and a visitor travelled from the Catholic Club. We left a car at the end of the walk near the turnoff to the Westcliff mine (10G Fire Trail) and proceeded to the start of the 10B Fire Trail which is 6km before Bulli Tops. After a briefing we headed northward along 10B in almost perfect walking conditions. Within 100 metres we were already seeing interesting things. We spotted our first of several Waratahs and an impressive forest with numerous Gymea lilies. Many excellent photos were taken. Over the next half hour or so we proceeded north along 10B and saw lots of early season wildflowers including a double tailed orchid. Few other people were seen for the remainder of the day apart from some cyclists travelling along 10B. We chose to pay a brief visit to the Quarry Lake at the end of the 10U trail. Always a lovely spot and it did not disappoint. A large rubbish dump noted on a previous visit had been cleared and Michael pointed out remnants of a water pipe connecting to the old Northcliff mine which he had previously followed for a considerable distance. After a relaxing 10 minute break we backtracked to 10B to commence the Seven Creeks Way proper. The trailhead is opposite the 10R Fire trail.
The first section of the trail from 10B to Stokes Creek East took about 20 minutes and we descended gradually along a reasonably well formed route. Along the way we passed a mysterious recording device which we thought perhaps might have been monitoring device for microbats. Stokes Creek East is a delightful spot. Scenic with a cascade and lovely clear inviting water with a couple of nice pools and lots of freshly hatched tadpoles. A couple of group members even managed to find a geocache. We had a long morning tea break at this cracker of a spot. Could have stayed there all day but we had to keep going. Easy part of the walk had been completed.
Next kilometre or so of the track was pretty challenging. Uneven surface with lots of channels and sections which were damp after several months of constant rain. The route was fairly clear but the progress was slow as we made our way along this moderately overgrown section of track. No major illnesses or accidents but we tackled this part of the walk with the usual Devils sense of determination and good humour. Our patience was rewarded when the track went slightly uphill and significantly improved.
The next kilometre or so was pleasant easy walking and quite level. We rewarded ourselves with a short break at the top of a low rise. Michael spotted a spotted sun orchid and took some lovely photos. Even more importantly one of our group spotted a leech on their boot and the usual prompt action was taken, as the unwanted traveller was given its marching orders.
The next half an hour was gradually downhill but not too steep. Route was generally easy to follow but slightly confusing in a couple of spots. A cairn had been built by some helpful soul and proved useful at one point. There is a short section of duplicated track but we slowly plodded on and were were rewarded by crossing a pretty pristine creek with a large deep pool roughly half way between the two major branches of Stokes Creek. Truly lovely spot but a but too cosy for lunch. More stunning photos taken. After savouring this delightful creek we continues westwards uphill. Once again the route was a bit overgrown and surface was damp. Once we had walked up the hill somewhat the track cleared and improved We passed around the northern side of a low hill with rock outcrops on the crest and a large overhang which would probably make a good shelter in poor weather. Forest was a little drier due to the northerly aspect and condition of the track was pretty good here. After 15 min or so we started our descent towards Stokes Creek West. Progress was still good with short sections of overgrown or damp walking. Sounds a little repetitive but Stokes Creek West is an absolutely delightful spot and we chose this for a overdue lunch break. Here the creek passed over a large flat area of sandstone and there are numerous pools occupied by a large number of happy and healthy looking tadpoles. Vegetation on the creek banks is really dense but there were numerous colourful wildflowers most notably on this day Epacris and pink Kunzea. We spent a full half or so having a relaxing lunch break at this little bit of paradise.
We were tiring a bit so we decided to shorten the walk somewhat. We walked uphill through another somewhat challenging and slow section towards the 10G Fire Trail. We noted that there had been apparent recent trail bike activity in the area. As had been a pattern on the day once we walked uphill the trail cleared out and walking became easier. Once we reached 10G we were as good as home. If we had felt a bit more energetic we might have continued on to Four Mile Creek which is another stunning creek visited on previous club walks. Another 20 minutes or so led us to the car we had left earlier in the day. After conveying our drivers back to the start point we were able to complete the day. The Seven Creeks Way makes a great point to point day walk but does require some care with navigation and patience with the poorly maintained track. It provided a great refuge of pristine and scenic bush close to both the Macarthur and Illawarra areas. We hope that awareness of this walking route increases and more people use the track. An upgrade of the Seven Creeks Way would make a great opportunity to offer a bush experience in the local area. Thank you for those who shared this memorable day which I will remember as one of the most rewarding and enjoyable walks I have done with the club!

11-09-22 - Glenfield to Liverpool.

Myself and 15 walkers set off from Glenfield station through bush, past creeks on paths to the serenade of Bell birds onto Casula Powerhouse museum where we had a break for morning tea at the cafe, and viewed the wonderful art gallery before continuing on to Liverpool along side the Georges river. The recent floods had caused some of the opposite embankment to collapsed, and not helped by the industrial construction being done on the old army site.
Following our lunch in the park near the bridge in Liverpool 15 of us decided to walk back, dropping into the old paper mill which has been converted into eateries, some of the walkers indulged in a fresh icecream cone. Back at Casula 3 members caught the train whilst the rest of continued on to Glenfield. An enjoyable day was had by all. Thank you all for coming it was a relaxing, great fun day.

10-09-22 - Camellia Gardens.

4 Devils & 1 visitor met up for an easy day out in The Shire. Changing at Sydenham for a Cronulla bound train & within minutes we were seated on a limited stops service. Alighting at Caringbah Station we took a local shortcut to the Shopping Village for last minute supplies before a short walk to E.G Waterhouse Camellia Gardens. Deciding on a time & place to meet, Carina & I picked a pathway to follow while Ros, Trish & Sue visited the cafe. Above my head I could hear loud knocking on one of the gum trees but couldn't see anything until a magpie flew down to share my morning tea. About 10 seconds later the whole extended family joined the party! Wandering around taking photos, reading plant names & just enjoying Mother Nature, our time there soon flew by. Running into the others I decided we would all now stay together while finishing at a leisurely pace. Today was not a day for hurrying around. A few minutes after leaving the gardens we reached Anzac St where Sue's daughter had just bought a house. So, we took a detour to see her new home, which really didn't add any distance to Miranda Westfield, which was our next public transport departure point. Sue stayed to spend time with her family & she had a ball. Not long after arriving at Westfields, we jumped on our bus for a 10 minute ride to Kareela & a short walk to the gates of Joseph Banks Native Plant Reserve. Only 2.2 hectares in size but it has 4km of sealed paths plus various bushtracks, mostly on the side of a hill. With seats, toilets & bbqs this is a quiet, rarely visited piece of Australian beauty. Volunteers will happily give you a short guided tour, take group photos for visitors or share their knowledge of the plants & their history while taking a welcome break for a chat. We did a walk around one of the longer paths after lunch complete with a chat to an expert as well as Q & A time. Afterwards we headed back to the bus stop & shortly were on our way home via bus back to Miranda, train to Sydenham & train to Campbelltown. It was a relaxing unhurried day out with transport connections there & back 10 minutes wait at most. Great day for all, thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

03-09-22 - West Stokes Ck, Dharawal NP.

A planned hazard reduction burn and road closures forced a hasty walk change. Our leader changed the walk to an old favourite local walk. Some met at the catho and the rest met us at the start of the walk. Under a light shower (a constant for the day) we set off along a very overgrown track. Luckily this track gets easier to follow and is a pleasant route through a rarely visited part of Dharawal NP. Walking through some very nice Cumberland Woodland we managed to spot a couple of Kangaroos who didn't hang around. The track turns and heads down to cross a tributary of Stokes Ck. This side creek is usually dry but with so much rain this year it was still running nicely. Our leader started the search for a morning tea spot that was out of the showers. Thankfully a spot was found and the showers stopped long enough for a tea break.
Continuing along, a fallen tree caused us to lose the weak track briefly (not to mention the illegal track created by motorbikes that happened to be at the same spot). Back on track we arrived at one of the major fire trails in the area and an executive decision was made to trim the walk a bit as it was obvious that the planned route would be overgrown and very wet. We walked along the fire trail for a bit until we found the track that loops back to the creek. Back down and across the side creek. We made good time and we were almost back at the cars when we stopped for lunch. The showers stopped briefly and we enjoyed a shortened lunch break.
Lunch done we started the final push for the cars only to be a few hundred metres from the road and it started to rain. Thankfully we all got to the cars without getting too wet. Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk despite the showers.

07-08-22 - Painter Walk - Taronga Zoo Wharf to Cremorne Pt.

15 of our walkers were brave enough for me to lead them on this very popular walk. With great weather except for a brisk breeze from time to time coming off the water we set off from the zoo enjoying beautiful scenery, plenty of history, seeing occasional bush turkeys, and plenty of dogs being walked by their owners, and some magnificent gardens and houses along the way. Everyone seemed to have a good time enjoying each others company and plenty of laughs. Thank you everyone for coming, and I didn't get lost or lose anyone.

07-08-22 - Exploratory Walk, Kentlyn.

4 intrepid walkers set off from Freres Rd in Kentlyn. We headed west down into Peter Meadows Ck. Down a fire trail then onto a pleasent footpad along the creek before heading up the other side. Our leader was not able to find an old track that headed north so we had to continue on and pick up a fire trail. The fire trail runs along the rear of a number of properties and we got to enjoy friendly dogs and some backyard chickens as we walked along. There is one spot where the fire trail passes through the back of a propety and a diversion is required around the property boundary on a nice track. We soon reached the old track that goes down and across Peter Meadows Ck. We tried to follow the old track but it soon disappeared. It appears to have not been used for many years. We soon picked up a track that appears to be being used by trail runners and followed it. The trail runner track, which was was steep and loose, crossed the creek and ended up intersecting the track we wanted to be on so it worked out in the end. We stopped for morning tea in a sunny spot on the north side of Keith Longhurst Reserve(KLR).
Break over we traversed KLR to the SE corner where we picked up the track that runs along the cliff tops above the Georges River. We continued along until we came across an abandoned water pipe and some power poles. It was common practice to draw water from the river for farms and orchards that once existed in Kentlyn. Unfortunately there was also a fence which meant we may have gone as far as possible. After a bit of investigation we noticed some flag tape that indicates the way was to go down a narrow slot in the cliffline. Our leader was reluctant as the route did not look good from above but an investigation by one of the group indicated it was not as bad as first thought. It was tight and required some bumslides but we got down. Once down we could continued along the river to our lunch spot.
The spot we stopped for lunch is a very interesting location. Normally the waterfall runs under the rocks but with all the rain of recent months the river level is still high enough for water to flow over the falls. Lunch was welcomed by all. Break over we had a short off-track section to complete. There is no fixed track in this area as everyone seems to go there own way. Eventually finding the track along the river we headed to Freres Crossing. After a short stop we headed back up to the cars via the old trail that runs through Freres Crossing Reserve with short stops to look at a cave that has some interesting graffiti from 1929 and the remains of a sawmill. Nor far to go and it starts to rain. Luckily we arrived back at the cars before getting wet.
Excellent walk that I will put on again with a possible variation to the route.

19-06-22 - Northbridge to Neutral Bay Junction.

Once again, 9 Devils headed off with wet weather gear expecting forecasted rain to hit us during the day. At Circular Quay, the morning was nice enough as we walked up to the bus stop in Bridge St. There, our path was blocked by workmen & a massive crane(I suppose some work can only be done on Sundays so as not to disrupt City traffic). Explaining & pointing to our bus stop they had no idea it was there, while one guy went to speak to a bus driver further back. Following him up to the bus, it just happened to be our 207 waiting to drive down to his pick up point. He also had no idea work was blocking the bus stop, contacted his boss & let us on. Finally on our way some Devils headed to the higher back seats for a better view of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House & North Sydney. Approximately 15 minutes later we alighted opposite Cammeray Public School & slowly walked down the hill chatting away, until the historic Cammeray Suspension Bridge (circa 1892 & rebuilt 1939) stood before us. The chatting stopped as phones were pulled out for photos. This beautiful structure is magnificent whether walking over or under it along the Flat Rock Gully track. After our crossing, the path started to climb up to Sailors Bay Rd, at which it flattened out as we turned right. Further along at the cafe in the old Bonds Store building some grabbed a coffee before reaching Clive Park, our morning tea spot.
With toilets up top, picnic tables halfway down & stairs to the beach on Middle Harbour, it is a lovely quiet place overlooking the water with The Spit Bridge in the distance. Continuing on, we took a short bushtrack towards Coolawin Rd during which Allan thought he would amaze us with his acrobatic skill. Unfortunately I missed his cartwheel with a double somersault & half twist! Walking the quiet back streets of Northbridge, we soon came to the entrance of our main bush track. This track follows the Long Bay shoreline with the golf course on our other side & is similar to other local tracks we have walked, but not as steep. We stopped at the shipwrecks before reaching Tunks Park for a short break & photo ops from under Cammeray Bridge. Soon we headed off for a short street section, easy bush track & our last break at Primrose Park before tackling the giant stairway. Once up top we took another easy track that connects to parks towards Neutral Bay Junction. A few minutes' wait at the bus stop was all it took before a B1 came along & 7 minutes later we were at Wynyard Station. A great day out which could've taken longer if we had stopped at all the historical landmarks & taken photos of every scenic view. And a big thank you to the weather man, who once again, got the forecast wrong, lucky for us. This walk is an easy, do anytime outing that can be varied to suit conditions or historical interest.
Thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

12-06-22 - Nattai NP.

Sometimes walks just don't work out the way you planned. 5 devils set off for Wattle Ridge in the Southern Highlands. Nattai Rd was showing the aftermath of recent rains with many potholes and it made for slow going in some spots. We set off from the car park and the temperature was a bit on the cool side with a stiff cold wind.
It didn't take us too long to reach the root cellar that was found on a previous walk. As was the plan we stopped here for morning tea and to have a look around. Some cleared areas, a possible fire ring and what looked like an old access road provided indications that there may have been an encampment nearby. So the root cellar idea seems to have panned out.
After our extended morning tea we continued on. We found the trail that runs down to Martins Ck and attempted to follow it. After about 500m it was clear the trail was more overgrown than had been hoped. It was decided that it was too overgrown to carry on so a re-think was required. Returning to Nattai Rd we continued on to see if we could get to the lookout above Troys Ck. The bushfire regrowth has made finding any of the lesser tracks around this area near impossible and the Troys Ck lookout was no exception. After setting off in the wrong direction a course correction had us heading the right way. After some struggling along it was 12:30 and everyone was hungry and tired so we headed for the cliffs to find somewhere to stop for lunch.
The wind had actually picked up and it was hard to find a place out of it so we shortened our lunch break slightly. Back to Nattai Rd for the couple of hours walk back to the cars. On our way back we spotted a track I have never seen before and decided we would need to come back and investigate this discovery.

01-05-22 - Heathcote NP.

We started our walk on a track that the leader had never walked before. The rains of recent months had made the track a lot wetter than it would be normally and we had to walk around many muddy areas and lots of pooling water. Avoiding the wet, muddy ground would be the theme for the day. The track comes out on the road to the scout camp and we walked down the road to the fire trail that runs alongside Lake Toolooma. We stopped and had a look at the old steam engine and the dam wall. Water was pumped up from the dam (Lake Toolooma) to the rail line at Waterfall for steam trains to refill their water tanks. Continuing on we had a bit of fun getting across Heathcote Ck. Everyone managed it without falling in. We stopped for a late morning tea on the way up to Mt Westmacott.
Our progress continued to be slowed by the amount of water that was around, this continued to be the case as we did the ascent of Westmacott. A few chose to not do the last scramble to the top of Wesmacott. Those that did are rewarded with some great views to the east and to the north. Back down to Heathcote Ck and we turned off onto the Bullawarring Track. The Bullawarring was a river of water and/or mud. Much time was spent avoiding the water/mud as we walked along. By now it was getting on and the leader decided to stop for lunch at Kingfisher Pool.
The water flowing over the falls at Kingfisher Pool was impressive and we had a good lunch break. I should note that the waterfall goes over then disappears below the rocks and comes out further down into the Kingfisher Pool. With all the delays we had encountered during the day our leader decided that was enough and we walked back to the cars along the Bullawarring Track. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and I will use the Coutts Gully track on a future walk in the area.

24-04-22 - Leichhardt to Balmain

Our group was down to 6 for this day out around Innerwest Sydney, with raincoats on hand just in case.
Enjoying a sightseeing tour of the local suburbs of the inner city through the large windows of the 461X from Museum Station bus stop. We soon alighted at Lewisham Hotel but way too early for lunch. Crossing Parramatta Rd we took a left to the flat Greenway Cycle Path as our starting point next to Taverners Hill light rail stop. Walking alongside Hawthorne Canal beneath a beautiful & cooling canopy of mature trees was a great beginning but a bit whiffy at times. I took to the tail along this busy narrow part to warn of cyclists speeding towards us while we wandered & chatted. We crossed a local road at the traffic lights of course & then kilometers of uninterrupted path lay ahead of us. A local Bushcare group were hard at it along this new & much wider section of the Greenway Path. Joining up with the Bay Run we continued until we came to our short morning tea stop at Hippo Park near the cafe & overnight rain made for the fun game of finding a dry spot to sit. We also had the pleasure of free entertainment watching the Rowing Clubs competing, their start & finishing horns completed our experience!!
Further along we took the locals waterside grass & bush track to get away, for 10 minutes of peace & quiet, as the planes continued overhead coming in for a landing with wheels down. At Victoria Rd we walked under Iron Cove bridge, which from this point very few people take these tranquil, scenic parks & back streets. Maybe they don't like hills? Up, up, up a big wooden stairway we climbed as another Bushcare group were just heading off to lunch after working on the hill next to the stairs. Past old houses we soon came to newer built units & took that stairway down to once again walk waterside. Now with the Iron Cove Bridge in front of us, Birkenhead Pt to our right & the old Balmain Power Station site on our left we took in the view for a few moments. About 10 minutes later we arrived at Elkington Park & had another short break. Not too far along we took a massive stairway down to River St Park ambling along & in no hurry we reached the end. It was time to head up to the street when I announced I would be taking the lift. No I wasn't joking. Roz, Luis & I took the easy way. Birchgrove Oval was also a short walk away & with the ferry departing in 30 minutes, we didn't need another break. At Wharf Rd it took about 10 minutes to reach Ballast Point Park & had a quick walk through & down our last set of stairs, before heading to the ferry wharf for our final leg to Circular Quay, where most stayed for lunch.
Thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

16-04-22 - Bundanoon Escarpment.

A Saturday walk for a change due to the Easter weekend. A group of 9 including 2 visitors drove to Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands on a truly delightful morning. Bit of an autumn chill in the air as we got out for a stretch opposite the railway station. Then short drive to Gambells Rest.
After the introductory briefing our group was informed by a NPWs officer that the track to the Erith Coal Mine had been closed due to a recent land slide and track damage. Disappointing! We set off towards Echo Point through an area of forest which had been severely burnt in a bushfire 2 years ago. Recovery was well underway and a thick understory had already regrown. Rain over recent months and days meant there was plenty of surface water. as we arrived at Echo Point and went through the car park one somewhat bemused lady asked us about "Mt Bushwalker". We helpfully suggested she might have more luck about 3 hours away in the Ulladulla area. The view from Echo Point down the gullies of Bundanoon Creek was spectacular indeed.
After a morning tea break we traversed the track passing toward Bonnie View Lookout called the Lover's Walk. Pleasant walk with a stream and some quite large overhangs on of which made a welcome lunch spot. As always plenty of animated banter within our friendly group. After lunch we arrived at another pretty vantage point, Bonnie View Lookout which overlooks the upper catchment of Bundanoon Creek. We headed up a loop road in the direction of Gambells Rest Rest Area. We briefly discussed lengthening our walk to include Fairy Bower Falls but due to some Easter shopping obligations within the group we decided on an early finish and a lunch in a cafe in Bundanoon.
Leader is keen to return and explore more when tracks have been further repaired and the route along Nicholas Pass has re-opened. Thank you to all those who attended this enjoyable walk.

03-04-22 - Secret Beaches of the Georges River, Kentlyn.

12 members assembled for the walk. We set off and not far along we stopped to look at an old stone fireplace. Amazing structure as it is just made of stone stacked on each other. Down the hill and turning right onto another firetrail we plodded along. It was wet under foot. We stopped to have a look at some farmhouse ruins before heading over to spot that is a nice lookout over the river. Walking through the bush on a nice footpad we stopped to admire a tree that had grown around a barbed wire fence and the wire was still sticking out of it. Our leader somehow missed the turn off to the lower track and we found ourselves back at the main firetrail sooner than expected. No worries, we got back to the track and made our way along the clifftops. Arriving at the valley that leads down to the first beach we made our way down to the water and then a little upstream. There are some bolts in the rocks that secured a diving board. The board is long gone but it was interesting to think of the fun days people may have had here. Plenty of rocks and some shade made this a great spot to stop for our tea break.
Break over we headed back up the valley and turned off onto a track that winds its way back to the firetrail we walked in on. A short double back along the firetrail and we arrived at the next turnoff. Down, down, down we went. The flooding had made the normally easy crossing of the side creek at the bottom a mess. After a bit of scrambling over fallen trees we had arrived at the second beach. After a short break we started the climb out of the river valley again. It was lunchtime and we stopped at the top of the climb for a break.
A couple of our walkers needed to leave the walk early. This is rarely possible on most walks but luckily on the way to the third beach our route took us not that far from the cars so our leader made a small diversion. It had been a warm and humid day so several walkers also elected to head back to the cars. Five of us made the trip to the third beach. Only incident for the day was one of our group took the short cut down some slippery rocks. Luckily the only injury was a scrapped elbow. Again flooding made getting across a creek to the beach almost impossible. We stopped and enjoyed a break in the very much cooler river valley. Some walked up to a nearby cascade to see all the water coming down the river. Rest over it was time to head back to the cars. The climb out was punctuated by several breaks and we got back to the cars in good time.

25 to 27-03-22 - Newnes Car Camp.

On the Friday 13 members travelled in a convoy to Newnes despite a highly uncertain weather forecast. One more member joined us later that evening. The access road was mostly OK but there were several pot holes which required careful driving. Several group members commented about the stunning scenery along the route through the Wolgan Valley. Four more members arrived the next morning to complete our group of 18 Mountain Devils.
Our initial group were quick to unload their gear into the various cabins. Kay and John were obviously influential as they were offered the premium gold-plated option of the "Managers Quarters" by the owner Thomas. Each cabin had a distinct feel and character and was subtly different. Each cabin however offered comfortable and clean accommodation. Once our group had unloaded the gear then it was time for the serious business of afternoon tea in the largest cabin called Wollemi. This cabin featured a pretty architecturally-designed meeting area in a spire with a lead light window. This octagonal area proved a popular meeting area throughout the trip. This would be the scene for much chatter and laughter over the next few days. After evening meals were prepared we took the opportunity to sit around a camp fire and enjoy some companionship and the usual billowing smoke.
Late the next morning we drove about 6km back up the road to the start of the Glow Worm Tunnel walk. The usual route had been closed after a series of events including bushfires and heavy rain which had caused several landslides and washouts. We would need to use and alternative route which was somewhat longer and steeper. This alternative route was the Old Coach Road and the Pagoda Track which arrives at the far end of the tunnel. At the start of the walk there is a concrete vehicle causeway which was covered by the fast-flowing Wolgan River to a depth of about 20cm. Most people removed their boots before walking over the causeway. Water was cold! Once everyone had safely negotiated the water hazard we made our way up the Old Coach Road. Weather conditions were slightly cool and we had a brief rain shower. Once everyone had gone to the trouble of donning a rain jacket the rain stopped. Of course. Over the next 2 hours we slowly climbed on top of the range taking regular breaks and a well-deserved morning tea along the way. The climb seemed never ending but was mostly gradual. Eventually we arrived at a saddle and began to descend. Some of the way was damp. At several points there were stunning views down the Wolgan Valley. Some areas along the trail had been severely burned by the bushfires 2 years before but recovery was well underway. at one point we transited through a long picturesque canyon with spectacular rock formations. We descended slightly and after another half hour or so reached the turn off to the Pagoda Trail. The Pagoda Trail links to the Glow Worm Tunnel. Although only 1km long it seemed much longer and one section was in poor condition. We had reached our destination, the disused Rail tunnel now known as the Glow Worm tunnel which is about 400m long and completely dark in the centre. Leader had some reservations about the number of glow worms after the recent fires but those concerns were immediately set aside. The little creatures made a special effort to make our group feel welcome and make all the effort and cuts and scratches worthwhile. Most of the glow worms were on the roof but there were also many on the side walls of the centre of the tunnel. Tens of thousands of these little guys which we could see when we put our torches off. We lingered a while and enjoyed the remarkable spectacle. Very few places give the opportunity to observe glow worms during daylight hours. Some walkers found the cave a bit claustrophobic but everyone saw glow worms and had a great experience. As we exited the cave we had a long overdue lunch break. After a relaxing lunch we headed home by retracing our route. The return journey was mainly downhill and seemed quicker but we were all pretty tired when we reached the cars. The group had been lucky with the weather but soon after the walk had finished the rain came in and continued for most of the night.
Next morning many people had a long chat with owner Thomas Ebersoll the owner over a cuppa. Lovely guy who made us very welcome. Cars duly packed with gear we returned home. Some were tempted to walk again but the weather looked a bit threatening and most decided to start heading home. There are many lovely short walks remaining in Newnes which could be done on a future trip. Many members had enjoyed their trip so much that they were already talking about a return trip. Leader wishes to express his appreciation in those who attended this remarkable weekend adventure. It was wonderful to see all the smiles and hear the sound of laughter after a really difficult few years.

20-03-22 - Peter Meadows Ck - Kentlyn.

Our group, including one visitor, set off from the walk meeting point. It didn't take long to encounter our first muddy patch of trail and we picked our way through it. Across the first water crossing and off along a footpad through the bush. Shortly we arrived the ruins of what appears to be a Great Depression era hut. It was common during the Great Depression for people to set up their own cabin in the bush. We continued on and soon found ourselves back on the main firetrail. Crossing Peter Meadows Rd it was disappointing to see the flooding had done a lot of damage to the nice walking track that goes down the creek. Several parts of the track were now deeply rutted and we had to walk along the edges or bypass them altogether. At one point a large fallen tree had been swept downstream and was blocking the track. I can attest that this tree was further up the creek on previous visits to the area.
A strategic decision was made by the leader not to cross the creek and walk along the track on the western side of the creek. So we stopped for morning tea instead.
After our break we continued down the creek before turning back onto a firetrail, headed up the hill and used some more firetrails to do a loop back down to the creek track. It was a straightforward return route to the Bull Cave for lunch, and the cave worked out to be a good place to stop.
After a good break we continued back to the cars by a slightly shorter route than we came in on. The walk went well and everyone seemed to enjoy the day.

27-02-22 - Vintage Electric Day Out.

With train strikes & La Nina having a good time in Sydney, we met up with raincoats & brollies in our bags & left a bit earlier, just in case. Unfortunately Kathy was out sick, so our group of 6 headed into the city & arriving at Central we noticed old locomotives hooked up to a long train on platform 1. We all enjoyed a hot cuppa & chat before making our way up to the Grand Concourse. As we had time to spare, a wander to see the locos ended up being a surprise when we found the train was actually the Southern Aurora. A group named Vintage Rail Journeys were about to embark on a 5 day Riverina tour, with passengers sleeping on the train overnight at different locations. Making our way back to platform 4, we joined the queue to show our tickets & strolled up to carriage D. Finding spots on the sideway bench seats, it wasn't long before our Red Rattler journey started with a jolt & soon enough the noise & smells brought back memories.
Alighting at Loftus it was a short stroll towards the Tramway Museum, in glorious sunshine (finally) where we were ushered to a waiting tram. Once all board we slowly left past the museum before stopping at a red light, traffic on the Princes Highway waited while our tram ride continued into the Royal National Park. As our time was limited, we only had a quick stop to fix the pantograph for the return trip, no one wandered away. Once back, it was our free time to do or see whatever took your fancy & the sausage sandwiches did smell wonderful. Inside the museum it was filled with memorabilia, souvenirs & trams from Australia & overseas. All too soon over the PA was an announcement that we should start making our way back to Loftus station for the return trip to Central. Diane, Jeff & David decided to find somewhere for lunch, while Sue, Allan & I only had a short wait for a Macarthur train. Getting closer to home the rain, once again, started. We all had a ball & in perfect weather too. Thanks for coming guys.

20-02-22 - Glenbrook Ck - Springwood.

Three devils set off from the catho and we met one more devil at the meeting spot in Springwood. Our leader decided to check where the exit track came out and hoped to get an indication of it's condition. track could be found. Maps checked and we were in the right spot but still no track. OK, a rethink was in order.
We set off for the lookout as our leader contemplated how to reconfigure the walk. Standing at the lookout we could hear the creek below. A sure sign that the water level in the creek was up, this could make the creek crossing interesting. The descent to Glenbrook Ck is steep but there are a number of steps to use and a few easy scrambles. Arriving at Clenbrook Ck the water level was high but was still well below the rocks at the crossing point. We managed to get across without any problems and decided to take our morning tea next to the creek.
After a good break we set off along a footpad that runs down the true right of the creek. After a short walk we arrived at a very pleasent beach. I could see Psalm Rock but unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the creek. Oh well, may have to find our way to Psalm Rock on the right side of the creek next time we are down here. Back to the crossing and we managed to lose a water bottle in the water as we crossed back over Glenbrook Ck. Our leader decided to head upstream along the Victory Track to Magdala Ck as he had not done this section of the Victory Track before. Although a little overgrown the walk was pleasent enough. Arriving at Magdala Creek we stopped for a short break.
We had earlier spotted the alternative track back to the lookout and decided to take this track and see what it was like. So back down the Victory Track we went. Well it might be the shorter way back to the lookout but it sure was a lot harder. The track was very steep for about 2/3 the way up and we had to have a short rest stop not that far from the top. Arriving back at the lookout our 4th walker decided to head home and the rest of us stopped and had lunch at the lookout. Lunch over we headed back to the cars and home. Even though we didn't get to all the places we hoped it still worked out to be a nice (but very humid) walk and we will return to complete our exploration of this area.

13-02-22 - Watsons Bay.

Our group of 17 intrepid Devils and 2 visitors met at Circular Quay. Ferry services had recently been reduced so we caught a later boat than the one originally planned. Pleasant 25 minute ferry ride to Watson's Bay. Conducted our formal introductions and briefing in the park close to the wharf under a magnificent Moreton Bay fig. The group proceeded across the park and eventually up a fairly steep hill on Old South Head Road. We joined the coastal trail and started our intended walk. There are several signs in the area for Lifeline services due to the history of suicide attempts in The Gap area. We spent a few minutes contemplating the remarkable life and work of Don Ritchie the "Angel of the Cliffs" who saved countless lives in this area. Over the next hour we proceeded in a northerly direction on the cliff tops and had a morning tea break. The views were excellent in the clear conditions. After passing the HMAS Watson naval base we walked past Camp Cove and Lady Jane Beach with the usual parade of scantily-clad folks. After viewing the Lighthouse keepers cottage we continued until our lunch break near the South Head lighthouse.
Group enjoyed a good rest and plenty of chatter. We decided to return by a slightly different route crossing Camp Cove Beach and through the backstreets. All in time for a great serving of fish and chips at Doyles. All that remained was the return ferry ride and the train home. Thanks to all the Devils and visitors for making this a great day.

06-02-22 - Milsons Point to Hyde Park.

After 1 last minute cancellation, 5 Devils & 1 visitor left Milsons Point station for the easy walk to Wendy's Secret Garden. With breakfast, lunch & dinner a.k.a bush turkeys roaming around us, the peacefulness & beauty of this inner city paradise picnic spot was taken in by all.
Time up, we then descended the 60 odd stairs down to wander along the Lavender Bay boardwalk towards Milsons Point ferry wharf passing Luna Park. Memories were soon shared about different experiences, with the Rotor being top of the list & our short wait in blustery conditions wasn't too bad. Once at Circular Quay we headed into Customs House to "walk on Sydney" the model of Sydney which sits under the glass floor before climbing the spiral staircase for a better view & a look at memorabilia. Moving on, we headed to the Opera House. Walking underneath through the Opera Bar, we shared the same walkway (as some eagle eyed Devils spied) with Courtney Act. We then stopped at the northern steps to see if the resident seal was sunning itself, unfortunately not today. Continuing around the outside we soon entered the Botanical Gardens & had a short break.
Next we took a path that led us to The Calyx for a look at the newest exhibit. Heading back towards the harbour we wandered waterside until Mrs Macquarie's Chair & had a group photo taken. Further on the scenic bottom path was closed so we had to use the footpath up next to the road. Reaching the Art Gallery we went in to have afternoon tea at their very busy cafe, watching as the clouds started to build up dramatically. Upon leaving, a short walk away is the Police Memorial & after a few minutes we left for our final leg to Hyde Park. Our target was the Anzac Memorial near Museum Station to see the latest additions but crossing the road it started to rain so St James Station was our new finishing point.
Thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

23-01-22 - Great River Walk, Nepean River.

20 members and 3 bright-eyed visitors met up in Tench Reserve on the banks of the Nepean River at Penrith about 200m north of the M4 overbridge. This walk had been re-scheduled due to flooding but today would dawn as an almost perfect mild mid-summer day. After some initial confusion the group convened for our briefing. Tench Park is a rather lengthy linear park and meeting up proved to be a bit of a headache. Our leader briefly donned a high visibility shirt to make the process easier. We departed in a northerly direction through Tench Reserve which is a pretty park and a great spot for a picnic. Pace was quite relaxed and the banter was plentiful. Most of the route is quite flat. We needed to walk about 1km along an avenue with many expensive houses some of which had frontage to the Nepean River. Immaculately maintained. Soon we came to the pedestrian bridge over the river which was quite a spectacle and many photos were taken including a group shot. We then proceeded along the western bank of the river in a southerly direction along a very well made walking path. Stopped half way for a well-deserved morning tea break.
Suitably refreshed we passed the Penrith Art Gallery and completed the circuit with a walk over the M4 bridge. We had all driven over this structure countless times but this was the first time we had walked over. we completed the activity with a refreshing cuppa by the banks of the river in the park. A few members recalled their positive experiences on the Nepean Belle paddle steamer. A great day of walking had finished and our visitors had enjoyed their day and looked forward to walking with us again. Thank you to all who shared this special day!

15-01-22 - Twilight Walk, Dharawal NP.

15 members and one guest assembled at the 10t fire trail gate on Lysaghts Rd. After formalities and an introductory circle we set off along the 10t trail.
The trail runs downhill towards Stokes Ck. Walking along the side of the creek we could see the water level was still high from this weeks rain which means the waterfall at Minerva Pool would be flowing well. The trail leaves the creek and starts to climb up towards the Victoria Rd area. After a few steep bits the track undulates along the ridge. Our leaders sharp eyes spotted a Large Tongue Orchid on the side of the trail. We reached the intersection with the 10b trail, from here the trail heads down to the Minerva Pool turn-off. Although soggy in bits the track to the pool was in good condition. We headed to Minerva Pool first for a look. The waterfall was running well and the whole pool looked good. We spent a bit of time by the pool as some explored the area and others took a rest from the energy sapping humidity. A short walk had us at the pool lookout which was our official meal break spot.
An earlier start to the walk had us at our break earlier than expected and some of the walkers started getting restless but our leader held his nerve. A light spatter of rain punctuated our break and not long after it stopped it was time to go. Back along the Minerva Pool track as the light faded from the sky. We turned onto the 10t trail as light rain started spattering on us again (and would continue for the rest of the walk). The night arrived and we enjoyed the experience of walking by torchlight. We also got a real light show from a thunder storm passing by some kilometres to the north of us. Unfortunately the cloud obscured the full moon so the night was very dark. One walker, who shall remain nameless, managed to get their foot stuck in some mud and required assistance to get it out. We arrived back at the cars at around 9:30pm.

12-12-21 - Bridge to Bridge, Bargo River.

This was the last walk for the year, and we had 15 walkers in all meet at Picton. After getting people organised into cars, we drove out to Rockford Road bridge, Pheasants Nest to start the walk. I wanted to start from here rather than from the Bargo River Bridge as we have had quite a lot of rain recently. Crossing the Bargo River is not easy when it is running well, as there are many holes and an uneven surface over the rocks.
The day turned out to be very pleasant and not too hot, yet! The track was first walked by the Southern Highlands Bushwalking Club in 2005, and is fairly easy to follow. It is undulating but most ups and downs are not too lengthy. The track follows the top edge of a boulder cliff-line, and at certain spots we could view the Bargo River. I had planned to have our morning tea beside the Bargo River about three-quarters of the way along, and I must admit that it was difficult to find a good way down to the river - the original track that we used in the past was very overgrown. Finally we decided on a way down, and I had to encourage some of our group to persevere - it was a bit steep. Phew - we all made it, and what a lovely spot on the river. Many of the group really enjoyed the scenic and peaceful spot.
From here it was up the hill to join the main track, and this seemed much easier on the way up. There were quite a few lovely wildflowers out and the bush looked very lush. Not far along we came to Tea Tree Creek, which is not very wide but always flowing with just enough water to get wet feet! So some of our group (about 5) decided to stay and find some shade while the rest of us crossed and continued to the Bargo River Bridge. This would take about 20 - 30 minutes, and as I had predicted, it was flowing quite rapidly. After a few more photos we turned around to go back the way we had come.
We joined the others and all set off on the return trip and made it back to the cars for a late lunch. Some of our group had plans to drive south from here; some decided that they would go home; and that left a few of us who had our lunch beside the river. It was getting quite hot now and there was limited shade. It had been an enjoyable walk, and good to catch up with some members we had not seen for quite some time.

04-12-21 - Wolli Creek to Brighton Le Sands

After a week of cyclonic type winds relentlessly attacking Sydney I thought a change of walk would be the safest option. As a few people had been hit by falling branches, walking a couple of km under big trees while descending stairs didn't seem like a good idea. This walk from Wolli Creek station was a better choice for our group of 6 Devils. Yes, it has been done before but this easy 8km follow the footpath wander was once again enjoyed by all. A new toilet block was built in Cahill Park, since our last outing. Once getting away from the main roads, it was really peaceful, except for our chatter & laughter. Reaching Kyeemagh boat ramp on the Cooks River, we stopped for morning tea.
Sitting at one of the picnic tables across from the airport, it was quiet & the air still fresh, until the avgas will, once again, become the taste in your mouth. We continued onto Cooks Park occasionally stopping for photos before finally reaching Brighton Le Sands. With William needing to be back to vote, I made sure he arrived back in Campbelltown in plenty of time. While Carmel, Steve, Kathy & Cathy tried the delights of the RSL bistro (very yummy I was told). Maybe next time we'll omit the walk & just have lunch?? Thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

28-11-21 - Keith Longhurst Reserve, Kentlyn.

After a week of rain some concern was raised about if Peter Meadows Creek would be crossable. Our leader went out early and walked down to the creek the check the water level and was very happy to see it was crossable. After a short delay, as we had some directional issues for one of our walkers, we set off.
The track heads down to the creek initially through a Sheoak forest before dropping into the more familiar Eucalyptus forest. A short steep section leads to a magnificent cliff and overhang. An always cool and refreshing spot even on hot days. We crossed the creek without incident and began the climb up out of the creek valley to meet the Old Ford Rd. We got to the bottom of the Old Ford Rd in good time and were greeted by a flooded Georges River. No crossing over to see the rock engraving on the other side today. We found a nice spot near the river and had our morning tea break.
After a bit of a long break we headed back up the road and over to the Basin track. Council has been very busy putting in more signage and some new steps. Heading down to the Basin we could hear the noise from the amount of water going over the falls. Arriving at the bottom we were not disappointed as the waterfall was flowing wonderfully. A wander around to grab some photos and it was back up the hill. The 213 steps to get back up aren't as bad as they may sound. With the odd rest stop everyone made it. From here we headed just a bit off-track to a lookout that gives a great view of where the Old Ford Rd crosses the river. This was our lunch stop.
A long lunch break was enjoyed with good conversation. A more relaxed walk like this a great chance to better connect with fellow walkers. All too soon lunch was over. All there was to do was head back down to and across Peter Meadows Creek and then back up out of the valley to the cars. Thanks all for coming, it was a good day.

16-10-21 - Carlingford to North Parramatta.

Woo hoo, finally out of lockdown & raring to go, I was expecting members to spend time with their families rather than go walking on the first weekend of freedom. Unable to do a prewalk, a change of destination or repeated outing was on the cards but what the hell, let's cross our fingers & hope for the best.
5 desperados, oops, I mean Devils met up for our trip to Carlingford. Alighting at the M2/ Oakes Rd bus stop, soon we started our day with a 1.5km hilly road section to North Rocks Park & enjoyed morning tea, which was easy. From there it was a mixture of memories & maps to the finish. We took the long way to the Parkland Ave starting point of our bushtrack, but hey we did need the exercise! 2 main tracks follow Hunts Creek, crossing over with minor tracks that branch off occasionally. At one part our path was lined with Mountain Devils in bloom, just for us. Reaching Balaka Falls, kids were paddling, parents chatting & the tourists took photos. Continuing on it was a decent wander with some bits shadier or harder than others, until reaching The Kings School, which the previous weekend had hazard reduction burns behind it. The smell of burnt bush was still very strong. Time to get the map out as I was looking for a 3 way intersection of fire trails to take it to the end of our walk, but mutiny occurred & the group decided they wanted to follow the Asian tourists, who had backtracked a few times earlier because they had gotten lost. Eventually I gave in & an extra 3km of bushtrack was added to the walk.
Arriving at Lake Parramatta a choice was put to the group, a short break & get the bus for home or stay for a 75 minute long lunch. As the bus to Parramatta Station only leaves every hour they chose the former & coffees were grabbed before the train home. Yes I will go back just to do the fire trail walk also a lap to see what improvements have been made on the circuit walk track.

06-06-21 - Dee Why to Manly.

Our small group of 8 left Wynyard Station for the BLine bus stop in Carrington St, exiting to find a mile long queue already waiting patiently. A canary yellow double decker bus pulled up about 5 minutes later & the line shortened quickly with seats filling fast. Upon reaching the front door I told the bus marshal there were 8 of us & he let a few others get on, before that B1 left. Deja Vu, once again Devils are going to be first to jump on the next bus. Knowing most were new to this experience, the simple instruction, 'head upstairs for the best seats' was followed by all. As we alighted at Dee Why a cold breeze whacked us & shortly after the water came into view. At the beach we turned south & headed along the path until we started the fun part of our day, the rough bush track. Ups & downs, tree roots, big stone steps, mushy muddy bits & steep parts that luckily have handrails you need to use. We paused to take photos along the way, which also acted as short breaks to catch our breath, if needed & noticed the cold wind had disappeared as we stripped off. Finally, we stood overlooking Curl Curl Beach before the descent to our morning tea stop, an open kiosk, toilets & seats all available.
Refreshed, we wandered through waterfront parkland until we hit the boardwalk, which is built on top of the rocks. From the headland we took a quick but not too sandy track to Freshwater Beach, then passed the cafe & a longboard competition. Now, I forgot to tell the group about these stairs & a hill climb earlier but we did walk from the north which is the easier option & we were 3/4 finished anyway. At the top afew moments were needed before continuing on which just happened to be all down hill & stairs & once at the bottom it was flat all the way to The Corso. Diane, Kathy, Jeff & David went to The Styne for lunch, Christine & Frank grabbed a drink while Leanne & I went to the ferry terminal, enjoying coffee & gelato while waiting to head for home. Everyone had a great day out on this do anytime popular walk. Thanks for coming guys.

