2017 Reports

Mt Jerusalem 26th of March 2017 Leader Heike K.

Attended: Clancy B, Mike H, Amy D, Jo B, Sandy M, Christine L, Graeme K, Ian P, David F, Danielle C, Bert C, Megan W-J, Dale S, Kerrie P, Jenny C

As it was raining so much we were not sure whether we were able to drive to the start of the walk. Thanks Clancy for checking the conditions. We all met at Wilsons Creek Drive and managed to drive up to the start of the walk with only 3 cars. The low set bridges were all good to cross. Road and tracks were a bit muddy but ok. We walked up to the escarpment which took us about 40 minutes and then continued walking to the Flying Fox area where we had morning tea and the sun was shining. We were treated to a beautiful view of the Doon Doon Valley and many photos were taken. We met some young people who left their car on one of the tracks stranded before a log….and we wondered how they would reverse the car back down this muddy, slippery track…. but they did it - young and fearless. After morning tea, we walked towards the top of Mt Jerusalem. The track was wet and muddy but we all seemed to be quite happy to walk without the rain. Bert pointed out a lunch stop which was a clearing not far from the top of Mt Jerusalem. All was a bit overgrown and thus not much of a view but perfect for having our lunch and checking on leeches. I finally found my shaded lunch spot and sat on my seat ma, jumping up soon after I realised that I sat on a jumping ants nest. I was bitten first on my finger and at other parts of my body…so painful… recovered from the shock and was looking for another lunch spot. Decided to sit next to Danielle, when Amy pointed out the sight of a snake just about 20 centimetres from where I just sat down again on my seat mat and where many other members sat also. A black snake curled up in high grass – so camouflaged …. amongst us. The snake did not move…. Some people wanted to poke the snake to see whether it was dead, others said leave it alone it’s not dead it is just asleep……so the discussion went on and on for a while…eventually the snake moved slowly away…. not dead but fully alive….did .imagine how it would be if one member would have put their seat mat onto this grass patch and sat on the snake….Thanks God this did not happen. After lunch, the majority of the group walked up to the top of Mt Jerusalem and we took a group photo. After lunch we returned the same way. The track was muddy and slippery but all of us made it back to the car without any problems. We arrived around 4pm. Afternoon tea was held at the Wilsons Creek Primary School and we were all back at our cars around 17.00. We walked about 12.5 km .Great walk, good weather, no one sat on the snake. Thanks to all participants.

Uralba Reserve 8th of April 2017 Leader Heike K.

Attended: Des F, Jenny C, Peter T, Helen T, Katherine W, Greg M, Sue P, Ruth M, Graeme M

We met at 9.00am near Crawford House and organised ourselves into carpools - took 3 cars to the start of Uralba Reserve. Around 9.30am we walked through wet tall grass but the weather was kind to us with no rain. The tracks were muddy and sometimes slippery. We walked on the main fire trail towards the lookout (view to the Richmond river and High way), took a group photo and then headed to the abandoned farmhouse where we had morning tea amongst grazing cows. We enjoyed walking back to the lookout and took a different path back to the fire trail along the escarpment with occasional views to the highway and river area of Ballina. On our way back we saw a cow and a newly born calf attempting to do the first wobbly steps….the calf was born not long ago…still a bit wet…was very special. The walk finished around 1pm and we all went to the House with No Steps for lunch and shared afternoon tea. Some members bought coffee and lunch supporting this special place.. An enjoyable walk for all of us. Thanks to everyone.

Koonyum Range, 5 May 2017

Walkers: The 27 walkers are too many to name.

Must be close to a club record. Some special walkers deserve a mention. Firstly, Duncan Fowler, a club stalwart from a few years back who is recovering from a serious illness. Secondly, Marcus Durand, another old-timer who was visiting from Kenya. There were 4 prospective members. Clancy B was scheduled to lead this walk but was forced to withdraw because of a serious illness. This is a nice easy walk, mostly along gravel roads, which features two waterfalls (Boogarem Falls over the eastern escarpment and an un-named waterfall into the Wilson River Gorge) and four lookouts (two at the waterfalls). There was some fear and trepidation about private property signs which we I ignored on the understanding that they were intended to deter 4WDs and trail bikes. The greatest concern was a locked gate across the northern end of Koonyum Range Road for which permission to access, without notice, has now been obtained. For the record, the contact is Sarah Legge, phone no 0476 861 951. The last 600 – 700 m of the road is now heavily overgrown so we stopped short to have lunch at an old hang gliding take off area which has extensive views over Palmwood, the upper reaches of the Brunswick River valley and beyond. Fallen trees across the road on the approach to the lunch spot had to be negotiated. A sumptuous afternoon feast was partaken at the end of the walk, laid out on a table supplied by Bill. Bert

13-17th May, 2017 Leader: Cecily Johnston - Tooma Huts Jagungal Wilderness hike.

Participants: Desley and Peter W, Cam P and Cecily J. (Map: Kosciuszko Alpine Area - SV maps 1st Edition 1:50,000).

Inspiration for the walk came from the fact Cam and I would be in the vicinity after the NRBC bike in Victoria. Also from a previous walk to Mt Jagungal in the 1980’s and a Wild

Magazine article titled Tooma Huts by Ian Trevaski - December 2013.

Day 1. We met up around midday at the locked gate on the Tooma Dam trailhead off the Tooma Road. After final packing, lunch and a short car shuffle we weighed our packs before setting off for Paton’s Hut. Interestingly both couples had the same combined weight of 28 kilos between them. Our gear included tents as a backup. It was excellent walking weather with a settled forecast ahead of us. The first day was a short walk of 3kms on Dargals Trail through eucalypt forest and open heath. We were at Paton’s hut in under an hour. We chatted to a loan mountain biker who was able to describe the devastation in the area from the 2006 fires. Paton’s and Pretty Plain huts suffered damage in the fires and have been rebuilt. Patons hut Desley and Peter inside Patons The hills around us had a tall grey stubble of dead mature mountain ash and snow gums but the regrowth everywhere was abundant. Water was plentiful in rushing streams and sweet to drink. There was a sunset over the outdoor fireplace but we realized it was going to be warmer indoors. Cam and I opted to sleep in our tent and it was soft on the snow grass but the condensation meant that we carried a damp tent the next day.

Day 2. We set out an hour later than planned at 9.30am due to a squall of rain. The squall did not pass as expected and we walked in rain through open undulating country until we reached the ford on the Tooma River. We forded the thigh deep and very cold Tooma River before lunch needing to take off boots and socks and trying to keep everything as dry as possible. We made the decision to stick to the Dargals trail until it met Hellhole Creek trail rather than go off track as suggested in the Wild article. So we walked up the hill and then turned east onto the Hellhole Creek trail. We were grateful for a break in rain to have lunch and then it continued to fine up. We were at the start of Pretty Plain at 2pm and made halting progress, through the tussock, up the valley to reach the hut just after 5pm. The hut is not visible until you are nearly there and we were running out of day light. The foot pad, that in past years has been clear to find, is very disturbed by the rooting of pigs. The pad runs close to the western side of the valley most of the way following the upper reaches of the Tooma River, then Bull’s Head Creek. There are 2 hills one in front of the other in the middle of the plain that are a good marker as you approach the hut. The track runs clearly over these 2 hills and from there it is only 1 km to the hut. It had been a long enough day of over 16kms of walking and some uncertainty of location toward the end. We had damp cold feet despite the roaring fire that evening but were very grateful for the shelter of the hut. Peter remarked that we were living as our Scottish forebears would have done in a farm croft minus the ‘wee bairns greetin’. As leader, I was quietly wondering if it was all a bit too Scottish. The night was cold and the floor boards felt icy where any part of my body touched them off the sleeping mat.

Day 3. We awoke in our little house on the pretty plain to a white crystalline frost and the sun creeping up the valley. We celebrated our situation with a day in the wilderness around the hut with the hills and stream and sunshine. There were birds and fresh animal scats but we were not to see a single animal the whole trip. A few trout were spotted. Peter did a little exploring toward Jimmie’s lookout but found that any route to gain elevation ended in an entanglement of growth. It was good in the sun reading and chatting. Peter and Cam took on the role of sawing up the fire wood to replenish our supplies and leave a good supply for the next party who may turn up the next day or not until next month. The log book tells the story of many of all ages who have enjoyed the shelter and the adventure of getting there by foot or on skis.