30-05-21 – Picton Weir

15 members set off on the sealed road from the Bargo River Reserve towards the Picton Weir built in 1899. The Weir is actually a dam with a picturesque lake in front and an open reservoir back towards Horne’s Creek and the Bargo River. We passed the Kiah Ridge Christian Conference Centre signage, (*The KRCCC entrance road is private property those wishing to access the fire trail on a bicycle or by foot are permitted but no trail bikes), crossed the narrow vehicle bridge and continued up to the fork in the road veering left to pass the locked vehicle gate, descend the rough gravel section and cross the small rivulet onto to the well maintained Fire Road No P 1. The trail stayed close to the mountain side with the Bargo River a short distance down on the left side. The adjacent mountain was sparse of trees and showed signs of re-growth after recent bush fires. We could see some large open caves and large rock shelfs carved out of the sandstone. Our leader was keeping a close watch on the river water & edges of the banks in case of any platypus sightings.
Walking through the bushland area it wasn't long before we came to a section of Wild Tobacco Forest, an invasive plant that was overtaking the bushland. In fact at one stage the Wild Tobacco was very dense both sides of the track and created a corridor to walk though. Although the majority of the track was good three long sections further into the canyon had many different size rocks scatted in the centre with a shallow concrete wall on both sides of the track. This section tested our balancing skills as we walked along the wall avoiding the rough rocky section.
We stopped and talked to two chaps who had driven in on the Bargo Weir Fire Trail from Railway Parade at Balmoral and were down in the canyon to do some mountain rock climbing. A lone cyclist dressed in a black Lycra suit past us whilst walking his bike through the rough rocky section of the track.
Shortly on we sighted a picturesque lake in the distance. A small amount of water was overflowing across some rocks through a fern area. Around the corner the creek had more water flowing across the causeway but was easily stepped across on the exposed concrete section.
Although a large tree branch had fallen across the track we managed to walk around it without any problems. The overflow from the Weir and the Pump House was seen half way up a small steep section of the track. Photos were taken of the Pump House (equipment but no machines were inside); the overflowing Weir and the picturesque reservoir back towards Horne’s Creek. The fencing off the road at the top of the Weir had no gate at the steps leading down to the concrete pylon and wall. A sign “Danger Keep off Weir” was attached over the gate opening. None of our group ventured down onto the wall.
The sound of Trail Bikes altered us of the approaching riders. The lead Trail Bike Rider & two Off-track Buggy Vehicle drivers were considerate, slowed down and waited for our group to walk to the top of the road at the U turn/bend before driving down to the Pump House without creating clouds of dust. On their return they gave us the same consideration as they drove up the mountain to the ridge.
After the Pre-walk on 19th May the road from the Pump House up the mountain had been completely regraded. All the bush & scrub at the U turn/bend had been completely cleared out and the excess earth mounted on the edge of the road on the river side. We all managed to find a suitable place to sit, some propped up on the earth mound and some on the road’s low concrete kerbing for morning tea. Carmel & Steve returned to the rocky wall they’d sat on in July 2018 whilst on Kevin's walk.
The return walk was easy going, no sign of the two rock climbers or the cyclist. Our balancing skills were tested again on the shallow concrete walls through the rough boulder section of the track.
The sound of trail bikes altered us to move to the side of the track as four Trail Bike Riders approached from the direction of the Weir. Our leader motioned to the lead rider to be considerate and slow down, reduce their speed to pass our group without creating any dust clouds.
We passed through the corridor of Wild Tobacco Forest again and it wasn’t long before we ascended the gravel track just before the last gate and exited onto the sealed road. Just short of the narrow bridge a vehicle approached us from the direction of the KRCCC*. Our leader indicated to the driver to slow down and sound the car's horn. The driver did slow down but also wound down the passenger’s window to shout out that our group were on a private road (those wishing to access the fire trail on a bicycle or by foot are permitted) and speed off.
Arriving back at the Bargo River Reserve our leader thanked everyone for walking safely before we all settled down to enjoyed our lunch sitting on the grassy hillside underneath a large pine tree with the Bargo River and Noonemena Railway Bridge in view.

23-05-21 - Iluka Ck.

On the way to the Catholic Club our leader noted a pretty rainbow ending in the area of the club and took this as a positive sign for the day ahead. A group of 7 members piled into the cars and drove the short distance to the 10B access gate on the Appin Rd.
After a short introductory chat we headed northwards along the well-trodden 10B trail. Conditions were near perfect for walking with a clear day and temperature about 15 degrees. At this time of the year the bush was fairly calm but a few small birds tried valiantly to entertain us. After about 45 min we arrived at the trailhead for the Iluka Creek track. One of the objectives of the day was to assess the potential for a track improvement proposal for submission to the NPWS. Start of the track was overgrown with spiny Hakea which alerted us to the task ahead. Once we got further down the track walking became a bit easier. The trail was quite easy to follow but was overgrown in short sections. One particularly attractive section of head high scrub we decided to call the "fairy grotto" but all sections were passed with relative ease. There were a few sections which had been damaged by trail bikes in decades past and occasional fallen logs slowed our progress. There was universal agreement in our group however that we could make a huge improvement to this walking route if our club proposal was approved. After about one hour we arrived at scenic and pristine Iluka Creek. This really is a lovely precious and special place. We had a long morning tea there. We were making good time and we retraced our route to the 10B trail. The group decided to extend our walk to visit the Quarry Lake on the 10U trail. The unsightly pile of rubbish noted on another recent walk was still in place. That was a low point. We continued to the lake and took a leisurely lunch break before returning to the cars.
Another really wonderful day shared with a great group of Devil friends.

16-05-21 - Artarmon to the Spit.

Making our way over to Artarmon, we had a short break before heading off so Kay could catch up with her son & granddaughter, who only live a few minutes away. Starting off along Wickham Walk, The Devils had our youngest ever visitor join us. Ok, so it was only for about 50 metres to the railway underpass before goodbye hugs & kisses were given freely between family members. Continuing on, this piece of bushland is so peaceful even though it is next to the Northern Shore rail line, with many different tracks well used by the locals. Passing by Artarmon Oval, Bicentennial Reserve & Henry Lawson Cave where we had a group photo taken by a local. The path then led us to Flat Rock Gully, this is where the bushtrack starts & goes in 2 different directions. We took the harder & longer northern section of Wilkschs Walk & our steep descent began. About halfway down I surprised everyone with a short stop at the lovely Flat Rock Creek Waterfall before tackling the final part of our descent. Finally at the bottom, our creek crossings were easy as pie but are unpassable after heavy rain. 5 minutes before our break at Tunks Park we passed beneath the magnificent Cammeray Suspension Bridge circa 1892.
After a quickie morning tea, we walked along local roads reaching Folly Point, a small park overlooking Long Bay, with some taking the stairs down to the water's edge. Slightly retracing our steps we found the bush track to Primrose Park, which was being cleaned up by the local bushcare group. Across the road from Primrose Park is the prettier Brightmore Reserve & our lunch spot, with conversation soon turning to the grade of the walk. It's only a grade 2, was the verdict.
After lunch our target was the north east corner of the park & seeing the giant stairway in front of them cries of "grade 5" rang out with chuckles of laughter. Eventually we made it up to Tobruk Ave for the 2.6km street hike, with the beginning fairly flatish until the giant descending stairway, which precedes the big hilly bits. Reaching the start of the Beauty Point Foreshore Walk, we regrouped until all were ready to start our final track towards The Spit. With the end in sight, those at the front thought the toilets would be a good reason to leave the rest to follow considering the ratio of toilets to walkers. After a short wait at the bus stop on the eastern side of Spit Rd just near the bridge, a 172X, an express bus to Wynyard only took 23 minutes. Coffee time for all except for me, I caught the train home instead. Unfortunately with the walk taking longer than expected my back was killing me & had me seriously thinking about continuing with any future walks. Thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

24-04-21 - City Markets.

6 eager shoppers headed into the city for an easy, slow day of browsing, bargain hunting & buying at different markets. Plans for this late addition to the activities program were a guide only & dependent on what we wanted to do.
At Central after a pit stop & coffees, we strolled to our bus stop on George St & had a short wait for a 433 to Glebe Markets. Yes, we could've walked to Glebe Public School where our first markets are held but we had to pace ourselves to last the distance!! Alighting near the front gate, it was then a group decision on how long we stayed before meeting back at the bus stop. Off we all went whichever way took our fancy & eventually all arrived back for our next leg. Who knew six was such an easy number for a head count??
Jumping on another bus we continued along the 433 route that conveniently delivered us to Rozelle Collectors Markets. These markets are also held at a primary school. Agreeing on where & when to meet up, we were soon off again looking for more treasures or favoured trash. With time ticking down, one by one we found ourselves at our meeting spot when all of a sudden Mary & her long lost cousin had a family reunion. Unfortunately our bus was coming in the distance & we had to leave. We watched their goodbyes from across the road, with Mary & John only just making the bus (we wouldn't have left them behind). On board our last 433 for the day we retraced our way back towards Central Station & Stand J bus stop for a 440 on it's way to Bondi Junction. Finally we were seeing a different part of the city along Oxford St, our bus was stopping across from Paddington Town Hall so I told everyone to jump off & we went for a sightseeing detour around the Paddington Reservoir Gardens, which are a short wander down the road from the Paddington Markets. Again agreeing on meeting details, the toilets were an instant attraction. When our time was up all were ready to head for home. At the closest stop a 333 bendy bus from Bondi to Circular Quay was a fun way to finish off our day.
At the station your choice was go for the train or make a beeline for Gelatissimo. We were split 3-3 Roz, Mary & John got the train while Ellie, Lino & I enjoyed well deserved refreshing treats to end a long day out, not getting back to Campbelltown until 4pm. Everyone had fun but Kirribilli Markets would have to wait for another time. Thanks for coming guys.

18-04-21 - Narrow Neck, Katoomba.

After a couple of meet up points our group of 12 members and 3 visitors assembled at the Scenic World tourism complex at Katoomba. The place looked a little quiet on this day. After a quick chat from the walk leader we made our way slowly and carefully along the Glenraphael Rd which traverses Narrow Neck. Our somewhat absent-minded leader had left his back pack at home but bravely proceeded with the activity. Adventure before dementia in action. Road was passable for 2WD with care but there were some channels running across the road. Parking proved a little problematic and took a couple of false starts. Finally we were ready to head off.
Conditions were near perfect and it was a lovely clear day. Almost immediately we set off up a steep hill on the road. This part of the road was sealed but the gradient was steep. After about half an hour road walking we arrived at the locked gate. Had a short break and a cuppa as a reward for the uphill walk. The next section of flatter walking took about 20 minutes and we arrived at the access track to Castle Head, one of the lookouts on the eastern side of Narrow Neck. All of the area we had traversed had been badly burned in the bushfires the previous year. There was a large pile of wood and poles at the junction which seemed destined for usage in an upgrade of the track in the near future. The group headed off uphill on an initially well made but somewhat damp track. There were some lovely sundew plants in the damp patches as well as numerous grass trees which had benefitted from the bushfire the previous summer and looked really healthy. Lots of mountain devils too. At the top of the rise there was a nice view and several members of the group chose this as their end point as the track started to deteriorate. The final section lead to 2 stunning lookouts. The first one had great view over the Jamison Valley. The second and final lookout was just after a trig station and was absolutely stunning. We felt almost directly above the Ruined Castle but there was a fantastic view of Mount Solitary and several valleys. Several remote areas were visible including Mt Colong and Kanangra Walls. Words do not fairly describe this special moment at this wonderful spot which made an ideal lunch point. We lingered here and reluctantly retraced our steps to complete a great day.

11-04-21 - Fred Caterson Reserve.

As the sun was up early so was our group of 11 heading off towards Castle Hill. From the Hills Showground Metro Station we cut through Showground Reserve that was already buzzing with locals at an E waste drop off day & an early morning do at the theatre. Taking a left turn out of the showgrounds gates we took the easy way, under McDonald Bridge & walking the path next to Cattai Creek. Fred Caterson Reserve is 60 hectares of various walking trails, picnic areas, cricket, baseball & soccer fields, BMX & remote control car tracks, a pony club, basketball stadium & tennis courts. Our aim of the day was to walk most of the Geebung Track & 3/4 of the much longer Knightsbridge Circuit.
We left the path at the basketball stadium & found Caterson Dr. We then followed the road until we reached where the Geebung Track led us into the bush, which luckily for us wasn't full of mountain bikers! This part of the track was lined with Banksia & Mountain Devils in bloom with Jackie & Leanne happily snapping away. At morning tea we sat on logs overlooking the picturesque Castle Hill Cemetery, with one grave only weeks old. Continuing, we soon encountered a rough, steep section which wasn't that bad but we did slow down in this area. Further along we left Geebung next to the BMX site before walking through the car park to Sports Field 1 for another break. As girls soccer was being played there, the canteen was open, the BBQ was fired up & Carmel & Steve enjoyed their sausage sangers immensely.
After a short break we carefully descended a big stairway towards the cricket field & nets then followed the track, this time behind the BMX site to meet up with the Knightsbridge Circuit, which I hadn't prewalked due to the heat when previously visited. No chance of that today with a cold wind blowing. Along this track we saw some wonderful sights like the sewage treatment works & a local shirtless hunk cutting wood with his axe. At one point we also stood on a ledge admiring the tropical like foliage around us & to the valley floor below. Leaving the track early at Citadel Cres for Knightsbridge shops, afternoon tea, a bus back to Castle Hill, the 610X to Wynyard & our train home. Thanks for coming along guys,

28-03-20 - Inner West Foreshore.

Due to severe flooding at Penrith this walk arose as a suitable and safer alternative. 14 members and a visitor met up at wharf 5 at Circular Quay before the scenic ferry ride to Abbotsford which required about 45 minutes. Group had short business-like briefing after disembarking. We set off through the back streets of Abbotsford and soon arrived at a lovely park on the waterfront where there were dogs of all shapes and sizes. we then proceeded through a pretty park with good views. One special memory was a particularly romantic pair of rainbow lorikeets that clearly were super affectionate and featured in many of our photos. Another 20 minutes or so lead us to a somewhat larger park where we decided to stop for a leisurely morning tea and a chance to savour the view over the water to Breakfast Point.
Later we continued along a pretty section of foreshore. We encountered on of the hazards of walking in an urban area - the difficultly finding a toilet! The more we walked the more uncomfortable we became. Scenery was great but we were uncomfortable. Thankfully some kind souls from the local golf club allowed us to use the facilities and sanity was restored. Another half an hour walking around Hen and Chicken Bay brought us to a nice park in Breakfast Point where we decided to have lunch. We completed a final section and then made our way to the bus stop to return to the city and the train journey home. Thank you for all those who attended and contributed to a wonderful day.

07-03-21 - Jannali to Oatley.

Adding this easy walk to the activities program at the last minute only 7 of us headed for Jannali. Our limited stops train from Wolli Creek whizzed past new scenery for some, along the Illawarra Line & arriving only 20 minutes later we were soon walking down Railway Cres. This beautiful area still has the old time charm rather than ugly modern monstrosities that have been forced upon many areas of Sydney, lucky them. After a short stroll & a right turn at Wiak St we found the track entrance into Honeysuckle Creek Reserve. Frank enjoyed some time at the front of the pack while I bought up the rear, with the rest of his harem! Thanks Frank. Exiting this overgrown but still popular bushland, a very short street section led us to Carina Bay Reserve, which is a massive off leash dog park that also allows horse riding. Next we stopped outside Como public school to study the murals painted on different classroom walls, the Austrailiana one closest to the fence had a bin chicken included in it!!! After a left turn at the fork in the road, now we were in Scylla Bay Reserve. Wandering through the middle of this park we passed in front of the grand Como Hotel circa 1878, looking in pristine condition (we were too early to check it out from the inside).
Not far up the road was our rest stop at the Como Pleasure Grounds, well, we did take a slight detour to walk along the waterfront on our way there. The cafes coffee called out to some while the rest settled at a large picnic table in the quieter area of the park, as families continually arrived with arms full of supplies for a long day out. Refreshed, we all went off to explore before meeting up on the other side of this well kept park. For our last leg we wandered up the path towards the footbridge that crosses the Georges River, next to the rail bridge. Further along we stopped at a lookout for a group photo. At Oatley Robyn, Christine & Frank headed for a beer at the RSL, while Maureen, Madeline, Jackie & I continued through the Memorial Gardens to Oatley Station for a train home. Our day out was an easy & unrushed wander in a lovely area with perfect walking conditions.
Thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

28-02-20 - Dharawal Wetlands.

16 members and 2 visitors arrived at the parking area at the southern end of the 10B fire trail on the Appin Rd. It was a clear day and the temperature was pleasant.
After our briefing we set off northwards along the 10B fire trail. 10B seems more like a highway than a fire trail and is the old access road to the decommissioned North Cliff coal mine. First part of the trip passed fairly uneventfully with quick pace and plenty of banter. everyone seemed to be enjoying the day. At one point we found some large footprints in the ground from either a wallaby or a kangaroo. Lorraine gave us an informative demonstration of the correct technique to extract the nectar from a mountain devil flower. After perhaps 45 minutes we arrived at the 10U fire trail which leads to Quarry Lake. We set of an after about 200m came along a large pile of rubbish which some thoughtless individual had dumped. To dump this rubbish they would have needed to pass through 2 locked gates! Dumping was bad enough but why here of all places. After pondering this stupidity we continued on to morning tea at the Quarry Lake which is a pretty lake in a seemingly unlikely spot. We understood that this may have previously been the water supply for the North Cliff mine. This was a lovely spot and the water looked clear and inviting for a swim. Surprisingly the phone reception was good so that 2 members of the group succeeded in making phone calls with family in Canada and South America.
We retraced our steps and travelled a little further north along 10B to the track head of the Seven Creeks Way. The group headed westward along a slightly overgrown but generally clear trail. Despite one moment of navigational confusion the pace was quite brisk. At one point we noticed someone had set up a video camera to record either people or wildlife. We took about half an hour to reach our lunch spot at Stokes Creek East. Really a delightful tranquil spot with clear running fresh water and we chose this as our lunch spot. Our leader had promised us a hot cuppa and boiled a billy to fulfil the deal. Took a while to boil water for everyone but we got there eventually. We were in no hurry to leave this lovely spot but the day was warming up and there was not a great deal of shade. After a leisurely lunch we commenced or return to the start point. Thanks to all the members and visitors who contributed to a memorable day.

21-02-21 - Box Vale Track - Welby.

16 members drove from Campbelltown to Mittagong and met Jochen at the Mittagong Information Centre. The leader left two club brochures with the Mittagong Information Centre staff for their Bush Walking Groups' folder and mentioned our group of 16 would be walking on the Box Vale Track today.
After a short introductive talk in the Box Vale Track carpark we set off along a good track, crossing two bridges and up the steps to view the Mittagong Reservoir. We set off again along the track and a little further on we came to a very wet section. We detoured onto the fire trail and shortly afterwards exited the Alexander Reserve Bushland onto the Morris Road Fire Trail near “The Burrows”. Refreshed from our morning tea break we followed the trail alongside the paddock wire fence and re-joined the Box Vale Track at the sign indicating the way to The Forty Foot Falls, The Incline & The Nattai Lookout.
After a short break we continued along the ridge through the Casuarina Cutting past the Spur Track to The Footy Foot Falls and carried on walking to Kell’s Creek Ford where the Morris Road Fire Trail circles back towards Mittagong. Walking up the incline from the Ford, along the track we exited onto the fire trail near the wooden table. (Originally, our morning tea break). Refreshed, we continued following the track past the fallen Wooden Boulders Cutting sign through the cutting and onto and through the Ferns Cutting.
All the Cuttings were reasonably dry and presented no problem walking past the boulders, thin tree trunks, delicate Spider Webs strung on the tiny branches, scattered bark, tree leaves, skinks of various sizes and a very tiny bright green Weevil. The Bright Yellow Paper Flowers seen in the cuttings and on the ridge were beautiful, so too the colours of rock formations. Many Eucalyptus trees in the forest had lost their bark and the brilliant orange, grey and white colours on their trunks were striking. Two Rosellas, a Brown Fantail and Brown Wrens were seen. A Kookaburra was heard calling in the distance.
Shortly, the Historical Rail Tunnel came into view. A plague near the entrance showed a photo of the Locomotive and a brief history of the rail line dating back to 1888. Torches light we walked through the 84 meter tunnel exiting onto the track and shortly arrived at The Inclined Track, Box Cart Track and the 600 meter track leading down to The Nattai Lookout. We enjoyed our lunch down at the lookout in the shade of the trees with views of the Nattai Gorge Bushland, the Peaks of the Guouogang Mountain and the Cloudmaker.
Walking back the same way, along the ridge, through the rail tunnel and cuttings we did take a short detour past a very wet section of the track onto a fire trail then back to the top of the ridge at the Mittagong Reservoir Dam. From there the return walk back to the carpark was ease going. It was obvious The Box Vale Track is a very popular walking track. We counted at least 40 walkers and 21 members in the Land Rover Club group. The Leader took the opportunity to introduce our group "We are members of the Mountain Devils Bushwalking Club" as each group walked by. Thank you everyone for joining todays walk. A few twists, turns, alternatives and detours but we all arrived safely at our destinations. Special thanks to Tail-end Charlie.

07-02-21 - Collaroy to Dee Why.

Originally leaving from Narrabeen, the 30 degrees forecasted for that day meant a shorter walk would be better for us.
From Wynyard Station we headed out to Carrington St & joined the line waiting for a limited stops B Line yellow double decker bus. As the queue boarded the bus we reached the front of the line & as a group of 11 I wanted to make sure we would all be able to jump on (due to COVID restrictions on public transport the most popular bus routes have marshals checking passenger numbers). Letting him know the size of our group he held us back for the following bus, which was great because we got to pick any seats we wanted. The first on headed upstairs to sit at the front, these massive windows have unobstructed views & of course these highly prized seats are always the first taken. 6 stops & 40 minutes later we arrived opposite Collaroy Beach, which was closed due to rough conditions but there were plenty of surfers lined up waiting to catch a wave. After a pitstop behind the surf lifesaving club, we followed the coastline towards the rock baths & up a hill turning south past Fox Park. With blue bottles along Fishermans Beach we took a short road detour before reconnecting to the waterfront further down the beach. We stopped to study the century old fishing shack that has historical significance for the locals. Climbing up a steep grass slope behind the shack was quicker than backtracking! Now was the real climb, our path was between the golf course & the cliffs behind trees. Steps up to a lookout bought us to see Collaroy & Narrabeen beaches in the distance. Continuing on we all reached Long Reef Point, our morning tea stop.
A choice of sit & rest with views north to Broken Bay & south to Manly or take the many stairs down to the waterline below was offered. Lauren & I left to explore. As the tide was going out all the rocks were exposed, others on their day out, also took the opportunity to walk along the bottom. Back up top it was time to move on. Now we headed downhill with Long Reef golf course & the Aquatic Reserve on either side of us. Once down on the flat path, this was the beginning of Long Reef Beach but we stayed on the boardwalk, enjoying the shade under the trees, also passing a young child's memorial amongst them. At the surf lifesaving club carpark Robyn & Lily left our group for an afternoon in the surf. The rest of us headed towards the lagoon for our beachwalk to Dee Why, which had many beachgoers out in the sun even if the temperature was cooler than expected, luckily for us it was pleasant. Our finishing point was Walter Gors Park, a pretty spot near the shops which includes a small water park for the littlies. After lunch we only had a short walk to the B Line stop & Lauren decided to leave us for a 199 bus to Manly & a ferry ride back to Circular Quay instead. At Wynyard Station a few minutes later our train arrived & we were on our final leg for the day.
A good day out enjoyed by all, thanks for coming guys, Kerri.

17-01-21 - Burgess Falls Circuit, Hazelbrook.

A group of 16 members and 4 visitors made their way to Oatlands Ave Hazelbrook to commence this walk. Weather wise this was an absolutely perfect summer day. About 26 degrees, clear and low humidity. We had decided on a slightly later start for this particular walk given the mild conditions and the daylight saving.
After the initial briefing we walked off down the valley. The first part of the track had been given an upgrade in the last few years and had some well formed wooden steps and even a small picnic area. As we walked further the condition of the track would deteriorate somewhat. After about 15 min we diverted down a side track to a pretty but unnamed cascade. An old mattress in the stream bed was a big conversation piece after it was initially mistaken for a boulder. Recent rain meant the stream had a good flow at this lovely spot. Further down the valley we arrived at Horseshoe Falls which has a pretty cascade flowing over a large overhang. It was possible to walk behind the wall of water and take many interesting photos. We decided to linger here a little and enjoy morning tea. Most of the group opted to walk up a side creek to Glow Worm Nook Falls which involved walking up some steps and on a slightly rougher track. The falls were quite a pretty sight and apparently are illuminated at night on the right hand side by glow worms. We returned and regrouped then continued further down the track to Oatlands Falls yet another really scenic spot where we decided to have a leisurely lunch break. This gave us the chance to catch up and also become more familiar with the visitors in our group.
Walking so far had been fairly straightforward but there had been some sections where the track had become rather eroded and were tricky to negotiate. On the walk to our final destination we passed through an area of really pleasant forest known as the ampitheatre. After about 20 min we arrived at Burgess Falls which was also a visual treat and a lovely spot to linger. Once the photos had been taken and we had enjoyed this cascade we walked up the steps to commence our return journey to the cars. The pace had been quite relaxed and the walk had taken about 3 hours but could have been done much faster. The Burgess Falls circuit had proved an ideal summer walk and would probably be suitable even on a fairly hot day. Total distance was only 5-6 km but there were some steep eroded sections. We completed our day with a cuppa at Glenbrook on the way through.

10-01-21 - Hawkesbury River Cruise.

Hit with another injury there was no way I'd let The Devils down for the first outing of a new year so a replacement was needed, an easy day with not much walking. After a bit of thought the idea of the Hawkesbury River lunch cruise was the answer & luckily 19 others thought so too! Fingers crossed for nice weather as the winter-like conditions leading up to our day had me worried, but the sun finally showed a few days before. Most met on the early train to Sydney, we then changed to a Central Coast Express with Diane proudly wearing her Christmas t-shirt. No quiet carriage for us, thank you. As our train slowly descended down towards Brooklyn, the trees & mountains soon gave way to our first look at the Hawkesbury.
Alighting in brilliant sunshine, with the river on one side & shops, wharves & parks on the other, it was a surprise to see a lift had been installed (a week earlier I later found out) good timing. First we headed over to the office for COVID check in & other information, running into Wendy & John who had driven up. Due to the recent COVID outbreak on the Northern Beaches, restrictions were again in place, which meant The Devils had a boat all to ourselves.
Setting off we were seated around 3 tables, with captain Justin unfortunately roped off (so no one else got to drive the boat) while Katie & Nat arranged our morning tea of thin homemade delicious Anzac biscuits with tea or coffee. Soon enough some of us took to the roof deck for uninterrupted views while others stayed & played catch up over a wine or two as we chugged along. With the captain's commentary coming over a loudspeaker we didn't miss out on place names, interesting facts or local stories. Starting off with Long Island we then passed underneath the rail, Pacific Highway & Mooney Mooney bridges then visiting areas to the west before coming back close to Peat Island, Spectacle Island, Dangar Island & Little Wobby. A stop back at Brooklyn was only quick enough to pick up lunch. Backing out from the wharf again, this time we turned right. The boat ramp was having a very busy day judging by the number of cars parked close by. Heading south towards Broken Bay Headlands & Cowan Creek we passed Jerusalem Bay, surrounded on all sides by Ku-ring-gai National Park. At our return point we did a lap of the bay where the newly out of lockdown Northern Beaches were out in droves at their favourite spots. Some early birds grabbed small secluded beaches for their group, others took to larger ones, while many just dropped anchor wherever possible. Again passing by the open waters it had gotten much windier & the waves choppier but nothing too bad. Back on dry land we had a bit of spare time for a wander around until our train, all went separate ways to explore. Seated for the hour long express ride to Sydney, the snoring soon started, with most having a snooze. At Central a non hurried walk to platform 23 was a good way to wake up.
The party gods certainly joined us that day with magnificent weather, beautiful scenery, good food & wine, wonderful company & a hassle free laid back day out. Everyone had a ball.

03-01-21 - Xmas/New Year Recovery Walk, Kentlyn.

The weather was not cooperating. Overnight rain that was supposed to have cleared by the early morning had hung around. Luckily just before our start time the clouds started to thin out and the rain stopped. So after a few withdrawals due to illness and weather concerns we set off.
An easy fire trail plod leads us to a couple of nice lookouts with good views of the Georges River. Lots of Christmas Bush were in flower which was nice to see. We continued along a footpad passing some Blotched Hyacinth Orchids and more Christmas Bush. We walked over to the ruins of some buildings that may have been a farm complex. This is an interesting spot as it does look like some form of farming was being done here and it's well worth taking the time to explore the area. We pushed on along a footpad that took us through the rest of the farm with the odd reminder peering up from the ground at us. The remains of a wall there, a post here, lots of little reminders that this was once a home. We soon rejoin the main fire trail and continued along toward the end of the trail. Another easy to follow footpad heads along the top of the cliffs giving views into the river gorge. Our leader decided to take morning tea at the top of the cliffs. A light drizzle accompanied us as we had our break. Thankfully this was the only time we encountered any precipitation on the walk.
After our break we headed down into the pretty side valley that takes us to the sandy beach on the river. We made it down to the beach and our leader was surprised to spot a Green Tree snake sunning itself on a bush near the river. Although not dangeroues the snake was afforded all due care and consideration. It was surprisngly relaxed as it posed for our photos. Back up the valley we took a side track that took us through a pleasent open forest before rejoining the main fire trail and a short walk back to the cars.

13-12-20 - Leura Exploratory.

It had been a long and stressful year and 13 members were looking for the opportunity to venture in picturesque Leura. Weather was pleasant and walking conditions were ideal. After organising transport at Glenbrook our group set off for the mountain village. We started from the car park near Gordon Falls by walking down the well worn track towards the Pool of Siloam. Track was in fantastic condition but steps were plentiful. Our unhurried pace meant that we had plenty of time to appreciate the late spring wildflowers. Trigger plants and some unusually large Christmas Bells were a particular highlight. After about half an hour we arrived at our morning tea site at the Pool of Siloam. This is a pretty cascade with a clear pool at the base. What a wonderful morning tea spot this proved to be and our mood was upbeat with the festive season looming. We decided to do a side trip to Lyrebird Dell on a much rougher and steeper track. Also a pretty spot with a picnic area under a large overhang. After another short break we returned to the cars. Before we left this area we did a second short walk to the Gordon Falls lookout. Due to recent dry weather the amount of flow coming over the falls was reduced. This was however more than compensated by the spectacular view over the valley towards Mt Solitary. This vantage point allows the full appreciation of the large size of this peak. Leader thought he could see Mt Cloudmaker in the distance. Our early finish allowed plenty of time to explore Leura village. Normally on a weekend Leura is fairly crowded and this day would prove no exception. Finding a place to eat was a little challenging so some members took the opportunity to have a bite in a local park. We returned home full of festive cheer and having enjoyed the chance to catch up with our Devils colleagues.

06-12-20 - Eric Mobbs Reserve to Carlingford.

7 Devils met on the Parramatta bound train & after a short wait, were soon boarding a number 600 bus towards Castle Hill. 25 minutes later we alighted on The Old Northern Rd, crossing at the nearby traffic lights, of course. We then wandered down along Excelsior Ave, which is a pretty tree lined street, for 1km before reaching a giant map of Bidjigal Reserve which was our starting point.
As temperatures had climbed recently, I'd changed this walk to the easier local Platypus Track. But arriving at 9am in much cooler walking conditions and studying the map, this group of Devils decided it was perfect for the original longer outing. After rain on Saturday I was no longer concerned about any bushfire danger while crossing this 186 hectare bushland reserve & off we went. Taking the track on the left, next to Eric Mobbs Reserve, we started with a short, steep section of the Platypus Track. The only sound at this point was our voices warning each other to be careful not to slip on the small loose rocks. Once on the bush track proper, we moved at a decent pace with the odd bird call breaking the silence. Later on our hearing would be assaulted at times by cockatoos & cicadas trying to outdo each other. We stopped to watch a King Parrot while it's mate hid behind the large gum tree. Our many different creek crossings during the day were on a mixture of cute bridges, concrete blocks & real bush rocks, ranging from easy to almost not easy. With the Platypus Track being so short, we soon changed to the Burraga Track. About 2.5km into our walk we came to a massive overhang, a very popular spot for breaks & calls for morning tea rang out.
Luckily on this occasion we had this area, next to Darling Mills Creek, all to ourselves & the hungry mozzies who targeted my bare legs. Refreshed, we continued beside the creek as we had done for most of the walk so far. Further along we changed tracks again, this time to an easy part of the 8km long Murri-yana Track. Eventually our up & down, skinny single file only, tree roots everywhere, uneven surfaced track was replaced by a wide fire trail. Not long after friendly chatter became the norm. Walking past, our stop at the waterfall was quick, before heading off on another trail, which is an unnamed one with plenty of entrance tracks used by the locals. Nearing the opposite side of Bidjigal Reserve we had to go through a dark tunnel underneath the M2. Then a short but very steep climb was sprung onto the group before a bit behind houses led us to the street. From here this 'hilly' street walking section was taken with as many stops as needed. Eventually we all reached the Carmen Dr shops in Carlingford & ate our lunch in a quiet park across the road. Checking times, I ended our break to leave for the bus stop, which is in the middle of the M2 itself, as the discussion around the table about American politics was getting heated. An 610X arrived with Wynyard as it's only stop, via the Harbour Bridge & a short wait for a train made it a quick trip back home. Everyone enjoyed the day out in near perfect weather, with most even having a go at leading during the easier parts of the tracks & all Devils were happy they'd experienced the longer walk. Thanks for coming guys.

22-11-20 - Bondi to Watsons Bay.

A perfect day for a walk not too hot not too cold. Twenty of us all masked up got the train and bus to our destination at North Bondi. Then proceeded to walk close to the cliffside till Yeshiveh College . We then hit the pavement to Dudley Page Reserve for the best view of Sydney to be seen. A panorama stretching from the CBD to North Sydney. The walk got back to the cliffside again and we walked past the Gap and various lookouts into Watsons Bay, where we all had lunch in the rotunda . All we needed was the brass band. Home by ferry to the quay and a good day was had by all.

15-11-20 - Magdala Creek, Springwood.

A group of 8 members and a visitor made their way to Springwood railway station on a warm late spring day. Forecast was a maximum of 31 degrees in the area so we kept the briefing fairly short and business like and made our way through the backstreets to the start of the walk. The first part of the walk down into the valley of Magdala Creek was a little steep but on a well-formed track. Within a short distance we entered a pleasant shaded forest with plenty of birdsong. The golden whistlers were especially cheerful and entertaining. The valley was delightful and we passed some delightful pools and small cascades. most of the path was fairly level and progress was fairly brisk. After an hour or so we chose to take a morning tea break at a shaded glen area. Sadly a few hungry leeches also decided that it was also time for morning tea! Delightful spot but we lingered no longer than about 15 minutes. We proceeded further down the valley on a really well made and enjoyable track. A few large logs required negotiation which gave us all a few laughs but no cuts or scratches. Two delightful cascades passed along the way were Magdala Falls and Martin Falls. Due to the warm conditions we chose to shorten the walk and have a longer lunch break at the bottom of the valley on the bank of Glenbrook Creek in a lovely shaded spot. After lunch we re-traced our steps. Despite the warm conditions, most of the route was fairly shaded and cooler than expected on such a day. We made good progress we returned to Springwood in mid afternoon. Well done Devils and thanks to all of those who participated in this memorable and enjoyable day.

15-11-20 - Captain Cook Bridge to Brighton Le Sands.

Madeline, Maureen & I headed to Rockdale for the 477 Miranda bus. After a short wait we departed & our journey took us through Kogarah, past St George Hospital & along Rocky Point Rd, before a sweeping left hand bend brought the Captain Cook Bridge into sight. The height of the bus gave us uninterrupted views as we crossed over surrounded by cars. Alighting at the first stop on the other side, we then walked along some local roads to reach the cycle way. Deciding the western side footpath was used by fewer cyclists, we followed the pedestrian path under the southern end before heading up to the start of our crossing. Our minds were distracted away from the incline by the scenery in wonderful conditions. On the other side, a shady tree in Sans Souci Park was a perfect spot for a quick break. From this point we followed the Botany Bay foreshore, except when heading towards a cafe. Which was so busy, we didn't waste our time. At Ramsgate no-one was ready to quit ,so we continued on towards Brighton Le Sands. The forecasted temperature of 23 was passed very early & it was beginning to get uncomfortable watching swimmers, frolicking in the refreshing looking water. A bit further along we noticed a skywriter starting a line, trying to guess what would be written, T R U M P 2020, was snapped by those who noticed. Watching the planes come & go as we wandered along, while our target of the Novotel's big white hotel constantly grew bigger with each step. Reaching the bus stop outside the RSL on Bay St, we had a 10 minute wait, which was spent not only putting up with a never ending stream of "look at me" idiots making car & bike noises for the crowds, but also laughing at a wannabe gangster in a tacky gold sports car cruising back & forth. Our day out was an easy enjoyable stroll, reminiscing about this area we'd all visited many, many years ago.

18-10-20 - Thirlmere Lakes.

We had our maximum of 20 for this walk, which included 3 visitors. One visitor has decided to join today. It was a little overcast when we started, but certainly not raining as had been predicted during the week. We set off from Lake Couridjah to walk around the back of this lake and Lake Werri Berri. The track winds around quite a few fallen-down trees but is all fairly level, so pleasant walking. Lots of delicate wildflowers were out and some wattle.
When we joined Dry Lakes Road we turned left and continued until we found a track almost hidden in the bush. This was new to most of the walkers. Very pleasant through the bush, and soon I stopped to try and find a native bee colony which I had seen before in one of the cave overhangs. We did find it and took some photos of this fairly rare exhibit. It was decided to have our morning tea here as there were lots of logs to sit on.
After morning tea the track started to go uphill and got a bit steeper, but everyone made it at their own pace. More wildflowers to look at, and the people at the front were getting plenty of cobwebs. The track levelled out as it neared some properties at the top of the hill, and we could see through the bush to the road (in Lakesland). Further along, the track started down the steep hill so we picked our way carefully around loose rocks and soil. Then we took the right turn to head to Lake Nerrigorang and the area that was once private property. We looked around for a while and walked down to the lake and could see various water monitoring pipes and a weather station.
From there we returned to the track that would lead us back to our cars at Lake Couridjah. We saw a wonderful red Waratah along the way. We passed a smaller lake called Lake Baraba and arrived back in time to have a leisurely lunch in the sunshine. It had turned out to be a very warm and pleasant day - no rain. It was great to see that all five lakes had water now, as last year they had been completely dry!

07-10-20 - Darkes Forest Exploratory, Dharawal National Park.

3 members set off from the Catho to meet 2 more members at the 10h gate in Darkes Forest. The group set off on the 10h trail. Plenty of wildflowers along the way including lots of Waratahs. We stopped for several photos of these beauties. After about 1.5km in we come to the start of the old 10m trail. Here we turned off onto the 10m trail. Our guide for the day was hoping that the 10m had been cleared out by a hazard reduction burn that had been done in this area a few years back...unfortunately this was not the case. The trail was very overgrown and it made for slow going. Eventually we reach a very pretty Ironbark forest. The walking got a bit easier which was a relief. We reached a crossroads and this is the turning off spot for the walk down to Dahlia Ck. The trail had been cleaned up and made for a very straightforward walk down to the creek. We took our morning tea break next to Dahlia Ck.
After our break we headed back up the trail to the crossroads. Here we turned again to continue along the 10m trail. It didn't take long for the bush to crowd in again. It made for slow going and took longer than expected to reach the end of the trail overlooking OHares Ck. Everybody was keen for a break so we stopped for our lunch at the very end of the 10m trail.
After our break we set off back along the overgrown 10m trail. Our return trip was via a slightly different route. Once you get back to the Ironbark forest there is a short cut that gets you over to the 10h trail and a less difficult way back to the cars. Since lunch we had experienced light showers but these turned into light rain which accompained us all the way out. We got back to the cars a bit damp and tired but happy to have completed the walk.

04-10-20 - Keith Longhurst Reserve, Kentlyn.

19 members and one visitor met at the start of the walk in Minto Heights. This entry point is well used but not that well known so it makes an interesting alternate start point.
The walk heads down through some light Casuarina forest to Peter Meadows Ck. Before getting to the creek we encounter a very high and interesting cave overhang. Crossing Peter Meadows Ck we start the climb up to the intersection with the Old Ford Rd. Our leader stepped up onto a rock to get a better view and was very surprised to see a good sized Red Belly Black snake sunning itself on the same rock. Not sure who got the greater fright. The leader went one way and the snake went another really fast. Took a minute to recover before continuing on. We missed the turnoff and after a bit of back and forth by the leader we were soon back on the right track. The group stopped for a quick history lesson about the Old Ford Rd before we started down to the Georges River. Council has done a nice job of tidying the road up and it makes for a pleasant walk. Arriving at the river it was time for morning tea.
After taking a relaxing break we set off on the next leg of the walk. Back up the road and across to the start of the Basin Track before diverting off to a spot high on the cliffs that gives a good view of where the Old Ford Rd crosses the river. Back to the Basin Track we headed to the Basin. It was a busy day down at the Basin and we decided to head back up the hill a bit and find a place to have lunch.
After lunch we set off for the return trip to the cars. It was a warm day and the heat was having an effect on everyone. We stopped for a rest at the large overhanging cliff just up from the creek. It was hard to believe how much cooler it was at the cave. Feeling better we made the final push for the cars. Everyone made it back to the cars.

27-09-20 - Upper Stokes Ck, Dharawal NP.

After a bit of confusion about the meeting spot, a group of 11 members assembled at the turnoff to the Westcliff mine on the Appin to Bulli Rd. We drove about 500 metres to a large cleared area on the roadside. We had previously been warned not to park on the mine access road. A new feature today was the COVID information sheet which is now part of our sign on process.
After a short introductory chat by our leader we set off towards the 10G fire trail access gate. Group had a somewhat depressing stroll past a variety of suburban rubbish which had been dumped by the side of the Appin Rd. We were all pretty amazed at the stuff that people discard! At the 10G gate we took an opportunity to have a group photo. We then headed north along the 10G fire trail. A couple of shallow creek crossings were negotiated and there was also some fallen vegetation after recent windy days. Conditions were near perfect for walking and it was a lovely clear early spring day. After about 1km we arrived at the intersection of the Seven Creeks way. Leader directed us down an old track to the headwaters of Stokes Creek. The route was clear however the maintenance of this track has been poor for several decades. Parts were quite overgrown. Decades of trail bike passage also meant that deep channels had been gouged along the track which had filled with rain water. Progress was a little slow in short sections. Our efforts were however rewarded when we found an idyllic crossing on Stokes Creek West which made an ideal spot for morning tea.
Water was crystal clear in this delightful tranquil spot. We saw some extremely large tadpoles. The frogs which will emerge must be enormous! The group backtracked to the 10G fire trail and headed further north. Leader pointed out a side trail which provides access to powerlines to the old North Cliff mine, now abandoned. We however continued along the main trail past some lovely flowers including lilac coloured sun orchids. At one spot a large stringybark tree which had been blown over in a previous storm clung to life and was now thriving in an unlikely sort of existence. About another hour of generally flat walking along 10G brought us to a lookout over the Stokes Creek valley. View from the top of the escarpment was quite stunning but a little obscured. As we arrived at the lookout we were greeted by a large and raucous yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Lunch time. Had a relaxed lunch there and were entertained by a delightful song from an unidentified bird but we suspected some type of whistler. This lovely songbird was obviously really intrigued by our group. There did seem to be a fairly obvious route down to the bottom of the valley from the lookout but that adventure would need to wait for another walk as some of our group had obligations later in the day and needed to return.
After a really pleasant lunch we walked back to the cars. Just north of the intersection with the Seven Creeks Way Lorraine and Luis pointed out an absolutely stunning waratah flower in full bloom. It had been a really memorable day and our leader is keen to further explore this delightful area. Thanks to all those who attended.

27-09-20 - Cumberland State Forest walk

14 Devils set off for the Cumberland State Forest walk at Cherrybrook. As Kerri had damaged her knee we all agreed to do the shorter walk. All went well till Epping Station where one of our members disappeared.So then there were 13. We decided to enjoy coffee at the cafe after our epic trip then took off through the forest following a brush turkey who seemed to be leading us somewhere only to find he had led us to a 2 metre red bellied black snake who took off faster than us. The group meandered through the forest and out to a waterfall a few kms beyond the forest. We decided to have lunch at the waterfall and walk back to the bus stop. The idea being to get the bus to the Metro station. However the bus failed to arrive till the group realised it was travelling on the opposite side of the road. Finally all made it safely home. Everyone enjoyed the Metro line. It was an unusual walk and apart from the bus delay was very enjoyable.
Kerri and Carmel.

02-09-20 - Stokes Ck Exploratory, Dharawal National Park.

5 members and 1 visitor met at the 10t gate on Lysaghts Rd. We set off heading south along some of the lesser known trails along the western side of Stokes Ck. Mostly easy walking through some pretty scrub and forest sections with copious Spotted Sun and Waxlip Orchids to stop and admire. The trail weaves its way south for some distance before turning east. From here the trail heads down across an ephemeral feeder stream of Stokes Ck (incorrectly identified by Michael as Four Mile Ck). We soon had to climb back out of the valley and turn south again. It wasn't much further till our morning tea break on some rocks looking across a small valley.
Break over we turned east again. Even though these trails where overgrown we still made reasonable time. After a few turns along some disused fire trails we reached the exit point for an old motorbike trail that runs along the plateau edge above Stokes Ck. It has been a long time since this trail was last used as it was very overgrown. Our progress was slower than hoped but that is how things work sometimes. We didn't reach the off-track start point until it was nearly midday. We stopped for a snack break before starting the climb down to Stokes Ck. Getting down to the creek was rough but not as hard as it could have been. What a surprise was install for us. Where we crossed Stokes Ck was an amazing location. Looking at the creek you would think this was a mountain stream not a coastal creek system. Our leader tried to cross at a sandy bank but soon found out it was quicksand and he nearly ended up sinking in it. After a short backtrack we found a well positioned log that we could cross on. Everyone got over OK and we set off up the hill to have our lunch.
A long climb out of the creek valley and we found some nice rocks with good views to stop for lunch at. After a welcome rest stop we set off again. Our goal was to find and follow another old fire trail to the 10b trail. It took a bit of finding but we found it in the end. A long plod got us to the 10b trail and we followed this north for a few kilometres to where we turn off 10b onto some old tracks. These tracks get us back down to Stokes Ck where there is an easy crossing point that reconnected us with the 10t trail. From here it is less than 1km to the cars. Everyone was relieved to get back to the cars as it had been a long (approx 15km) walk.
Thanks to all who participated, it was a good day out.

30-08-20 - Spectacular Mermaids Pool - Tahmoor.

Twenty Mountain Devils set off on a cold sunny morning (~2°C) from the Campbelltown Catholic Club Car Park and travelled in convoy to the start of the Sugar Loaf Trail in Pheasants Nest. The weather forecast for the day was perfect. Sunny, a low of 9°C to 25°C & very slight winds.
Our leader advised the group of the days’ walk and suggested we keep our eyes wide open and look out for Koala claw markings on the Eucalyptus Trees on the Matilda Track. Once the introduction circle was finished the group set off through the shrubs onto the a small ridge circling a small dam. After avoiding the black ants nest on the perimeter of the dam we made our way down the narrow bush track to join the Naked Way Track and headed to the Mermaids Pool. The benefits of starting the walk from the Sugar Loaf Trail and joining the Naked Way Track was to avoid the difficult crossing of the Dog Trap Creek that feeds into the Bargo River. The Naked Way Track on the ridge is well defined with a number of small lookout areas offering opportunities to take photos of many wildflowers in bloom, the rock pools, sandstone cliffs and the cascading waters of the Bargo River. Following the Orange and Blue Ribbons on the Eucalyptus Trees of the Naked Way Track we made our way to the fabulous Mermaids Lookdown directly in front of the waterfall with the cascading water from the Bargo River into the Mermaids Pool. With plenty of suitable rocks for seating and the spectacular view of the Mermaids Pool the area was perfect for our morning tea break. From our advantage point we saw a lot of people and families taking advantage of the warm sunny day by sun bathing on the rock platforms. Some young males decided to be Dare Devils by jumping into the Mermaids Pool from a high platform ledge above the pool and then climbing up the rock face by holding onto a long thick rope.
Refreshed from our morning tea break, many of our group were keen to continue walking to the next lookout near the Rosie’s Pass track that leads down into the Tahmoor Canyon. At the Jack's Pass Intersection Robert W. Sloss a prominent Bushwalker and Conservationist had erected a Log Book Box and included paper coloured maps of the tracks to Mermaids Pool and the Tahmoor Canyon. Our leader signed and wrote-in the log book details of our groups walk for the day. Using the paper coloured map guide we followed the clearly marked walking track along the ridge to the Sugar Loaf Squatters Lookout and took in views of the Canyon as well as the panoramic view of the Wollondilly region. On our return walk the leader pointed out a Laser Beacon on top of a rock ledge close to the edge of the cliff. Michael our knowledgeable webmaster and walk leader explained the significance of the Beacon and that the Laser would be in line with another Beacon on the other side of the Canyon. Together they would measure the degrees of subsidence of the cliffs, recording the possibilities of cliff & rock slides and that’s one of the reasons why it’s not safe to walk through the Canyon. Approximately, 30 metres further along the track from the Laser Beacon our leader pointed out the yellow metal marker attached to the trunk of a Eucalyptus Tree indicating many Koala Claw markings on the tree trunk. From here the walk back along the track to the ridge at the top of the Mermaids Pool, where we would stop for lunch under the shade of the trees, was uneventful.
After a lengthy lunch break the group followed the leader to the Diesel Pass side track to investigate and take photos of the Old Diesel Water Pump Engine that was used to feed water from the Bargo River to nearby farms. From the Diesel Pass it was only a short walk along the Naked Way & side track back to the cars parked at the beginning of the Sugar Loaf Trail and then make our way home.
Thank you everyone for making the day a very enjoyable walk through the beautiful bushland.

16-08-20 - Martins Lookout to Lost world.

Nine club members made their way to Martins Lookout in southern Springwood on a delightful mid winter morning. Trip to the meeting point was fairly uneventful however the final part of the drive was on a road in poor condition. Most cars would complete the journey with care. The car parking area was fairly full when we arrived at the meeting point. After a briefing and introduction the group made our way to the actual lookout which provides a stunning view over the area known as the blue labyrinth. Sharp-eyed group members were able to discern a small white wooden cross on the cliff line opposite which was our destination point. There is a small commemorative plaque at the lookout for Rev. Br. G.E. Raymer, a Christian Brother who lead groups of young men on walking trips in the area and whom lost his life in a drowning accident attempting to save a student in 1953. We admired the stunning view and contemplated this act of bravery. Soon we descended about 200 metres into the valley of Glenbrook Creek. The creek crossing proved a little daunting but all members made it over in good spirits. Our hardy group of intrepid explorers settled on the creek bank as an ideal spot for morning tea.
Suitably refreshed we walked a short distance downstream. We identified the track which leads up the ridge out of the valley. Most of the climb out of the valley was fairly straightforward although one small rock scramble was required. The climb was aided by several strategic switchbacks. On the climb Michael spotted a delightful small bird called a Pardalote which he pointed out to the members of the group. Throughout the day several lyrebirds were heard but none seen. After climbing for a bit over half an hour we reached the summit at Bunyan Lookout which provided a great view back over the valley and the route we had traversed. Wen chose to have a short break at the lookout point before the final stretch through some open forest to Lost World Lookout. The stunning view from the Lost World lookout made all of that effort worthwhile! This was an especially clear day with a light breeze making it possible to identify landmarks in the city. Wonderful view of the valley below as well. There is also a commemorative cross at the lookout in honour of Rev. Raymer. The Lost World made an ideal lunch spot and we spent plenty of time admiring this special place.
After lunch we re-traced our route back to the cars. Return journey was unremarkable but certainly the fatigue set in towards the end of the final climb out of the valley. The last walkers returned to the cars about 3 30pm. Leader wishes to thank those who participated in this delightful walk and contributed to a wonderful day. Some other features along the route including Psalm Rock and Shark Head Cave would merit exploration on a future walk if time permits.

16-08-20 - McMahons Point to Wollstonecraft.

On a warm winters morning our group of 12 headed into the city, alighting at Circular Quay for a nice ferry ride under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to McMahons Point.
Starting off we followed Henry Lawson Ave to Blues Point Reserve, walking waterfront in blustery conditions while circling beneath the ugliest building in Australia. At the end a stairway led us up to Blues Point Rd & after a short incline we turned left into West Crescent St. Skirting Sawmillers Res, we had a zig zag climb to Munro St, we stopped to catch our breath & have a drink. Crossing over the old train line it was now downhill to Waverton Park. A couple of dogs were happily playing in the chilly waters of Berry Bay, luckily this part has a small sandy beach for them to leave their little paw prints! More stairs led us up to Waverton Peninsula Res, we stayed on the bottom level, as there were plenty more to come & the view isn't so different from the topside lookout. Around further, we passed by the old Quarantine Depot before beginning one of the numerous tracks of Balls Head Res. We stopped at the lookout for happy snaps before a fellow walker took a group photo with a brilliant blue skied Sydney as our backdrop. Around further on the western side the track descends which leads to the old coal loader. One tunnel remains open as a shortcut to the cafe above. This area has a sustainable community garden & chickens, whose eggs & home grown ingredients are used in their recipes. Time should be taken to investigate the different levels to understand the amazing restoration & transformation that has occurred here. One of the local bush turkeys came & joined us for lunch, enjoying delights such as biscuits & mandarin segments.
Lunch over, we wandered up Balls Head Rd to the giant stairway next to HMAS Waterhen. Definitely hard on the knees this one is! On Wollstonecraft Bay the large units sit overlooking their 'runabouts' moored in the marina. More stone steps soon led us up to Badangi Res, but these ones were wet & muddy. We took the headland walk for the water views before heading inland towards the prettiest part of this reserve, at this point I informed our group that we would be skipping Berry Island & continued on. Crossing Shirley Rd we then started the Gore Cove section. This part includes a real 'in the middle of nowhere' bush track complete with climbs up & down, uneven skinny paths, rocks sticking up everywhere, bridges over creeks & changing vegetation. Finally reaching the bottom our creek crossing was dry, no wet shoes today!! Heading upwards we were now in Smoothey Park. This tropical part of our day has many beautiful features from small waterfalls to gigantic tree ferns. With the sun now shining through the trees above some great photo opportunities were immediately seized upon, diverting attention off our climb out. Suddenly we were at the end with Wollstonecraft station an easy stroll away. A short wait soon had us heading back home, ending our day by going over Sydney Harbour Bridge. Everyone seemed to enjoy their day out, seeing another part of Sydney for the first time. This is an easy get to & home from, do anytime walk that can be lengthened if desired. Thanks for coming guys.

02-08-20 - Brokers Nose (Harry's) Walk.

After setting off from the Catholic Club on a sunny but chilly morning our convoy of cars headed down to the Mount Ously truck stop where we commenced our walk, making our way through the bush, stopping occasionally for walkers to admire the scenery and take photos. Reaching the top lookout the view out to sea and down along the coast was spectacular. I challenged their adventure skills a couple of times when my navigational ones went haywire, but I did get everyone out in one piece, with only one skinned elbow. The biggest challenge was finding a parking spot in Nth Wollongong for our fish and chips, those of us who did thoroughly enjoyed their lunch.
Thank you to everyone for making it a great day, and Luis for doing the pre-walk with me, luckily the track was a lot dryer on Sunday than the pre-walk.

29-07-20 - Stokes Ck Exploratory, Dharawal NP.

Inspired by a video of a remote waterfall in Dharawal NP Andy conspired with Michael (the club's resident Dharawal NP expert) to see if we could find it. We decided to try a mid-week walk and see how many members would be interested. We managed to get 11 takers but with some dropouts we ended up with 8 walkers. Good result.
We parked at the western end of the Seven Creeks Way(SCW) and set off. The recent rains had made all the creeks in the area overflowing and our first creek crossing was no exception. Coupled with how overgrown the track was it was an energy sapping struggle. I have never seen so much water flowing down Four Mile creek. The second crossing wasn't so bad but the track was terribly overgrown. Our first 1.5km took 1 hour to complete. We had a tea break at the intersection of SCW and the 10g trail.
From here we turned on to the 10g trail and made very good time to our exit point. We turned off 10g onto an old powerline service trail and headed towards Stokes Ck. The trail was overgrown but not to bad. We made good time and arrived at some power poles that mark the end of the track. The waterfall was still hundreds of metres away but we could already hear it. Some minor cliff lines needed to be negotiated through before we reached a side creek that we also needed to cross. Only problem was the side creek was flooding and most got wet feet getting across it. More thick riparian vegetation made for slow progess over the last 200m but finally a raging waterfall came into view. The amount of water coming over the falls was a surprise and made the effort to get there worth it. It was time for lunch.
After a relaxing lunch we started back to the cars. Our leader managed to find an easier exit from the creek valley than our way in. We found our way back to the powerline access track and headed for the 10g trail. Instead of heading back along the SCW we decided to walk all the way along 10g and use a disused section on Appin Rd to head over to the road where our cars were parked. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and the leaders were very happy to have found the waterfall.

19-07-20 - Florabella Pass.

17 Devils members met at Glenbrook before making the short journey to Blaxland station. There was a bit of a wait at Blaxland due to trackwork delays but we made the short trip to Warrimoo to start our adventure. This was the perfect day for walking! Clear, good temperature and some rain during the week had freshened the bush nicely. The walk proper commenced at the southern end of one of the back streets of Warrimoo. Initially the going was quite steep with several hundred steep steps. At one point our group split because our silly leader had walked too far ahead and did not notice a faint side track which beckoned some members of the group. Once reunited we soon reached the bottom of the valley which was pleasant and shaded. We crossed a dry creek and then over a ridge to continue further down the valley. Walking was pleasant and the route was quite clear. At one point we passed an interesting overhang with a hole in the roof. There was also plenty of evidence of lyrebird activity with fresh scratchings as well as bird call mimicry. Lyrebirds were heard but none seen. After about an hour we stopped for morning tea. Some members of the group descended a side track to a shaded overhang next to a small creek. Other members chose to chill out on the main track and catch their breath a little.
We regrouped and continued along a section of drier forest which had some lovely flannel flowers. We ignored a couple of side tracks opting to exit from the valley via Pippas pass. This route passes along a pleasant shaded valley. Towards the top of the valley we stopped for a well-earned lunch break. During our lunch break we encountered some former club members and reminisced a little. They expressed interest in walking with our club again. We wished them well and continued the remaining 10 minutes or so to the exit at the back of Blaxland library. This completed a great day of walking and companionship. The leader wishes to express thanks to all of those who contributed to this memorable day.

12-07-20 - Troys Creek Lookout.

8 members met at the Catholic Club for the drive to Wattle Ridge where we met two more members. Storms were predicted for late in the day so our walk was tweaked to reduce the amount of time we would be out. This would prove to have been a good decision.
We set off along Nattai Rd (11E fire trail) and began the climb up to the Starlights turnoff. We did stop briefly to investigate some car parts laying in the bush just off the trail. They looked quite old and have probably been there for a long time. One advantage of bushfires is that they clear out the undergrowth revealing stuff you normally can't see. Our original plan was to take the Starlights turnoff and make a side trip up to Point Hill for morning tea. Instead we dropped this section and continued along Nattai Rd. After about an hour of walking we stopped for a break by the trail.
Break over we continued on. It wasn't long till our leader noticed something weird just off the trail. We walked over to get a closer look and to our amazement discovered what appears to be a root cellar. Lots of photos and speculation about what it was doing here, who built it, when was it many questions with no answers. We didn't have time to waste so we decided to have a better look on our way out. Continuing on we arrived at the turnoff down into Martins Ck. The recent bushfires had made the turnoff unrecognisable. Our leader had to confer with Michael B as to whether we were at the right spot. Not too further on and we reached the exit point for the Troys Ck lookout. The bushfires had made this off-track part of the trip a lot easier than the last time we were here. To our surprise we made it to the lookout by 11:30 which was well ahead of the schedule our leader had envisioned. Early lunch. The lookout presents a sweeping vista from Ahearns Lookout along the Nattai River valley to the Wanganderry Creek valley.
Lunch was a well enjoyed rest break. Kate looked up the current weather forecast on her phone (yes, even out here there is phone reception) and alerted us to a band of thunderstorms moving towards us from the north-east. It was time to move.
With storms heading our way we put the foot down and made quick pace back to the cars. Our plan to stop and investigate the root cellar was abandoned as the sound of thunder was getting closer. Luckily we got back to the cars just as the thunder clouds caught up with us. So glad we reduced the length of the walk as being out in thunder storms is not a good idea. Only down side of the trip home was the crazy amount of traffic on the freeway.

28-06-20 - Wattamolla Triangle - RNP.

11 walkers left the catho for the trip to Wattamolla Beach where we met one more devil. After a loo break we set off along the Coast Track to Eagle Rock. We crested Providential Point to be met with great views and a cold southerly wind. Luckily the track heads down to Curracurrang Creek giving a respite from the wind before heading back up and along the coastal cliffs. The strong wind was creating white capped waves and we initially didn't recognise the whale spouts just off the coast. Once confirmed everyone was excited to spot several groups of whales making their way north for the winter. A couple of Sea Eagles flew overhead. The track descends to Curracurrong Creek and the always impressive Eagle Rock. We stopped for photos and also to get out the binoculars and have a closer look at the whales. The wind was still strong and cold so we set off inland to find a sheltered spot for morning tea. Not much shelter on offer but we did find a spot to stop where it was not too windy.
Break over it was time to head off-track and see if we could find the Wattamolla Triangle. Bush fires from over 2 years ago had left most of the bush burnt to death but still standing. Pushing through burnt scrub is not fun and our clothes ended up covered in charcoal. The triangle was a WW2 anti tank training range that is now just a scar visible on satellite photos. We made good progress and to our leaders surprise we managed to find one corner of the Wattamolla Triangle. We set about exploring the pit and one of the trenches that heads away from it. One trench was quite deep and the other shallow. Targets were dragged along rails in the shallow trench and were fired at from the deeper trench. Amazing that so much of the earthworks are still easily visible. Very happy with our find and not keen to get covered in even more charcoal we decided to head back to the Coast Track. Along the Coast Track for a bit till we found a rock shelf with some coastal and inland views for our lunch.
During lunch we were treated to the sight of a Sea Eagle flying over us with a fish in its talons. Rested and refreshed we headed back to the cars and home.

17-06-20 - Sutherland to Padstow.

With an expected overnight downpour on Saturday, I decided we should leave later than usual (the Devils cheered as one) so hopefully, the creek crossings would be down to a trickle. Scheduled trackwork on T4 meant it was easier to change trains at Revesby for a Padstow one & then get an M92 Parramatta to Sutherland bus. Our wait at Revesby was perfect for our introductory circle before boarding. Minutes later we were singing happy birthday to Norris after I handed him a small present & card, I hope everyone got to sign it. Our bus took us most of the route we were about to walk in less than 30 minutes. Off the bus we wandered along Adelong St towards Woronora Cemetery, once inside the gates we turned left past the War Memorial, which has a number of Wollemi Pines complementing the area. Leaving via a side gate, we soon finished our easy warm up section at the end of First Ave, but this was the beginning of our bush walk. For some reason a few Devils were surprised to see rock steps leading steeply downward. This walk was graded C3 with a description of 'a very steep & rocky descent'. Ok, it probably should've been a D. At the bottom of the steps the land mostly flattens out with undulating paths, short climbs & jungle like long grasses. Occasionally the wind would blow & raindrops from the tree leaves above would fall lightly on our heads. Veering left at one point the area didn't look familiar, so we backtracked until I found the right way. By now some Devils had decided we should follow a local who was taking a different path to ours. A bit of faith guys! Continuing on, many parts of our tracks had turned into lakes, streams or swamps. At one point we stopped & took a detour left, which was also impassable, we went back to the original track & tried the right hand side with success. Further along we took the scenic route to see the only Mountain Devil in bloom. Unfortunately Tony took a tumble & hurt his leg. Heading back to the 3 way intersection, we were soon taking in the views at the Lookout. In the distance we could see the old & new bridges, below us was Prince Edward Park & also the river & valleys. Moving on we encountered more shoe cleaning pools with Jochen just going straight through the middle, not long after, we reached a cement footpath for our very steep descent. We stopped to enjoy small waterfalls cascading down sandstone boulders along the way. Down, down & down some more, until we found Prince Edward Rd. A decent sized stairway led us to the park, our morning tea spot. Sue ran off for a coffee followed by Luis.
After a very long break we crossed the footbridge over the river. Asking a fisherman if he'd caught anything I was bemused to hear he was fishing for metal! Passing the primary school & onto Prices Circuit squeals of delight were soon heard behind me when the group saw a tiny house. Cameras clicked away. Down the road we headed towards the waterfront & stopped to chat to fellow walkers, The Yarrawood Bushwalking Club, who ironically had been doing a part of something I was planning to do in the future. Moving on we came to the old bridge on Menai Rd, memories for all here. Up the hill was a difficult multi way road to be carefully navigated across, before reaching the giant stairway. This bit was go at your own pace, meet up the top, catch your breath & wait, as I became the tail. Ready, we wandered along the River Rd footpath, which allows pedestrians to walk underneath the new bridge, away from the traffic. Halfway over in the middle of the river, is a lookout/photography spot. This wide path also has wire mesh beside it to allow for a great view directly below your feet. Our hearts stopped as Jackie took photos, fingers crossed tightly hoping she wouldn't drop her phone. On the other side we climbed steadily upwards on Menai Rd with Sue trying to find a hose to fill her water bottle, eventually stealing some from The Salvos tap. Once up top where River Rd & Menai Rd meet is a mostly flat 2km walk to Parc Menai, our lunch spot near the local shops. Some had a short cheating bus ride & commandeered 2 large picnic tables for lunch. Being the last one to sit down I was soon nagged to get going again, as some had cooled down.
Most Devils wanted to go home, so at the bus stop we split into 2 groups, stay or leave & our short cheating bus ride turned into goodbye for 8 walkers. Tony's leg was still hurting so he had a good excuse. The fabulous five waved as we alighted a few km down the road near Menai High School, walking along Old Menai & Alfords Point Roads before enjoying our last bridge crossing of the day. Eventually we reached Henry Lawson Dr with Lyn trying to knock some sense into herself with a street sign, oops I wasn't going to write that, sorry, my delete button doesn't work! The start of the Salt Pan Creek walkway was fenced off & padlocked as it was still being reconstructed. Lyn has decided to do this walk at a later date. Heading back a bit we crossed the road, walked down the stairs & followed local roads to Alma Rd & up to Davies Rd. Checking what time the bus was due,10 mins, we kept going, zig zagging our way to Padstow station. Luck was on our side with a short wait for a train to Revesby. The transport website said we'd be waiting 15 minutes at Revesby for a Macarthur service. Halfway to Revesby, a Macarthur train came sailing past us, it must've been running late. Begging our train to catch up was repeated throughout the train I'm sure, as we came to a stop on platform 3, many, many hopefuls all ran in the same direction, across to Platform 4. Success!! A comfy seat, a warm train & smiles all round as we waited to depart. In the end my fitbit said over 20km.

07-06-20 - Lake Alexandra Reserve to Forty Foot Falls (Mittagong).

9 Devils members and a visitor assembled at the Catholic Club before the short trip to Mittagong on a pleasant early winter day. Mt Alexandra Reserve is a pleasant picnic spot on the town which is a local favourite on most weekends. This walk had been arranged at short notice due to COVID social distance restrictions. After an introductory chat we headed off along the southern shore of the lake into the forest. Walking conditions were near perfect. It was just fantastic to just be walking with the group again after a long pandemic break. We certainly had a spring in our step! We started on a fire trail and later took a diversion onto a well maintained track. Walked along a lovely valley with pretty tree ferns and many birds cheered us along. After about 45 minutes we descended to cross a creek and pretty much everyone managed to cross with dry feet. Next part of our journey was to traverse a scenic part of the Nattai River valley. Water looked inviting but is unsuitable for drinking. A short walk up a side valley led us to our destination, Forty Foot Falls. This was a really pretty spot which certainly did not disappoint. We lingered here for a leisurely morning tea and took plenty of time to take in the scenery. We completed our day with a return to Mittagong. Return trip was fairly uneventful despite a couple of brief navigation challenge moments for our leader. Leader wishes to thank those who made this a memorable and enjoyable day.

07-06-20 - Matilda Tank, Dharawal NP.

After such a long break everyone was keen to get out walking again. 10 Devils met at the fire trail gate on Lysaghts Rd. We headed down the 10T West fire trail to Stokes Ck. A short trail runs down to the crossing point on Stokes Ck. It was clogged with debris and made for a bit of fun getting to the creek. Everyone got across the creek without any problems. As we crossed the creek one of our group spotted some string running from the bank into the water. We also noticed a Yabby trap stuck in a nearby tree. Appears that someone has been putting out illegal Yabby traps in this area. The existence of these traps has been reported to NPWS. The old trail that heads away from Stokes Ck doesn't get much use and has become very overgrown. The scrub did slow us down a bit but we made it to morning tea in good time. Our tea break was at nice spot with good views over a large pool on Stokes Ck.
As the scrub was a bit on the thick side an executive decision was made by our leader to backtrack and head to the 10B fire trail by the shortest route possible. Doing this allowed us to make up a bit of time. Turning onto the 10D trail we headed down to OHares Ck. The 10D trail crosses Cobbong Ck before starting a long climb up out of the valley. As we neared the tank exit point our leader got the walkers to regroup as he went for a scout down the hill. Luckily we were in the right spot and the tank was easily spotted. The rest of the group followed the leader as we weaved our way down the hill to the tank. Everyone was impressed and surprised to see something like this just sitting in the bush. There is also a very old abandoned truck nearby and Phil found the hand crank starter and pretended to try cranking the motor. Many photos were taken and much discussion was had. It was lunchtime and the group decided to head down to the river gauge on OHares Ck for lunch.
A large rock slab provides plenty of room to spread out and relax next to OHares Ck. After a relaxing lunch the weather turned on us so we set off for the return trip to the cars. No problems getting back to the cars and everyone seems to have enjoyed the day.

29-03-20 - Engadine to Heathcote, Royal National Park.

A small but determined group of 4 members and a visitor assembled at Heathcote station on a rather drizzly Sunday morning. Previous night had rained quite heavily but the forecast for our walk was positive. We started the day with a short train trip to Engadine knowing that we would finish the day back at our cars. After a briefing we headed off towards Audley. Walking conditions were really pleasant but there was plenty of surface water on the track from the overnight rain. On our way we crossed several short creeks and fire trails perpendicular to our path. There was a really impressive stand of Gymea lilies which must be an amazing sight in spring time. We started to descend and enjoyed a fantastic morning tea at a stunning spot at the junction of Engadine Creek and Kangaroo Creek. Leader had heard of this lovely spot and it did not disappoint. There was a short sharp rain shower during the morning tea break. Other folks had also chosen to picnic at this idyllic spot which is accessible from Audley by boat. Suitably refreshed, we walked up some steep steps up to Robertson's Knoll and joined the track along the ridge top to Uloola Falls. Most of the route was quite level and easy walking. On this particular day the walk was pleasant but memorable because of the large amount of water on the track and a seemingly endless supply of bull ants. An hour or so later we arrived at our lunch spot Uloola Falls and were rewarded with a well earned rest. After a few damp days the falls were flowing profusely. Our day was completed with return walk to Heathcote via Karloo Pool. Karloo Pool was full of visitors and one wonders if this idyllic spot is currently being loved to death. At the end of the day we had walked 18km on our circuit but had had a wonderful experience of this area of this picturesque part of the Royal National Park.

29-03-20 - Wolli Creek to Brighton Le Sands.

Our group of 4 met in the last carriage, practising social distancing all day, of course. It wasn't hard as we had the carriage to ourselves. Heading to the walk starting point of Wolli Creek, we had to backtrack from Sydenham, which was just really, going via 'the scenic route'. At Wolli Creek we crossed the Princes Highway to Cahill Park, wandering along the Cooks River, then we turned right, towards Marsh St & the Bay to Bay Cycleway. This was the noisiest part of the day. Our path then followed the Marsh St & M5 East underpasses bringing us out at Eve St. It's hill was our hardest part but wasn't too bad. On the other side we stopped for a breather at Banksia Field, quickly taking off as we became breakfast for the local mozzies of the neighbouring wetlands. This flat path continues through Riverine & Barton Parks with Muddy Creek separating us & Kyeemagh Reserve. We reached the unusually quiet Kyeemagh boat ramp, which had breathable air & not the pure jet fuel normally assaulting your airways, from the airport across the Cooks River. Nobody needed a break, but we did notice a lot of Qantas planes lined up. It was eerily silent, I'm sure the locals were now able to sleep soundly! Next we walked under General Holmes Drive for our final stretch along Botany Bay. Our finishing point was a cafe not far past Bay St. We sat overlooking Robinsons Beach which stretches for miles, while enjoying our goodies. We did see a few planes coming & going while there. Roz & Tony decided to head home, while Norris was happy to accompany me on a recon walk at Sutherland, so our day went from 6.5km to at least 15km. Thanks for coming along guys, see you next time.

22-03-20 - Ahearn Lookout, Nattai NP.

14 devils assembled for the drive to Wattle Ridge. The extent of the bushfires became very evident as we drove out of Hill Top along Wattle Ridge Road. To our surprise the NP car park was full and we had to park on the road, never had this problem before.
We set off along Nattai Rd and took the Starlights turn off. The wooden Starlights Trail sign got badly burnt but you can still read it. We turned onto the Rocky Waterholes Ck track and then had to find the Ahearn turn off. The bushfires had obliterated the turn off but luckily someone had put a small cairn to indicate where it was. We stopped on the top of Point Hill for our moning tea break. We were able to observe that even though the fires had been extensive they had not been total and many patches of green still existed.
The burnt out areas made following the trail a little challenging in places but our leader only lost it for short sections. The day was warming up and the lack of tree canopy made it warmer than it should have been. We still made a good pace considering and arrived at the lookout just before Ahearns. This lookout gives a great view down the river valley to the Wanganderry Tableland. Some walkers agitated for this to be our lunch break but Ahearn Lookout wasn't much further on so we kept going. Lunch was at a spot just to the south of Ahearn Lookout proper and everyone agreed the views were great. A strong breeze brought some relief from the heat (Lyn decided to cool her feet in a large rock pool). Most made the short hop to Ahearn Lookout proper where Michael gave a short speech about Leon Ahearn.
Rested and relaxed we set off for the return trip. It was warm and we stopped for a few breaks along the way. At our last stop, back on Point Hill, we were treated to the sight of a large Wedge Tail Eagle riding the thermals, a magnificent sight. Hot and tired we arrived back at the cars. On our way out a male Lyrebird jumped out of the bushes in front of the car and then proceeded to disappear just as quick. It was another great walk in the Nattai and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

08-03-20 - Illawarra Coastal Walk.

As we awoke there was the ominous sound of raindrops on the roof. The forecast however stated that only 1mm of rain was anticipated for the day. Fifteen members and 2 visitors kept the faith and assembled at the Catholic Club carpark. Many were still recovering from the after effects of a party at Carmel and Steve's place on the preceeding Friday. Others had attended an Elton John concert the night before. The bravery of those who attended was much appreciated by the leader.
After the sign on, we drove to our start point at Thirroul railway station. The first 20 minutes or so was spent strolling through the back streets of Thirroul admiring the architecture of the numerous rebuilt homes. We passed a small park where the author D. H. Lawrence (Sons and Lovers) spent many hours writing and a small plaque commemerates this history of the park. We finally arrived at the commencement of the Grand Pacific Trail and set course for Wollongong. By this stage, the weather had completely cleared. Since this was a shared walking and cycling trail we were on the lookout for bikes travelling in both directions. You can also throw in numerous skateboards, scooters, dogs and even a people mover. None of these fellow travellers however detracted from a highly enjoyable walk on a delightful day. The walk is quite flat but really scenic. There were countless panoramic views along the way. The cafe at Bulli was simply too tempting and we decided to stop for morning tea. Feeling rejuvenated we continued towards Wollongong. Some of our group decided on an early exit and diverted to Corrimal station for the trip home.
The remaining participants continued their journey. After about another half hour we had a short rest in a covered picnic enclosure. Still seemed a long way to walk but our various pieces of tech were informing us that we had walked about 10km. As we resumed, we rounded a bend and sure enough we saw the skyline of downtown Wollongong. Parachuters were dropping from the sky ahead which confirmed our proximity to the end point. The final section to North Wollongong did seem to drag a bit and the day was starting to warm up. Just as we were starting to tire somewhat we arrived at Stuart Park. We found a cool shelter and endulged in lunch. All that remained was to walk a few hundred meters to the bus stop and board the free bus to the railway station. Return to Thirroul station and a drive home completed a wonderful day. The leader would like to thank those who attended and contributed to a fantastic day.

01-02-20 - Cockatoo Island Glamping.

The idea of an overnight stay on Cockatoo Island originated on my Ferry Fun Day, while exploring the camping area Chris Manners & I decided we would definitely do it.
Just over a year later, 25 of us put our hands for the experience. Arriving, we soon found our accommodation, a 2 bedroom waterfront tent with a connecting living room. Our glamping package included 4 cot beds, linen, towels, pillows, sun lounges, a table, 2 bench seats & an esky. With unlimited mozzies thrown in for free!! Being on an island in the middle of Sydney Harbour certainly didn't help in the oppressive heat. So our first thought was to open our tents doors & window flaps to the max. This was the easiest activity I've ever led, except for the "sign on sheet game" which was more like hide & seek. At least all received a prize of glowsticks to wear after dark in case of an emergency, so other Devils could be easily spotted. Once settled in some headed for wine o'clock, others checked the amenities or chose a snack at a café. With the Dog Leg Tunnel cinema closed, our cool underground refuge (while watching short historical movies) was not an option, unfortunately. A cooling breeze finally did allow us to breath easier & later perfect kite flying winds had fresh air blowing into our tents. It was now a good time to take a long walk to all corners of Cockatoo Island. About 7.45pm, 6 of us headed up to the Convict Precinct for the 8pm movie 'Hitch'. One old building is used for the nightly movies, complete with massive lounging bean bags. Devils Fiona & John had also camped on Friday night & had the cinema all to themselves. Later on, a few late night walks around in the cool were taken for photo opportunities or leg stretching. While my midnight shower hit the spot & was very refreshing. A lot of campers throughout the grounds decided a night on their sun lounges was preferable to inside a tent. By the morning, smoke had settled over the city from 2 fires & the sunrise photos weren't the best. Some Devils left for home on the first ferry. Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves as it was do your own thing outing. While it was a typical Australian summers day, 40 degrees in the shade, one week later we would've been drowned rats. Thanks to all for coming along, Kerri.

19-01-20 - Forest Path to Palona Cave.

19 Devils met at the car park of Lady Carrington Drv and Sir Bertram Stephens Drv south end.
We set off for Forest path which is next to Lady Carrington Drv and the Hacking river. The weather was on our side as it did not rain during the walk although Forest Path itself was wet from previous days rain which brought out the many leeches that we encountered, it was an experience to see all the walkers constantly checking their boots, trousers and the odd scream when one was found feasting on you.
We paused at the Bola Picnic area for morning tea and then we continued to Palona Cave, the walk continues up a long hill, through dense forest, the trail is next to Palona Brook, I stopped well before Palona Cave believing some overhangs/cave were Palona Cave, but thanks to Michael and Phil I was corrected and we continued to the real cave at the end of the trail. It was a massive cave with a beautiful waterfall next to it, the Devils rested and we had lunch in this pretty spot before returning to the car park. The leader wishes to thank all those who attended and made it so easy for me being my first walk as a leader and I am looking forward to my next adventure with you.

12-01-20 - Rockdale Wetlands.

12 Devils arrived at Ramsgate shops for our walk on a very grey day. A few walkers went in search for their caffeine fix first. While waiting we received some free pastries to try from a staff member of a newly opened café. Oh yes, we did share the selection of those wonderfully fresh lumps of Sunday morning yumminess. We also informed her their chalkboard sign was wrong, with one side pointing to the houses across Ramsgate Rd. A wet rag & a piece of chalk soon rectified the problem for good.
Heading to the traffic lights, of course, we crossed the road & Rotary Park was before us. Through Tonbridge St Reserve we followed a quiet bush track next to a bone dry pond, such a sad sight. Further along our chatter disturbed a foursome, waiting until we passed by before continuing their doubles tennis match. Crossing a small bridge to the western side of Scarborough Park, we wandered at our own paces besides the now massive trees on the riverbank, that I remember sitting under in the 70's. Just before Barton St near the ancient (closed) amenities block, the St George Model Boat Club (established in 1986) were preparing for their weekly sail. Devils happily snapped photos of the diverse range of these 3-4 ft long scale model radio controlled hobby boats. Unfortunately we left before the fleet entered the water to do laps around the permanently positioned lighthouse. Across Barton St we shifted to the eastern side & followed another pretty, but short bush track. Emerging onto A.S Tanner Reserve on Chuter Ave, the St George Archers (formed in 1950) were also enjoying their weekly outing, with their newly constructed clubhouse finally finished. Stopping to chat & broadening our expertise on the subject, these lovely gentlemen were more than happy to answer any questions we asked. Continuing on we took to the footpath, so we couldn't be used for target practise & when finally past their roped off area, headed back into the park to find our next short waterside track which is mostly in the open & in spring is awash with many different colours.
Now for the fun part, crossing busy President Ave at Kogarah. Making sure everyone was ready to go, we managed to stroll across the 4 lanes, due to a big break in the traffic (I worried for nothing). Under an increasingly darkening sky, we also stayed on the eastern side of the water for our final leg, avoiding the big boring parks, for another peaceful track. This tree covered track could be in the middle of nowhere instead of suburban Sydney. All to soon we emerged back into a noisy reality with rain now sprinkling on us as we walked to Bay St & getting harder with each step.( I didn't remember the trail being that quick, but I had finished 10km before starting my recon walk). As it was an hour until lunch service at Brighton Le Sands RSL, the group was given a choice, go home (bus stop to Rockdale station is outside the RSL) or continue to Wolli Creek. Since it was only 10.30am we had morning tea break & then all regrouped before our extra exercise.
A flat beachfront footpath was an easy wander towards Mascot Airport, actually seeing the planes through thick clouds was like playing I Spy!! At Bestic St where Cook Park opens up we came face to face with a hippopotamus. My research afterwards has found "Come out, come out Hippo wherever you are" a large brass statue of a hippo emerging from a drain, won the peoples choice award in the Sculptures category of the 2019 Bayside Arts Festival & is now on permanent display in it's current position. Hippo was almost as tall as us, very cute & so real looking,a great photo op. This local Arts Festival is held yearly in April. Time to move on, reaching the Cooks River we followed it under General Holmes Drive to Kyeemagh Reserve & the last chance toilets. The dismal weather had fishermen out in droves & the jet skiers hiding at home under a blanket. The path from here is now the Bay to Bay Cycleway & borders Muddy Creek. A little further along on our left, are the old Market Gardens -a surprise for some- but were there when my dad was little. Continuing on past Barton Park, Riverine Park, the Golf Range, Banksia Field & Wetlands. Our next underpass took us to the northern side of the M5, walking beside it for a distance before another underpass bought us out on Marsh St. About 500 metres later, a left turn had us wandering through Cahill Park next to the Cooks River. The Princes Highway was our last main hurdle before reaching Wolli Creek Station. The sight of a few dingy shops had a some Devils reaching for their wallets but being such a fantastic caring leader, I had to put my foot down & say no.
Across from the station are a myriad of restaurants, eateries, cafes & various assorted stores to choose from. Perfect. The hunt soon began for personal favourites. Tony headed off home, that was easy to count. The Asian Bakery was a bit sparse of goodies but some found their treats, including a well deserved hot chocolate. Next was a search to find who was staying to eat in & who was leaving. The small Kebab Shop was full of Devils happily seated waiting for their orders. Maureen & Madeline chose the Japanese Restaurant & the remaining 3 left for home. It was a nice day out with beautiful whisper quiet tracks & the occasional unexpected sight. Our 4km short amble turned into an 11km walk of which more than half was in wet conditions of various hardness. Lunch at the RSL, next time definitely. A big thank you to Jackie for taking turns at the lead while I wagged the tail. Thanks for coming everyone.

05-01-20 - Goat Island Heritage Tour.