Day 4. We set off after 9am after waking to another white world. We were much better able to discern the fragments of the footpad on the way back and made good time. It took only 2 hours this time to walk the Pretty Plain. We had a pleasant morning tea by the rushing Tooma river in sunshine. Despite our good progress we decided to forego the short cut to Wheelers hut as written in the Wild track notes and to retrace our steps along, Hellhole then Dargals trail to the junction with Wheelers trail. It would mean an extra 5kms of walking and an added river crossing but there would be no navigational issues. We recrossed the Tooma River before lunch on the far bank and then walked on to join Wheelers trail. After a second crossing of the Tooma river, it didn’t really get any warmer, we followed the trail up onto a ridge and could see an idyllic mountain hut on a ridge in the distance. Further on we caught sight of the distinctive shape of Mount Jagungal to the east in the afternoon light. We arrived at Wheelers hut, having walked around 17 kms, at 4.30pm and prepared for the night. Jobs to be done included: collecting fire wood, finding water, having a wash, making a fire, preparing a sleeping space and dinner. Although this hut was picture perfect on the outside it was a tad small inside. The Weallans slept partially under the table. The Tooma river was our constant companion on day 2 and 4. Boots off and on in sunshine. Peter and Desley smiling despite cold feet.

Day 5. Another fine day dawned with thick ice on the puddles near the creek. We were so enjoying retracing our steps up the ridge line around 10am that we missed our turn off near the hut up the Snakey Plains trail. We retraced our steps and joined the Snakey Plains trail and climbed steeply for about 3 kms. On Snakey Plains trail – walkers with ‘attitude’. The reward was a lovely mountain stream in sunshine for morning tea. We then walked into a high valley with clear views east to Jagungal. The trail then turned north and gave us impressive views of range after range of blue mountains to the west. We walked up and down several steep undulations through an area of magnificent old snow gums not affected by recent fires. Then we were on the Tooma Road around 2pm. The final day had delivered great vistas. As the weather was forecast for change we all drove north through the deeply ravened country around Cabramurra to Tumbarumba for a comfortable night at the camp ground and a celebratory pub meal. It had been a good adventure in high country wilderness. Thank you walking buddies!

3838/Lost Valley, 10th June, Leader David W

Walkers, Noela, Nerida, Anna, Bill, Bob & grandson Xavier,Trevor, Dean,Rhani, Ann,Robin, Irene,

David.We departed Rummery Park at 9.00 am and made our way down to 3838 with only one wrong turn, 5 min detour. We spent some time taking in the beauty of 3838, then had morning tea on top, over looking Wanganui Gorge, at that point we decided to give Lost Valley ago.So off we went making our way back to the fire trail, which we followed with one wrong turn into tea tree scrub, when we realised we had turned off too early and made our way back to the fire trail and kept going until we eventually made it to the right turnoff that took us down to the Lost Valley where we had lunch on top of the waterfall. After lunch we scrambled back up to the fire trail and headed back to Rummery Park arriving at 4.00 pm.

18th to 19th February, 2017 – Canyoning – Leader: Shane - Iron Pot Creek Canyon, Toonumbar NP.

Participants: Gary W, Cam P, Cecily J, Cathy H, Peter L, Karl S and Shane.