The Mountain Devils kicked off the new decade in style with an escorted historic tour of Goat Island. 25 members and 2 visitors met our NPWS guide Greg at Circular Quay before taking a short ferry ride under the Harbour Bridge to Goat Island. Greg discussed the colourful history and significance of Goat Island to the local indigenous people including Bennelong and its history since white settlement. After European settlement the Island has hosted convicts, been a sandstone quarry, been a strategic storage for gunpowder and armaments. Goat Island has also been location for Water Police both real and fictional, Harbour Masters Residence and an important centre for administration for Maritime Services. Also the Island has been important in the construction and maintenance of vessels. Our tour lasted about 3 hours and all agreed that the island was both scenic and historically significant. View of the harbour from the island were simply stunning. A minor negative was that the upkeep of the historic structures on the island seemed sub standard. After we returned to Circular Quay the remaining group members enjoyed a relaxed lunch at the Paragon Hotel.

01-12-19 - Keith Longhurst Reserve, Kentlyn.

14 devils met at the end of Georges River Road. We set off along the Old Ford Road trail. The road turns and runs down along the side of the Peter Meadows Creek valley to the Georges River. In between dodging fallen trees we made several stops to admire the restored road features. We reached the Georges River and our leader gave a short talk about the Etchells brothers who bootlegged alchohol from their farms on the Army side of the river. We crossed over to visit a rock engraving but it was covered over by a fallen tree so back over the river we went. Back up the hill to our next stop. We walked back up the road past the cars and started along the Basin Track before turning off. After a short walk along a fire trail we turned off again to head over to a nice lookout above the river. Morning tea time.
During our break Lorraine and Michael went for a quick side trip to look for Orchids but didn't find any. What they did find was a baby Powerful Owl. After a good break we walked back to the Basin Track. Easy going along the track and several spots to stop and enjoy the views before the steep descent to the river. Over 200 steps down to the river and we arrived at the Basin. Everyone who had not been to the Basin before was very surprised at how nice a spot it is. With no rush to the days activities everyone went for a wander around the area before finding some spots in the shade to have lunch.
After a lengthy lunch break we retraced our steps to the cars. Turned out to be good day for a walk and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

17-11-19 - Mystery Walk.

A somewhat apprehensive group of 20 Devils members arrived at the Catholic Club early on Sunday morning. No-one knew the destination of the walk for the day. Even the trip leader was unaware of the location of the walk for the day. During preceding days a bushfire emergency had been declared complicating the preparations for this activity. Several national parks had been closed and fire bans were in place. Once everyone had arrived a ballot was performed using the “Miss World” announcement system. Three envelopes were opened. First option eliminated was a walk at Collaroy to Long Reef on the Northern beaches. Next envelope revealed that a walk along the Illawarra coast from Thirroul was out of contention. Luis, our highly-regarded club treasurer announced that the successful walk would take place along the eastern rim trail at Fitzroy Falls. Group then jumped in the cars and commenced our journey to the Southern Highlands. Area around Mittagong was severely affected by bushfire smoke. Looked really ominous but fortunately smoke had essentially cleared by the time we arrived at the Fitzroy Falls visitor centre. The normally verdent highlands looked distinctly dry and uncharacteristically brown.
After a short briefing, our party set out on the Eastern Rim Trail behind the falls. The walking temperature was quite pleasant. Spring flowers were in abundance. The first lookout point was closed. We understand that there had been a recent fatality there. We continued on and soon entered a shaded cool fern-filled gully with abundant lyrebirds and whipbirds. Lyrebirds seemed fairly tame and provided that we remained quiet they were content to allow us watch their forraging. Over the next hour or so we walked along a gently undulating track which followed the edge of the escarpment. A particular highlight was a mauve coloured tea tree. Eventually we arrived at Lamond Lookout which provided a superb vista down the Yarrunga Valley. Our group decided to take our lunch break at this spot. We had a delightful lunch with carrot cake, fruit cake, Anzac biscuits, lollies and other treats. After lunch we retraced our steps to the vistor centre. Some of the group took a short side trip to view the main falls. The lack of flow in the main falls was quite stunning for several members who had been to the falls on other occasions. Barely a trickle of water over the falls! After a short rest at the visitors centre we returned home concluding a really enjoyable day. The leader wishes to thank all Devils who took part in this fun-filled day.

10-11-19 - Rocky Waterholes Creek Lookouts.

7 Devils and 1 visitor left the Catholic Club for the trip to Wattle Ridge where we met 2 more devils. We set off along Nattai Rd and passed a glorious Waratah flowering just off the fire trail. We arrived at the turn-off for the first lookout in good time. The footpad around the Wattle Ridge property is vague in parts but it is easy to navigate as all you have to do is stick to the fence line. Passing the spring that feeds Camelot Ck we found it to be bone dry, this is not surprising considering the current drought. A short comfort stop at the Chasm Lookout trail turnoff and we were away again. The trail to Chasm Lookout is an easy to follow fire trail and we made good pace with a couple of rest/catch up stops. Our leader decided to stop for morning tea at a rock shelf before the end of the trail as it gave a good view of the creek valley.
Break over and back along the Chasm Lookout Trail to where we turn off and head down to Camelot Ck. The trail along Camelot Ck is in good condition and was easy to follow even with a very large tree having falling over the track. We stopped for a re-group at the start of the exit from the creek. The exit has several steep sections so we took our time and got out without any problems. By now it was well after midday so the group made quick time to the Rocky Waterholes Ck Lookout as it was our lunck stop. This is a good lookout and affords a view of Flat Top Mountain, Mt Jellore, and the Nattai River valley. The rest was welcome and even though it was warm there was a good breeze to cool us down.
Lunch over we set off for the return leg to the cars. The return is straightforward and we made good time. Not everyone decided to do the short side trip to Point Hill so we kept the side trip to a minimum. It was worth it as you can point out several features around the area. Our only fall of the day came on the trip back to the cars. The fire trail is covered in loose rocks and one walker went over, nothing damaged but a bit of pride. The cars were a welcome site and everyone semed happy with the days walk. After cleaning up my gps track data the walk came out at 15km.

03-11-19 - Gullies and Creeks of Thornleigh.

Five Devils met on the train for the journey to Central where we met Kay and we nearly lost Lauren when given the wrong direction to the correct platform, then all aboard to Thornleigh arriving at 9.12am. It was an ideal day for walking as the temperatures were forecasted to be mild, although a thunderstorm was forecasted for later in the afternoon.
At Thornleigh Reserve our leader explained details of the walk, any hazards along the way, possible fauna and flora sightings. We setoff down through the residential streets following the Great North Walk Old Style Beige Post and Ball markers to the start of the Elouera Bushland Natural Park trail in Morgan cul-de-sac. Within 30 meters of entering the bushland our first challenge was to pass a large tree branch blocking the trail. Throughout the walk we would encounter more tree branches across the track. Yeep! it was a matter of go round, under or over anyway we could manage safely. A little further along the track Lauren was first to see an Eastern Water Dragon Lizard sunning itself on a large boulder in the creek. The lizard darted off quickly, we had no chance of a closer photo. We exited the track at the GNW Sign Post followed the concrete trail to the Zig-Zag Bridge. The area showed signs of burnt and blackened trees as well as bush regrowth. Many beautiful ferns were seen near the creek and a variety of wildflowers in the bush. Some small Robins, Fantails, Lorikeets and Rosellas were sighted. A Rosella and a Cockatoo feather were pickup and inserted into one walker’s hair. A kookaburra sitting quietly on a tree branch close to the track soon flew off into the safety of the bush. Gang Cockatoos were heard screaking and seen further out in the distant sky. Arriving at the dry concrete ford over the Zig-Zag Creek our leader was pleased we could crossover without having to forge any water which was the case on the Prewalk in October. After a steep climb on the concrete road to the intersection of the Cherrybrook exit we descend to cross over the Berowra Creek. The rocks were well exposed and the water level very low so it wasn’t particularly slippery getting across. We followed the track along Berowra Creek for a short way then crossed over two smaller side creeks in quick succession before a short steep climb half way up the cliff and stopped for morning tea. Hearing voices coming towards us four young women hikers stopped and chatted about their past and present experience of the track. Refreshed, we the climbed to the fenced off Elouera Lookout to take in the scenic views of the Berowra Creek Valley. We were joined by Chris and Craig Austin, both in their senior years and Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers and Coastal Walkers. Lorraine offered a Mountain Devil Flyer to Chris who complimented the club on a very nice well-designed flyer showing the Lamberita Formosa flower. Luis snapped a photo of the group whilst Greg standing and watching from a little further along the lookout was keen to get going. Arriving at the Quarter Sessions St Exit we stopped for a rest and water break and were shortly joined by a young couple who had started their walk from Sydney to Macquarie Park on Saturday and were now exiting the track heading up to Hornsby to catch the train back to Newcastle.
Starting out again we followed the track along the ridge to the Blue Gum Walk track and made our way down through an area of larger boulders and rocks to the Waitara Ck Fishpond Waterholes where we stopped for lunch and were entertained by many Eastern Water Dragon Lizards. A large GRAN Lizard ventured out of the bush to sun itself on a large platform. Leaving the Fishponds we noticed dark grey clouds coming closer, a signed that the forecasted rain was not far off. Our walking pace quickened as we started the challenging climb through the Angophoras and Water Gum tree to the Hornsby Rifle Range and Hornsby Station T-Intersection. From here we followed the track up and through Old Man's Valley that abounds with beautiful ferns, gum trees and huge boulders near the sandstone cliff overhangs. Arriving at the Historic Bushland Reserve we took a short break before the challenge of climbing the 343 Hornsby Historical steps built during the Depression to top of the ridge. After a short walk across the hillside trail we exited onto Quarry St at the GNW sign post opposite the Hornsby Mountain Bike Trail. From this point it was only a short walk up Dural Street towards Hornsby Station. We stopped at a shop to buy cold drinks and took a short rest. At Hornsby Station we said goodbye to Kay who was returning to stay overnight with the family at Artarmon and we caught the trains back home. Congratulations to an excellent team with the leadership batten shared by all. Job well done!

03-11-19 - Pyrmont Bay to Wentworth Park.

8 Devils took the Light Rail from Central to Pyrmont Bay station on a lovely Spring morning, crossing Pirrama Rd to Wharf 7 for our proper starting point. Shortly after we past the old James Craig, with children enjoying an early morning activity on board. Following the waterfront around to Wharf 10, Pyrmont Bay Park, Darling Island & Jones Bay Wharf, we found where the locals enjoy their moonlight cinema, studied a water recycling plant & took photos at the Jones Bay Wharf Sculpture Walk. A massive Dragon made from wire, with the Harbour Bridge in the background was a great shot. Continuing on by Pyrmont Pt & Pirrama Parks, the Three Pence Café was our morning tea stop. A seating area above had a view overlooking Elizabeth Macarthur Bay. Hot coffees were delivered swiftly, while my milkshake was totally forgotten. Even after asking about it, I still waited while others walked off with their coffees!!!
After our break we headed towards Anzac Bridge passing the now permanently open (for ships) Old Glebe Island Bridge. Walking up the spiral pathway at our own pace, we regrouped before beginning our bridge crossing. Luckily our morning wasn't destroyed by the usual dangerous kamikaze cyclists, who were riding elsewhere, replaced by polite & cheerful locals. On the other side I realised many trees had been chopped down, making it just another boring road. Our path took us on a footbridge over Victoria Rd. Further along the beautiful trees at Buruwan Park, that completely hid Rozelle Bay Light Rail station from view, had also been decimated. The park is now just a patch of dirt! I've since found out this area is being prepared for Westconnex. Reaching Bicentennial Park we wandered onto Jubilee Park for a shady spot closer to the amentities block & a cricket game to watch during our break.
After lunch we cut through the eastern side of Bicentennial Park to reach the footpath, which took us past Glebe Pt, Bellevue Villa, the Historic Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator & Sydney Uni Rowing Club around Blackwattle Bay. At Bridge Rd the promised cafe 20 seconds from our finishing point of Wentworth Park, had disappeared, but luckily the old pub (in original condition) was welcoming us in with open doors. Upon entering we outnumbered the locals inside, having a quiet coldie. We picked tables in a corner away from the bar so as not to disrupt the usual sunday crowd. A cooling breeze floated in through the nearby open door. Ice cold drinks were just what we needed & a beetroot red Roz eventually returning to a natural shade of pink. A drink or 2 later it was time to leave, but not before some happy snaps were taken. A wander through Wentworth Park alongside the light rail, which was constructed on a 1919 built railway viaduct, is now a shelter for some of the homeless. Back at Central we went in different directions, some headed for platform 23, others into the café, while Carmel & Steve decided a table was just right for a decent lunch setting. On our train home we had a SHORT down pour. Thanks for coming guys.

27-10-19 - Sculptures by the Sea.

Our small group got even smaller after some last minute withdrawals, 6 is so much easier to count up to. Today's ideas I had started with Sculptures by the Sea then Macquarie Lightstation. A Small Sculptures show at Double Bay and The Suitcase Rummage were on our list unless anyone had suggestions. After forgetting to change trains at Wolli Creek, Central was now our new off point. Reaching platform 24, a train was waiting for us and was packed with 7 Bridges walkers. At Bondi Junction Station we had plenty of time for a pitstop and a coffee from the cafe near bus stand E. Happily waiting with a few locals for the Bronte bus, we watched the queues at stands A and B grow with a constant stream of new arrivals joining in, for a squashy bus ride to either Bondi or Tamarama. At Bronte we passed by many people out early, already set up for a day at the beach. We climbed the stairs next to the SLSC northward to Bondi.
After a short stroll Tamarama Beach came into view with our first sighting of any Sculptures. A wander around the park quickly bought out our inner art expertise and furious finger pressing began. "Take photos now, check them later" became our motto for the day. Lino was the only brave soul to stand the sand and have a close look at the artworks on the beach. Tamarama SLSC had their BBQ ready but must've been warming up as no mouthwatering aromas could be detected. Along the Coastal Walkway sculptures great, small, interesting, unusual and what the! were studied, snapped and critiqued, with giggles and eye rolls thrown in for free!! At Marks Park a time to meet up was made and we wandered off in all directions. The Viewer over the cliff edge, to see the waves below was a crowd puller. I took pictures of Diane from all sides of The Bird/Car. A virtual reality piece inside an Old Dunny wasn't working, while a tech guy was trying to fix it (disappointing). Also your broken crockery can be glued together in different stacks and be called art, woo hoo!! The final leg to Bondi Beach has scattered works besides the footpath. At Campbell Pde we had a few minutes before we boarded a 380 Watsons Bay bound bus.
A cool, comfy but short rest as the bus made its way up Military Rd. Passing Dudley Page Reserve all heads turned left for an amazing vista of Sydney. Our next activity was Macquarie Lightstation. Finding out an open day was on and tickets were available onsite, I immediately made this a must do. After purchasing our tour tickets we wandered around the base, stopping out the back for munchies. Meeting our guide at the entrance, we were eventually led up the cast iron spiral staircase. Listening to some information concerning the light and local area before a small hatch like door was opened and one by one we climbed out onto the lookout circling the top. Walking around very high up was a bit scary for some but we all enjoyed the spectacular scenery in every direction and managed at least 1 lap before our 5 minutes were up. Carefully descending, we all reached the bottom unscathed. Tour over we crossed Military Rd just as another 380 was coming towards us and a few minutes later we were at Watsons Bay. With my unrealistic expectations of ordering lunch, eating it and then catching the next ferry Diane, Chris and Jeanette stayed to have a leisurely lunch. Jochen, Lino and I made the ferry, the boys were going to get a train at Circular Quay but decided to come along to the Suitcase Rummage at The Goods Line with me. Done it once, don't have to do it again! At least we walked off lunch ending our day at Central. The short wait for a train home was a bonus. Sculptures by the Sea this year comprised of mostly decent art and as usual the piece made with cable ties was very intriguing. While Macquarie Lightstation was one off the bucket list for me.

27-10-19 - Seven Bridges Walk.

Fifteen Devils members participated in the Seven Bridges Walk a fund-raiser for the Cancer Council. Event was conducted on a near perfect spring day with temperature of about 26 degrees. We travelled to one of the registration points and crossed the first bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Over the next few hours we would walk about 18km along a clockwise circuit and cross another 6 bridges. At one point in Rozelle we were able to post some messages on a board and the remember some loved ones whose lives had been impacted by cancer. After all the actual bridges had been crossed we opted not to complete the entire circuit but to take a well earned lunch break at Circular Quay. All involved thoroughly enjoyed the day and the happy community atmosphere. We were able to raise some much needed funds for this great cause.

20-10-19 - Erskine Creek, Glenbrook.

Six Devils left the Catho at 7:30am for the drive to the Pisgah Rock parking area in the Blue Mountains NP. The first challenge of the day was trying to get the parking ticket machines to work at the Glenbrook park entrance. A pleasant drive past many joggers and mtb riders had us parked and ready to go. The initial walk is very easy and you arrive at the impressive Pisgah Rock Lookout. Everyone was impressed with the view and got a good view of our destination at the bottom of the valley. We soon arrived at the first rock scramble and the challenges ahead came sharply into focus. The first scramble helped everyone get a handle on the procedure for passing packs down before scrambling down. The next scramble was probably the most challenging and it took us a few minutes to work out how to get down. We survived this and were immediately confronted with another interesting scramble with a ledge traverse and a second scramble. For those in the group who have never rock scrambled it was a challenging first experience. The trail continues to drop steeply to the creek valley below and we encountered several more scrambling sections, this made our decent very slow, but this was to be expected. After more than an hour we reached the bottom of the cliffs and started down a loose, rocky track to Monkey Ropes Ck. As we approached the creek the track turned to loose, slippery dirt. We reached Monkey Ropes Ck just after 10am, it had taken us 1.5 hours to get down the hill. A morning tea break was well earned.
The leader scouted out across the creek and found the track that goes down Monkey Ropes Ck to Lincoln Ck. Easy enough to follow but getting over one fallen tree gave us some amusement. We reached Lincoln Ck and had a chat to a couple who had camped over night by the creek. Shortly after Tony had an encounter with a Brown Snake sunning itself on the trail. He wasn't sure who got the bigger shock, himself or the snake. We passed the Lower Lincoln Ck camp site and arrived at Erskine Ck. We headed up a faint track on the true left bank of Erskine Ck for about 200mtrs. It was here that a likely crossing point was found. Thankfully we got everyone across without falling in (except Phil who decided the best way to cross the creek was by walking through it). Up the true right bank with a few tricky rock hops we arrived at a camp cave around midday. Our plan was to get to Dadder Cave. Unfortunately the instructions the leader had were not clear on a few points and we had actually stopped at a spot short of Dadder Cave. It was time for lunch and a well deserved rest was enjoyed by all.
After lunch we headed back down Erskine Ck and took some time to see if a better crossing point could be found. No such luck, so we crossed back over where we had earlier. Back to Lincoln Ck and up Monkey Ropes Ck to the start of the climb out. A short rest stop before the fun. We took our time and had numerous rest stops on the way up. It was somewhat easier climbing back up the scrambling sections. Tired bodies enjoyed a 10 rest minute stop at the Pisgah Rock lookout before we headed back to the cars.
I think everyone enjoyed the day and special congratulations to Kate who (in her own words) completed the "hardest bushwalk" she has ever done.

20-10-19 Cabarita to Rhodes

16 of us including 2 new members, Madeline and Maureen, joined the train at various stations and alighted at Circular Quay. With over 10 minutes to wait for the ferry, many members took the opportunity to quickly buy a coffee, which they enjoyed by the waterfront. From Cabarita Wharf, we made our way through the park and on the foreshore path around Kendall Bay and Breakfast Point with its intriguing planned residential housing. This is on the site of the old Mortlake Gasworks which provided gas to most of Sydney for nearly 100 years. Leaving that we soon entered Majors Bay by the mangroves, then through a gate into the formal parkland of the historic Yaralla House (1864). Sadly the unique grottos and some gardens had been taken down for safety reasons or repair. However the grand exotic trees, succulents, lawns and statues are reminiscent of grander days. Soon we were in Concord Hospital grounds and followed the track around the foreshore eventually emerging at the end of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway. At the end of that we were ready for lunch, so found a shady spot in Brays Bay Reserve. I did advise the group that we could extend the walk by another 2½kms, but they were unanimous in deciding after about 9km, that was enough.So we made our way through the reserve and up to the station for the start of our train rides home.

13-09-19 - Stanwell Park to Scarborough.

14 Devils & 3 visitors left Stanwell Park Station for Beach Reserve to have our morning tea before starting the walk. With the Beach Kiosk not due to open until 10am, I advised the group to grab a coffee from a café on Lawrence Hargrave Drive(LHD) first. About half of us headed down Station St, it was a pleasant day for a walk. Unfortunately the Beach Kiosk was already serving customers when we arrived. Sorry guys I did check their website Saturday night. Sitting in the sun with our refreshments (ranging from fruit to a caramel & macadamia slice) we watched the daring few para & hang gliders soar around Bald Hill, above us. Time to move on.
We took the beach track to a set of stairs, followed a slightly worn (by locals) grassy path to Stanwell Ave & back to LHD. Finding the new pedestrian walkway, a roomy shared path that will eventually continue to Wollongong, it was starting to warm up. As we strolled along the waterfront section, any last remaining extra layers soon came off. At Coalcliff we regrouped before a long & very steep descent of LHD. Luckily no casualties were reported at the bottom. A left turn detour took us towards Coalcliff Beach, where a hidden bush track was a welcome change of scenery. Some of the wooden stairs were a bit iffy (rotted), a pretty waterfall was a pleasant surprise & the shady trees made it a peaceful oasis. Back on the pathway we stopped at Leeder Park we stopped to watch the surfers, while a few enjoyed the 21st century amentities & shared this new experience with us afterward. Continuing on, our main target came into view. We could see the bridge snaking around the cliffs while out above the water. From our distance, an unusual but interesting sight, also a great photo op. We were getting closer until finally around a bend, we had made it. The Sea Cliff Bridge was right in front of us. Stopping to wait for the tail to catch up, we had a quick look around. Together again, the group were all given a choice, stay & rest or come for a detour. A detour it was! My secret entrance took us UNDER the bridge & close to the waters edge. SURPRISE!!! Big waves smashed against the rocks making large white foaming sculpture like displays from Mother Nature, these were the money shot photos of the day. The sounds of amazement & delight together with the sight of everyone taking many happy snaps made me smile. Our last leg of the day was OVER the bridge,(complete with old near miss stories reminiscing of days gone by on the old road) to Scarborough. We passed by Clifton School of Arts building walking close to the road, before reaching the official end of our day outside Scarborough Public School. Being 12.45pm most decided the pub for lunch was a perfect end to the walk. A few went in for the Art Show/ Spring Fair & the rest chose the 1pm train for home. As far as I know all arrived home in one piece.
A big thank you to Lorraine for keeping the tail wagging. A fun day out with friends with the unexpected thrown in for free! Thanks for coming, Kerri.

06-10-19 - Grand Canyon, Blackheath.

A long weekend an early start and the commencement of daylight saving confronted us on this mid spring morning. Various illnesses, injuries and misadventures reduced our numbers and made the organisation of this activity a little challenging. Due to the expectation of hot weather the originally planned walk was changed. Despite all these unhelpful events, twelve members met at the visitor centre at Glenbrook before making their way along the highway to Blackheath. We parked at the Grand Canyon carpark near Evan's Lookout and made our preparations for the day ahead.
In the area of the carpark there were interesting things to see. We managed to find a Waratah flower and a delightful pair of yellow-tailed lack ockatoos. After enjoying these sights we made our way along the track which follows the road to Neates Glen. On the way we saw many more Waratahs and other spring flowers. Various birds were enjoying ths spring sunshine and cheering us along. Our group had become somewhat strung out but we did a quick head count and boldly descended on the trail to Neates Glen. Dry eucalyptus forest soon gave way to a lovely ferny glade. The picturesque forest lifted the spirits of the group as we all marvelled at the scenery. Many photos were taken. There was a welcome morning tea stop at Neates Glen where carrot cake added to this wonderful moment. Over the next hour or so we made our way through an increasingly narrow, dark, deep and spectacular canyon. In a couple of places we passed under small waterfalls and though a short cave. Many places along the route tempted us to linger! The track through the canyon had recently been improved and safety barriers installed at critical points. All members enjoyed a sensory experience of this part of the walk. We decided to have a lunch break at on the river at the point where the climb up to Evan's Lookout commences.
Now we had to do some more serious exertion. The ascent to Evan's Lookout is about 300m vertically but is made more pleasant by the stunning forest scenery. Tree ferns, coachwoods, pretty grottos provided no shortage of distraction from our physical efforts. A large number of other walkers coming the opposite direction made progress a bit slow at times due to congestion. The steep track would have slowed us down in any event. Despite all this we were able to complete the climb up to the top in about 45 minutes and enjoy the panoramic view from Evan's Lookout. After a coffee break in Wentworth Falls we concluded our day and looked forward to our next adventure.

29-09-19 - Bungonia Lookouts Walk.

The Mountain Devils had an early 7.00am start from the Campbelltown Catholic Club. It was then a drive of about 90 minutes to the start of the activity in the Bungonia National Park.
Prior to the start of the walk it was a requirement for our group to register our walk intensions in the activity book at the Ranger Station. With this task completed we then headed off to the trackhead for the Green Track walk. The Green Track is a circuit walk that starts and finishes at the main camping ground at Bungonia. Our group was impressed by the excellent ammenities in the camp ground. We even discussed putting on car a camping and social trip on a future activities program. This will have to wait until after the park greens up.
Bungonia is in the grips of an extended drought, the ground was dry and dusty with no evidence of surface water to be seen. Any water that may have existed, would have disappeared underground into the extensive cave system below our feet. This entire area is crying out for good rains, the walk was relatively easy with only a few very short climbs. The first lookout encounted was the one for Jerrara Falls. Unfortunately there was no flow from these falls. The view across to where the falls were located was never the less still spectacular with the dominant Paddys Castle adjacent to the falls.
Moving around the rim of the Bungonia canyons brought our group to the Adams Lookout picnic area and morning tea. In their own time, members of the group strolled the short distance to the lookout with great views down into the main Bungonia Slot Gorge. Leaving Adams Lookout behind, we headed towards Bungonia Lookdown. A short descent on the main track from Adams, brought our group to a delightful valley full of very impressive grass trees. These grass trees looked very ancient; some had multiple spikes still in flower. This little valley also was the location of Mass Cave. It was a very narrow track that led to the cave. It required some scrambling to access the entrance. An unlocked gate indicated the way in. Metal chains bolted to the wall aided in the descent to the main chamber. The cave was very dry and quite dusty. There was some decoration inside the main chamber, however most of this had been damaged by the countless visitors over many years. Catholic Mass had been celebrated here many years ago, hence the name. The underground adventure ended, and so it was back on the green track once again. a short climb brought us out at Bungonia lookdown with its twin lookouts. The view directly across took in the ugly scar of the limesone quarry at south Marulan. By averting your gaze and looking downwards the narrow slot of Bungonia Gorge was there to be seen. In an easterly direction was the remote Touga Plateau and further still the Ettrema Wilderness.
The picnic facilities at the lookdown provided an ideal location for lunch. As was the case at Adams Lookout, members in our group took in the views in their own time and in a relaxed pace. A short diversion from the Green Track would next bring us to Mount Ayre with it’s view looking over the Shoalhaven River 350 metres below. The final leg to complete the circuit was an easy stroll across limestone outcrops and a sheltered valley that was much greener than what had been observed for most of the walk. As we passed through this valley depressions in the ground indicated the entrances of other cave systems in the area. After about 4 hours of walking and the visit to Mass Cave, we returned back to our cars. At the Ranger Station on the way out the activity book was completed, indicating the safe return of our group. Thanks to all who attended this activity and especially those who drove their vehicles. Participants: Leanne, Lyn, Kate, Kay j, John, Robyn, Steve, Carmel, Greg, Aurora, Michael, Paul, Margaret, Renate, Niveen, Roz and Tony.

22-09-19 - Hazelbrook Waterfalls Walk.

Fourteen members convened at the visitor centre at Glenbrook before making their way along the highway to Hazelbrook. Helpful maps plus a little local knowledge allowed us to find our starting point at the end of Clearview Pde. After a short intro we made our way down a short section of sealed road in the direction of Woodford Dam. Walking was pleasant and conditions were near perfect. Plenty of friendly Devils banter along the way. Our group passed through a lovely section of moist forest with delightful tree ferns, tall straight trees and many chirpy birds. Whip birds certainly seemed to be plentiful here. After about 45 minutes we arrived at Woodford Dam. This dam once provided the water supply for parts of the Blue Mountains but has since been decommissioned. A security officer who drove by reminded us that parts of the area were still restricted access. Nonetheless we took a well deserved morning tea break.
After our refreshments we returned part of the way and then took the L3C fire trail as an alternative route. We soon crossed a briskly flowing creek. Our club clairvoyant Michael noted the rocks seemed pretty slippery and predicted we watch our footing while crossing the creek. As Michael correctly predicted one of our group landed on their derrière after slipping on the algae-covered surface. No serious injury, only damaged pride. Soon we walked up a steep gravelly slope. Mutinous words and all kinds of threats were muttered against our poor leader. Mercifully the track levelled off for a while. Another steep gravelly descent led us to our lunch spot at Mabel Falls.
Some rain a few days before had enhanced the flow of the falls and we enjoyed this pretty spot. Many photos were taken. We later proceeded to Edith Falls and Hazel Falls. Hazel Falls was particularly nice as we were able to sit and rest under the curtain of falling water. Truly a delightful spot. One last short sharp walk up a steep section of fire trail brought us back to the car park in the early afternoon. Thus ended a truly delightful walk through this rarely visited part of the Blue Mountains.

8 to 13-09-19 - Grampians Walking Trip.

After the long drive from NSW it was good to be on the walking tracks once more.

The first of four walks would be the Pinnacles Circuit.
The Pinnacles Circuit would commence at the caravan park where we were all staying, very convenient indeed. Sick parade reduced our numbers by three, leaving 13 in total to take on the walk. The first part of the walk involved a slow but steady climb of over 500 metres through forest and the cliff lines of macKays peak. Wildflowers were in abundance and wattle was in full bloom. As we climbed we could look down on the township of Halls Gap. The track was very well defined and constructed. Eventualy we left the forest and entered a bare rocky landscape. The way ahead was indicated by yellow arrows painted on the rock. as we moved ahead, other walkers could be seen on the main pinnacles summit ridge. Everyone was moving up towards the main fenced lookout. Our group made their way to the overhanging lookout for picture opportunities and to absorb the stunning beauty of this place. The long climb had sapped the energy levels of all, and so in the shelter of a large rock we sat down and enjoyed a well deserved lunch break.
With lunch done and dusted, it was back on the trail again. As we descended, again following the yellow arrows we entered the magical area known as silent street. This was a narrow slot in the rock massif that dropped down sharply on stairs and steps. The narrowness of the slot acted like a sound barrier and so the name seemed appropriate. Silent street ended with a short climb back into the open. The track continued on downwards passing along the way, Bridal Veil Falls. It was here, a large school group were entertaining themselves by standing behind the falls and filling their water bottles. The way on continued to the top of the grand canyon. it seemed that we would drop over a precipice and into hells gates, but a sturdy set of steps led on and down through the deep walled canyon. A series of cascades followed next to the track and on occasions there were stepping stones across the water. A bridge then led to the wonderland carpark. It was here earlier in the day before the start of the walk that a car shuffle was arranged. This was to be a back up if required. Five in the group decided to end their walking activity at this point and return to the caravan park by car. The remaining eight would complete the full circiut. The final section of the walk followed stony creek back through Halls Gap and return to the caravan park. Walk distance 8.3 kilometres with 530 metres of climbing. Participants: Christine, Frank, John, Kay, Luis, Maria, Trisha, Marta, Renate, Robyn, Fran, Maeve and Phil (walk leader).

The following day, after lunch the next walk began.
Chataqua Peak was a short 6.2 kilometre circuit that involved a 220 metre climb. All sixteen in our group were in attendance. This walk also began adjacent to the caravan park. The walk started by entering the botanical gardens through a set of gates and across a bridge. The climb up to the peak was on a gentle gradient through forest and to a number of lookouts with views of Halls Gap below. The final climb to the peak was a rocky scramble through narrow slots between hugh boulders. For some the exposure was a little daunting and they decided to remain just a little way below. A few hardy souls ventured up the final few metres to take in the commanding views of the wonderland range and the rocky outcrop known as the elephant hide. There were also good views of macKays peak which had been climbed the previous day on route to the pinnacles. The return leg was very straight forward. we stopped along the way to view the very pretty Clematis Falls just 100 metres from the main track. Participants : Carmel, Steve, Frank, Christine, John, Kay, Luis, Maria, Trisha, Marta, Renate, Robyn, Fran, Roz, Maeve and Phil (walk leader).

The third walk was following a planned rest day.
The sundial circuit was again fully subscribed with all sixteen members present. To access the start of this walk, a short drive from Halls Gap of about eight kilometres was required. The cars were parked in the Sundial carpark and the walk began under bright sunny skies. We headed up a gentle slope, though a lightly forested section of track, again with wild flowers abundant. The track continued for about a kilometre before coming out at Lake View lookout. The view down to Lake Bellfield and across to the Mount William Range and north to Halls Gap was stunning. The way on was south towards Sundial Peak Lookout. The track skirted the cliffs that standabove Halls Gap and Lake Bellfield. About two kilometres of walking brought our group out eventually at the Sundial Peak Lookout. This was a stunning place to take in the panorama laid out before us. It was a fabulous place to sit down and have lunch. It indeed had a functional sundial mounted on a concrete plinth. As we sat down to eat, various methods of trying to read the sundial were proposed. No one was really sure if their theory was the correct one. It didn’t really matter, everyone was absorbed by the views. Of all the lookouts that we took in on these walks, this one was my favourite, lots of atmosphere. An old gnarled and lichen covered casuarina provided shade from the warm spring time sun above. This was a very relaxing moment.
Sadly we had to drag ourselves away from this place. The way on was back a short distance to a junction. The track to our left and heading downward would be the way. The descent from this point was a slightly overgrown trail that dropped quite rapidly through a series of zig zags. In a couple of places, fallen trees made the going quite arduous. Everyone lent out a helping hand when needed. As the descending continued the track started to open up and it became more well defined. The troops were a little worried, and a few getting tired. Thankfully the road that had been promised from the start of this descent appeared and with it a sense of releif. A short section of road walking followed until we all arrived at the Mount Rosea carpark. A number of the group volunteered to go on the short climb back to the sundial carpark and return with the cars. Those that remained sat down, relaxed and rested. The returning cars indicated that the walk was at an end. Participants : Carmel, Steve, Frank, Christine, John, Kay, Luis, Maria, Trisha, Marta, Renate, Robyn, Fran, Roz, Maeve and Phil (walk leader).

The final walk would bring our Grampians walking holiday to a close.
The Mackenzie Falls and river walk this activity required a prearranged car shuffle from the Mackenzie Falls carpark and picnic area to Zumsteins (an historic precinct of one of the first pioneering families that set up holiday facilities in the Grampians), located about twenty kilometres from Halls Gap. Once the cars were in place it was time to go walking. This walk first took in the top falls lookout about a kilometre from the carpark and picnic area. Recent rains had brought about good flows of water at the falls. They looked spectacular. After this viewing it was time to descend to the base of the falls on a very steep but extremely well constructed set steps and stairs. Handrails provided good grip and added to the secure feeling as we made our way down. Once at the base of the falls it was time for lunch and an extended viewing of the falls. This place is one of the most popular in Victoria and on this paticular Friday there were many others including the Mountain Devils. A sign read “Zumsteins 3.1 klms”. This pointed to the way forward. Crossing a series of bridges and the descent of some cascades lead us along the Mackenzie River, downsteam to Zumsteins. The walk along this river was delightfully easy. Many and varied were the wildflowers encountered along the way. At the halfway point to Zumsteins another series of cascades lead to the pretty Fish Falls. As we proceeded the track became even easier. The sound of motor vehicles on a nearby road indicated that we were nearly at the end of our walk. Our group emerged from the forest into the roadside picnic area where the cars would shuffle us all back to Halls Gap.
On way back to Halls Gap our group took a short diversion to Reids Lookout and the short one kilometre walk to the Balconies with its picture perfect overview of the greater Grampianss main range. Participants : Carmel, Steve, Frank, Christine, John, Kay, Luis, Maria, Trisha, Marta, Renate, Robyn, Fran, Maeve and Phil(walk leader).

And so this ended the walking activities on our trip to the Grampians. Thanks one and all for a delightful time with many, many happy memories.

08-09-19 - Illawarra Grevillea Park.

After 2 cancellations and 1 last minute withdrawal due to wind damage to her property, our small group of 6 left for Illawarra Grevillea Park. It made sense for Devil Jackie to drive from Tahmoor, while Devil Cathy drove down to catch up with family first, leaving 4 Devils to enjoy the scenic train ride.
At Wolli Creek we had time to grab a hot cuppa, resisting the temptation of those yummy looking pastries, while waiting for our South Coast connection. A change at Thirroul for a local all stations to Wollongong service to Bulli saw us hop off at the first stop. An easy 10 minute stroll from the station and with precision timing we all arrived within 5 minutes of each other.
Upon entering the gardens we headed towards the historic chapel picnic area for a pitstop. Bringing 2 bird spotting brochures I had at home grabbed a bit of attention and almost immediately put to good use. Ready to go we started our climb up the steep side track, out of the back gate into Slacky Flat Park and the rainforest section. A peaceful and typical bushwalk complete with stairs, countless hills and creek crossings (unfortunately bone dry) certainly got our hearts pumping. Returning back down to the picnic area for a well earned break, we chose a table in the shade. Finishing our snacks, some decided to wander along the parks easy tracks and paths, high and low, passing the myriad of Grevillea which were in full bloom. Regrouping we headed for the exit, stopping to inspect the native plants on sale. Cathy bought a beautifully coloured Grevillea named Moonlight, while Jackie was happily studying which would look best near her fence.
A short walk to Bulli Markets for a bite and a look around (a pair of handmade earrings joined me for the journey home) while Sue took a photo of a undonkey looking donkey!!!! the jury is still out on that one.
With our day over, Jackie headed back to Tahmoor, Niveen accepted a lift with Cathy while those of us not in a hurry, walked back to Bulli Station. After a short wait at Thirroul for a Central bound train Sue, Jochen and I found seats for our return journey. Alighting at Sydenham, a lucky 3 minute wait for our Macarthur service and our final leg of the day.

08-09-19 - Matilda Tank - Dharawal NP.

Walk was called off due to the high winds. Walk will be rescheduled to early 2020.

25-08-19 - Maroubra to Bondi.

8 Devils and 1 visitor gathered in the last carriage of the early train to the city, meeting Devil Maria at Museum Station. With only a few minutes to get our 377 to Maroubra Beach we headed straight out to the Liverpool St bus stop. All seated and ready to go the bus soon made its was through the different suburbs back streets.
Alighting at the northern end of Maroubra Beach, we had our introductory circle and then started our walk along Marine Pde. Through Jack Vanny Memorial Park we went to Mistral Pt, a rocky area that has unobstructed coastal views, of both north and south. After admiring the calm ocean on a perfect morning I pointed to a stairway in the distance that was the end of our rock hopping section. Following the main path we soon found our track down to Lurline Bay. Slowly getting closer to the water line and the most difficult section of the day. In no hurry, we carefully placed our feet before taking another step. Success!! We reached the bottom of this big steep stairway, with some stopping to catch their breath before the climb out and then having another breather up top. A one minute walk was all it took before our next climb, Liguria St to Malabar Rd. We had a short break near a cafe, a few needed coffees while the rest were happy with their water and snacks.
Down Cuzco St we passed 2 garage sales (the words you buy you carry, ringing out loudly) before reaching a path along the South Coogee coastline which continued to Coogee Beach our next stop. Opposite the Coogee Bay Hotel a large picnic table was ours. Relaxing and chatting away Christine remembered watching a tv show that was made at Coogee. 'Wonderland' I said, telling her we would be passing the block of units it was filmed at. After a pit stop we made our way towards Dunningham Reserve, pointing out Wonderland, while a short nearby detour took us to the Dolphins Memorials, for the victims of the Bali bombing. Up and down we went, continuing past Gordon's Bay then heading upstairs again before a very long steep descent towards Clovelly Beach. Further around at Bundock Park, this poor dog was madly running back and forth frantically searching for his owner. Finally reunited he smiled happily at finding his mummy. So cute. After that drama, Burrows Park pathway led us to Waverley Cemetery. The old path was washed away by a storm a few years ago, the new scenic walkway has many steps up and down, so everyone was given a choice. The easy way or the hard way! Most decided a wander reading headstones would be interesting.
Meeting up on the other side a 10 minute walk had us at Bronte and another rest break. Refreshed we continued on passing Tamarama Beach and Bondi Icebergs until Campbell Pde was before us. The end. Frank and Christine went pub hunting, while the rest waited for a 333 bus to Bondi Junction Station. Our bus pulled up with the 2 Devils sitting comfortably, unable to find a pub. Chris, Jeanette and Cathy left us for Westfields and Maria went for her train. Cold drinks were bought and our leftover party of four were finally on our way home. As the crow flys not a long walk but add in all the stairs and hills, it is. A good day out with a lovely cooling wind towards the end which had perfect timing.

25-08-19 - NE Section Loop Walk, Royal National Park.

8 Devils assembled for the drive to Bundeena. For a change we parked near the Beachcomber Avenue entrance to the RNP. After a loo stop we headed off through Bundeena toward Jibbon Beach. The beach had plenty of people out and about as well as a few boats moored just off shore. Off the beach and along the track to Port Hacking Point where we had our first directional challenge. The track direction is confusing and some of our group went the wrong way but this was overcome quickly. We stopped to look at the extensive rock engravings and then the shell midden before reaching Port Hacking Point. We stopped for a quick look at the information sign before turning south and heading to Shelley Beach for morning tea. Shelley Beach is a nice spot for a break with plenty of rocks for seating, shade if required and a great view of Jibbon Bombora.
Tea break over we continued south along the Coast Track. Our leader found the old Coast Track turn-off (the new version of this part of the Coast Track diverts inland and you miss a lot of good views). This old section of the Coastal Track passes some interesting spots and is worth the effort compared to the diversion. Past Cormorant Rock (yes, there were Cormorants on the rocks), the Cobblers and then to the Balconies where we rejoined the Coastal Track proper. Always lots of people walking this section of the RNP. More views, steps at the Waterrun, rock shelves and those awful boardwalks to Wedding Cake Rock. We stopped for a look at Wedding Cake Rock but the new fence makes seeing it hard. The wind had been blowing a gale as we walked along the coast and our leaders thoughts turned to finding a spot out of the wind for lunch. A quick side trip to visit the Marley Man engraving before heading to Marley Beach for lunch. As you get to Marley Ck there is a grassy spot just around the headland that is protected from the wind. This turned out to be a good spot for lunch.
After lunch we started the trip back along the coast to Bundeena. Some of the group where extremely lucky to encounter a native mouse foraging for food in a bush right next to the track. Amazing to see this as native Mice are nocturnal. The group split but regrouped near the Balconies for the final push. A quick stop at the loo and we made it back in one piece. The walk ended up being just under 14km. Thanks to all who attended.

18-08-19 - Grose Valley Walk.

Nine members of club gathered at Govett's Leap carpark at Blackheath early on an almost perfect Sunday for walking. After admiring the early morning view of the valley we set off across the clifftops towards Evan's Lookout. The early pace was brisk but we did had a couple at short stops at various vantage points. After about an hour we arrived at Evan's Lookout and enjoyed more great scenery. We were able to look down and gain some perspective of the daunting task ahead. After a final check we began to descend into a gully which leads into the Grand Canyon. As the group dropped down further the scenery became quite overwhelming. Vegetation including tree ferns, coachwoods, vines and various nooks made walking pleasant and many photos were taken. The pathway had been recently improved and walking was pretty comfortable to this point. Soon we entered the Grand Canyon proper. So far, so good.
We then descended further and entered the Grose Valley proper. Now the walking was more difficult. The condition of the track worsened somewhat. There were some landslides and fallen trees to negotiate. Track was quite steep and our footing was uncertain. Route was a little difficult to follow at times but we soldiered on. Some time later we reached our belated morning tea stop at picturesque Beauchamp Falls. Lyn's chocolate Brownies were a big hit. What a delightful spot. Would like to have stayed longer but we knew that we still had several hours walking and we were just behind schedule. During the next hour or so we dropped several hundred metres deeper into the valley. Stunning scenery complete with sheer cliffs, impressive forest, pretty cascades and many steps. Interestingly, this track seems to have become a very popular trail running route. We encountered several groups of trail runners as we made our route down into the valley. Eventually the track levelled off and we walked for about half an hour through a Turpentine forest and ended up following the river. We were all tired feeling the effects of the exhausting descent of over 600 metres. Our Quads were certainly making us aware of their presence but this was supposedly the easy part of the walk. Half an hour of walking downstream brought us to Junction Rock, our lunch spot. We had a good rest here.
Now for the walk out. Started out OK then progressively got steeper. We all started to suck in the big breaths as we walked up a seemingly infinite number of stairs. Despite the demanding walk, pace was pretty good and the route was clear. There were many creek crossings. The forest and numerous cascades were simply delightful as was the chorus of bird calls which cheered us on. Thankfully it wasn't a hot day. Walking was really tiring but otherwise an absolutely delightful experience. We reached the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls a large waterfall visible from Govetts Leap. Stopped for a moment to savour the beauty and give those legs a much needed break. Sign said 1km left but seemed like 10km. The remaining section of the track was quite damp in parts. Many more steps also some flights of stairs in the steeper sections. Looking up we could see the railing of Govett's Leap and could hear voices. Almost there! In a few minutes we were. Despite the early start, the slower walkers finished just before sunset. Everyone had enjoyed a tremendous day of walking but were exhausted. We spent a few minutes pondering our various recovery techniques before heading home.

11-08-19 - Valley of the Waters Nature Trail walk.

A crack team of Mountain Devils assembled at the Catholic Club at a very civilised time of 9.00am. Due to predicted extreme weather conditions of low temperatures and strong winds it was prudent to make sure everyone was well equipped and prepared. After checking that all was in order it was off to Wentworth Falls.
There was unusually heavy traffic heading up into the mountains, but we proceeded at a manageable speed. The group was so primed that when we arrived at the agreed rendevous point on Falls Road, they piled out, shouldered their packs and were ready to walk. Sorry folks but we still needed to drive another couple of klms to actual start of the walk at the Conservation Hut/Café. At least it was an opportunity to have a much needed toilet stop. After a short diversion to inspect the round about near the Wentworth Falls picnic ground we successfully regathered at the hut.
We commenced walking around 11.00am. The first part of the walk involved a descent to Queen Victoria’s Lookout. The panorama before everyone was of the end of mount Solitary and the Jamison Valley, quite spectacular. We stopped to take some happy shots and then it was another section of descending ahead of us. We next came to a track junction. To our right was the nature trail, the main focus of our walk and straight ahead and down was the steep descent to the base of empress falls. we would tackle the empress falls track first before returning to the nature trail. steel ladders, which at times were nearly vertical, lead to the base of an extemely pretty set of falls named in honour of Queen Victoria (and Empress of India). There was a burst of camera activity as numerous pix were taken. After the photo session, the climb back up to the track junction commenced. Conveniently, a picnic table was located at the track junction, an so when we all had returned we sat down for a munchie break.
A series of steps lead up, and that was where we were headed. At a point further on, we came across Lillians Bridge. This bridge crossing gave access to a track leading to Leura. This was not part of our walk, but it gave us another photo opportunity. The way ahead was straight on. A little futher, brought us to Lillians Glen and a stunning little grotto that was entered by members of the group. it was so pretty, that one of these participants took it upon herself to carry out a trackside interview with the walk leader, all the while filming in the grotto. It was all good fun. Other candid filming was carried out at the same time.
It was difficult to leave this alluring place, but we had to, if we were ever to finish this walk. More steps lead up to an outcrop of rock that offered some overhead shelter with nice views. It made a great lunch spot. Whist tucking into our lunches we were exposed to a 5 second extreme blizzard. The heart rates jumped, but the excitement was short lived. The weather settled, and though the sky looked troubled, it remained calm.
Yet more steps lead further up to the apptly named Edinburgh Castle rock. From here there were glimpses of the Jamison Valley and Mount Solitary. The troops were on the point of mutiny with more steps to take on. The walk leader pointed out that we were vitually in the back yards of the local residents. Thankfully the steps ended abruptly, and the track levelled off. It was then a short distance back to our finish point.
A debrief and chat session commenced inside the café as we sat down to coffee and tea. thanks one and all for taking part in this activity.
Participants : Lyn, Robyn, Tony, Greg, Luis, Trish, Christine, Frank( designated snag), Lino and Renate.

04-08-19 - Olympic and Bicentenial Parks walk.

A happy group of 20 little vegemites gathered at Circular Quay for the 9.07am Rivercat to Olympic Park ferry terminal. People came in all guises, some looked ready for a shopping expedition, while others came dressed in formal clothing ready for a wedding perhaps. The scenic Rivercat journey was uneventful for those who managed to stay awake. After a rather unusual brief (tickets were issued) at the Olympic Park ferry terminal, it was off along the shared path adjacent to the Parramatta River towards the old navy ordinance depot at Newington. This depot was used to store naval munitions and is now classified as an historic precinct and is managed by the Olympic Park authority. On the way through the depot we stopped at the birdlife discovery centre. Inside, we took in displays and viewed live pictures of sea eagle chicks in a nest that was located just behind the centre. Next we continued through open ground, across railway lines and past numerous storage bunkers. We left the depot through the rear gate and headed to the residential development at Wentworth Point. A munchie break was taken next to the water of Homebush Bay at Wentworth Point. From here we could see a number of shipwrecks that had become roosting sites for waterbirds. we then continued around Homebush Bay to an observation tower signifying the start of the badu mangroves and wetlands. This area is an important bird sanctuary and numerous birds were seen including swans which had taken over a small island in the wetlands. Passing through the mangroves we entered Bicentenial Park. At the waterview picnic area our group stopped for lunch, coffee and for some cheese cake and pizza purchased at the near by kiosk. After lunch it was a short walk to Olympic Park railway station and the end of our little excursion. Thanks to all the participants: Lyn, Trish, Christine, Frank, Steve, Carmel, Andrew, Hilda, Leanne, Kate, Marta, Sue, Greg, Luis, Marilyn, Colleen, Maria, Maeve and Marina.

28-07-19 - Central to Rushcutters Bay.

After 2 late withdrawals our group of 6 members and 2 visitors - Phil and Shirley, met up with recently retired Devil Selena at Central. Leaving the station we headed up Foveaux St. Up, up and up we went, until finally leveling out near Shannon Reserve, a neighbourhood green space. A big thank you to Cathy for keeping an eye on the tail. Crossing South Dowling St we arrived at the northern tip of Moore Park and our first stop was a wander around the Korean War Memorial. Continuing on we walked alongside Anzac Pde, then using the pedestrian overpass to head for our 2nd stop Kippax Lake. Pulling a kilo bag of corn out of my backpack, we hand fed black swans and scattered kernels for the ducks, focusing on the only small fluffy baby. Once out of corn and photos taken we followed the lake clockwise and soon reached Driver Ave. Passing the SCG a few Swans fans were already out and about. Further along a left turn took us into the Entertainment Quarter. I pointed out the various cafes to choose from for morning tea, our next stop. Everyone followed me into the Black Star Pastry Cafe, a very smart bunch to do so. Standing in front of the mouthwatering goodies waiting to order seemed tortuous. After putting in my order in I went table hunting. Luckily 4 small tables opposite a bench seat were vacant, enough space for all of us. This time I tried a Kouign Amann, sooo yummy especially with hot chocolate and many more to try in the future. Pastries, cakes and savory treats are on offer to satisfy all desires.
With no complaints about anyone's choices and plenty of calories to remove, we headed off to Centennial Park a short distance away. Through the Robertson Rd gates, we took a well worn undulating grassy path along the boundary fence next to Lang Rd towards the Paddington Gates exit on Oxford St. Leaving Centennial Park, a sharp left onto Moore Park Rd and we were passing beautifully renovated 2 and 3 storey terrace houses. We also had a good view of the eastern side of the SCG and destruction of SFS. At Oatley Rd we began our ascent to Oxford St. Up top Paddington Town Hall is on one corner and Paddington Reservoir Gardens on the other, our next stop. Chris decided to take a break, while Ian studied timeline information plaques. With different entrances and photo opportunities everyone went whichever way took their fancy. Meeting down the bottom before the stairs or lift was chosen back to street level. Regrouping we crossed Oxford St for our final leg to Rushcutters Bay Park. A steady stride was needed strolling down steepish Glenmore Rd. Next at 5 ways was Goodhope and Lawson Streets with a right at Neild Ave. Two sets of traffic lights stood between us and our final destination in the distance. Getting closer with each step, sailing boats moored on the bay were soon in view.
Arriving at Rushcutters Bay Park, the choice of a seat at the cafe or a packed lunch under one of the massive trees was made by each walker. Visitors Phil and Shirley decided to to leave and headed for the bus stop. After our break we walked through the park, past Reg Bartley Oval and up the last steep section of our day. Almost to the bus stop we saw both the Central and Millers Point bound buses depart, with the next due 30 minutes later. A while later Cathy and Ian decided to keep walking to the city. Our dwindling group of now 5 were soon enough at Central and homeward bound. Black Star Pastry is definitely worth more than one visit.

28-07-19 - Heathcote NP.

7 devils met at the Catholic Club for the drive to Waterfall. We arrived at the end of Warabin St and gathered ourselves before setting off. Our leader decided on a slight re-jig of our walk and we headed off on the Mooray Track instead of the Bullawarring Track. The Mooray Track undulates along through Bondel Gully, past the powerlines, and then a long downward stretch via Mooray Gully towards Heathcote Creek. We crossed the creek and turned north on the Bullawarring Track. Luckily this was not far from the turn off up Myuna Ck and morning tea. It was nearly 10am which was a good time for a break.
Short morning tea done we returned to the Bullawarring and headed north towards the Goanna Track. Some work has been done on the Bullawarring to divert it around some rugged features. This did cause a bit of confusion for our leader but it wasn't hard to work out that we were on the right track. Turning off onto the Goanna Track we headed up over the ridge before turning off again onto the old powerline access trail (now an overgrown scrubfest). This track descends to the Pipeline Road. It became obvious as we descended that there had been a very large hazard reduction burn conducted along Girronba Ridge...Damn...This was a big spanner in the works as our plan was to climb up to the top of the ridge, then head along the ridge, find a nice spot with views of the Woronora River and have lunch. After a head scratch our leader came up with a cunning plan. We headed south along the Pipeline Road to where it crossed Girronba Ridge. It didn't look good so our fearless leader instructed the group to wait and he would do a recon to see if we could traverse the burnt out area safely. After only travelling about 200m into the burnt out area our leader was covered in charcoal marks. It was obvious that we would not be heading along Girronba Ridge today. Upon returing to the road our leader assured the group they would not end up covered in charcoal like he did. We headed back down the Pipeline Rd and stopped at a conveniently placed picnic table for lunch.
After a well earned rest an executive decision was made by our leader to walk along the Pipeline Rd to the Goanna Track. This gave everyone who hadn't been here before the chance to see the massive water pipe that runs from Woronora Dam to the southern suburbs. Up and over on the Goanna Track and we were back on the Bullawarring. Except for one confusing track diversion it was a straightforward walk to Kingfisher Pool where we had a short rest stop. Only the last steep climb up Waterfall Gully was left to go. Didn't take long and we were back at the cars.

21-07-19 - Bundanoon Lookouts

A group of 17 members and 3 visitors members rendezvoused at the Catholic Club early on Sunday morning and made rapid progress down the highway to the Southern Highlands. Immediately after alighting from our cars in William St, Bundanoon all members of our group donned their winter woollies. A cold southerly breeze added a definite wind chill factor. Our newly-elected President Trish was presented with a new and improved walking pole befitting to her new status. After a short briefing, the group set off down the hill at the end of William Street. Walking conditions were near perfect despite the “refreshing” weather. We encountered a profusion of different bird calls just after starting our walk. No great surprise when we found the lyrebird which was entertaining us with the mimicry. Our feathered friend followed us for a short distance before losing interest. Ten minutes later our walk leader was startled by a wombat out for a morning walk. Our furry companion soon registered disapproval of our large group of onlookers by presenting a large backside in our direction.
We took a diversion just before Glow Worm Glen and headed in the direction of Buchanan's Lookout. The first section of the route followed a narrow but fairly clear track crossing a small gully on the way. Next few km route was much less clear but generally followed the boundary fence of a property. There were lots of small tracks made by the local mob of kangaroos which made navigation challenging. Group was separated for a short time but regrouped after a morning tea break. Further along the track became clearer. Shortly we arrived at the stunning vista of Buchanan's lookout. This was our lunch spot and end point. Further along the escarpment there are several other lookouts which would make an interesting future walk. Our group returned uneventfully to scenic Bundanoon in time for a well deserved cuppa.

14-07-19 - Permulwuy and Moxham Walk.

After trains and a bus, a short break in the park at Northmead was offered. However all 13 members were ready for a stride, so we entered the Water Dragon Way track through the forest with many impressive turpentine and ironbark trees. We soon descended and continued along the side of the Quarry Branch Creek. Up and down again then crossed the creek on stepping stones under Moxham Bridge. Now we continued upstream admiring the interesting rock faces and encountered a series of log steps down and winding along the valley edge. Along the road a bit, then a nice grass embankment for our much welcome morning tea break.
Continuing along Toongabbie Creek, we paused for our only toilet stop, then crossed the creek and along it, and later the Quarry Branch Creek. At one point we were at the back of several houses where their respective dogs barked enthusiastically. We then entered another section of Water Dragon Way and finally back to the start of the walk. Just in time for lunch.
We then caught a crowded bus, full of footy fans, back to Parramatta Station. Here we seemed to lose one or two in Westfield, while the rest of us caught the trains home.
A surprising section of bush in the middle of suburbia.

07-07-19 - Mt. Gibraltar Reserve.

On a morning where the weather looked uncertain after overnight rain the previous couple of days, 14 of us set off for Bowral.
After a short uphill walk to the base of the newly restored staircase, some of us were already somewhat breathless. We then climbed the 200+ heritage listed steps, each at our own pace and reassembled at the top. Here we took a short deviation to the Bowral Lookout with a scenic view overlooking Bowral down to Moss Vale. In a single file on the narrow track, we soon climbed another 60 or so steps, then continued to the deviation to Oxley View Lookout. This was the planned morning tea stop. However, after the wet weather, it was just too wet and hazardous here. So we continued on and found a few rocks to sit on for a break. With the encroaching bush over the track we were concerned that there might be leeches around but after checking at the break, couldn’t find any.
Continuing on we emerged at the Mount Jellore Lookout with great views down to the main road and railway and across to the mountain. This sheltered lookout is one of a number of constructions up here by a 1930's unemployment program. Next was the Mittagong Lookout, then slowly across slippery rock platforms to the start of the Reservoir Track. This steep descent proved the most hazardous with a couple of us sliding and falling. At the bottom we were now on the undulating Gib West Fire Trail. Some asked are there any more climbs, and yes there was a hill around each corner. As we came to the end, we sat on some very wet logs for a fairly quick lunch. A fairly challenging but enjoyable walk. The views made it all worthwhile, and the company of course!

30-06-19 - North Head Circuit.

The 8.17am train from Campbelltown was packed to the rafters with Mountain Devils. By the time the train disgorged it’s load at circular quay the numbers had swollen to 21, including 2 visitors. At the quay an additional 3 members joined the entourage.
It was very busy at Circular Quay, and keeping track of everyone was a little tricky. By good luck we all managed to get on the right ferry at the right time. After arriving at Manly a quick brief was given outside the ferry terminal. It was then on towards Shelly Beach. it was a bright and sunny day, and it seemed that everyone and their dog were walking along the promenade to shelly beach. on the rock shelf adjacent to the pathway were intricate sculptures of all things marine. the track up to north head commenced just behind shelly beach. it was a short climb on a rough section of track. as we passed through a gated hole in an old wall, we had entered north head sanctury. there where numerous lookouts starting above shelly beach and continuing throughout the day. it was at these lookouts where it was hoped that whales might be seen.
I made a critical error of judgment by building up expectations of whale sightings. Conditions were ideal, flat seas, little, if any wind and sunny skies. My reputation as a competent walk leader were hanging by a thread. One member had bought a pair of binoculars, downloaded a whale watching app and had in her possession a high tech mobile selfie stick with bluetooth (no doubt to take a picture of herself and helga the humpback). It seemed that some devils would not be satisfied until they had seen a Humpback strolling along the walking track, or at the very least see teeth or baleen. Thankfully for me whales were seen, all be it at a distance.
Once on top of the plateau the track became well defined and nicely graded. On the boggy sections metal grating was used. Numerous old gun emplacements were observed along side the track. After crossing Blue Fish drive we entered the Barrack precinct of the old army school of artillery. The mountain devils formed up and marched across the parade ground. After the march, a break a-la-natural was taken up by most of the group. We then moved on towards the Fairfax Lookouts via the hanging swamp. At one point along the way we came across a section of a camouflage painted roadway and a major control and observation point. A huge old naval gun was on display here (these were the type that would have been mounted in the gun emplacements previously mentioned). A well presented war memorial walk would be the next point of interest.
Eventually our group came across the first of the Fairfax Lookouts. These lookouts offered superb views of Sydney Harbour. At this point some members said that they were suffering hunger pains and or caffeine withdrawl symptoms and inquired as to when was the lunch break? I replied and at the same time pointed to the café in the distance. It was about 10 minutes away. I was wrong it was 9 minutes and 53 seconds away! Lunch…
The location for lunch was fabulous. right next to a very busy café and the north fort. While some queued for ages waiting for a flat white, the rest in our group sat on the grass to eat, at the same time taking in the view. A very brazen Bush Turkey came to see what was on offer in the way of handouts. Nothing it seemed…all food was consumed by the hungry walkers.
After an hour of so it was back onto the walking track. A couple in the group had made arrangementrs to meet up with family, and so they departed the walk at the lunch spot. The rest in the group headed on towards Manly via Collins Beach. At Collins Beach Road another member decided to head straight back to Manly on the main road, and so he too departed. The road to Collins Beach drops down steeply to water level. Collins Beach is a known refuge for Fairy Penguins and is sign posted “beach closed between sunset and sunrise”. No further elaboration is given. From Collins Beach it was a short distance to the ferry terminal via Little Manly Cove. In or about Little Manly Cove one of our group went AWOL. I had grave fears that he may have been taken by a Bandicoot (there were Bandicoot warning signs roadside and prominately next to the parade ground of the school of artillery). I did not look forward to the prospect of consoling a distraught wife. Thankfully he reappeared on the footpath leading back to the ferry terminal. Those remaining in the walking group continued on to the ferry terminal. It was very busy at the terminal and the group got dispersed. No one was sure who had made the next departure for Circular Quay. As it happened everyone was on the same ferry back to Sydney. Then it was back at Circular Quay and the rail connection to Campbelltown or where ever.
Participants: Niveen, Trisha, Maria, Leanne, Kate, Sue, Jochen, Andrew, Hilda, Tony (v), Luis, John, Lyn, Cathy, Norris (v), Robyn, Roz, Kevin, Dianne, Jeffrey, John, Kay and Marina.

16-06-19 - Rocky Waterholes Creek Recon Walk.

7 members and 2 visitors left the Catholic Club for the trip to Wattle Ridge where we met 1 more member. So, it hasn't rained for how many months? And guess when it decides to...yep, the Sunday of our walk. The updated forecast for the Southern Highlands said that it would be showers through the morning with rain setting in by the afternoon and this was correct.
During our pre-walk circle someone asked "What is a recon walk?". Simple answer is, the tracks in this area had changed and been added to since our last visit (a decade ago) to this part of Nattai NP. This walk was just to investigate (recon) what those changes are. We set off along the 11E fire trail (Nattai Rd) before turning off and heading around the back of the Wattle Ridge property. The track around the Wattle Ridge property is not hard to follow and if in doubt just stick to the fence line. We past the spring that is at the head of Camelot Ck and it was bone dry. Didn't take too long to get to the start of the Dome Rock Track at the back of Wattle Ridge property. The track was easy to follow and we arrived at Dome Rock and didn't realise it till we passed it. It is an impressive rock. We continued on to where the trail ends above Rocky Waterholes Creek. It was morning tea time.
After our break we headed back along the trail and took the turn-off just to the south of Dome Rock and headed over to the old Chasm Lookout track. No problems finding our way, which was good. Instead of heading out to the old Chasm Lookout (the rain was coming) we headed back towards the Wattle Ridge property. Didn't take too long to get to the turn-off that takes you down through Camelot Ck. The track down Camelot Ck was easy to follow and took us past some interesting caves and rock formations. The exit out of the creek starts at a pinch in the valley walls. Which was a very interesting spot and had several different animal tracks including very recent Lyrebird tracks. The climb out was steep and rough in parts but was doable (to quote one of our walkers).
We came out on the old Rocky Waterholes Ck track (which for some unknown reason is now known as the Chasm Lookdown). As we headed towards the Point Hill turn-off the rain arrived and the clouds set in. After a quick team meeting we decided to not bother with the Point Hill part of the walk. We did stop, as it was nearly 1pm, for a quick snack break then made a dash back to the cars. Lunch in the cars out of the rain turned out to be a good option. Even though we had to change the walk as we went we did manage to do all the recon sections so it worked out well in the end. Thanks to all those that came along.

19-06-19 - Illawarra Escarpment Walk.

We all met at the Campbelltown Catholic Club with 17 members and 1 visitor for the Illawarra Escarpment Walk, and organised ourselves into cars for the journey. When we arrived at Sublime Point Lookout we started our walk with a lovely view from the lookout, and of course some of us took photos. Then headed off south (past the very steep track to Austinmer) to find a track that is almost hidden in the scrub. It was a pleasant and fairly level track that stays on the top of the escarpment but is far enough from the road so that we could enjoy the lovely bush scenery and another lookout along the way. Half-way along, the track comes out into the grounds of Panorama House & Restaurant where there were some more wonderful views. Next stop was Bulli Lookout where some of us reminisced about the times we had been to the cafe there (which no longer operates). Then a bit further along to the end of Hopetoun Park where the track ends, we walked on the left side of the guardrail to access the Southern Gateway Visitor Centre. Here we enjoyed our morning tea, and for some, take-away coffees and ICE-CREAMS.
After a leisurely rest we headed back the way we had come, and by the time we arrived back at Sublime Point it was decided to have lunch. We all enjoyed sitting (or sleeping) in the sun, that it was hard to make another move. But eventually I encouraged the group to walk north along a loop track that returns close to the cliff-line. We found another lookout with some spectacular rocks jutting outwards over the edge, which I had not seen before. We went for about another kilometre before returning back to the cars.
It had been a very pleasant walk, wonderful weather, and no mishaps. A perfect day!

26-05-19 - Six Foot Track. Megalong Valley to Coxs River.

It was an early start (7.15 am) for the Mountain Devils. A group of eleven assembled at the Catholic Club. After arranging the car pool of three vehicles it was off on the long and windy road to the Megalong Valley. For most in the group it would be a first time visit to this very pretty and mostly unknown area in the Blue Mountains. At the trackhead the group were joined by two other paticipants. Introductions and a brief were given about the days activity.
The walk would take in a section of the Six Foot Track from the Megalong Valley road to Bowtells Swing Bridge on the Coxs River, a distance of about fourteen kilometers return. On our drive to the start of the walk we had passed through a rain band, but by the time we started walking it had turned into a bright and sunny day with a temperature of around fifteen degrees. The group were in high spirits, the descent into Megalong through delightful rainforest had primed them for what was hoped would be an enjoyable walk. The first section of the walk passed through open grazing country. Cattle next to the track show little interest as we moved past. Gradually the open fields gave way to more heavily timbered country. Although the track was climbing steadily the way ahead did not present any difficulties to our group. An hour into the walk we stopped for a munchie break. The track began to level off and walking was quite pleasant. We then dropped abruptly into a small gorge. This section included a number of steps that would prove challanging on our return journey. After climbing out of this gorge the track once again levelled off, until after about two and half hours walking we reached Coxs River and the swing bridge. This would be our lunch stop.
We chose a large granite rock shelf next to the water for our lunch site. Some in the group sat down an enjoyed their lunch whilst others took on the challenge of crossing over the river on the swing bridge. As the name implies the bridge does swing and it would test the determination of those who sort to take it on. The bridge was not for the faint hearted or for anyone suffering from vertigo. In the intrepid spirit of the Mountain Devils, fear was cast aside as numerous crossings were carried out. One paticular cba employee was still shaking as she gave an impromptu track side interview. It was apparent that she extremely pleased with her achievement.
After about an hour, it was time head back on our return journey. We found out that the return would take considerably longer than our outward journey. It was in fact a slow and gradual climb back to the Megalong Valley Road. The legs were straining as we climbed up out of the small gorge previouly mentioned. It took over three and half hours to reach the road.
Eventually we completed our walk, regouped and then descended on the tea rooms. We sat down in a cossy dinning room, enjoyed tea, coffee, scones and especially blackberry cheese cake…yummy. There was plenty of chatter as were recovered and talked about a most enjoyable day. The day was getting on as we finally headed off on the long drive home.
Thanks to everyone who took part. It was a joy for me to lead such a wonderful group of people.
Participants: trish, rod (v), lyn, mandy (new member), rosslyn, luis, leanne, kate, christine (v), renate, michael and andy.

19-05-19 - The Painters Walk.

17 members and 2 visitors set off by train and ferry on a beautiful autumn morning. Not long into the walk we deviated down to Little Sirius Point where we paused on the rocks for morning tea with a panoramic view up and down the harbor. Next we descended to Curlew Camp which was a camp for impressionist artists such as Streeton, Roberts and Podmore from 1890. Back on the track we soon arrived at Sirius Cove Reserve where Kerri thoughtfully supplied us with bubble gadgets. We formed a large circle, then blew bubbles in the air as a fond tribute to our recently departed member, Harry.
After this short break we were energized to continue around the cove and climb the many steps. We paused again at The Castle, a 1914 building converted to 6 units right at Curraghbeena Point. The ground floor unit was recently sold for $4.8 million. We then continued up, then down and around Mosman Bay and along Cremorne Point to Robertsons Point for lunch. This was to be the end of the walk, but 15 of us decided to continue around the point through Cremorne Reserve around Shell Cove to The Hodgson Lookout and finally down to Kurraba Point Wharf for our ferry and train home.

05-05-19 - Stanwell Park to Scarborough and Grevillea Park.

Originally a recon walk for a future activity, I decided to make this last minute addition to the program confidently, as I had studied maps & timetables. Our day would be dependent on meeting our transport. With Alice handing in her membership form, our small but eager group of 9 members left Campbelltown early & we changed at Redfern for a South Coast train.
Alighting at Stanwell Park station we found the toilets closed for renovation & the portaloo padlocked. With a hint of urgency we headed along Railway Cres, towards the Stanwell Park Beach Reserve amenities block. Crossing the footbridge over Lawrence Hargrave Drive (LHD), Sue spied LOAF Kitchen & the call of coffee was too strong to resist. So I left Jochen to accompany Sue down Station St behind us. The rest of the group were well on their way when I caught up, as a tourist bus full of Probus members drove past. The race was on for the valuable limited resources! Unfortunately our transport timetable didn't allow for a morning tea break at the lovely looking Beach Kiosk, sitting on the wide verandah would've been nice.
Not going back up Station St to LHD we continued southwards along the beach track. A wrong turn required Mountain Devils to become Mountain Goats for a steep unstable climb down, holding onto tree branches & helping hands. Instead of walking via Baird Park, we left our footprints in the sand heading to Kallaroo Ave & Murrawal Rd. Back on LHD we watched as big black clouds came closer with each step. As rain started to sprinkle I grabbed my waterproof camera out, while some reached for jackets. With the rain getting much harder all wet weather gear was found with lightning speed. Now bucketing down I was happily snapping photos. Then cyclonic winds hit us. Next we were attacked by frozen shards stinging our bare skin. After the Antarctic blast had past drizzle was a welcome change. At one point I stood & watched a rainbow move towards me as I took photos. Reaching Coalcliff Sue & Alice called it a day & headed to the station. A short wait for a warm train was greatly appreciated. Continuing down the footpaths steep descent, we soon removed our wet weather gear as clouds gave way to blue sky. Waiting to lead the group by a waterfront scenic route via Coalcliff Beach Reserve & Leeder Park, Steve decided we should follow a fellow tourist along the main boring footpath of LHD instead. Oh well maybe next time!!! At Sea Cliff Bridge warm sunny weather made the crossing especially memorable, considering our earlier soaking. Great views & photo opportunities made the 665 metre bridge seem shorter. An under bridge path will be explored, definitely next time!!! Keeping an eye on the time & after many stops & detours it would be tight, so we upped our pace towards Scarborough. Just south of the Sea Cliff Bridge is Clifton, a community with an interesting past of mining disasters & strikes. Unfortunately we didn't have time to look at the School of Arts historic building still serving the locals 110 years later. Another stop for next time!!! With Scarborough station in sight we saw an old stairway (yep that'll do, no cars coming, let's go) tapping our Opal cards with a few minutes to spare. On sundays northern area trains stop every 2 hours only. Heading further south to Thirroul, we changed for an all stations local service. This train would take us to Bulli. Jochen was still wet & decided to go home. Noticing so many people on platform 1 I told him to hurry over as a train to Sydney was due.
Remembering Grevillea Park was near the Bowling Club I suggested it for lunch. Down to 6 members we only just managed to fit in the lift at Bulli station. A short walk along LHD & a left turn our lunch spot was now a company training centre! Luckily across the road were the sunday markets, our new lunch spot. A gold coin donation for entry was paid & the search was on. Finding a table on the grass, we enjoyed the entertainment of a male singer & his guitar. My plastic knife & fork were unable to cut through the burnt bottom of my pie. But mixing the Pot Roast filling with the mashed potato & pea n ham gravy was a yummy idea. The bacon & egg rolls looked mouth wateringly delicious. After a wander around before leaving, Luis bought 3 avocados for $10.
Up a short track Illawarra Grevillea Park is only opened 12 days per year, lovingly tended by volunteers. Paying our admission fee of $5, we ran into Devil Leanne & hubby Graham at the plant sale. The colourful display gardens contain hundreds of Grevillea, other native species, rare plants & hybrids. Also a rainforest walk, acres of tracks, BBQ & picnic facilities & native plants & saplings for sale. Books & posters on plants, native birds & gardening are also for sale in an old chapel, saved from demolition & transferred to its present site. The rear area of Slacky Flat Park behind the gardens is accessible 24/7, during open days a gate is unlocked to allow a bottom to top climb. Many different paths wind their way around & are a pleasure to explore, seemingly a million miles from anywhere. Unfortunately we had to leave to make our way home & once again it started to sprinkle. Heading back to LHD & for a surprise we took a bus to Thirroul, then checked our train departure time. 45 minutes. Perfect for a visit to Byrne Surf Shop & Cafe across the road. Hot drinks inside on their lounge was a great way to finish. A fast train to Redfern before our last leg back home. A very long day out. At a later date I will lead a shorter & unhurried Coalcliff to Scarborough walk with lunch at Scarborough. Also a separate outing to Grevillea Park walking all the tracks is likely. Kerri

24-04-19 - Garrawarra Farm to Garie Beach, RNP.

7 members and 1 visitor set off from the catho for the drive to the RNP. We dropped 6 of the group at Garrawarra Farm and drove down to Garie Beach to drop off a car for the car shuffle. The walk starts by heading south along Garrawarra Farm Rd toward Otford for a few kilometres before turning off onto the Coastal Track towards Palm Jungle.
We stopped for morning tea at Werong Lookout, a nice spot that gives great views south across Wollongong. From here the track starts a long downhill run which can be a bit hard on the knees. Palm Jungle is a pretty area and a surprise for the first time visitor as the trail meanders through Coachwood forest and giant Palms. We reached Burning Palms which is a group of cabins with its own surf club and beach patrol. Up and over Semi Detached Point and we headed to South Era, which is another cabin community but there are a lot more cabins here than at Burning Palms and some have amazing views. The Coastal Track meanders through South Era and passes by a very impressive surf club. Another up and over Mid Era Point and we arrived at North Era. We scouted for a spot to have lunch but all the shady spots were marshy bogs. The only spot was in the shade of the long drop toilet block, oh well, it was better than out in the sun.
Relaxing lunch over we made the last and hardest climb of the day. It's a long way up Thelma Head and there are track works in progress. A short rest stop at the top and the descent to Garie Beach starts. Past more cabins and we arrived outside the impressive surf club at Garie Beach. A quick trip to pick up the other car and we were on our way home.

14-04-19 - Quarantine Station, North Head.

With nothing on the activities calendar, I decided to make a last minute addition, just in case anyone was interested. 8 of us met on the early train, heading to Circular Quay for an easy day out.
Our ferry ride over was very calm. While passing North Head, I pointed out Q Station on the hillside to the group. Alighting at Manly everyone had a choice to walk or get a bus to Q Station. Some decided 'bus please' so the walking group crossed towards The Corso and waited. I led the rest to the bus stop explained timetable, bus details and meeting place. Satisfied my directions were understood, I left to lead the rest to Q Station. Darley Rd seems to get steeper everytime and halfway up Luis performed a striptease for us. Up top the old Manly Hospital is being renewed as a child and young adult hospice, an absolutely fantastic use for this old building. With the road flattening out we veered right, now walking along North Head Scenic Rd. Getting closer to Q Station entrance, bus 135 drove past us, stopping to let Devils off.
Regrouping we entered the Reception Building, taking maps we also received helpful information from one of the ladies behind the counter. Outside I informed the group they were free to wander around and meet up later for morning tea. Audrey and Ian headed off along Wharf Rd, while I told the rest I was going by Entrance Rd. Knowing it wasn't my first time visiting, it seemed like a good idea to follow the leader! The old Quarantine Station is on 30 hectares with bushland surrounding the area. Restoration work is keeping buildings close to original condition. Some are now used as visitor accommodation, guest lounges, eateries and function venues. Tours are available including differing ghost tours. Along Entrance Rd we detoured, taking a closer look at a few old structures. Turning left at Cottage Rd, 3 cute cottages on big blocks are available for bigger groups staying at Q. Continuing on to Isolation Rd, Devils were amazed at the hotel room accommodation with stunning views and outdoor furniture on wide balconies. Phones were immediately used for checking room rates. Isolation Rd leads to the Former Isolation Precinct, now a smaller group of accommodation buildings in a whisper quiet location. The guest lounge verandah has seating with a panoramic view from South Head to the Harbour Bridge and beyond. Finally wandering off road down old stone steps through bushland, we reached the Former Hospital Precinct. One larger building is now a function venue. A complete hospital ward is only accessible on a tour or by looking through the windows. Doctors and nurses quarters are open for inspection.
As tummies started to rumble, we carefully made our way down a steep path to the cafe for morning tea. A shady outdoor table was our target, with seats for all acquired before pondering the menu. Not long after, Audrey and Ian arrived via the Wharf Precinct finding a table next to ours. And yes the hot chocolate was yummy. Refreshed we visited the museum, visitors centre and Wharf Precinct buildings, while Audrey and Ian headed up the steep path to the Hospital Precinct. Later and with great timing the shuttle bus arrived. Some jumped on board for a ride to the top. As leader I stayed to ensure the men found their way back up to reception, which included the massive Funicular Stairway!!
Leaving Q Station, our next stop was North Head Sanctuary, an old Military Defence Base. An easy 20 minute walk away along the flat roadway. Reaching our destination at North Fort and with over an hour of free time ahead of us we headed in different directions. We visited Memorial Walk, Fairfax Lookouts, the Information Centre, Bella Vista Cafe and Third Quarantine Cemetery. On Memorial Walk I had a paver laid in honour of my grandfather, which I visited. North Head Sanctuary is managed by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. Besides the North Fort area, are the Barracks and Sheds Precincts with walking tracks through bushland. As time was up, we made our way to the bus stop for an easy ride to Manly Wharf, arriving just in time for the ferry back to Circular Quay and a train home. We enjoyed an interesting day out at an historical part of Sydney that mixes the old and the new perfectly. Everyone should visit Q Station(with or without a ghost tour).

5 to 7-04-19 - Namadgi NP.

A group of members made their way to Cuppacumbalong Homestead at Tharwa on Friday and settled in for the night. Many stayed inside the comfortable interior of the homestead while four members set up tents in the grounds outside. Sign at the main road entrance stated “Private Function” which noted that we had completely booked out all the rooms. Luis joined us later in the evening for a fireside chat and a few good laughs. An innocent spider decided to wander across the floor to see what all the noise and fuss was about but was quickly despatched by firm downward pressure by the combined boots of Trish and Christine.
On the Saturday our group was joined at the Namadgi Park visitor centre by other members who had travelled down that morning. Some early risers had already done a short trip to check out nearby Gibraltar Falls. A total of twenty members attended this weekend and assembled at park HQ. A convoy of cars then travelled to Booroomba Rocks trackhead. Over the next few hours the group walked up a fairly steep hill with a rise of about 200m in altitude to find a stunning view of Canberra and surrounding hills from the lookout (Booroomba Rocks). The cliffs are a popular rock climbing destination and we keenly watched several of the climbers progress up the cliffs. Our group were in no hurry to move on from this absolutely stunning spot. Reluctantly, we returned to our cars for the return journey. On the way down the hill we witnessed an extraordinary sight. A walker ascending back up to the lookout with a fully laden suitcase. Can't see that trend catching on! On way back we visited the relics of the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station which played a vital role in the success of the Apollo lunar missions. There was a highly informative information display there at the campsite. Later on we shared a great meal at the Viking club in Tuggeranong. The dim lighting at our table proved no obstacle to Trish who came prepared with a head torch to light up the dinner table.
The following day we regrouped at park HQ where our group was joined by Rupert the Bear an honorary member and mascot. Another convoy drove to the carpark at Yankee Hat further south in the park. After our initial briefing we ventured across about 3km of fairly open flat country towards our destination. Walking conditions were close to perfect and there was a wonderful collective spirit in the group. Rupert also made a huge contribution to the day and challenged our creativity. After a short rest we made our way up a small rise to an overhang which had a stunning display of indigenous art with vibrant red and white pigments. This site has been in existence for about 800 years. Interestingly, the pigments used do not naturally occur in this area. Birds, animals and spiritual figures were all on display and were wonderfully displayed and preserved. We slowly made our way back to the cars for the journey home. Some members took a side trip to visit the historic homestead in the Orraral Valley.

07-04-19 - Brooklyn and Dangar Island.

With one member missing the train (Trudy) our group of 6 members and 2 visitors (Audrey and Ian) headed to Central. Making a quick change to platform 11 we boarded the Wyong bound train. An empty carriage made it possible for Devils to sit on the left, receiving a great scenic view of the Hawkesbury River and local area before alighting. As trackwork between Central and Strathfield had slowed us down slightly, a brisk walk was required to make our ferry. A very large group on our train missed the ferry, so all on board had a nice relaxing roomy cruise on the river. This quaint little old wooden boat is the opposite of what we are used to on Sydney Harbour. The 2 Great Danes on board looked out at the water longingly.
Stepping onto Dangar Island wharf we made a beeline for the waterfront cafe, Dangar Island Depot. Our usual hot cuppas were ordered and enjoyed while soaking up the vista amongst serenity. After morning tea we preceded to Yallaroi Pde. Turning left we soon passed by the community hall, public toilets and Bowling Club.On Grantham Cres we took the track between houses to reach Bradleys Beach. A beach long barefoot paddle in the water was optional and abit chilly. After drying our feet we followed Neotsfield Ave. Just past the Ambulance Station, the fire truck blocked our way. Islander volunteers were checking hoses and equipment but we managed to say hello as we squeezed by. Further along we found Riverview Ave, which circles Dangar Island. Spreading out and going at our own pace, there was much to see along this tranquil street. With the exception of jetskis in the distance. Unfortunately due to the ferry timetable Devils couldn't head up top to Kippara Park. Keeping an eye on the time, the ferry arrived not long after we did. The wharf has a great photo op of M1, Pacific Highway road and railway bridges spanning the Hawkesbury River. Some local kids were selling Easter raffle tickets, raising money for their school and I happily bought one.
On our return journey to Brooklyn, 2 lucky Devils grabbed a spot in the tiny outdoor section of the bow. An unobstructed view and cooling breeze was nice. Back on the mainland, our lunch spot was opposite Hawkesbury River station at Fitzies Fish and Chips. Its undercover seating area was inviting enough. With 2 roosters and bush turkeys roaming around, they were distractions from the farce of watching many wrong orders arriving. The chips were yummy, ice cold water free and bottles were replenished before moving on. To walk off lunch our last wander was McKell Park and Federation Foreshore Walkway. Heading up hill was abit much for 2 Devils who made their way back to the station instead. The top BBQ area was full of happy picnickers, as we strode by to a bush track and stairway leading down to Flat Rock Pt. The Federation Foreshore Walkway runs from Parsley Bay to Brooklyn Marina. Parsley Bay has a park, boat ramp and fish cleaning table. Heading in the opposite direction we passed rocky fishing spots, enclosed beach swimming area, kids playground, showers and picnic tables. This path is flat but rocky with a cement footpath closer to town. Heading back towards the station and only 8 minutes til the train, we picked up Roz and Niveen on the way. With precision timing the train and us arrived together.
The hour long Interurban limited stops ride to Central seemed alot quicker than it was. Everyone had a great day getting to see a new place, 'always wanted to go' was a comment made by most.