We had all arrived at the Iron Pot Camping Area on the Saturday, except for Cam and Cec who had arrived the night before. The weather was dry and mild for most of the day. At 9:30 we took 2 cars to 741-516, the start of the walk, arriving at 10:10. Proceeding down the disused maintenance track we arrived at the bridge. We then descended to the creek below the bridge. The creek bed in this section is rock slabs rather than the round boulders of later on. It was not long until we found the infamous deep hole at 741-511. The depth was measured at approximately 2m. An orange caution flag was tied to a nearby tree. Not very far on we came to the top of the first waterfall 743-511, slippery near the 30m drop off. The descent was negotiated by climbing the right bank about 3m back from the drop off and contouring to the first gully. A tape was deployed and some used this while others had no trouble without it. At the valley floor the creek flowed under a rubble pile of very large boulders which required a bit of scrambling. We then headed down stream again, mostly wading and occasionally rock hopping, over and under fallen trees that blocked our path. The banks started to turn into cliffs and before long we had entered the gorge or canyon. Although the gorge runs for several kilometres the main section is at 752-500. The walls of sandstone eroded into sheer cliffs of up to 30m becoming narrower until it was only 3m wide. The feeling of a primeval jungle was overwhelming. We approached the second waterfall 760-491 that came in from our left and took a break. Up and at it again the walls gradually became lower and the occasional level bank appeared. We began to look for a good camping spot and decided on a near perfect spot at 762-487. There were four tents and two tarps erected with plenty of room for the same again plus. Tents up, we sat around and talked for many hours before hitting the sack. It rained during the night quite heavily. The camp site’s one detraction was the three huge stinging trees and their leaves in the accumulated leaf litter. Occasional there was a reminder that the 200mm thick soft bed of leaves contained a sting or two. Next morning we were up and walking / wading at 8:00. The going was easy for a while as we shortcut the meandering creek across many of the flat banks. As we got closer to the NP camping area we noticed the occasional stump from the forests' past life, and the ever increasing lantana. The lantana forced us to higher ground and then later to abandon the high ground back into the creek which was then flowing on a solid slab of stone with only the occasional boulder or fallen tree. At 12:30 we all arrived at the Iron Pot Camping Area feeling like we had earned a rest. We had the usual high fives, coffee and tea before the drivers were returned to their cars at Cox Road. The first day had been 6.6 km and had taken 7 hours, and the second day 5 km and 5 hours. The section from the Murray Scrub Loop turnoff 764-468 to the Iron Pot Camping Ground should in future be avoided. Parking the cars at Murray Scrub Loop parking area would be much more sensible. Thanks for the competent and amiable company.

Mt Kaputah 14 to 16 April 2017

Walkers: Shane M, Nigel Allen, Peter and Wendy L: Leader Gary W

After a 7 to 8 hour drive to Narrabri and then the national park we met up with Peter and Wendy who had spent a couple of days travelling over. An enjoyable evening was had at the well equipped Bark Hut campsite.... flushing toilets and hot showers all for $6.00 a night... sitting around the fire until an early turn in ensued. Day one After an early-ish start we did a car shuffle and left a car at our exit pont and then all met at the start of the walk on the track to My Coryah. A short steepish walk to the top of the peak resulted in

minimal views which led the group to complain to the leader! However we left the track and cut south to Mt Mitchell were the views opened up and we could see two of our objectives for the day these being the Camel's Hump and the over 3 kilometer lava flow, Walking on the lava flow was interesting and exciting as it had unusual textures and lots of folding and buckling. We stopped for lunch in a small bit of shade and then headed for the Camel's Hump which was a good scramble and then searched for water which resulted in some small pools but was sufficient to do the job. We headed for the westernperimeter of the lava flow where we found a great campsite on the edge of very impress cliffs and settled down for food and wee dram(s) of scotch and port before an early night. Day two After a relaxing breakfast and topping up on water located near the campsite we headed north along the perimeter of the lava flow which fed into a gully and open forest heading for a saddle so we could get our bearings for the very steep decent down to Coryah Creek. It was very steep down to the creek where we had a relaxing lunch before the huge ascent to our campsite amongst the trees and a short walk out to the point of the plateau where we could look across to our objective for day 3 the Yulludunida Crater... however we would have to take the long difficult route due the steepness of the drop off! A pleasant evening meal, good conversation and a tipple or three was had before a late night turn in at 8.00pm! Day three Well we thought it would be steep but not that steep and also fighting the trees that were leaning downhill whilst we were contouring around the plateau made it even tougher! A gentle start to the day was had before we tackled the unknown terrain explained above ... after 2 or more hours of contouring and fighting the bush (much harder than a boot camp!) a quick discussion ensued before the decision was made to head down hill to the parked car and get rid of the packs and then complete the walk to our objective of the crater. We used this time to grab some food, drive up and pick up the other two cars and then after a rest headed of on the hard rated track to the crater. We were not disappointed by this amazing feature and all climbed the first peak and then 3 of us climbed the second peak and sat there stunned as we looked not only at the crater but also the whole journey over the 3 days and were amazed at the fact we had traversed such terrain. Back to the car then we thought we would try the Dawson Springs campsite near to Mt Kaputah but upon arrival and seeing all the shiny and unused 4WDs we turned around and headed back down to Bark Hut campsite for a well earned shower and a sit round the fire before another early turn in. Day four Nigel went his own way back to Sydney after climbing Mt Kaputah with Peter and Wendy who then had a slow drive back to NNSW and Gary and Shane headed back because that dread work word was calling. Great walk and challenge with good company. We will have to revisit this exciting park and do other walks in the near future! This walk could have water challenges and requires a good level of fitness and navigational skills and is not for the faint hearted.

Tamborine Mountain Camp April 21 -23

Participants: Ian and Gail, Sue P, Jude, Margie ,Brian and Judy, Peter and Helen, Peter and Wendy, Greg, Ron and Sharon, Bruce and Liz, David W.

Unfortunately some members left their decision to come too late and they couldn’t get a camping spot. They missed out on a really surprisingly good weekend. Around 20 km of walks in pristine rainforest usually following a creek made the walking really memorable. There were many spectacular viewpoints on these walks. Tamborine Mountain offered so much to us, the brewery, the Indian Restaurant, Sky walk, the Glow worm Cave, the Botanical Gardens and so many other attractions catering to many of our tastes. The camp ground was good being adjacent to Thunderbird Park. All in all a different sort of weekend activity for the club. One we should repeat. Ian

Evans Head 17th of September 2017 Leader Heike K.

Attended: Ruth Henderson, Bill Boyd, Michael Smith, Robin Cameron, Mark Delany, Karen Delany, Geoff Phair, Ian Pick, Gail Pick, Gwen McNamara, Shane Malone, Suzy Malone, Sam Malone

We met at 9am at the carpark near the marina after the bridge and then organised ourselves into the carpool to go the start of the walk at Anson Avenue. The weather was beautiful with clear sky and not much wind all day. We walked to Joggly Point where we had morning tea and Michael Smith presented the group with some dreamtime stories of the three brothers and how the goanna ate the snake forming the goanna headlands. Thanks Michael for telling us these stories. We continued walking along the Goanna Headland - Chinamans Beach and had morning tea near some caves on our way to Snapper Rocks where we had lunch with a beautiful view and some dolphin sightings. We then walked back along the trail near the Bombing Range and enjoyed some beautiful wildflowers on our way back and finished our walk around 1.30pm. Shared afternoon tea at the carpark near the marina with homemade cakes and delicious sweets. Thanks everyone for such a beautiful and enjoyable walk once again in Evans Head.

Mt May and Maroon Hike 6-8 October

Shane M, Gary W, Karl S, Nigel A and Alan G (leader)

Friday: The crew assembled at Waterfall Creek campground in the early evening. After one campsite shift, a few drinks and a yarn we were chased to bed by some evening showers and an anticipated early start. Saturday: After breakfast and packing up, a car was dropped off at Cotswold for our exit. We started our ascent from the campground at 6.30 am (Qld time) and soon discovered that our route had been recently burnt from recent fires. This made for a touch desolate scene, however it aided in an unhindered walk. The day was overcast so was cooler than expected. After a few rest stops we ascended Mt May North and then Mt May South where we had smoko. We then descended and contoured onto a ridge and followed this to a point where we would plan our descent.We continued along the ridge guided by Gary around a few exposed peaks and the onto Paddy’s Peak which was rather charred. Descending again we then plotted a course to Paddy’s Plain arriving at 12.30 where we then set up camp and had lunch. We found water available in the creek and a couple of pools suitable for a dip (Karl & Al).The afternoon was spent relaxing at camp and then visiting the nearby waterfall where a lonely pair of crocs were found sitting atop with no owner present. Then a pleasant evening was had around a small campfire despite Nigel’s inadequate scotch supplies.Sunday: We left camp at 6.15am and followed the creek up to Mt Maroon with some slippery rock slabs to be negotiated and testing our proprioceptors (thanks Karl!!) We made good time and after leaving our packs before the tourist track intersection, we made the final scramble to Mt Maroon where we could only manage a few fleeting views through the mist of the surrounding country as we enjoyed a snack and