31-03-19 - Mill Creek - Alfords Point.

On a great autumn day, 16 members and 4 visitors made their way to the start of the walk deep in Alfords Point. Following a fire trail downhill we were soon out of suburbia and deep into bushland. Interesting and varied sandstone rocks and cliffs to the left and a steep and sometimes almost vertical drop right down to the creek and mangroves on the right. Trees varied between the usual eucalyptus to interesting large old angophoras. As we walked along this fairly flat trail we could also catch glimpses of the Georges River in the distance through the trees.
Continuing on and across a small rill of water we then went down and along a large sweeping bend around the head of a pretty fern filled gully. We eventually reached an open Y junction. Here was the start of a very steep downhill on loose soil and rocks. All doing this at our own pace, we soon reached the banks of Mill Creek.
From here the rough track along the creek was very overgrown, but we made the effort and slowly pushed through. We eventually came to a rock slab and other suitable rocks overlooking a small dam. This was to be a well anticipated stop for morning tea break. We returned the same way finding the climb out easier than going down. Towards the end we left the main track and descended down a narrow track stopping halfway down on a rocky ledge for lunch. Some continued further down towards the water for a bit of an exploratory.
However as soon as we stopped and opened up our lunch, we were swarmed by mosquitos. So it must have been a record short lunch break as we jumped up barely 15 minutes later and climbed out to the main track and continued to the finish of the walk. A good time was had by all.

24-03-19 - Dharawal NP - Four Mile Ck.

Even with a few cancellations we still had 9 members and 1 visitor for this walk. Due to forecast hot weather our leader detemined that we would be doing a shorter version of the walk.
We met at the 10T fire trail gate on Lysaghts Rd and set off. This walk follows numerous old trails around the western side of Stokes Ck. Initally it was very overgrown and we had to weave our way around some fallen trees and overgrown shrubs. To our leaders great surprise the old trails opened up and they became easy to follow. This was a relief as it meant the walk may not be a scrub bash. We made good time and were soon turning off to Four Mile Ck. The creek was bone dry even after some recent rain, it looked a bit sad. Back up and out of the creek valley and we stopped for morning tea on some rocks at our next turn off.
Everyone was happy for the break as the overcast conditions meant really high humidity. Our only scramble for the day was when we had to divert around a fallen tree soon after our break. Up the hill and our next turn off arrived. To our surprise the next track appears to have had a large vehicle driven along it, all the scrub was pushed over making for a wide easy track to follow. Turning off again we headed down to a lookout over Stokes Ck. After a short break at the lookout we headed south along one of the major fire trails. A shortcut across to another fire trail and we came out on Lysaghts Rd about 2-3km south of where the cars were. We road bashed back past the airfield and got back to the cars just after midday. Some convenient rocks made a good lunch spot and we enjoyed a relaxing break before heading home. In the end we did about 11km and finished before the heat arrived.

10-03-19 - Historic Convict Roads - Mt York.

A group of eight Mountain Devils and three visitors assembled at the Catholic Club and proceeded to the upper Blue Mountains at Mt York (at Glenbrook a ninth Mountain Devil joined the entourage). A wrong turn prior to the Mt York road led to embarrassment on behalf of the trip leader. Once on the right road the group gathered in the carpark at Mt York. A short history lesson was given on the significance of Mt York in the early development of the colony of New South Wales. A welcome was given to the visitors, and the walk commenced. The first stage of the walk would be the descent of Coxs Pass. This was the very first road that led down from the Blue Mountains to the Bathurst Plains and the grazing land that it promised. The road was constucted by convicts in 1814/15. The upper sections of the pass were incredibly steep and the descent by the early pioneers was challenging to say the least. It was just past the cutting made by convicts to allow the progress of the carriage of Governor Lachlan Macquarie and his wife that the walk leader took a detour to nowhere. It was a steep set of steps that sapped the energy of all invoved. In my pack I had most things, but thankfully for me, there was no cat of nine tails. Judging by the looks on peoples faces, there would have been a stampede to get hands on it, and as would follow, the first public flogging at Coxs Pass since 1814. Fortunately there would be no sequel to picnic at Hanging Rock. Back on the right track it was plain sailing down to the bottom of the pass. It was very pleasant going at this stage.
A stop was made for lunch at the Lockyers Road trackhead carpark/camping ground. There was also a large group of Sydney Bushwalkers present. They had walked in from Mt Victoria railway station. This had added an extra ten kilometres to their walk.
After lunch came the second stage of our walk. This was the ascent of Lockyers Road to the ridge that led back to Mt York. The climb progressed at different paces, depending on the stength and fitness of the individual walkers. For some it was a stroll in the park and for others it was a challenging climb. One of the visitors was using this walk as training exercise for the Kokoda Trail. All the visitors and female Mountain Devils acquitted themselves well, much better than a couple of their male counterparts. Eventually all reached the ridge road that headed back to Mt York. It would be a further two and a half kilometres back to the cars.
It had been a long day, the driving alone, took nearly four hours. I'm sure there were some very tired walkers at the end. Thanks to all the participants, and to the cheerfull manner under which they took on the activity. Walking group: Luis, Mandy (v), Kate, Greg, Margaret (v), Paul (v), Lorraine, Robyn, Cathy, Laurent, Andy and trip leader Phil .
A few facts about the history of the these convict built roads; the road across the Blue Mountains began on July 7th 1814 and was finished on January 14th 1815. In April 1815 Governor Macquarie drove his carrige across it from Sydney to Bathurst. The most formidable obstacle was the construction of Coxs Pass at Mt York. It was begun on the 7th of november 1814, and completed on the 15th december 1814. The construction party consisted of 28 men (convicts), and 6 soldiers. All convicts were all pardoned and given a grant of land, contruction of Lockyers Road was abandoned in 1832 and workers transferred to the nearby Victoria Pass.

03-03-19 - Manly and Markets.

While heading into the city, Marina became our newest Mountain Devil. Off the train we met up with Maeve who had stayed overnight with family in Sydney. At Circular Quay the crowds hadn't yet arrived so there was no crush & all boarded the ferry in an orderly manner. A few of us headed astern for an outdoor ride over on this beautiful morning. Crossing between North & South Heads was mostly calm except for small bumps, not a white peak was spotted. Regrouping outside the wharf we started along The Corso. Gladys was in desperate need of thongs so we hit the bargain shops. Not wanting to pay $20 for touristy ones (as you shouldn't) we continued & shortly a pretty pink $5 pair were on her feet. Reaching Manly Beach 2 Devils decided a very close inspection of the Pacific Ocean was warranted. Retracing our steps back to the markets, each went at their own pace hoping to find that something special.
Manly Markets is a mixture of fruit & veg, artisan foods, new goods ranging from unusual sunnies, hand made one offs & Manly centric souvenirs. About halfway along Market Lane, coffee started calling very loudly for some, which could no longer be ignored!!!! Eventually all Devils had a seat at the table & yes the hot chocolate was absolutely delicious. Ditching our Art Gallery visit (which is a short stroll from Manly Wharf) instead opting for a return journey across Sydney Harbour. Standing at the bow, any swell between the Heads up now virtually non existent. Alighting at Circular Quay we crossed Alfred St for a bus to Rozelle. After a short wait the 518 took us the scenic route via Hyde Park North, St Marys Cathedral, Park St, Anzac Bridge to Victoria Rd. With Darling St just ahead the stop button was pressed with such finesse by the leader. Rozelle Collectors Markets were now in sight. Before entering, a time & meeting place was made for the next leg of our day. With all Devils aware of time constraints, we headed off in every direction. Rozelle Collectors Markets are a mix of trash & treasure, plants, clothes, old wares & collectibles like vinyl records. And yes I've seen a kitchen sink or two. With time up & counting heads one was missing. The rest of the group crossed Darling St for the bus stop opposite. Spying Luis at an outside stall waiting to pay, I knew we still had time to make the bus. Climbing aboard the 433, Harold Park Tramsheds & lunch were a few minutes ride away. After a pitstop, with lunch & drinks bought we wandered to Jubilee Park.
Sitting under a massive shady tree, our group was soon surrounded by new friends, of the feathered variety. A 10 metre walk to the light rail station was an easy way to finish. Unfortunately on the way back to Central, one member was assaulted by an absolutely disgusting & sickening smell from a fellow passsenger, who was leaning over her to hold on. Sitting across the aisle, I soon also copped the full strength of this once in a lifetime 'amazing aroma'. By some miracle we both managed to keep our lunches down. Rozelle Collectors Markets are on Saturdays & Sundays. Harold Park Tramsheds are best visited as a dine-in experience. With a wide range of restaurants to choose from, a long lunch with friends is recommended. Also close by on Saturdays, Glebe Markets should be on your must do list.

24-02-19 - Empire Pass, Lawson.

On a pleasant and mild late summer day 22 members and 2 visitors assembled at North Lawson Park looking forward to some exercise and fun in the mountains. After the briefing which included some history about the Empire Pass track the group made its way along the surprisingly hilly North Lawson fire trail. A side visit was made to Echo bluff which was a pleasant elevated spot giving us some perspective however the view was almost completely obscured by trees. As a lookout point Echo Bluff was disappointing. Spirits remained high as we walked down a steep hill to reach our stop for morning tea at Frederica Falls. Proved a lovely spot and many photos were taken. We were in no hurry to move on but our journey beckoned. We continued along the bottom of the valley traversing Empire Pass. There were some rather boggy patches and logs which provided a series of challenges. Rain in the preceding days had also made the rocks surprisingly slippery and a few unlucky group members landed on their bottoms. We passed through an especially pretty section called Lucy's Glen with overhangs and wonderful tree ferns. A few hungry leeches were also happy to join in on our adventure. After an hour or so we stopped at a pretty creek crossing and had a debrief and some lunch. Robyn won the award for the leech magnet of the day after attracting no less than four of the annoying intruders. Concluded that we probably had claimed the club record for most falls and slips for one day although almost all were fairly minor in nature. Michael kept us informed with an educational lunch time practical demonstration of leech behaviour.
Forest after the lunch break was a drier and walking pleasant and more secure. Group did a side trip to picturesque St Michael's Falls which we suggested was named in honour of Michael. Once again many photos were taken at this delightful spot. We met some travellers from Germany. A few hundred metres away was Dantes Glen, a stunning glade with another pretty cascade probably the most spectacular location on the lovely walk. We lingered here for some time enjoying both the scenery and the serenity. To complete our walk we needed to walk up a steep set of stairs but were assisted by a hand rail. Near the top of the hill there was a delightful red-coloured fall called Fairy Falls. A few minutes later were were back at the cars. One unfortunate driver discovered a flat tyre which was changed with some helpful input from several members of the group. Truly a wonderful day of walking with many happy memories.

17-02-19 - Cave Creek Tunnel - Hill Top.

24 walkers (including 7 visitors) gathered at the Catholic Club for the trip to Hill Top. Driving directions provided by our leader were foiled by a speed sign change (it was a 100km last time I looked) and a few people missed the turn off to the cave car park. Eventually everyone arrived at the right location. We had a short rest stop to use the loos before we headed off.
The walk down to the western cave entrance is straight forward and we made good time. The turn off for the western cave entrance was reached and we were surprised to find the ladder had been replaced by a set of stairs. Nearly everybody headed into the cave for a look. We stopped for morning tea at the cave entrance as it was a lot cooler than up on the main walking track. We enjoyed a lengthy tea break.
Back up to the main trail and we continued on down the creek valley before the trail turns and drops down to the creek again. Descending into the Coachwood forest along the creek was a surprise to many and the temperature dropped dramatically. From here the trail heads back up the creek valley to the eastern end of the cave. The eastern end of the cave has a 4m waterfall and there was dribble of water falling into the pool below. We stopped here for a rest and explore.
After enjoying this surprising location we headed back to the cars. Amazing how the temperature climbed as we ascended out of the creek valley. We made it back to the cars by 11:30 and decided we would drive over to Thirlmere Lakes for lunch.
We stopped at the picnic ground next to Couridjah Lake. The weather had really warmed up but there was plenty of shade. Lake Couridjah is now completely dry. This is such a sad sight. A number of walkers went down onto the lake bed and it was striking to think that we were actually standing on a spot that had previously been well under water. After a relaxing lunch break we headed for home. Cave Creek is a real surprise for the first time visitor and I think everyone enjoyed our visit.

10-02-19 Karloo Pool - Royal National Park.

Sunday was perfect weather for a walk in the park. Expected temps. 26C-28C.
Fourteen members met at the Catho carpark, sorted out the carpool and travelled to Heathcote Station where we met our visitor. Michael went straight into explorative mode and located a geocache close by. The introductive circle completed, our group of fifteen set off down the road a short distance to the Royal National Park Karloo Track sign and a sign 'Please do not disturb my home' relating to skinks, spiders, frogs and snakes.
The start of the track swung around behind the SES and RFS Centre where Michael got his foot wet when he stepped on a piece of wood partially submerged in a pool of water. The rest of the group walked around the water. The actual start of the Karloo Track was not much further along to the right of the open grassy lawns behind the houses. This part of the track, with its exposed tree roots and mossy rocks passed by tree ferns, Elephant Ears (Colocasia) plants and forest trees, then opened out onto a sandy bush track.
Half an hour later, Lorraine and Michael found a good shady area with suitable boulders and rock platforms for seating. To the surprise of the group, our leader called 'morning tea'. Someone was overheard saying ‘So soon after we started our walk?’ A group of eight walkers followed by another group of five passed by heading for the Uloola Track and the Karloo Pools for a swim. The catchcry 'walkers coming through' would be repeated many times throughout the mornings walk.
Refreshed after morning tea, our group headed up to the ridgeline where we had the opportunity to view the surrounding valleys. Most of the ridgeline track had exposed tree roots, sandy sections and uneven paths, rocky stretches interspersed with stone steps and a diverse mix of trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers, e.g. Flannel Flowers and Spider Grevilleas on rocky platforms and ledges. By now the track seemed like “Pitt Street” as hikers, families, youngsters and potential swimmers continued to pass by our group and our catchcry 'walkers coming though' filtered down the line from our leader and visa verse up the line too. We stopped at a large rock platform lookout, offering excellent views, to regroup before the steep descent. Michael took the opportunity again to explore the area for and found another geocache. Other groups of walkers, picnickers and swimmers were also at the lookout. This outlook would be very important and used again to regroup on our return walk. As we descended on the steep rocky track at our own pace taking extra care of our footing we heard shouting and laugher coming from the area below.
Coming out of the bush we saw picnickers, hikers and families cooling off in the surrounding shady areas and some people swimming in the pool. Kate suggested the large shady rock platform on the opposite side above the pool would be a nice place to have our lunch so we all wandered across. Those devils who had their swimmers under their clothing were quick to disrobe and into the pool. Robyn was first, followed by Phi, Michael and Greg. Carmel, Lorraine, Lyn, John and Jochen settled down on the rock platform to 'just paddle their feet and cool off'. Lorraine noticed Phil had set-up his mini gas burner and billy for an enjoyable ‘Cuppa’ with his lunch. During a chat four of our group were surprised when they found out that the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory applied to them. The relaxed atmosphere, along with the knowledge that we weren’t in a hurry to leave the pool for the steep climb out, was very enjoyable. Luis and Lorraine were lucky to spy a water dragon on a large boulder behind where they were sitting and Michael confirmed the sighting by commenting 'yes a water dragon’. ‘What are all these people doing in my water hole?’
Refreshed after lunch we left the pool area entering the bush onto the steep track and climb up to the rock platform lookout on the ridgeline where we regrouped for five minutes to regain our breath and strength. Revived, we set out once again, across the ridgeline on the same track and platform areas, down the descent to pass by a small water hole and climbed up the steps through the cool fern area and came out at the RNP sign near the grassy lawns behind the houses. Two young entrepreneurs had set up a refreshment table serving lemonade (50c/cup) and cold ice blocks. At least five of our group supported the young entrepreneurs and bought either lemonade, ice blocks or both. From here it was only a short walk back to the RNP Karloo Track sign and then back to the carpark. Thank you everyone for a very enjoyable day.

03-02-19 - Heathcote to Waterfall.

On a warm summer day 14 members assembled a the Catholic Club before the trip to Heathcote rail station. Met one more member there. Group walked through suburban Heathcote before entering the National Park near the scout camp. Native birds were active and many orb weaving spiders also made their presence felt as a few of our party passed through spider webs. The group made good progress to the Friendly Rd a sealed water board access road. Group rewarded themselves with short breaks at a pool and at the Battery Causeway. A very curious water dragon found our walking party particularly fascinating. Despite rain the day before the bush was very dry. We soon joined the Bullawaring Track to continue our journey to Waterfall.
As the day progressed, walking became increasingly difficult. The temperature was only about 30 degrees Celsius, but the high humidity and complete lack of breeze in the sheltered valley made walking conditions very harsh. Some members of the group succumbed to the conditions and developed heat stress. We encountered walkers from other clubs who were doing the same walk but everyone found the day challenging. We took many rest breaks and rehydration and all members were able to complete the activity in difficult conditions. The information sign at the Waterfall end of the walk stated “Heathcote 8.6km” but it certainly seemed much further. Two members of the group had Fit Bit devices that suggested that 12-15km might be more accurate.

27-01-19 - Rose Bay to Watsons Bay.

On paper this activity would be an easy through walk, taking in great scenic aspects of Sydney harbour. unfortunately the day turned out uncomfortably warm.
Our group of 13 mountain devils and 4 visitors disembarked from the ferry at Rose Bay, and headed straight for the shade of a large port Jackson fig tree for the routine brief and welcome to the visitors. It was then time to move off on the walk. As soon as we hit the beach at Rose Bay it was apparent that there would be no cooling breeze to make progress just a little pleasant. In the true tradition of the Mountain Devils we trudged on. Any hint of shade or breeze was welcomed. There were numerous stops along the way to recover. The hermitage foreshore scenic walk gave expansive views of Sydney Harbour and included Hermit Bay and Milk Beach. There were comments from some of our party along the line of… going for a swim in our bathers or conversely bathing in our swimmers (depending in which state of Australia you grew up in). No such luck! No one came prepared. A clearing near Strickland house (c 1856) gave us a welcome breeze. It also stimulated debate as to which suburb of Sydney were we actually in? A quick Google search gave the answer… Vaucluse.
Eventually we entered Nielson Park and an extended rest.
At Nielson park there was time for a nibble, or a cold drink, an ice cream, pee, or just a look around. It was a shady place, loved by generations of sydneysiders. For many in our little group it was the their first visit. Suitably recovered our group headed off on the second half of the walk. This part included the back streets of Vaucluse. It’s a different world in this part of Sydney. The steetscape is very well nurtured and pleasing to the eye, and it seemed that the heat of the day was tempered by all the lush greenery of the suburb. One particular property for sale took my eye. It would make an ideal weekender…if anyone in the club has a spare 25 million give me a call and see what we can arrange.
Parsley bay was our next destination. We entered the bay via an historic suspension bridge. Half way across the bridge a delightful breeze was encountered. This particular spot in Sydney Harbour is one of my favourites. It is truly beautiful.
Then we entered the outskirts of Watsons Bay and the short distance to the end of the walk. Watsons Bay is a very popular spot in Sydney especially on a Sunday. A good hour was allowed for members of the group to do their own thing. Some sat and had lunch in the park adjacent to the ferry wharf, others headed straight for the pub to buy a refreshing cold beer. Others bought fish ’n’ chips from Doyles. A number of our group inadvertently gatecrashed a birthday party at the pub. A large round table, unoccupied was too inviting to avoid and so the Mountain Devils moved in. Instead of being shown the door, the birthday boy Michael generously shouted some members a drink. Carmel as always the life of the party and Luis were the lucky ones. Eventually it was time for our intrepid group to gather at the ferry wharf and begin the return journey home. Thanks to all for coming along. Participants: Greg, Trish, Robyn, Carmel, Steve, Jochen, Lorraine, Kate, Luis, Andy, Hilda, Maria, trevor(v), Marina(v), Colleen(v) and Marilyn(v).

19-01-19 - Symphony in the Park.

A group of 9 Mountain Devils and one visitor plus 17,500 others gathered in Parramatta Park to experience music from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. SSO is one of the World's pre-eminent orchestras, and the programme on offer and the quality of music highlighted this fact. The theme of the night was the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. There was music from Star Wars, The Mission, Harry Potter and traditional Chinese music. Also featured Morning Mood in The Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg and a composition by Percy Grainger. All the while in the cloudy skies above hundreds of fruit bats serenaded to the music. The atmosphere was electric then just before 10.00pm the Grand finale, Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture. This well loved composition has become the traditional ending to the Symphony in the Park. As the overture reached a climax cannons fired, church bells rang and fireworks exploded overhead all carefully synchronised to the music. Fantastic. The crowd as one stood, cheered and clapped. Our little group of Mountain Devils all agreed that it was a wonderful performance. As we headed home there was a real buzz from what we had just experienced.
Thanks to those who attended: Lynn, John, Maeve, Carmel, Steve, Lorraine, Trish, Kate and Maura (Visitor).
P.S. Thanks for the Birthday Cake.

13-01-19 - Ferry Fun Day.

My idea of a ferry fun day was to show off some lesser known, but easy to reach parts around Sydney Harbour. 7 Devils left a blue & sunny Macarthur but our welcome at Circular Quay was a dark & stormy looking sky. Explaining that at each stop I'd let the group know what time our next ferry would be leaving & were free to wander around. But be back - the ferry nor I would wait!
Boarding the 8.37am F3 Rivercat our 1st stop & morning tea spot was Cockatoo Island. Most Devils made for Societe Overboard cafe while Lorraine had the explorers bug & wasted no time in getting started. With food speedily despatched, our snail paced delivered drinks finally found their way into our hands. As Luis debated about Chilli Eggs, I reassured him they would be ready quickly & his decision was an easy one. No complaints about tastiness from this cafe. Upon finishing, Devils left our table heading in every direction. Chris, Luis & I walked through Dog Leg Tunnel past a cinema to the Docks Precinct. We then followed the path to Tunnel 1 & back to the Northern Side of Cockatoo Island. Slowly wandering around we checked out overnight stay facilities. Cockatoo Island deserves more than a quick visit with so much to see but it can get very hot in summer. All Devils arrived at the wharf ready for our 2nd stop Ballast Point Park.
Aboard F8 I couldn't resist the temptation for a Titanic pose in blustery conditions, while enjoying a scenic tour before reaching Balmain Wharf. Walking around Mort Bay to Ballast Point Park dogs happily chased balls, come over to say hello or just loved being free. Once an industrial area for Caltex the site was bought in 2002 for public parklands & opened in 2009. A mixture of small picnic spots, winding paths, history plaques & old Caltex relics. An easy walk on flat ground from the wharf, a pretty area. Heading back for our ferry I noticed Sue & Jochen were missing. Remembering my rule, I kept going forward but constantly turned to see if they were following behind. Umm no! Happily checking books at the Balmain Wharf Library, 2 smiling faces were waiting for us. All Devils made the ferry.
Again on board F8, we only had a 10 minute window at Circular Quay to be on Wharf 2 for a F7. Arriving at Circular Quay the place was packed with massive lines waiting for a Watsons Bay ferry that was leaving a few minutes after ours. After talking to staff we queue jumped as a call was made for F7 passengers to come forward. Realising 2 Devils were missing, I rushed back into the crushing Watsons Bay bound crowd, quickly finding Roz & Luis who looked lost. Pushing through the throng all Devils made the ferry.
Together & seated for a 7 minute journey, stop number 3 was Garden Island. Now only open to the public on Sundays, each ferry is met by a security officer who gives a short briefing of the area & answers questions. A very knowledgeable man who has met Prince Harry more than once! With differing interests we spread out, most entering the Naval Museum. I headed up for photos of initials carved in rocks dated 1788. Now undercover with a gated entrance for preservation the etchings are still clearly visible. After feeding the mozzies, it was time to move on. Slowly wandering along paths & down stairs, behind the museum is some old naval equipment placed neatly waterside for your inspection. Garden Island is a lovely quiet spot. After a visit through the Naval Museum use free BBQs or climb the lookout. A rare photo opportunity of Botanical Gardens, Opera House & Harbour Bridge in the one shot awaits you. All Devils met at the wharf continuing eastward on the F7 to Double Bay.
Alighting we turned left at William St, property shopping as we went along until reaching New South Head Rd & our bus stop. Yes it was a cheat but also the easiest way to our final destination of Watsons Bay for lunch. Sue & Jochen chose a restaurant, Lorraine found a big shady tree, I went to Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel for chippies & others a pitstop. The toilets are nice & clean in the morning but by lunchtime are absolutely disgusting!!! While eating we noticed that the ferry queue was half way up Military Rd. Watching with interest the next ferry could not fit everyone waiting on board. Definitely now was the time to make a move & get a place in the very much shorter line asap. Apologies if I interrupted anyone's lunch. Trying to ring Sue & with no answer, I sent a 'find us quickly' message which they did shortly after. Easily all Devils made it on board F4 to Circular Quay. Standing at the bow, wind in our hair on Sydney Harbour -priceless.
Finally ice cream time & yes I did deserve 3 scoops of choc mint. The only casualty of our long day out was Rosslyns shirt due to my inability to open a sauce sachet. Ferry fun day certainly was an interesting, different, relaxing & fun outing.

30-12-18 - Bay Walk at Haberfield.

Fourteen fiesty festive Mountain Devils assembled at the light rail station at Central on a hot summer day. Some of the group had not previously travelled on the light rail and were looking forward to the experience. Our tram departed and was fairly full for the first few stops. After the Star casino and the Fish Markets the numbers on board had thinned considerably. We soon arrived at North Leichardt station and made our way to the start of our circuit. Completed our pre-walk briefing complete with an inflatable koala which our leader had received as a Christmas gift. Over the next few hours we walked around Iron Cove in an anticlockwise direction. The views were delightful on this clear summer day. Although the day was hot the walk was flat, there were numerous shaded areas and plenty of water bubblers for rehydration. Walking was a little uncomfortable but not unpleasant. Despite the conditions, the walking pace was fairly brisk. We marvelled at the architecture of some of the harbourside homes.
After about one hour we settled in for a long relaxing break at Rodd point in a shady cool spot with a spectacular view of the city CBD. Only a short distance remained to complete the circuit back to the light rail. Finished the day with a relaxing cuppa and a chat at Central station.

09-12-18 - Seven Mile Beach, Gerroa.

After a few days of hot weather, this early summer day dawned clear and mild and beckoned us on our journey towards picturesque Gerroa. 16 members and a visitor arrived at the picnic area on Beach Rd close to the centre of the beach. The picnic area was clean, spacious and had good facilities. A recent shark attack at the beach was noted in the pre-walk briefing. We set off on a track through the forest at the southern end of the picnic area. We walked for about half hour through an impressive stand of mature coastal forest. Despite the proximity to the beach there were several tall trees growing in the sandy soil. Lots of small birds made their cheery calls to welcome us. One group member spotted a migratory Sacred Kingfisher and we also passed by some pretty orchids on the forest floor. Also passed a dense cluster of cycads along the way. After about 2km we emerged at the beach.
Most members of the group chose to remove their walking boots and enjoy the feel of the soft beach sand. Phil was resplendent in his brightly coloured budgie shorts. The group walked for about one hour towards Nowra. Beach was clean and unspoiled with almost no rubbish. Beach was also almost deserted and felt a million miles from civilisation. We came across a large number of cuttlebones some of which were huge. There would be many happy birds in the Macarthur area in the following days. We then stopped for a long relaxing morning tea break on a remote section of the beach. After the break we retraced our steps to the car. Another man waited patiently for our group to pass. When the coast was clear we looked back to see him commencing his skinny dip. Finished the day with a marvellous lunch at the Gerroa Fisherman's Club which has a stunning elevated view over the beach and serves an excellent lunch.

25-11-18 - Sydney Living Museums - Part 2.

6 Devils left at a decent hour for Vaucluse House. Changing trains at Central for Edgecliff on the Eastern Suburbs line. Waiting for the 325 bus to arrive our Sunday morning serenade was a jackhammer. The sight of Kambala and Kincoppal private schools made jaws drop. Alighting across from Vaucluse House we noticed cars in an adjacent paddock and headed over. Asking a guy at the gate, I was told it was a private gathering that was finishing and were allowed to go have a closer look. New Lamborghinis, a 60's 3 wheeled Isetta, a limited edition gull wing doored Mercedes - Benz, older Ferraris, Porsches, many other types and with a few we couldn't name. Wandering around but not too close, taking sooo many photos of the insides and out. Free coffees from the kiosk was a bonus for some. And Gladys nearly fell down a rabbit hole. It was a fantastic exhibition we were lucky to come across.
Back on track we followed the path past Vaucluse House Tearooms and through gardens to reach the main house. Up a few stairs then carefully walking along very old and uneven sandstone blocks that made up the verandah. Showing our passes we entered this home built in the 1800s with maps in hand. In the Colannaded Courtyard a very eager guide was desperate to impart her knowledge with anyone. Most stopped to listen but eventually wandered off to see all 3 floors and the cellar. Meeting back at the entrance we went to the nearby stables. Surprised and saddened, inside the old stables was new graffiti. Texta scribble dated 2018 is an eyesore compared to etchings from 1818.
Leaving, we passed by the fountain, into more gardens with many paths leading in different directions to wander around on. We rested while waiting for a bus back to Edgecliff. Our next leg took us west to Elizabeth Farm at Rosehill. Walking from Harris Park station no body had ever seen so many restaurants in such a small area, with most being Indian. Finally reaching our destination we showed our passes, looked at the menus and ordered lunch. Never seen chocolate scones before!! While waiting for all to finish, Niveen started talking to someone she knew. Ready to continue, Hannah the receptionist informed us Dennis would lead us on a free tour of the house. Thanks Niveen, it's nice to have friends. Elizabeth Farm is a 'hands on' museum. Visitors can climb up onto beds, pick up and read family letters and play with children's toys. This is definitely a fun, laid-back approach to the past. Our leftover time was spent wandering the grounds, going back for a second look or sitting along the shady verandah.
Time to leave for home. A short distance away we waited for our bus. Parramatta station was packed with cricket fans heading into the city for the match. Both museums are well worth a visit to Australia's past. Staff in all the living museums are not permitted publicly to acknowledge 'ghostly' sightings unless no one else is around and you tell your story then there is a nod and a slight smile.

24-11-18 - Dharawal NP Twilight Walk.

Even with a few cancellations we still had 20 walkers gather at the 10T fire trail gate in Wedderburn. We set off down the fire trail, along the creek and then up...up...up. The trail was easy to follow and it didn't take us long to reach the 10B trail intersection. The moon wasn't rising till later so it got dark very quickly which forced a re-think about the walk. Executive decisions done we headed to the picnic tables on the West Victoria Rd fire trail for a comfort stop.
Short break over we headed back down to the Minerva Pool turn-off. By now the sun was gone and we grabbed our torches for the walk to the pool lookout. Didn't take us that long and we made it to the lookout without incident. Even though we couldn't see Minerva Pool we could hear the waterfall.
Our supper break was well enjoyed and included much discussion about which celestial objects were stars and which were satellites. By 9pm it was very dark and this was our queue to set off on the homeward leg. The route out was just a return along the trails we had walked in on. Just before we arrived back at the fire trail we had our one (and thankfully) only trip for the walk. Everyone made it back down the steep section of the fire trail and the last small pinch climb was dubbed heartbreak hill. The moon had finally risen and we stopped to admire it. Back at the cars just after 10pm and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience of bushwalking at night.

18-11-18 - Balmoral to Taronga Zoo via Bradley's Head.

On this perfect late spring day our group assembled at one of the bus stands behind Wynyard station. One unfortunate group member had been delayed by trackworks on the network and did not make the rendevous time. The remaining 17 members and 3 visitors boarded the 245 bus to Balmoral. On arrival at Balmoral some members of the group managed to grab a quick coffee prior to the pre-walk introduction. We left up the Esplanade at Balmoral in a southerly direction. We were soon to encounter a surprisingly challenging climb up a hill on some wooden stairs. The stairs seemed to go on forever. Many group members were wondering what they had signed up to! At the top of the hill we were however greeted by a stunning panorama of the harbour stretching from Manly to Rose Bay. Lots of small boats and craft of all types dotted the scene. We were able to appreciate the Manly ferry from a different perspective as it travelled towards Manly.
We proceeded along the ridge top and enjoyed a series of spectacular vantage points. A brief stop was made at St Georges Head. Many other people were running along the track. Some large groups were walking in the opposite direction which made for slow travel at times. Lots of cute pooches too. About one hour later we arrived at the beach at Chowder Bay and rewarded ourselves with an ice cream from the van that was strategically placed there. Lots family groups were having picnics on this idyllic day. Brief rain shower did not dampen our spirits. After this short break we continued along through a forested area towards Bradley's Head. The call of migratory Koels in the trees above reminded us that the hotter days of summer were now approaching. There were many native brush turkeys busily scratching through in the undergrowth. Several tame dragon lizards lay across the path. The calls of whip birds and wrens also greeted our group. Seemed to be many termite nests up in the trees. Soon we arrived at Bradley's Head for lunch in the grassed area around the rotunda. We passed by the masthead of the original HMAS Sydney.
The remaining walk to the ferry terminal at Taronga Zoo passed uneventfully. Group had timed the arrival perfectly for a ferry departure. After the ferry ride to Circular Quay we completed our day with a relaxing coffee in a lounge there. We pondered our adventure before our journey home.

11-11-18 - Loves Bay to Werri Beach.

A group of 16 people assembled in the car park at the campbelltown catholic club. This group comprised nine members and seven visitors (mostly scots). After signing on and transport arranged, the walkers departed for kiama. It was a bright and sunny day with an expected temperature of twenty five degrees.
Andy and I were including a special close wildlife encounter of the first kind and had kept the details under wrap. All would be revealed once the group had gathered at the boat ramp in Kiama harbour. As it turned out the encounter nearly turned into non event. Thank god for the side show that followed.
The special encounter was a wild stingray show. unfortunately the show clashed with numerous boat launches (it was after all a public boat ramp). This was the show that I found mildly amusing. Different skills were on display. Some launch and recoveries went smoothly, others not so (mainly due to poor boat maintenance). A special mention must be made of one particular chap who had decided to practice a solo launch and recovery of a brand new aluminium boat. All went well until he unhooked from his trailer. he lost control, and his pride and joy promptly collided with the ramp. People standing on this section of the ramp were lucky not to be catapulted into the water. thankfully I had braced myself to the railing. Eventually he regained control and departed out to sea. On his return shortly after, he made a more or less normal recovery. As he drove off up the ramp, I thought that’s the last we would see of him. How wrong could I be? He returned and relaunched. Meanwhile the stingray show continued. It was noted that one particular ray was missing her stinger and had bad gouges on the upper body (propeller strike). I think I might know the culprit! All good shows must come to an end, and so it was time for our group to move on and proceed to the start of the walk.
It was Remembrance Day and at the eleventh hour we paused for a moment of quiet reflection. This was the 100th anniversary of the armistice for the great war.
s). The plan was to walk to Werri Lagoon and return, at total distance of 12kms. Our walk was in the open most of the way and would hug the coast line. I had mentioned that we could see some whales and had offered a bounty of $10.00 for a confirmed sighting (humpbacks had been sighted off Kiama a few days before). The sea was choppy and the surface broken. I thought my money was pretty safe. The walk itself is slightly hilly with some short but steep climbs. It was warm and sunny but tempered with a pleasant breeze.
Around mid day we stopped for lunch at a small remnant section of red cedar forest. This was also good cover for a few required nature breaks. It was at this point of time we were encountered a herd of bovines on their daily paddock stroll. They looked well fed and very contented. There were also numerous dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds. Two dogs in particular headed straight for my lunch offerings. I'm no dog whisperer, but they soon got the message to move on or risk spending a couple of nights in the local veterinary intensive care facility.
Once rested, we continued to Werri Lagoon, another 1.5kms further on. After symbolically crossing the sand spit to Werri Beach we started the return journey.
The walking group spread out on the return with faster paced walkers moving on ahead. Eventually all the group returned safely to the starting point at Loves Bay. Everyone was well satisfied with their efforts. Near the conclusion of the walk whales were sighted and payment offered up. Andy (one of the scots) had seen the whales near the headland at Kiama Heights. He declined payment.
We departed for home. As it happened, some of us stopped for light refreshments at the local pub. When I arrived at this venue I was met by a group of rowdy scotsmen and women (it was just like being at Hampton Park). You wouldn't believe it, they were the same scots that were on the walk.
PS I should check to see if any boats were reported sinking at the Kiama Harbour boat ramp!

04-11-2018 - Barren Grounds NR.

On a beautiful Spring morning 14 members and 5 visitors made the long but scenic drive through the Southern Highlands. On arriving Michael asked when is morning tea. Well it wasn’t to be long as about 25 minutes along the main track, we turned off to a track leading to the Illawarra Lookout. An ideal spot for a break where we could admire the panoramic views over Jamberoo Valley and across to the coast.
Back to the main track which was undulating through heath country we admired the abundance of wildflowers. After ascending for a while, we paused at the Saddleback Trig and the lookout across mountain ranges and the coastline. The track became more challenging on the feet now with large stones recently placed there to prevent erosion. Our eager chatter paused at one spot to respect a group of birdwatchers looking out for maybe the rare Eastern Bristlebird or the Ground Parrot.
Descending now we enjoyed lunch by the Natural Stone Bridge on Lamonds Creek. We were pretty quiet after lunch as it was all uphill for about one kilometre, then turning north it was flat all the way back to the cars. Maeve said she now felt like a beer. It didn’t take much persuasion for a group to reassemble at the Robertson Hotel for a cool drink. An enjoyable day.

28-10-2018 - Sydney Living Museums.

After 2 late withdrawals 6 Devils and 1 visitor were to meet on the 8.30 train. Unfortunately someone was missing until a phone call solved the mystery. Jochen had been on the 7.30 train wondering why we weren't! A quick plan was made to wait at Wolli Creek station for him. (A cold and very windy Wolli Creek station.) Plenty of time for a coffee run and pit stop. Finally continuing on to Kings Cross station, with a short walk to Elizabeth Bay House via the weekly markets near the El Alamien Fountain.
Standing opposite this majestic home with stunning views and a checkered history, we compared the old and new. Once inside we each bought our pass. Looking around the massive Entrance Hall while waiting to be served, tour guide Cameron chatted with us. Finding out he was free I hired him on the spot, the price was right!!! First heading into the Dining Room more tourists joined our group. Next the Breakfast Room, Saloon and Library. Before the Drawing Room Cameron explained we could continue the tour or make our own way around, which suited us timewise. After the ground floor we headed upstairs or down to the cellar, with the attics closed off. This museum is worth a visit at your own pace.
Moving on to the bus stop, we alighted in Park St, walked through Hyde Park, past the Archibald Fountain to the Hyde Park Barracks. Pre arranging a meeting time, we showed our passes, grabbed a visitor guide and went in different directions. Occasionally running into each other on the 3 levels. More time really was needed to read through interesting info throughout the museum. Definitely worth a visit.
Down along Macquarie St we stopped at the Sydney Hospital Cafe. Orders varied between just coffee to a full lunch. Nice food with a live musical treat for diners. Further down we headed towards Philip St and the Museum of Sydney. With time marching on it was to be a quicker visit. Once again inside we parted ways, taking time with the exhibits that interested each of us. In my opinion this museum is a time filler.
Our last stop The Justice and Police Museum is one block from Circular Quay. Climbing the stairs we were met by a lovely lady who informed us of an upcoming talk and the museum itself. Walking anti-clockwise we looked at old weapons, read stories from times past and stood in cells with foot thick walls. In the Police Court you can dress as judge, lawyer, witness or accused and take photos(which we did). Eventually completing a circuit we reached the beginning and exit. This museum is definitely worth a visit! Strolling to Gelatissimo(no surprises there) before making our way to platform 2 and home.

21-10-2018 - Sculptures by the Sea.

With 3 last minute withdrawals 8 members and 4 visitors left for an easy day out. Changing trains at Wolli Creek we alighted at Bondi Junction, with the obligatory pit stop before heading to the bus interchange.
As our bus arrived Lorraine asked where Luis was. OOPS, I ran back down the escalators to find a lost soul wondering where we had gone. Sorry Luis. Unfortunately feeling sick he decided to head home, we chatted a bit, said goodbye and went our separate ways. Back upstairs i informed the group Luis had left.
While waiting on next 379 Bronte bus to arrive, it seemed a perfect time to do our introductory circle. Soon jumping aboard for a tour around the local back streets.
At Bronte after a quick check of the sky for any rain, I started with a short sight seeing detour. Up Bronte Rd we paused at Bronte House before heading down to the end of Bronte Park. Once at the bottom there is a waterfall cascading into a good sized pool with a quiet bushy path leading to the beach. This area could be anywhere in tropical Australia.
Joining the coastal walkway towards Tamarama we weren't in any hurry but it was windy in parts. With Tamarama Beach close we caught sight of our first sculptures, some on the sand and others around the picnic area. Continuing on, artworks were now spread out, scattered along the path to Marks Park. Carmel and Steve relaxing on a bench below Marks Park, overlooking a stunning southerly coastal vista waiting for us to catch up was a sweet sight to see. Altogether again we climbed up to the main showing area, arranging a time and place to meet. Off in different directions we went until time was up. With Harry commandeering a big wooden table and chair setting, I collected everyone to share his space for morning tea. Thanks Harry. Refreshed for the final leg to Bondi and the weather getting better, large crowds started to appear, almost claustrophobic at times. With Carmel and Steve off to lunch with family, we crossed Campbell Parade. After a short wait a 380 bus took us on to Watsons Bay for lunch at Doyles on the Wharf. On arrival there was unusually, many vacant seats. Yes lunch was yummy!
A nice slow ferry ride to Circular Quay is always an enjoyable way to finish any day out. And Luis made it home and recovered.

14-10-2018 - Royal National Park Wildflower Walk.

Despite the ominous overnight weather, heavy rain and several withdrawals 13 members and 5 visitors apprehensively began their journey to Wattamolla in the Royal National Park. The optimism of our brave group was to be handsomely rewarded. Once our pre-walk briefing had been completed the skies started to clear and remained clear all day. Miraculous! Turned out to be a perfect mid-spring day. Wet weather in the preceding weeks had freshened the bush and recharged the creeks in the park. Almost immediately our group encountered a prominent sign warning about deer culling in the area and to be clear of the park by 5 30pm. No one was keen to be accidentally shot. On this day the bush was an absolute delight. Abundant birds, stunning wildflowers and insects. New Holland Honeyeaters were a particularly tame and lifted our spirits. Grevilleas, Boronias, Scaveolas, Banksias, Mountain Devils and a profusion of various species of heath provided a rich colour palate as our group approached the coastal cliffs. Suddenly we emerged from the scrub and were on the cliff tops. Views were crystal clear and stunning. Sandstone had been sculptured by the wind and rain into attractive formations and in some places had been brightlycoloured by iron and other minerals. We could not resist the temptation to linger a while in this lovely spot. Michael always observant noted a sea eagle gliding on the breeze above.
After a break we made our way along the cliff tops to Little Marley. Walking track had been recently upgraded and boardwalks installed. Certainly made the walking easier for the group but not one for the traditionalists. This area of the park had not been affected by the previous summer fires. Little Marley was its usual picturesque self. Water was pretty rough today and there was an absolute profusion of bluebottles.
After a short break we walked along the peninsula connecting us to Big Marley. On the way Michael directed us to the site of a historic fishing hut ruin and described the colourful life of this bygone era of the park. Some of the group continued on to Big Marley and some other members did a side trip to explore the lagoon behind Marley beach. We retraced our steps to Little Marley for lunch complete with a birthday cake for one lucky member of the group. After lunch we plodded our way back to the cars. Weather was still clear and bright and we completed this delightful spring walk. The leader would like to express his appreciation for all walkers who were not deterred by the weather forecasts and participated in this wonderful walk.

30-09-2018 - Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens

With Robyn and Marcel becoming members on the day our group was 11 strong. Upon arriving at our destination some walkers realized it wasn't a wander through pretty garden beds but native shrubs in their natural bush setting complete with hilly/ mountainous terrain. After a stroll around the easy Senses Track I asked for tail end volunteers for the different walks. Many thanks to Cathy, Bev and Robyn for sharing the duties. We then left Dampiers Clearing picnic area to tackle the 3km hard Mueller Track. The final km had recently reopened after a landslide was fixed. Not far into the walk we stopped to watch a swamp wallaby nearby before our deep descent. Reaching the valley floor Mueller Track continues parallel to Ku-ring-gai Creek and past Phantom Falls, so named because you can only hear but not see them. Taking a detour to Whipbird Gully, a quiet pretty area at the creek with small cascades, for a short break. After Whipbird Gully the track continues alongside Tree Fern Gully Creek.
Retracing our steps back to Mueller, I asked if anyone wanted to take the 'easy' 1st exit. Arranging to meet the others at 2nd exit, I led Roz and Niveen slowly up to Solander Trail, a paved shared path/ cycle way. Then showing on a map where we would catch up for lunch. Racing back down to the valley floor via the 2nd exit stairs and the rest of the group waiting patiently for me. Onwards we crossed a natural rock arch - Billys Bridge, up new steel steps and past Tree Fern Gully Falls before ascending to the tracks end. A short distance away was Lamberts Clearing, our lunch spot, with Roz and Niveen relaxing on a shady bench. This lovely grassy picnic area has BBQs, toilets and playground with tables and chairs scattered all over. Opposite are the Knoll Native Garden and a Fern House to wander through.
The serenity of a quiet lunch was destroyed by yelling and screeching from a kid's birthday party. Poor Elsa from Frozen was trying her best to keep control! Refreshed we headed anti clockwise around Solander Trail stopping briefly at Endlicher Point, before ending back at Dampiers Clearing and a short rest. Next was the easier bush walks starting with Fitzgerald Track then continuing along Smith, Banks, Caley and Bentham Tracks, with a stop at Caleys Pavilion to look at the gardens. With a few bodies ready to give up I cancelled the Management Trail exit walk and took the easy way back to Mona Vale Rd arriving at the bus stop just before the bus to Gordon Station.
The flowers we saw were different types and colours unfortunately with no recent rainfall, the creeks were very low and the ponds completely dried out. All tracks are well signposted, with free maps and other information brochures at the Visitors Centre. Bush walking can be a dangerous experience in Australia. We came upon a Brown Snake blocking our path!!! It was a baby about 30cm long, sooooo cute. A very long day out.

23-09-18 - Lockleys Pylon - Blue Mountains NP.

A delightful spring day greeted a group of 14 members and 1 visitor who commenced the journey up the Mount Hay Rd to our starting point. Road condition was fair and there were some areas of deep potholes and corrugations but all of our 2WD vehicles passed with ease. After some initial difficulties finding suitable parking our walkers assembled for the pre-walk briefing. Everyone was feeling well and looking forward to a great walk. Weather forecast sounded a bit threatening but we set out filled with energy and optimism. We soon passed some pretty rock formations known as the Pinnacles and entered a plateau area with distant clear views. One of our sharp eyed group members was even able to identify Menai tip in the distance but most of the scenery was certainly more beautiful and spectacular. We walked on and had a rest break at a lookout over Fortress Creek Canyon. We thought about the adventures to be had in the canyon far below.
Spring wildflowers were appearing and the various pea flowers, boronias and many white coloured heaths were most prominent. Many purple iris were seen but sadly no Waratahs today. Most of the journey involved transit through heath lands but this contributed to a series of clear distant views. Went up a short steep climb to summit of Lockley Pylon. We helpfully added to the pile of stones on the top of the cairn and took the customary selfies and photos. Another short steep walk led us to Du Faur head which was our end point and that meant lunch time. Breathtaking views in all directions from this vantage point on this perfect spring day. The return journey to the cars was uneventful apart from the usual fatigue and cramps. Some of our more social group members find time to have a quick cuppa and deserts in a great coffee shop in Wentworth Falls. Overall a fantastic walk which would be recommended in autumn or spring.

16-09-18 - Hidden in Rookwood.

Meeting on the 8.30 train 1st timer Gladys became a Devil, so it was 8 members who alighted at Strathfield Station. A 2 minute stroll was all it took to reach Strathfield Plaza for coffees and hot chocolate. Sue just back from Switzerland found her favourite goodies in the chinese bakery which was packed with yummy looking treasures.
Catching the 408 bus into Rookwood Cemetery, our stop was near sculpture number 1 Spira Mirabilis. After number 4, the Friends of Rookwood group were handing out the 2018 Sculpture Walk guides, for a gold coin donation. This book included descriptions of all the works, artists, maps and peoples choice voting slip. Not in any hurry we looked, discussed, critiqued and sometimes just didn't get it! We also spent time reading old gravestones. Ending after 38 artworks our voting slips were filled in and placed in the box.
Catching the bus back to Strathfield Station, Roz headed home to look after Harry and the rest of us went for a late lunch. Leaving the train at Canley Vale we walked to Cabra Vale Diggers via the scenic route (no one else knew where the front door was either). Orders at Poppy Cafe included a massive bowl of soup, cheeseburger and fish n chips. Very enjoyable. We continued on to Cabramatta Station for our last leg of the day (via a quick exit from the front door). Just a typical lazy Sunday, an unrushed catch up with friends but very breezy at times.

16-09-18 - Taffys Rock, Ku-rin-gai Chase NP.

6 Devils assembled early for the drive to Cowan. We made very good time and arrived at Cowan not long after 8am. Some of our group set off for a comfort stop at the railway station but everything was locked which was disappointing.
We crossed the railway line, walked along the train platform, then down some steps, across the rail siding, and then onto the Great North Walk (GNW). The GNW crosses high above the Newcastle Freeway, which gives an impressive view of cars passing below at high speed. The track descends rapidly as it follows Yatala Ck. Before long the gradient gets much gentler and Dry Sclerophyll forest gives way to a cool, wet valley of palms and Coachwood trees. Very pleasant walking along the creek before reaching Jerusalem Bay. The bay is a good spot for a short break. There are great views and you can still see the odd ruin from where the the Windybanks Boatshed once stood on this site.
Short break over we started the first climb of the day. The GNW is steep and surprisingly rough as you climb away from the bay. It took longer than expected and we stopped for morning tea at a strategically placed bench seat. Tea break over and we found the Taffy Rock turn off just a little further along the GNW. The Taffys Rock track was a lot better than expected. We stopped at a lookout and here some confusion ensued and half our group ended up going the wrong way. We regrouped after our leader made a mad dash to locate the lost walkers. The track undulates along passing many vantage points and two stunning old stone trigpoints.
We reached Taffys Rock just on lunch. Many photos were taken of the stunning views and everyone was very ready for a rest. Fed and watered we now had to retrace our steps to Cowan. The Taffys track does undulate and has a few scrambles but we really slowed down when we got back to the GNW. The track goes back down to the bay and we made slow progress getting down the very rough track. A quick rest stop back down at the bay and we made the final push up the last climb of the day to get back to Cowan. It was an adventurous and long day.

09-09-18 - Wollstonecraft to McMahons Point.

Knowing the day was going to warm up I decided to do the walk in reverse, so 6 members and 2 visitors rode the ferry to McMahons Point. From the wharf our group took a harbour side stroll around Blues Pt Reserve before tackling our 1st set of stairs. With Blues Pt Rd and West Crescent St behind us we crossed through Sawmillers Reserve. A couple of streets later we reached Waverton Park. The local dogs were happily chasing balls and running around, with one mutt enjoying a romp in the water.
Further along at Waverton Peninsula Park we resisted the temptation to climb the many, many stairs to the lookout and took the easy path. Stopping at a small picnic spot for a snack break I let the group know our next stop would be at the Coal Loader Cafe which at this point was across the road from us. Continuing on past the Old Quarantine Depot we started on the many tracks of Balls Head Reserve. At the next intersection I chose the lowest coolest path, then Isabella Bierley track lead us to the old coal loader tunnels. One tunnel is open for the public to walk through, with your choice of stairs or elevator to the top and our next stop. The area has been repurposed similar to Macarthur Centre of Sustainable Living.
After ordering, relaxed and chatting one by one our goodies were served. Chris was in heaven eating her individual muffin sized bread and butter pudding. Moving on, past HMAS Waterhen our left turn took us down, down, down stairs. It's impossible to see the top or bottom from the other end! At Wollstonecraft Bay big expensive boats were moored in front of the owners waterfront apartments. Through Badangi Reserve it became rainforest like with massive Tree and Birds Nest Ferns. Exiting the track we took a left turn with some Devils pointing to Gore Cove track I pointed down Shirley Rd to Berry Island Reserve. Being an easy short track some went for a wander while others started lunch.
We began our last leg along Gore Cove Reserve, being very careful not to trip over tree roots or lose our footing on the old stone steps. Descending to Berry Creek this area is very peaceful. We could have been in the tropics with lush greenery, waterfalls and rock pools just waiting for a sweaty walker to jump in. Luckily we weren't in a hurry with everyone taking photos of this amazing oasis, all agreeing this was a great way to finish the day. After crossing Berry Creek we made the final climb out towards Smoothey Park and Wollstonecraft Station.
A big thank you to Diane for keeping an eye on the tail. I hope Jeff feels better after his incident on the 19th hole.

3-7/09/18 - Warrumbungles Car Camp. Three Walk Reports.

Belougery - Split Rock Circuit, 4th September 2018
Walk commenced at around 0945am from the Camp Wambelong carpark. It was a pleasant 15 degrees and cloudy. The beginning of the walk followed the Burbie Road and took a side track to the left. The rather rough track began to ascend (steeply in places) until we entered a vast chasm which is the split from which the walk gets its name. Further on the track descended to a small saddle. At this point a set of ladders and a gate were encountered. This was the beginning of the summit climb. This section involved some low level scrambling on bare rock. The footings and hand holds were good. Eventually those who decided to attempt the climb made their way to the high point at 771 metres. The stunning views were a well deserved reward. We had a lunch break on the summit.
After retracing our steps to the saddle, we continued the circuit. As we continued along a sudden change in the weather brought us a mini hail storm. The result caused the track to become quite slippery in places and slowed our pace. The last section of the walk entailed a series of switchbacks on loose rocks and gravel. As we descended we could begin to see the clearing at Camp Wambelong. The last section was a series of steps that led back to the cars and the end of the walk. Participants on this day included Carmel, Steve, Trish, Hilda, Maria, Andy and Phil. Distance 4.6 km, total climb 250 metres.

The Grand High Tops Circuit, 5th September 2018
The walk began at the Camp Pincham carpark at 9.00am. This time we were joined by Alan & Jenny who had arrived the previous afternoon. The weather was again very pleasant at 15 degrees with some cloud cover. The first 3.5 kms along Spirey Creek are relatively flat on a well constructed and maintained track. We passed the West Spirey Creek junction on our right. The return journey would be along this creek. Eventually the track leaves the creek valley and begins the climb up Spirey ramp. A break followed at Wilson's Rest. At this point we could look up and see the volcanic neck of Belougery Spire. The next section of the walk involved metal and wooden steps beginning the steep climb and traverse of Sreng Boss. We passed numerous Cypress pines. All around us were massive cliffs, ravines and spires. At Sreng Boss saddle we again stopped for a rest on the log seats. At this point we began the zigzag climb up the Breadknife ravine. Passing the Dagda shortcut we made our way along the eastern side of the imposing wall that is the Breadknife. The Breadknife is 60 metres high on the eastern side but over 100 metres on the wetern side. The final section of the climb is around Lughs Wall (part of the Breadknife) and then a short technical climb to the Grand High Tops (Lughs Throne).
The views from the tops were incredible. In every direction we looked there were stunning vistas. To the north below us, the narrow wall of the Breadknife, behind us the massive Crater Bluff (1087 metres) to the east Belougery Spire (1061 metres) to the west Bluff mountain and Mount Exmouth (Mt Wambelong) both approximately 1200 metres. South was the copper coloured Mount Tonduron. We stopped for a long lunch break. Everyone was pleased with their efforts and the reward. After lunch we continued along the tops, passing down the steps of the Breadknife Pass around Finola Pinnacle and down the steep Pinnacles ramp to Dagda Gap. We again rested before the climb up the slopes of Dagda. The track junction to Bluff Mountain passed at Nuada Gap. We decided not to take on the climb of Bluff Mountain (an extra 2 hour extension). From Nuada Gap we proceeded around the flanks of Bluff Mountain past Dows Lookout and Point Wilderness. Eventually we reached Ogma Gap. Once again we stopped for a rest, then began the descent of West Spirey Ramp and West Spirey Creek. The upper section of West Spirey Creek was quite rough and washed away, so we took great care to avoid a tumble. The lower section of the track in the creek began to improve and we covered the last couple of km to the track junction with the main Grand High Tops trail in good time. It was then a short distance back to Camp Pincham. Participants for this walk were Carmel, Steve, Trish, Maria, Maeve, Andy, Alan, Jenny and Phil (walk leader). Walk distance 12.5 km, total climb 430 metres.

Wambelong Nature Track, 6th september 2018.
The final walk on our trip was a very pleasant nature trail that began under overcast skies and with a temperature of 14 degrees. This walk commenced at the Canyon Picnic Area and proceeded through a dried up river canyon. There was a short climb mid point that gave us some excellent views of Belougery Split Rock. Light rain fell at times on this walk. A school group was having fun with face paint and studying the geology in the dried up river bed. We exchanged greetings and carried on back to the picnic area. Walk distance 1.5km, total climb 15 metres.

01-09-18 - Lime Kiln Head – Oatley.

Among our small group of 6 members, it was great to see Jochen, now determined to get back on the track even with his painful foot. Also good to see Luis again.
Soon after entering the track, we paused on a rock slab overlooking Jew Fish Bay with its old houses and jetties, but no more oyster leases. We then continued around the edge of the bay emerging at the Oatley Baths and the stone castle built by men on work relief during the 1930’s Depression.
We then continued on the undulating track around the bay. On climbing out, the dense bushland changed to light forest and we were soon on a service road leading to our morning tea stop. Next we crossed the bay and then didn’t waste any time on a boardwalk through dry (and smelly) mangroves. Rising up to a bush track we paused at a lookout, then down and up again before finally getting back to Oatley Park and a pleasant rocky lunch spot. From here it was just a short walk back to the cars after a pleasant morning’s walk.

19-08-18 - Dharawal NP - Darkes Forest.

Seven devils set off for the Darkes Forest entrance of Dharawal NP (DNP). The wind was cold and strong as we set off from the 10h fire trail gate. We followed the trail for 1.5km before turning off onto a track that leads down to OHares Ck. To our leaders surprise there was plenty of water flowing down OHares Ck (this would be important later in the day). Our leader attempted to locate the track that use to go up the other side of the creek to near the 10r trail but it appears to have disappeared completely. This meant only one was scrub bash time. We picked our way up the hill through thick and thin scrub. Eventually we found our way to the old camp site near the waterfalls which was a relief as it was time for a break. We stopped for morning tea at the top of the bone dry waterfalls.
The scrub bash up from the creek had put us way behind schedule. We found the old trail that heads west to the 10c fire trail near the abandoned North Cliff Mine site. We had a short stop at the old mine site fence before continuing along 10c. The trail winds back down to OHares Ck. We reached the causeway across OHares and our glorious (or foolish, you decide) leader decided to check the water depth. He was able to confirm that the water level was above boot height as his boots filled with water very quickly. Everyone else took their boots off and wadded across the very cold creek. Boots back on and from here the 10c trail rises steeply back out of the creek valley. We regrouped at the top of the climb and made a reassessment of the days walk plan. Since we had lost so much time earlier in the walk we decided to cut the walk short. Lunch was taken about a 1km down another abandoned trail.
After our break we returned to the 10h trail and head straight back to the cars. Other than a few stops to show some points of interest to our first time visitors to this part of DNP we made good time and arrived back at the cars sooner than expected. Thanks to everyone who came on the walk. It didn't turn out as expected but that happens sometimes.

12-08-18 - Curra Moors Loop.

Under threatening skies with a smattering of rain 12 Mountain Devils and 1 visitor set off from the Catho for the trip to the Royal National Park to see first hand what havoc last January`s raging bush fires had wreaked on our beloved Curra Moors Track. When our 3 car convoy arrived the first thing we noticed was that the car park was chocka block and we had to park on the other side of the road.
After our introductory circle, we set off down the track. The fires had opened up the the whole track with only black trees and no foliage we could see much further than before and the creek bed we walk down has never been drier. We also saw our customary swamp wallaby about 10 metres away among the bare trees. Further down the track we noticed old Regs Hippo tree still looking good and the 2 creeks we cross barely had any water in them. We cracked on to Eagle Rock for morning tea and it looked smaller than normal as it was without its usual crown of greenery. After morning tea we set off down the coast passing many helicopter dropped packages of the materials needed to replace the walkways lost in the fires. This area was covered in Banksia and Gymea Lillies but now only black twisted skeletons remained but some of the grass trees were showing good signs of regrowth but this was mostly confined to ground level. We soon found the cross track and arrived back at the junction where we had lunch. The slog back up the hill became hard going for the aging Leader and it was with bittersweet feelings that he finished his last stint as Walk Leader.

05-08-18 - OHares Creek, Dharawal National Park.

In the days leading up to this activity the air quality and visibility had been terrible due to a fire in the nearby Holsworthy military area. There was some doubt as to whether we would run this walk. Fortunately, a strong westerly blew through and cleared the skies. After meeting at club, 12 members proceeded along the familiar path to the Victoria Rd car park of Dharawal National Park. Leader reminded all participants of the almost certain risk that someone would fall over on slippery gravelly areas of the route. Could we all defy Mountain Devils history today? We pondered this unfortunate history as we set off on the fire trail towards the Stokes Creek causeway. Alas there was still a tiny trickle of flow in Stokes Creek despite several months of intense drought. Had short break to gather our breath before going further up the fire trail in the direction of Darkes Forest. All agreed this spot would be much nicer after the rains will come.
A really pleasant day made the walking much easier. Were expecting to see mountain bikes galore along the cycling trail but none were seen today. About 45 minutes of comfortable walking and lots of friendly chatter brought us to our turn off to the left onto the 10D service trail. Down the hill towards OHares Creek we went. No koalas were seen but plenty of fresh scats to show they inhabited the area. Reached our turnaround point at bottom of hill. After some initial confusion from our leader, we found a rough trail leading down to the river gauge and a truly delightful and inviting lunch spot. Still some flow in the stream and seemingly pristine clear water. Lots of interesting nooks,overhangs, pools to investigate during our break. Just when we all thought it could not get better one of group managed to miraculously produce some scones, jam and cream for a truly memorable lunch break. After spending plenty of time enjoying this idyllic spot we reluctantly returned towards the car park. Finished the day with a short walk to appreciate the stunning view from OHares Lookout.
Leader wishes to express sincere thanks to all who attended this walk and contributed to a memorable day. And no one fell over!

29-07-18 - Glenfield Station to Liverpool Station.

Nine members and 4 visitors set off from Glenfield railway station on a beautiful sunny morning on a walk through bush towards Casula spying water hens and ducks enjoying a swim in the different ponds and creeks along the way. Reaching Casula railway station we crossed over the bridge to the Power Station where we had morning tea in the grounds next to the river. Being refreshed we then proceeded along the path by the Georges River to Liverpool, again watching water hens and a swans enjoying the river. Doing the last few metres to the park we were amazed at all the new high rise flats that had popped up where the industrial area once stood. Once reaching the park we had our lunch before climbing the bridge stairs and getting the train back to Glenfield. An enjoyable day had by all.

29-07-18 - Exploratory Walk, Bargo SCA.

6 walkers assembled at the catho before heading off to meet 1 more walker in Hill Top. We continued onto Wattle Ridge and parked at the start of Long Nose Ridge Road.
The walk starts further back along Wattle Ridge Road. We had a little orientation problem finding the start of the old fire trail that heads off into Bargo SCA. The fire trail was a lot easier to follow than expected and we made very good progress. The walk continues along the plateau before it starts to descend out along a point above the river valley. We continued down and arrived at what seemed to be a dead end. It wasn't long before our leader worked out that we had gone too far and had missed where the fire trail turned off to the side valley before heading down to the river. There was a good reason for us not seeing the turn off as it doesn't exist anymore. After morning tea we scrub bashed our way down the hill and crossed the side creek before heading down to the river proper through some more scrub. Arriving at the river we weren't suprised to see the poor state it was in. The drought is really biting. After exploring the area we decided to try our luck and head down along the river itself. We only got a few hundred metres before deciding the scrub was too thick and we turned back.
Lunch was enjoyed on a sunny rock shelf. A good break was enjoyed by all before we set off back to the cars. We managed to find our way back to the side creek crossing and we just headed straight back up the hill. We intersected the fire trail a bit further west of where we left it. Back along the fire trail to the road and then a 1km walk along the road and we were back to the cars. Very happy to have finally been able to do this exploratory, it has given me some ideas for further walks/exploring in this area.

22-07-18 - Picnic Day at Botanical Gardens Mount Annan.

After a chilly start, our picnic day turned our crisp and clear and we were looking at a fun-filled day at the Banksia Garden at Mt Annan. Over 20 members and 2 visitors were to join the organisers at the picnic site. A wombat, red-bellied black snake and a koala also kept us company. As we were setting up we enjoyed the sounds of many different birds including bell miners and satin bower birds. Glenys had been involved in the planting of the garden and establishment of this wonderful facility and we were very appreciative of her great work as we prepared for our social day. One by one our friends arrived together with many tasty and yummy treats. Any thoughts of sticking to diets were immediately abandoned for the day. The treats were simply too good to be resisted.
We enjoyed several hours of fun, laughter, reminiscing and animated chatter. Really a memorable day. The leaders would like to express their sincere appreciation to those who attended, prepared tasty treats and contributed to the success of the picnic day.

15-07-18 Picton Weir

12 members and 3 visitors braved the below zero morning temperature to venture to the sunny Bargo River Reserve. After a short walk uphill on a sealed road, we veered left of the entrance gate to the Christian Conference Centre on a well maintained forested fire trail. This stayed close to the edge of the river on a narrow strip of land that was carved out of the adjacent mountainside. It was good easy walking that allowed us to admire through the trees, the cross river views of the craggy sandstone formations. Also without any real hazards it gave us an opportunity for plenty of chatter. Probably the biggest challenge for those who needed it, was where to find a suitable toilet spot!
Finally, a short steep hill to the top of the 1899 Picton Weir and pump house, then up another hill to a suitable rocky spot for morning tea.
Back the same way, but now we were widely spread out just doing our own pace back to the Reserve for lunch and an early finish. A somewhat easy but enjoyable 11kms.

08-07-18 - Hyde Park to Kirribilli Markets.

8 members and 1 visitor (1 last minute withdrawal) headed into the city, meeting up with member Selina at Museum Station.
Walking through Hyde Park to the Archibald Fountain, St Mary's Cathedral bells rang out loudly. Along Art Gallery Rd we made a detour to the Police Memorial. Further along opposite Garden Island Harry showed his impressive knowledge by naming all of the different types of ships for us. Our morning tea break was at the Rooftop MCA Cafe in the Museum of Contemporary Art. The orange cake was soft and delicious while the hot chocolate burnt my tongue.
Up Argyle St past The Rocks Markets we climbed a small stairway before tackling the 63 steps to the Coathanger. Many photos were taken in the very windy conditions. On the other end I pointed out the emu in the backyard. This was the first time some had walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. At Milsons Point station we wandered around the markets, with a small group continuing for a look at Wendys Secret Garden only a short distance away. After the ferry ride to Circular Quay we had enough time for a creamy gelato while waiting for the train.
It was a day of coats on, coats off, coats on and strolling along catching up with friends and making new ones.

01-07-18 - Grand Canyon Walk, Blackheath.

After several cancellations due to illness and apologies from members 4 Mountain Devils members and a visitor assembled on a mid winter morning at the Catholic Club car park. All were looking forward to a wonderful walk in the scenic Blue Mountains. Started the drive to Blackheath. We all noted the remarkable increase in housing development on our drive to Penrith and pondered what the area might be like in another 10 years. One of our group members informed us that they last walked in the Grand Canyon area 50 years ago. When we arrived at Evan's Lookout the car thermometer showed a mere 4 degrees Celsius. After our pre-walk briefing and a stern lecture from our leader about the perils of gastroenteritis from drinking the Grose Valley water we moved swiftly towards the lookout at Evan's. View of the morning sun over the Grose Valley was absolutely stunning. Worth the trip alone. And the day got even better from there.
We descended from Evan's Lookout to the Grand Canyon about 200 metres lower down a recently upgraded path through a narrow gully complete with stunning tree ferns, coachwoods, and temperate rainforest. Pretty cascades and several natural water features. The relaxed pace meant that many photos were taken. After about half an hour we reached the floor of the grand canyon. Recent rain had freshened and replenished the canyon. We spent the next 90 minutes passing through this scenic remarkable natural canyon. Picturesque pools, cascades, beautiful trees, overhangs, secluded grottos pretty much all along the route. At a couple of spots the filtered sunlight passing through the trees reflected on the rock formations into interesting patterns. All quite sensually overwhelming. One of the experienced members of the group said this was the best walk they had ever done. Countless photos were taken in this photographer’s paradise. We felt some sense of sadness when we eventually had to move on from the canyon. Time to have a refreshing morning tea break complete with Tim Tams!
The walk back up the hill through Neates Glen was far easier than expected on this well graded and maintained track. A short road bash brought us back to our start point at Evan's Lookout. Leader suggested cup of coffee in Blackheath and got unanimous support from the group. Even the coffee was great! What a fantastic day. Leader has suggested running this walk again on the program for the club next year.

24-06-18 - Starlights Trail, Nattai NP.

7 members and 3 visitors left the catho for the trip to Wattle Ridge where we met one more member. 11 of us set off for the Starlights Trail walk. We turned left at the Starlights sign and up and over the ridge passing the Nattai Wilderness sign before turning off to head for the Ahearn Track. We stopped on Point Hill as it is a great spot with views from Mt Colong around to Mt Jellore. It was still a bit early for morning tea so we turned around and headed back to Starlights Trail. Down...down...down we went till we reached Toothache Rock (which is an enormous boulder with a great big hole through the middle). Now it was time for a break.
An enjoyable and relaxing morning tea came to an end and we continued down...down...down the hill. It soon dawned on people how far down the hill the Nattai River was and we would be heading back the same way. We also had to climb over several fallen trees and had a few slips and slides by some of the party. We did find the bottom of the short cut track that goes from Starlights to the Ahearn Track, something to explore on another day. We made it to Emmetts Flat just on lunch. A short walk to the river revealed a very changed landscape. A few years back a massive flood came through here and the change it has made to the river is amazing.
Lunch was a welcome relief and after eating our lunches we headed over to Troys Creek to look at the ruins of a cabin and a army kitchen trailer that had been brought down here many years ago. I also took the time to get some photos at the location of Emmetts Hut, which is near the main camping area.
Lunch came to an end and everyone realised that the challenge of the day was about to begin. We set off back up the hill. Up...up...up and more up. Everyone was under instructions to take the climb out at their own pace. We had a sit down break back at Toothache Rock which everyone seemed very pleased with. From here it was just one final push to get the last 2km of the walk done. We arrived back at the cars and I think everyone was relieved to be finished.

24-06-18 - Girt By Sea.

Finding this little gem last minute I dumped my planned walk recon and put out an invite in case anyone else was interested. I was right. Leaving the train at Museum Station our group wandered past Hyde Park in the crisp morning air.
Not in a hurry we walked along Oxford St looking at the old buildings on the opposite side of the street. Then stopping to inspect the latest adult fashions and accessories on our side. The soft leather police outfit looked very comfy. Crossing over to walk in the sun, upon reaching Victoria Barracks it was time to take off a layer. Arriving at Paddington Town Hall we climbed the stairs to the first floor of this majestic old building for the exhibition.
The photographs of Australias coastline were amazing and stunningly beautiful. Taken from different heights between 150 - 2200 metres some looked like paintings. One photo had us stumped until Luke said "oyster farm" only then could we see it. Moving on, our next stop was the Paddington Reservoir Gardens. Once a local water source, nearby residents fought against its destruction and is now a quiet green oasis surrounded by the frenzy of inner city living.
Finding out one member had never been to Bondi Beach we jumped on a bus. Sitting overlooking the water at the Bondi Pavilion we ate fish & chips with hot drinks for lunch. Next we headed to the markets before getting another bus onto Watsons Bay. After a few minutes taking in the view of the Gap we made a beeline for dessert at Gelatissimo. With different flavours of yummy gelato we wandered down to the wharf. Getting our monies worth we disembarked at Barangaroo with a short walk to Wynyard Station. It was a go with the flow, unhurried, fun day with friends.

10-06-18 - Fitzroy Falls Escarpment.

After several days of damp weather 8 hardy Mountain Devils gathered in our usual meeting spot at the Catholic Club. The weather was clearing and there was a spirit of anticipation for a scenic walk ahead. Cars were filled and off we drove to the visitors area at Fitzroy Falls. Weather was “refreshing” as we left the cars so we donned our winter woolies. When we reached the first lookout over the Yarrunga Valley the group encountered a stunning view complete with the last remnants of morning mist in the valley below. Few had seen the view from the lookout this beautiful on any previous trip. After a group photo we moved onward past several stunning lookouts each subtley different from the last.
After about half an hour of walking we looked back towards the main falls. Despite a relative lack of birdsong one sharp-eyed members of our group spotted a large eagle soaring majestically in the thermals over the main waterfall. Rain over recent days had recharges several small creeks and added to the experience. Plenty of banksias, wattles and mountain devils were flowering bravely in the bleak winter weather. We passed a small hidden grotto on a side trail. A few minutes further on we reached our final destination Renown Lookout. Only from this end point were we able to look back and see all the various cascades in a single view and get the full perspective on our journey from the visitors centre. We enjoyed the view and the fresh lamingtons provided by a group member.
After a cuppa at the visitors centre we moved onward to Bowral which was bustling with activity. Fancied a vist to the bakery but were put off by the long queue. One of the group found some bargain pottery in one of the antique shops and pounced on his prize. Faced with a mutinous group of walkers our leader reluctantly agreed to pay a visit to one of the pubs for some rehydration. Our memorable day was completed with a drive back to the Catholic Club.

03-06-18 - World Press Photo Exhibition.

With Marie sick in bed, 4 of us travelled into the city. Upon leaving St James Station a light rain sprinkled down, getting heavier as we crossed the road to walk along Macquarie Street. At the State Library we met up with 3 members who were waiting for us. On our way to the older Mitchell Building entrance statues of Matthew Flinders and his cat Trim drew our attention.
Waiting for the big bronze doors to open at 10am we sheltered under the portico, luckily we weren't too wet. The crowd rushing in the just opened doors reminded me of Aldi on a Saturday morning!! Standing well back so we didn't get trampled in the stampede.
Once in the vestibule all eyes studied the Tasman Map. A beautiful marble floor mosaic that illustrates the discoveries of Abel Tasmans' two voyages. Next we climbed a grand marble stairway which leads to the exhibition galleries. The 61st World Press Photo Awards Exhibit travels to 45 countries and seen in over 100 cities this year. After a cuppa at the cafe downstairs we parted ways, with 3 members heading to the Art Gallery. Starting from the bottom and working our way up we saw Biennale items, Asian, Australian, Modern And Contemporary Arts.
The library run free tours 10.30am weekdays which are very informative no bookings required. An unrushed, thought provoking and interesting day.

27-05-18 - Thirlmere Lakes.

We had a large group of 15 members and 6 visitors for the Thirlmere Lakes circuit, many driving from Campbelltown and some meeting us at Thirlmere. We parked on Dry Lakes Road, and started our walk after talking with a local who was very keen to give out information about more tracks in this area. We continued on the circuit track, mainly single-file while taking in the natural beauty of the area and the lakes where the water level was very low.
Morning tea was enjoyed at a four-way intersection of the tracks, and just before setting off again we met two ladies from the "Friends of Thirlmere Lakes" group. They regularly come out to the lakes for bushwalking, bird-watching and bushcare. Today they were searching for evidence of quolls. Now were were heading towards Lake Baraba and Lake Nerrigorang, and a little way down this track Michael was looking for a geocache and found it hidden in a burnt-out log! Quite interesting, as there are a lot of them hidden all around the world. Further down the track we came into a large clearing which is called Nerrigorang picnic area, but it was vastly different to when I had first been here when it was privately owned. In the 1970's we had been on a car rally and finished here with a picnic etc. There were no buildings left, only large mounds of tree stumps and dirt. There was evidence of a very well-made firepit, and we wondered if the National Parks have any plans for the area. After looking around we finally returned to the bushtrack, and then went uphill to another track named Racklyefts Finger Track which heads back to the four-way interesection but higher along the ridgeline.
Then from here is was a short distance to Lake Couridjah picnic area where we had decided to have lunch. When lunch was finished we continued onto Lake Werri Berri picnic area, and somewhere along here Michael found another geocache. Then we made our way back along the road, everyone at their own pace, until we reached the cars. It had been wonderful weather for a walk, which I think everyone enjoyed.

06-05-18 - Two Creeks Walk.

14 of us including 2 visitors and 1 new member, Michael, set off on a beautiful autumn morning by trains to Lindfield. After a short walk down the hill we entered the picturesque Seven Little Australians Park. As we descended carefully on the leaf littered bush steps, we passed a long sandstone overhang supported (?) by stone pillars erected pre WW1 as part of army training. After crossing a wooden bridge, we soon went through a tunnel which emerged at a large rock platform. Here was the first set of many steps and we then continued along a service trail with Gordon Creek on our left.
After morning tea, more bush steps up until we had a panoramic view over the valley and then Middle Harbour. Soon it was down again, this time almost to the water level as we entered Moore Creek and under the extensive sandstone overhang. Here we observed more pre WW1 efforts including stone seats and retaining walls.
Rising again above Middle Harbour, we eventually walked under Roseville Bridge and onto Echo Point Park where we stopped for a much deserved lunch break. Only thing is, we were 5 walkers short! Fortunately through the marvels of mobile phone, all was resolved and we were soon reunited. After lunch, a steep climb out, then the pleasure of an air conditioned bus and train home.

29-04-18 - Maroubra to Malabar.

The walk started at C.C.C. with 15 walkers who filled three cars for our trip to Maroubra Beach. From there the walk followed the coast with newly updated boardwalks for most of the way. About 4.5 kms further found us in Malabar, a tiny beach in comparison to Maroubra. There we ate morning tea and rested. After a few well placed inquiries the walk leader found the return part of the loop. This was a much quicker return to Maroubra and apart from 8 of the 15 taking an odd path and having to be recalled to the group via voice calls and an embarrassed going back to gather the flock, the trip was about 3 kms. Lunch was at Maroubra Beach and as the beach was closed to swimmers due to rips there was no swimming for the group.. All in all we had a lovely group, lovely weather and the walk was dead easy apart from a few steps.

23-04-18 - Snowy Mountains Car Camp.

I think we can all agree this was a very enjoyable trip. We ended up being very lucky with the weather. Even though it got cold a couple of nights the daytime weather was excellent.
Some people convoyed and others made their own way to the farmstay. We all made it and settled into the farmstay. Everyone was impressed with the accommodation and it didn't take long for our first happy hour to start.
Tuesday was our first walk day. We headed to Thredbo and were delayed by a surprising amount of roadworks and how long it took to get a chairlift ticket. We arrived later than hoped at Eagles Nest and had to set a quick pace for the walk to Kosciusko. Some walkers found the conditions a bit challenging and turned around early. Most made it to the top of Kosciusko the early returners headed back to the farmstay and enjoyed long showers before everyone else got back. Our first walk day ended with another happy hour and social evening.
Wednesday was a free day. Most decided to stay on the farm and relax whilst some went to Yarrangobilly Caves and some others went into Cooma. We watched the Anzac March in the morning and a cheer went out when we spotted our Harry marching with his fellow Royal Marines. Just before 5pm everyone assembled on the lawn as Roz conducted a short Anzac Day service as the sun set. We again ended the day with happy hour and an evening of socialising.
A big thank you to Natalie for volunteering to lead a walk for the walkers who didn't want to do the 21km Cascades Hut walk. The Cascades Hut group left early and headed to Dead Horse Gap and set off on this challenging walk. We walked alongside the Thredbo River before making the climb up Bobs Ridge where we had morning tea. Cascades Hut is lower than our start point so the descent goes on for some time. Cascades Hut was a welcome sight and made for a great lunch spot in the very warm sun. Lunch over we made the long slow climb back up to Bobs Ridge. The group split as everyone did the climb at their own pace. We regrouped on the ridge, had a break before descending back down to the Thredbo River and the cars at Dead Horse Gap.
The second group headed to Thredbo and caught the chairlift to Eagles Nest. From here the walk heads back down the hills to Dead Horse Gap and then along the Thredbo River back to Thredbo Village. Walkers reported this to be very enjoyable way to take in the scenery along the Rams Head Range and easier on the legs than climbing up.
Friday arrived too soon. We packed up and headed home very satisfied with our trip to the snowies.

22-04-18 - Dobson's Cave - Buxton.

We had 13 willing walkers, of which two were visitors, turn up for this short walk in the Nattai National Park. I had mentioned that it was not a very long walk, but it did involve up and down sections, and also some parts where some of the track markers were either misleading or missing. So with this in mind, we set off on a fire trail which started at the end of Buxton Avenue. Then we proceeded to walk across open land (underneath powerlines) to the start of the track named "Hermits Track". This is so named because a hermit did live in Dobson's Cave in the 1990's.
The first kilometre is relatively easy going, but then the track did not seem to be very clear. I knew that we had to head down from the cliff-line, but I was not sure where, so we had to do a bit of exploratory bush-bashing. I must say here that everyone did a wonderful job of following me. There were quite a few comments about how we might all get lost here like one local did back in January. I assured everyone that we would finally join up with the intended track, which we did some time later. Everyone seemed to be relieved! We crossed a very dry creek and continued on a lovely track, and finally down the last steep hill we came to Little River. Just to the right is Dobson's Cave (which in reality is just a large overhanging rock with a little bit of shelter underneath. It was hard to imagine how anyone could live here for years! Here we all took photos of the inscription "Dobson 1917" which was very well carved into the rock (Dobson was a local stonemason who had come across this place over 100 years ago). It is interesting to note that there are about 18 Dobson names in our local telephone book, so he could have many relatives around here.
After our morning tea we proceeded to leave and follow the track back up the hill. I did ask for anyone to keep their eyes on the markers on the way back, as I wanted to find the right (and possibly the best) way to navigate the middle section of the track. We found a spot where we had markers (on a tree) going left, and then someone saw yellow paint on rocks going straight ahead. So we went straight ahead and found that this was indeed a very good way of going up to the cliff-line where we joined the now familiar track back to the start.
When we arrived back at the cars, I suggested that we could do another short walk in the area (Caves Creek) but everyone said they had walked and scrambled enough. It was then decided to go to Thirlmere Lakes picnic area for lunch, which was thoroughly enjoyed with the usual friendly chatter. It had been an interesting walk with perfect weather.

31-03-18 - Blue Moon Walk.

A rare second blue moon gave us the chance to enjoy a night bushwalk. 14 walkers (including 3 visitors) set off towards the Georges River. We headed down past the ruins of an old farm house to a spot that gives a good view out over the Georges River and were astounded to observe hundreds of roosting Cockatoos. Never seen so many Cockatoos in one place. We headed back up to the main fire trail and the light started to fade enough to get some good glimpses of a very bright full moon. Torches on we enjoyed the experience of finding our way in the dark.
We did hear the occasional Kangaroo bounce through the bush but other than that it was a very quiet night for the wildlife. We did get several good glimpses of the moon as we walked along and one spot gave us a great view. Many photos later we continued. Along one of closed sections of Harrison Road we could smell this very sweet scent. Searching with our torches we observed many bee hives. This was a surprise.
On to the bitumen for a bit as we headed over to Peter Meadows Ck. Along the way we spotted a Tawny Frogmouth and could hear fireworks. A short walk along the fire trails and it was time for a break.
Everyone was ready for a rest and we found a nice spot over looking the creek valley (not that you could see much). Break over it was less than 1km to get back to the cars. We finished our walk before 10pm and everyone seemed to enjoy the activity.

25-03-18 - Archibald Exhibition.

With members coming from all directions we met up at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Upon entering we casually strolled around, reading information plaques then stepping back for an overall look. With sizes ranging from small squares to 'lucky the wall is big enough' some were better viewed from across the room. Group favourite was a portrait of actor Jack Charles by comedian Ahn Do. His painting also won the peoples choice award of all the artworks submitted for the Archibald Prize.
A few of us looking in awe of the amazing piece 'Polar Bears in a Winter Snowstorm at the North Pole. Wandering through other exhibits our last stop 'Southline and other Metaphors' was very interesting and by now we were all expert art critics. Before leaving, we sat at Bellbird Cafe with a cuppa discussing our outing and others in the pipeline. Even though our time together was short it was a relaxing and enjoyable experience. With most of the day left we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
The Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre deserves a visit. Once a broken down eyesore is now a modern, airy building. The Show and Events program offers a diverse selection from the contemporary to classical. With film festivals, dance, cabaret, theatre and workshops to name a few.

04-03-18 - Wendys Secret Garden.

9 members and 5 visitors headed to the city early. With our arrival at Central on time, we changed to platform 16. With a train about to depart we piled on when I saw our final member Andrew was there waiting for us. At Milsons Point we followed the footpath surrounded by greenery rather than the boring shop side. Along Lavender St a cafe owner ran out to offer our group $2 coffees but only one person said yes. After our 10 minute stroll from the station we arrived at Wendys. With a few different entrances i selected the easiest no steps path. The only instruction was "meet at the bottom for morning tea". Heading in all different directions, happily snapping up close bush turkey photos also kookaburras, big spiders in massive webs etc we eventually all reached the bottom. Scattered around are many cosy seating areas in this quiet tropical paradise in Sydney but please remember its a secret garden ssshhh!!!
Refreshed we took the least amount of stairs out and headed for the ferry terminal. Along the boardwalk on the right was Lavender Bay, the Harbour Bridge and Sydney. To our left in the shrubs every 5 metres were plinths topped with small 'artworks' which you would miss if couldn't take your eyes off the coathanger. Passing Luna Park a few of us recalled stories from long ago.
Unfortunately we didn't have the thrill of a ride on Ferry Mcferryface to Circular Quay( I already had). Ice cream time hit,surprise surprise, then happily walked around the Opera House and into the Botanical Gardens. Arriving at Government House where I had prearranged an 11.30 tour of inside the house early, we wandered around the grounds. Later we sat under a massive Moreton Bay tree to eat lunch as some walkers put on jackets in great kite flying conditions. After seeing the Governors wife cutting flowers from her yard we continued on.
Reaching the Calyx for a wander in the Pollination display. Next through Rainforest Walk, the Fernery, past the stingless bees, around the Succulent Garden then back to Circular Quay station for home. While being a take it easy walk we still managed some good mileage. Glad everyone enjoyed their day.

25-02-18 - Dharawal NP.

Our intended walk was to be along the Forest Track on the Illawarra Escarpment. Early morning phone calls revealed that it was raining in Wollongong and the escarpment was fogged in. Not much point heading out to the escarpment if it's fogged in so an alternative was decided on.
After a conference at the catho everyone agreed to doing a morning walk out at Dharawal NP.After a short car shuffle we headed off along the 10T trail from Lysaghts Rd. Under light rain we walked along enjoying the wet bush in a new light. We headed towards Minerva Pool as the rain varied between spits to light rain. The short cut down to Minerva Pool was closed so we had to continue on until I found another less used track that heads down to the main trail. After a short walk we made it to the lookout at Minerva Pool.
The rain started to get a bit heavier and we decided to head back up to a good sized cave just off the trail. After morning tea we where going to head back to the cars but after another discussion we decided to walk out to the OHares Ck Lookout. The wind was howling when we reached the lookout. We didn't stay too long and arrived back at the cars before midday. Everyone seemed to enjoy our morning walk even though it was rained for most of the morning.

18-02-18 - Little River, Buxton.

We had 13 members and 1 visitor start the walk at Boundary Road, Buxton; it was a fine day and not too hot in the early morning. The firetrail heads downhill and further on becomes quite steep with large rocks to navigate around. We all took it easy, and then about 1 kilometre on the track levels out. We were getting close to the river, and soon came upon a vast sandstone rock platform which can be overflowing with water - hence the name Little River cascades. But unfortunately with hardly any rain for months, it was not flowing today. We stopped here for a while and some of us had fun skimming rocks in the pool below.
Crossing over the dry ford we continued for about a kilometre and came to a larger section of the river, know locally as Aqua Pool where there is normally a small waterfall. We decided to have a look further downstream and came into a nice area with large rock platforms, and then further down quite impressive boulders leading downstream. This area would be spectacular with a good flow of water. We had a leisurely morning tea while admiring the area and the cliffs.
It was time to head back the way we came, as it was going to be a very hot day. We stopped briefly at Aqua Pool while myself and son Michael had a quick dip, which was cool and refreshing. Then we made our way carefully up the eroded track picking our way around the rocks. There was a short detour which some of us took to try and avoid a steep section. Soon we were back at the cars, and it was decided to have our lunch at Thirlmere Lakes which was only a couple of kilometres north of here. There were plenty of picnic tables and some welcome shade. A short but very enjoyable walk.

28-01-18 - Thirlmere Lakes.

Under a mediocre sky but with humidity high 16 Mountain Devils and 3 Visitors headed down the Menangle Road to Thirlmere Lakes. Once parked we met up with another 2 members giving us a total of 21 walkers. This walk is nice and flat and with good tree cover, except for the humidity conditions were ideal for a good walk. We set off with gusto along the fire trail stopping at the pump house to have a good look at memories from the days of yore and when steam was King. We continued along our way and left the fire trail to take the path around the top of the lake, which incidently is now quite full of water. We stopped for morning Tea at the usual place and then headed down the far side along the nice flat path which was being showered by falling leaves and small twigs caused by the over dried trees shedding them all early. To the Leader it seemed like the old pantomime scene from Babes in the Wood. Whatever, it all looked most impressive from the front of the Mountain Devils snake as we progressed down to the far end of the Lakes and onto the fire trail once more. Once back on the main fire trial we only encountered a troop of local mounted horse enjoying their day as we were. Back to the cars and the pleasure of a long lunch in the shade of the picnic tables which made this walk very satisfying. We then disbursed after a most enjoyable day out.

21-01-18 - Box Vale Track.

Fourteen hearty bushwalkers took to the track, enjoying the varied scenery and panoramic view across the valleys to the Blue Mountains in the distance. They read up on the history of the coal mining in the area and how the trains transported the coal out in the 1800's and wondered how on earth they managed to cut through the rock and terrain over 200 years ago by hand and some dynamite.
We all survived with regular hydration stops, a few of us puffing and blowing along the way and with red faces we made it there and back, finishing early enough before the real heat set in. Thank you all for coming.

03-12-17 - Peter Meadows Creek - Kentlyn.

We gathered at the start of the walk in Ruse and welcomed three visitors. We set off on the main fire trail along the upper section of Peter Meadows Creek. After a short walk we headed off the fire trail onto one of the many footpads in the area. It wasn't long till we reached the ruins of one of the many shack style houses that are spread throughout this area. We continued along and turned onto a different track to visit the Bull Cave. The charcoal drawings in the Bull Cave are now so badly vandalised that unless you have someone to point them out they can't be seen. Very sad to see this unique location so badly damaged.
Back to the main fire trail and we walked through the old rubbish tip before we crossed Perter Meadows Road onto another footpad. Continuing along the creek we reached the power line access trail and headed up the trail a bit to link up with another footpad that heads along the western side of the creek. This footpad meets another footpad that leads back down to the creek and onto another footpad. We reached a fire trail that we used to loop back down to the creek. We backtracked along the creek and crossed back over Peter Meadows Rd. It was near lunch time so we stopped for our break on top of the cliffs not far from the Bull Cave. After lunch we only had a short distance to walk to get back to the cars.

19-11-17 - Introduction to Off-Track Bushwalking - Dharawal NP.

9 members assembled at the 10T fire trail gate on Lysaghts Rd, Wedderburn. We set off down the 10T trail before crossing Stokes Ck. Even though we had rain the previous day the creek was only lightly flowing and was easy to walk across. We headed up the old fire trail. Even though this old trail is getting overgrown it is still easy to follow. We made good time and made it to our morning tea stop. Morning tea was at a nice spot that gives views of Stokes Ck.
Break over we set off. We backtracked along the old fire trail till we got to the point where the off-track part begins. We headed through the scrub and down to a side creek in the valley. A quick rest at the creek and glad to say that everyone was coping well with the off-tracking. From the creek we headed up again and managed to find the old earthquake monitoring station. This station was part of a network that ran up and down the east coast. This locations proximity to coal mines has always made me wonder why they picked this spot. Another short rest stop ensued then we continued on heading east to the 10B trail. To my surprise we reached the 10B trail well ahead of schedule. We had completed the off-track section quickly and without incident. After a group discussion we decided to head down to the river gauge on OHares Ck, which is just off the 10D trail, for lunch.
We reached the river gauge and whilst resting under the trees Jenny spotted an enormous Yabbie walking across the rock shelf in front of us. What an amazing sight it was.
After lunch we returned along the 10D trail, then on to the 10B trail before using another abandoned fire trail to get us back to the trail that leads to Stokes Ck. After crossing the creek we arrived back to the cars just after 3pm.
I was very happy with how this walk went and I think everyone enjoyed the day.

12-11-17 - Brokers Nose.

On Sunday last under high fluffy clouds a spirited bunch of 12 Mountain Devils left the Catho Car Park in convoy to drive to the truck stop on the Mt. Ousley Road and the start of the Brokers Nose Walk.
We found the track to be in really good condition, apart from some litter around the very start so We marched on, the ageing Leader feeling just like the Grand Old Duke Of York in spite of the difference in numbers. We stopped for a moment at the first lookout to enjoy our first look at the view and to notice the clouds where disperseing and temperatures were rising. Even though no recon had been done all tracks lead to the top on this walk so in no time we cleared the scrub and progressed along the fire trail to the summit to gaze in awe at the view. We enjoyed morning tea and read the graffiti scratched into the rocks.
After a nice break We set off down the hill again and drove down into Wollongong for fish and chips on the Harbour. We all were lucky to get round one big table so a very pleasant lunch was enjoyed with the added bonus of bumping into Trevor and Rozanne who had just returned from holidays in CUBA. This was a great day out, perfect weather great Company a most enjoyable lunch near the water, seagulls in their hundreds and skydivers floating to earth nearby. What more could You ask for.

29-10-17 - Sculptures by the Sea.

With 2 last minute withdrawals, 3 members and 3 visitors met in the 7th carriage for the 21st Sculptures by the sea exhibit. We had a quick transport change at Museum Station,knowing how packed the buses get at Bondi Junction we certainly beat the crowd.
Off the bus and on our way down by the Bondi Icebergs pool we had a brief pause,soon coming to the first sculpture. Along the path the bigger ones were easy to spot, others weren't and it felt like we were playing I Spy. Looking out from MacKenzies Point we watched the whales swim by at the time I had pre-arranged.
At Marks Park we wandered around as the majority of works were on show and into a tent that housed smaller pieces. The art in front of the air conditioners seemed to get the most interest from us.
The artworks ranged from big steel structures to bits of nylon netting on a rock. Our peoples choice vote was for the 'Inconvenience Shop' whose goodies were items found on local beaches and packed for sale. The 'merchandise' included broken plastic cutlery, santa hats, bits of band aids and cigarette butts. It was amazing to walk around inside. With the last leg to Tamarama Beach we didn't get past the surf club the smell of bbq snags was too strong for us. After a break we continued to Bronte Beach for a bus towards Centennial Park, by now it was hot.
Cutting the walk short we hand fed the black swans corn and had cool treats at the Spruce Goose Diner. We also saw the Rose Garden, the Federation Pavilion, Sunrise and Sunset Columns, the bat colony and Belvedere Amphitheatre.
Leaving the park for Bondi Junction station our last stop was Maccas for another coldie before the train. The line for the Bondi bus was very long even that time of the day. An interesting but hot 12km walk ended with a visitor having a nap on the train.
Thanks Kerri

22-10-17 - Car Camp Bents Basin.

Nine jovial bushwalkers made their way to Bents Basin nice and early on Friday and dressed in their best ponchos, trying to dodge the rain to put up the dome and their tents before they got drowned.
The evening went a lot better as we had happy hour listening to music provided by Jochen, we even had a visit from a local, Wally the wombat. The weather was a lot nicer to us next day as went for a walk around down to the river and saw a lot of devastation caused by the floods earlier in the year, and watched other people trying to figure out which end of their tent went where.
The final evening went brilliantly as we sat around a roaring campfire organised by Jochen having talks about a good time we had and memories whilst listening to music and soaking up the warmth from the fire. Thank you everyone for making it a lovely few days.


15-10-17 - Boobera Pool - Heathcote NP.

Our attempt to do this walk earlier in the year was thwarted by lots of rain. Today 4 Devils set out from Heathcote and used a powerline service trail to get to the Mirang Trail. The Mirang Trail is a service road that heads down to the Pipeline Rd. Turning south onto the Pipeline Rd we walked till we got to Battery Causeway where we had an early mornng tea. Even though we have not had any rain for months it was still surprising to see Heathcote Creek not flowing at the causeway.
After a nice break we left the Pipeline Rd and headed onto the Bullawaring Track. The sun was out and the humidity was high making the climb up to the Goanna Track more tiring than expected. After a short breather we turned onto the Goanna Track and continued to climb up to the saddle south of Battery Knob. We also had our only snake encounter of the day as we head up the Goana Track. Just after cresting the saddle we turned onto an old service trail that leads down to the Pipeline Rd. This old trail is overgrown and our progress slowed but we made it down without any issues. Back on the Pipeline Rd we headed over to the start of the track to Boobera Pool. Another climb up and over a saddle, then a scramble across the Woronora River and we made it to the Kingdom Come camping area next to Boobera Pool. It was time for lunch.
During our break we checked out the river and area around the camp spot before saddling up and heading home. The trip back up and over the ridge to the Pipeline Rd was done at a slow and steady pace as there are several steep, loose sections. To save time getting back to the cars we headed back along the Pipeline Rd and then back up the Mirang Trail. Everyone enjoyed the day and it was nice to get back to Boobera Pool for a visit.

08-10-17 - Bondi to Watsons Bay.

Leaving on the early train 9 members and 1 visitor arrived at busy Bondi Beach. Walking past the Pavilion and North Bondi surf life saving club to Ben Buckler for views of the coastline.
Back to Military Rd we started up a steady incline reaching O'Donnell St we seen our first look at Centrepoint Tower. Further along we trudged up a very steep lane to Hugh Banford Reserve, luckily with the archery club facing the opposite direction we were safe! Nothing special about the park until you see the view of the city.
Continuing on we picked up 2 lost walkers who were going our way. Regrouping we wandered along Raleigh Reserve with afew walkers seeing whales, finishing at the big bull statue. Up across the main road is Dudley Page Reserve with its panoramic view of Sydney with the Harbour Bridge in the middle. Bus loads of tourists turn up everyday. Unfortunately for Trish our morning tea spot was a distance away.
Back down to the coastline we took on the steps of the cliff top walkway, pointing out the recently police raided Dover Heights mansion. Stopping at Diamond Bay we caught our breath. Over the next hill was Christison Park and morning tea, a lovely shady area with toilets and cafe close by.
Having a break some of the group grabbed coffee. When one member returned we all started singing happy birthday, surprised we gave Jochen a card, a present and a bag of chupa chups(no way we could've taken a cake). After some photos with the birthday boy we headed off to Macquarie Lighthouse past The Gap down to Watsons Bay for lunch.
Some left on the ferry for home while the rest went to Hornby Lighthouse at south head. Passing the nudist beach the resident show off (he is always there) was enjoying the reactions of females.
Almost back to the ferry terminal Trish took a tumble. The ferry ride was cold and gloomy and a long day was over.

24-09-17 - Wynyard to Circular Quay.

Setting off from Wynyard Station our small group first headed to the old gasworks site in Jenkins St. Following Hickson Rd(the hungry mile) our next stop was beneath the 1920s workers cottages of Millers Point for a brief history of the area. With modern highrise in the background it makes a great photo.
Strolling to the top of Barangaroo Reserve we kept a lookout for the devil who missed the train eventually meeting up at Sydney Observatory. As the clouds had rolled in we decided to just look at the photo exhibit and museum. The tour with a look through the solar telescope at the sun must wait for another day.
Continuing on to the National Trust building, down Agar Steps and along Kent St to St Brigids Church, Australias oldest catholic church still in use next door to the old watchhouse and post office.
Onto Windmill St where we stopped at the house of the legendary Frank Hyde. And yes we tried our impersonations of him but no awards were given! Stopping for a pause at the Garrison Church then Ferry Lane with the original woodblocks still in place made for a slow careful descent. At Walsh Bay we looked at old photos and walked around the piers.
Heading up to Cumberland St past the 1880 cast iron urinal and along Gloucester Lane we came to Sussannah museum and the Big Dig archaeological site. Dropping into the Australian Hotel for a coldie no one was interested in a coat of arms pizza. Abit of fun was the Sticky Lolly shop then we wandered down the Nurses Walk, saw where the original town centre was under the Cahill Expressway and went to the opal museum. Last stop was Customs House to 'walk on sydney' a model of modern sydney under a glass floor on which you can retrace your days footsteps. Winding our way through streets and lanes we saw some old, we saw some new and learnt history all the way.

17-09-17 - Troys Creek Lookout and Martins Creek Loop - Nattai NP.

4 members left the catho for the drive to Wattle Ridge where we met 2 more members.
The weather prediction was for a cool day in the Highlands and we were surprised to be greeted by very moderate weather. Since we were doing some exploring I wrote our details in the walkers logbook. We set off and made good pace before stopping at the Starlights turn off to take our jackets off as it was warming up already. The 11E fire trail (aka Nattai Rd) is an easy walk and even though we had to cover several kilometres it didn't take that long before we found ourselves at the start of the abandoned fire trail out to the point above Troys Creek. The abandoned fire trail was overgrown but was in most parts not too hard to follow with only a couple of occasions when we had to navigate around some thicker scrub. We reached the end of the point and were very pleased to find a great lookout. It was time for morning tea. Having already covered 8kms we needed the break. Morning tea also contained our only medical emergency of the day when someone got a spoon stuck between their teeth.
Rested, refueled and spoon removed we headed back to the 11E fire trail and backtracked to the start of the trail down to Martins Ck. We reached the valley floor and onto the Disappointment Trail before turning off onto the track down to the waterfall on Martins Creek. Even though it has been so dry for the past months there was still some water flowing over the waterfall. It was time for lunch.
After lunch we headed back to the Disappointment Trail. This trail has become surprisingly overgrown in the past year. Lots of burnt out bushes having fallen over blocking the trail and making it a bit confusing in parts. A couple of wrong turns along the way were easily corrected. Amazingly, the swampy section of the Disappoinmennt Trail was bone dry and the trail was lost for a few minutes before we found our way out of the "swamp". We passed the Horse Track intersection and continued along the trail back to Nattai Rd just east of the Wattle Ridge car park.
Even though we maintained a quick walking pace all day it had been a long day. We covered around 20kms so everyone was happy to be back at the cars. Thanks to the walkers who came along on this walk. I have wanted to explore the abandoned fire trail above Troys Creek for some years now so it was very rewarding to finally get this done. It has also given me some ideas for future walks in this area.

10-09-17 - Lane Cove National Park Tourist Circuit.

18 members set out from Koonjeree Picnic Area crossed the weir and up the hill to the start of the Great North Walk (GNW). A Bush Turkey at the edge of the track took no notice as we passed by. Walking a short distance on the access road we re-joined the GNW track to walk over the hill to descend onto the Thistlethwaytes track. With the river on our left, we walked past information plagues and stopped for morning tea by the river at the Wild and Weedy Bridge. Refreshed and back on track we passed through an area of burnt bushland and onto the more challenging section of the track consisting of exposed tree roots, sandy rocks and platforms, steps and cliff face outcrops. A series of steps took us up to two sandstone caves with overhangs. Just past the second cave the track forked slightly to the left. After a short distance Lorraine, exhibiting her 'Michael bashing skills', decided it was the wrong way. This was confirmed by a group of walkers up on the track who called out to us 'it's the wrong way'. Unfortunately, on this unplanned steep section covered in leaves and sandy ground Evelin slipped over backwards, narrowly missing a large rock with her head but benefiting from her backpack acting as a cushion and preventing any injury. Yes, she was able to get up again by herself and continued the walk. Back at the intersection Kerri pointed out the sign, a horizontal arrow with points at either end engraved into a large rock then a second arrow on a second rock within 2 meters. The official signage was seen on the other side of the rock face. Aware of the alternative signs, it didn't make it easier getting around the next huge rock. Ross alerted us that it was easier to go through the two rock outcrops.
From here the track led through bushland to the top of the stairs down to Blackbutt Creek. Another Bush Turkey was busy scratching around and walked away as we approached. The stairs, although supported by wooden sleepers, were steep, covered in leaves and sand and the last sloping timber platform was very slippery. Fortunately, the creek crossing over large rock boulders and up a steep rock platform went without mishap. The rest of the track proved less hazardous flattening out up towards DeBurghs Bridge. Crossing DeBurghs Bridge we noticed and walked through the bushland area that had been deliberately fired earlier in the week.
Feeling famished by now an enjoyable lunch break was taken in the shade, sitting on the rock formed walls at the toll gate entrance to LCNP. Unfortunately, the toilet block was locked. After a steep descent on wooden supported steps and along the rocky gravely track it wasn't long before we were on more level ground and arrived shortly at Porters Bridge. At the Bridge Lorraine stood guard against the oncoming traffic, slowing down two service vehicles and the walkers safely walked along the bridge to re-join the Riverside track on the other side of the creek.
The Riverside walking track had more green undergrowth and vegetation, ferns and picnic reserves. Large and small Water Dragon Lizards abound. At least six were seen just off or on the track but scurried away as we approached. Kookaburras and small blue and yellow Robins were also sighted. At Blackbutt Reserve the toilet block was open. The group was delighted when we were rewarded for our long hard walk by receiving, purple foiled covered chocolate coated jellies, by a family of picnickers. A short time later we sighted rowing boats and paddled boats, with energetic people, on the river and it wasn’t long afterwards that we passed by the boatshed and arrived at Koonjeree Picnic Area just near Fullers Bridge. Having just slighted and missed a bus going back to Chatswood Station we were not overly concerned as the time was well spent relaxing before the next bus arrived 30 minutes later.
Lorraine congratulated all the walkers on their excellent experienced walking skills on a long, hard and enjoyable days walk.

27-08-17 - Wodi Wodi Track.

We left Campbelltown with 14 members and 1 visitor to drive to Stanwell Park for the start of this walk. Leaving the park we headed uphill to Stanwell Park Railway Station and found there was a sign saying that the other end of the Wodi Wodi Track was closed, due to roadworks. We decided to go along as planned, and if we could not get to the end then we return the same way. It started quite steeply so we all found our own pace. Fairly soon we came across other people going in both directions (some with their friendly dogs) so it looked like the exit was still open.
After many steep uphills and down dales we came to Stanwell Creek where we had morning tea. I had said that, according to my book, there was a very tall railway viaduct that I wanted to check out. Most of us followed over rocks and more steep gradients - the track was quite indistinct. We finally came to a point where we had a good view of the viaduct and many photos were taken. There should have been a track to the bottom, but we must have missed it, so we retraced our way back to the creek.
The track from here started off very steeply indeed, so it was slow going. More ups and downs but it was a pleasant rainforest area and with good views to the ocean from the high points. One of the walkers that had passed us actually rang me and confirmed that the track exit was indeed open. That was reassuring. We had lunch on a hill overlooking the beach in the very warm sunshine, then it was not much further to the exit onto the road.
Unfortunately, due to the roadworks, we had to walk along the narrow road and could not find a way down to the beach, until nearly back in Stanwell Park. Then we strolled along the beach, and were surprised to find hundreds of people at Stanwell Park Beach Reserve. There was an Indian Festival of some kind; it was very crowded.
It was good to get back to the cars and say our farewells. It had been a challenging walk mainly due to the steepness of the track, but still a pleasant day with a great group of people.

20-08-17 - Diggers Camp, Dharawal NP.

4 brave souls assembled at the end of Victoria Rd in Wedderburn for this challenging walk.
Half the group had never been to Dharawal before so some time was spent at the NP information board before eventually setting off on the walk. Easy walk along West Victoria Rd FT before turning off onto the Jingga Track. Every time I have been down this very steep and slippery track someone has slipped over and this trip was no different. We took our time and stopped to check various features along the way before arriving at the weir. This weir is one of several weirs that were constructed to determine if there was enough water flow in this creek system to justify constructing a dam in this area. Thankfully for us there wasn't enough water flow to justify a dam.
There was much chatting and many photos of the weir before we started on the off-track part of the day. Shortly after crossing the creek we spotted a series of cairns and decided to follow them. This proved to be very useful as it really helped in picking our way through the cliff lines. Wasn't long before we got above the lower cliffs and made our way over to the spur between Stokes and OHares Cks. We stopped for morning tea at a spot that gave great views out to the Nepean River valley in the west and across the creek gorge.
From here we continued picking our way up the spur. Once on the top it became obvious that the scrub had grown a lot since my last visit a decade ago. We pushed on trying to follow the wheel ruts of the old fire trail that heads out to the Old Coach Rd. It was very slow going but we eventually found the NP boundary fence and the Old Coach Rd. The area was so overgrown (you should see the scratches on my legs) we couldn't see much and this spoiled my plan to do some exploring in this rarely visited part of Dharawal NP so we turned around and headed back to OHares Ck. We made good time back and found a nice spot with good views to sit, relax and enjoy lunch.
After lunch we made our way back down to OHares Ck and other than a few wrong turns and a snake encounter (first of the season) the return trip went well. We had a short break at the weir before attempting the long, steep climb back up the Jingga Track.

13-08-17 - the Painters Walk.

On a lovely sunny Sunday morning 17 Members and 2 Visitors boarded the ferry at Circular Quay to head over to the Taronga Zoo Wharf to start the ever popular Painters Walk. I actually had 24 on the log on sheet but 2 Members had to cry off, 2 Visitors did'nt show up and 1 Member missed the train.
After the usual introductions we set off for Little Sirius Point for morning tea but when we got there the place was full of Volunteers who had the same idea. We continued on to the top of Little Sirius Cove and enjoyed morning tea and a toilet stop among the hoards of dog lovers and their scurrying pets. Most of the walkers took the chance to decend down to have a look at the old Curlew Camp. We then progressed across Curraghbeena Point and down the Charles Dansie Walk and up to the top of Mosman Bay. We surged on basking in the lovely views on such a fine morning and soon reached the Old Cremorne Wharf. The old brigade soon regaled the newer members with the tale of the day we nearly got washed away on the short walk from the cover of the shelter to boarding the ferry. The ones who where there got absolutely saturated in 20 paces but lived to tell the tale.
Lunch was calling so we pressed on to the newly renovated Cremorne Point Wharf.Lunch was a relaxing affair as we waited for the ferry to take us back to Circular Quay and on the way down Roz told us of her son`s involvement in the building of the new stairs down to the jetty. The ferry we boarded took us back into Mosman Bay so we were able to sit in comfort and see the tracks we had just walked glide past from the water. Once back at Circular Quay we had a bit of a wait for the Macarthur train then it was back to the jewel of the southwest after yet another great Mountain Devils Day Out.

23-07-17 - Mt Jellore, Nattai NP.

6 Devils left Campbelltown for the trip to the Information Centre in Mittagong to meet 2 more members. A car swap was made as the fire trail off Soapy Flat Rd can be tricky to access and a vehicle with a bit more clearance is handy. We arrived at the parking spot and saddled up for the walk out to Mt Jellore.
The fire trail runs for a km or two before it starts to drop steeply into a side creek. At the creek crossing there are some ropes to assist descending and ascending the short, steep, slippery slope leading to the creek. The steep climb out really gets the heart going. Arriving at the top we found some nice rocks in the sun for a morning tea break. As this is not a long walk we had time to enjoy a relaxing break.
After our break we headed west along a spur that takes you to the fire trail that runs all the way to the base of Jellore. This fire trial actually goes all the way back to Soapy Flat Rd but can't be used to access Jellore as it crosses private property. Past the water tank and along the undulating fire trail has us at the base of Jellore in no time. Now for the fun bit.
The footpad initially goes straight up the side of Jellore before becoming a series of steep switchbacks. Everyone did the climb at their own pace and we all got to the top. We regrouped and stopped for photos at the trig station before walking over to the north side of the mountain. The views from the north side of Jellore are spectacular. The weather was perfect and a good strong westerly wind had cleared the skies for us. We could see all the way to the city. Our lunch spot gave us views across Nattai NP, Kanangra Boyd NP, Blue Mountains NP and beyond.
Lunch over it was time to do the descent off Jellore. The recent dry spell had made the footpad loose and slippery so a slow descent was in order. Only one person slipped on the way down. Back along the fire trail and down through the creek again. The long, steep ascent out of the creek is hard going after all the other ups and downs of the day so a slow pace was in order. A short break at the top of the climb to catch our breath and we headed back along the fire trail to the cars and off home. Everyone seemed to enjoy this challenging walk.

16-07-17 - Walamurra Track, RNP.

On a cool morning, but perfect day, 15 Mountain Devils made their way into the RNP to commence a picturesque walk with variations of scenery from low bush to sub tropical.
It was very enjoyable, with no leech bites, and no one taking a dip whilst crossing the creek twice, and Harry entertained everyone with his story of being lost and having to stay overnight in the bush on this walk 8 years. Thank you everyone for coming and making it a fun day.

09-07-17 - Hunters Hill to Fullers Bridge Walk, Lane Cove National Park

Pre-warned of the necessary quick interchange from the train at Central Station to Town Hall Station to catch the 506 bus from Park Street, the members settled back in the bus for the 20 minute comfortable trip to Boronia Park. Not having the opportunity of the customary restroom stop at the station or prior to catching the bus, Lorraine and Kay found the restrooms under the grandstand at the park were open. A welcome relief for all walkers.
On a sunny brisk morning with clear blue skies, nine walkers set off across the park and traversed down the steep, wet grassy hill (one walker commented "if we had a plastic sheet we could slide down faster") to Princess St. then down to the Lane Cove River to view the Fig Tree Bridge at Hunters Hill.
Walking back ~50 meters to the Great North Walk Green Signpost we entered the bush and commenced our walk along the well-defined track, wooden steps and platforms, rocky outcrops and ledges and took advantage of the rock platforms to view the Lane Cove River and two kayakers gliding along the still waters.
Leaving the river behind we headed up on a well-defined track through trees and bushes following the signposts with B markings (un-planned derivation) eventually coming out at a grassy clearing then at the most northern part of the Boronia Park near the Sir Moses Montefiore Hal Holdstein Campus Age Care. A short walk down Gaza Av onto Baron Cr., we re-entered the bushland, down a steep access trail (Oh my G..! when’s morning tea?) to re-join the GNW track at the edge of the river. Walking along the track with exposed tree roots, wooden boardwalks through the mangroves, under and close to sandstone walls (a variety of wild flowers were in bloom), passing the ‘Friends of the Buffalo Creek plaque’ and some paperbark trees, it wasn’t long before we arrived at Buffalo Creek Reserve for our morning tea break (about time!).
From the large Buffalo Creek Track Head signpost the track descended a series of wooden steps across wooden boardwalks through the mangroves and saltmarshes, past information plagues and onto the wooden bridge over the Buffalo Ck. A series of steps cut into the rock ledges brought us back on track and through the bushland and Casuarina forest. Soon we arrived at the intersection to Sugarloaf Point and more opportunities to view the river and the pleasant picnic area. The track/fire trail, with its very loose small gravelly stones, caused one walker to slip sideways and gently fall into the grassy area (not hurt, may be embarrassed).
Leaving Sugarloaf Point behind us we passed a large fenced, high-tension power line concrete tower before joining the Great North Walk at the intersection of Pittwater Rd. The next section of the walk took us through the saltmarshes and a large area of various ferns and palms, e.g. Fishbone, Maiden, Soft Tree, Bird’s Nest and Stag’s Horn. Up ahead, our leaders spotted a bush turkey busy scratching up the loose undergrowth presumably to make a new nest mound similar to the one further along the track. The track wound down to a coastal wetlands information sign before entering the mangroves and wetlands north of Kitty Creek.
Exiting the bushland we soon arrived at Magdala reserve where a friendly Kookaburra sat quietly on the GNW Green Signpost near the high-tension power line tower then on a nearby Gum tree branch allowing us to capture photos on our cameras. Walking along the pipeline footbridge we crossed over the Lane Cove River near the National Starch factory (with its unpleasant smell), then onto the Epping Road footpath and along the Bridge. Once on the other side of the river we walked down under the Bridge and alone side the river to commence the northern section of the walk along the “Fairyland Pleasure Grounds” track through the dry bushland, passing various ferns and large palm trees. The only indications of any past playground buildings and activities was documented on the many information plagues along the way.
Emerging from the track at the intersection of Québec Rd and River Ave, "the majority rules" decision was agreed on, so we took the River Ave. alternative, the easiest way to the end of the walk at Fuller’s Bridge and our lunch stop. Although the aroma of the BBQ at the River Restaurant was tempting we passed up the chance of any purchases having been told of the expensive price of coffee by a group of walkers leaving the restaurant. The bus to Chatswood Station arrived on time and we were soon on the train back to Wynyard and onto the Macarthur Region.
A good day's walk in the Great Outdoors!

25-06-17 - Garrawarra Farm to Wattamolla - RNP.

We could not have picked a more glorious day to do a walk along the Coastal Track. The weather was perfect and the number of Whales off the coast was unbelievable.
11 members and 2 visitors left the catho at 7:30am for the drive to Garrawarra Farm. Completed the car shuffle and we were on our way just after 9am. Down Burgh Ridge we headed. We stopped at a lookout above Burning Palms and our leader explained that all the materials used to construct the cabins below us were carried in from the Garrawarra Farm car park. Everyone was amazed at the effort required to build these cabins.
From here we turned onto the Coastal Track proper and headed north to Era Beach which has the largest number of cabins in the RNP. These are also made from materials that were carried in from Garrawarra. We stopped for a morning tea break at the Era Surf Life Saving Club. This section of the Coastal Track is very undulating and it takes some time to get up and over the hills. We walked past the campground at North Era, around the massive midden (the fenced off area). Up and over another hill, past more cabins at Little Garie and we crossed Garie Beach before reaching the biggest climb of the day. Once up on the cliffs the walk becomes easier as the track flattens out. We pushed on through Curra Moors and made it to Eagle Rock for lunch at 1pm, a little late but still a good time for lunch.
After lunch we set off on the final section of the day. Everyone seemed happy to reach Wattamolla after a good walk.

11-06-17 - Waterfalls of Hazelbrook.

We had 11 members meet at the Catholic Club on this very overcast day. Did the usual stop at Glenbrook and then drove further up the mountains to Lawson, and started on the Waterfall Loop Track heading for Adelina Falls. Quite a small waterfall but it is enclosed by beautiful lush ferns and greenery. Then next stop was at the twin falls called Junction Falls, where we had our morning tea at a picnic table. More photos were taken in this lovely area.
After a fairly long and enjoyable break we were on track again and visited Federal Falls, and retracing our steps for a short way climbed up hill to see more waterfalls. First a very little one had been nicknamed "Pathetic Falls" and then Cataract Falls which was quite impressive with many levels. Then it was up some steep steps again to continue on the loop track. We came to a junction where it was intended to follow a firetrail to Terrace Falls, and a couple of people decided they had walked and climbed enough so they went back to the cars.
The rest of us continued and eventually came to a creek crossing without any problem. Just a bit further on we had to cross the same creek and needed a little help by Michael. Then it was downhill to Victor Falls where we had lunch. The leader decided that we call it a day - Terrace Falls was probably going to have very slippery rocks to cross. And most of us were quite happy to continue back to the cars, which probably took almost an hour. A good walk and the weather was very kind to us that day. It just started to sprinkle when we returned to the cars.

04-06-17 - Milsons Point to Hyde Park.

15 brave souls took up the challenge of allowing me to be their leader for the first time.
Setting off early to Milsons Point on an overcast morning the clouds parted as we made our way up the steps to the Harbour Bridge. After walking across the bridge we looked around the archaeological site at Dawes Point followed by a wander through The Rocks markets then onto Circular Quay. We had a giggle at the big minion on the bow of the Carnival Spirit which had docked at 6.30am.
Further on to the Opera House we had 3 group photos taken by a stranger who was nice enough not to run away with our cameras. Reaching the Botanical Gardens we ate morning tea surrounded by many beautiful plants. Well rested we passed Mrs Macquaries Chair, Boy Charlton Pool and the Art Gallery. At St Mary's Cathedral we explored the wonderful sights inside before exploring the Mr Whippy van outside. With the clouds back we crossed the road to Hyde Park for a look at the Archibald Fountain before the last leg to the War Memorial.
The only casualty of the day was a lost phone. It was an enjoyable walk with beautiful weather, fantastic views, many photos and a great group of friends to make the day perfect.
And we all smiled at the romance blossoming before our eyes. Thanks guys for your support and encouragement.

21-05-17 - Cape Bailey Track and Lighthouse.

14 members and 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.

07-05-17 - Ahearn Lookout, Nattai NP.

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.

23-04-17 - Bondi Beach to Maroubra Beach

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 and laughter enjoyed by all members and visitors.

02-04-17 - Jibbon Head to Marley Beach.

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.

24/26-02-17 - Coolendel Car Camp.

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.

19-02-17 - Euroka to Nepean River Circuit.

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.

29-01-17 - Freres Crossing and beyond.

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.

27-11-16 - Wattamolla to Little Marley via Deer Pool.

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.

20-11-16 - Marhneys Hole Walk.

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.

13-11-2016 Hen and Chicken Bay Walk.

Track work on the Circular Quay Circle meant the group had to change platforms at Central for Circular Quay to catch the early River-Cat to Abbottsford. 11 members set off from Abbottsford Wharf through the suburb streets to Battersea Bay Reserve taking in the views of the sailing boats and yachts moored in the bay and passing by a few boats on the park land area close to the foreshore. We stopped at the Historical Animal Quarantine Station Reserve and inspected the stalls in the shelters that would have housed the livestock awaiting quarantine clearance into Sydney. Diane encouraged every one to gather in front of a large flowering Jacaranda tree in the reserve and Luis snapped a group photo. Walking along the foreshore we noticed on the opposite side of Hen and Chicken Bay the very tall distinctive chimney landmark of the Bushells factory at Exile Bay. We also saw on two occasions a peddle boat, very low in the water, with two people peddling in the strong wind. Possibility because it was high tide around the mangroves and mud flats we didn't see any Ibis or water birds. However, it seemed like every resident of the area was out walking their dogs of various breeds and sizes.
We stopped at Halliday Park for morning tea. Refreshed and feeling cooler we set out through the park and suburban streets around to King Bay, Exile Bay and Philip Bay, passing by two golf courses, various home styles of apartments, harbour homes and detached prestige homes arriving at Cabarita Park in time to start lunch on a grassy area up from the Wharf. The wind had picked up and was making it very unpleasant so we didn't mind when at short notice we made a fast move down to the Cabarita Wharf as the Hop-On Hop-Off ferry approached. We finished our lunch in the comfort of the ferry before arriving at Circular Quay. We were fortunate to catch an early train at Circular Quay back to Central and even more delighted when a scheduled train to Macarthur arrived and left Central within nine minutes. A good day's walk that started out very warm with a cool breeze off the bay before turning blustery at Cabarita Park at the end of the walk.

06-11-2016 - Uloola Falls and Karloo Pool, RNP.

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.

5-11-16 - Rozelle to East Balmain.

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.

23-10-16 - Thornleigh to Hornsby

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.

16-10-2016 - Taronga Zoo Wharf to Balmoral Beach

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.

09-10-16 - Darkes Forest and Maddens Falls (from Appin).

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.

25-09-16 - Heathcote NP.

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.

18-09-16 - Manly Wharf to Spit Bridge.

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.

11-09-16 - Curra Moors - RNP.

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.

21-08-16 - Rose Bay to Watsons Bay.

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.

14-08-16 - Blue Gum Swamp.

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.

07-08-16 - Panania to Padstow.

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.
Nena .

31-07-16 - Dahlia Ck Exploratory - Dharawal NP.

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.

12-06-16 - Upper Martins Creek - Nattai NP.

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.

29-05-16 - Mt Kembla.

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.

15-05-16 - Sugarloaf Bay.

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.

01-05-16 - Boxvale to Lake Alexandra.

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.

24-04-16 - The Painters Walk.

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.

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.

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 ½ 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.

16-04-16 - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

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.

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.


03-04-16 - Kiama to Minnamurra.

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!!

13-03-16 - Brokers Nose - Illawarra Escarpment.

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 and 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.

06-03-16 - Dharawal NP.

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.

02-03-16 - Gore Hill to Hunters Hill.

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!

07-02-16 - Bundeena Circuit - Royal National Park.

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.

02-01-16 - New Years Twilight Walk - Wedderburn.

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.

06-12-15 - Georges River - Lynwood Park.

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.

15-11-15 - Carrington Falls.

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!

24-10-15 - Gulguer Nature Reserve.

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.

11-10-15 - Blue Gum Swamp and Grose Mtn Lookout.

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.

4-10-15 – Garie Beach to Wattamolla RNP.

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.

27-09-15 - Joadja Social "Open Day Tour".

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.

17-05-15 - Zig Zag Railway Lapstone

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.

01-03-15 - Spit to Manly Walk.

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.

28-09-14 - Cronulla Waterfront.

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.

30-08-14 – Fawlty Towers

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.

24-08-14 - Camp Curlew Painters Walk.

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.

03-08-14 - Heathcote National Park.

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.

20-7-14 - Magdala Gully and Martin's Lookout

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.

13-7-14 - Two Creeks, Dharawal NP.

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.

6-7-14 - Upper Middle Harbour.

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.

8-6-14 Panania to Padstow

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.

24-5-14 - Gordon to Roseville.

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.

18-5-14. Blue Gum Swamp Track and Grose Mountain Lookout, Winmalee.

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.

10-5-2014 - Balmoral Village to Tahmoor.

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.

13-4-2014 - Goanna track - Heathcote NP.

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.

30-3-2014 - Taronga to Balmoral.

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.

23-03-14 - South West Dharawal NP.

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.

23-02-2014 - Georges River - Kentlyn - Peter Meadows Ck.

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.

28-02 to 02-03 - Car Camp Coolendel.

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.

04-01-2014 - New Years Twilight Walk.

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.

01-12-13 - Boxvale Track - Mittagong.

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.

24-11-13 - Winifred Falls - RNP.

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.

17-11-13 Barren Grounds Nature Reserve.

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.

10-11-13 - Mt Kembla Circuit.

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.

13-10-13 - Perrys Lookdown.

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.

3-11-13 - Dover heights to South Head.

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.

22-09-13 - Wedderburn Wild Flowers.

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.

08-09-13 - Walumarra Track - Forest Path, RNP.

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.

31-08-13 - Govetts Leap.

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.

11-08-13 - Exploring Dahlia Ck Part 2 - Dharawal NP.

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.

10-08-13 - The Full Monty - Campbelltown Theatre Group.

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!

28-07-13 - Garie Beach to Wattamolla.

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.

7-07-13 – Mt Keira Ring Track and Robertson Lookout.

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.

16-06-13 - Scouters Mountain - Heathcote NP.

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.

26-05-13 - Two Creeks 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.

27/28-04-13 - Overnight Backpack - Boobera Pool, Heathcote NP.

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.

28-04-13 - Lockley's Pylon.

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 and 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.

14-04-13 - Dahlia Ck, Dharawal National Park Exploratory.

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.

17-3-13 - Iron Cove to East Balmain.

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.

16/17-3-13 - Overnight Walk, Nattai National Park.

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.

17-2-13 - The Walamurra Track.

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.

03-02-13 - Leura Cascades to Katoomba Falls.

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.

20–1–13 - La Perouse to Cape Banks.

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.

05-01-13 - New Years Twilight Walk and BBQ.

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.