photos. We returned to our packs and then tackled the steep descent passing many day trippers making the ascent. We arrived unscathed at the car at 11.15am and then drove back to Waterfall Creek to collect the other cars and decamp. At this point our only medical concern arose with Nigel suffering a cramp in the legs (I think after reaching for a beer?!!!!)So, thanks to all for a great weekend and more to come. I will bring my car fridge next time – apparently a requirement for all new leaders!!

Binna Burra Weekend 6th – 8th of October 2017 Leader Heike K.

Saturday 7th of October 2017

Attended: Ruth, Bill, Elisabeth, Robin, Gwen, Cathy, Julie, Katie, Mischa, Robyn, Bente, Gai, Lisa, Stanley.

Sunday 8th of October 2017Attended: Ruth, Bill, Elisabeth Doug, Robin, Gwen, Cathy, Katie, Mischa.

We arrived all independently on Friday afternoon/evening. Some walkers camped in their tents, others shared a safari tent while some stayed at Binna Burra Lodge. The weather was great for walking with no rain On Saturday we started off at 8.30am at the Tea House with 15 participants. The walk went to the Upper Ballanjui Falls and we enjoyed hearing the different bird sounds of whipbirds and catbirds as well as Satin Bowerbirds. We had morning tea at Nagarigoon Falls, a visit to the Ballanjui Cascades and arrived for lunch at the Upper Ballanjui Falls where we all enjoyed the spectacular views and a well-deserved lunch We spent some time exploring the area before heading back with a visit to Tullawallal the pocket of Antarctic beech on the summit forest where we felt it was a few degrees colder. We walked approximately 14 km on this day. Gwen brought some wood for a fire outside the Safari Tent (thanks Gwen ) and we all enjoyed Happy Hour before sharing a meal together at the Binna Burra Tea-House. A wedding took place at the same day at the Lodge with Reception at the Grooms Cottage so we listened to some good live music throughout the evening. Some of us attracted a few ticks and the tick tool which Kathy provided, proved to be a useful tool

On Sunday morning we packed all up and were ready for the 2nd walk of Daves Creek Circuit at 8.30am. We had morning tea at Surprise Rock and managed to go to the top enjoying some spectacular views. Bill gave an informative geological talk about the area and how different local volcanoes formed this area pointing out the different soils derived from basalt and rhyolite lavas. Mt Warning was not the only volcano forming the current landscape. We met up with a school group of 19 students and 5 teachers at Surprise Rock who were camping in Binna Burra working towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award incorporating the outdoor adventure aspect of the award. On this walk, we enjoyed the variety of forest and heath – rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and heath. We had lunch at Numinbah lookout and Mischa attracted a bird with his bird whistling skills Beautiful wildflowers were observed on this circuit with spectacular views along the way. The walk ended around 3pm and thanks to Bill and Ruth who invited all members of the group for tea and homemade ginger cake we enjoyed the traditional ending of a great walking weekend. Thanks to all the participants making this weekend a good one Leader Heike K.

Walking in Central Australia, September ’17

Steve & Barbara

We had walked the Larapinta trail in August last year and were keen to do something different to following a well-worn track, as magnificent as the Larapinta may be. Our first overnight walk was to Glen Annie Gorge which is just 3kms from Ruby Gap in the East Macdonald Range. Ruby Gap is at the end of several hours on a high clearance 4WD track, and most people take a few hours to walk into the gorge and then camp back at their vehicles. By carrying our hiking gear in, we were able to have the serene experience of camping on a grassy bank above pools of warm water at the end of the Gorge. The stars and the silence at night were very special.

A few days later we hooked up with the bushwalking club based in Alice Springs and did a real hard recce back in a nearby range of hills. We gained a lot of knowledge about bushbashing in the Centre and armed with this confidence, set off the next day to climb Mt Giles (1589m) which is about 10km offtrack, north of the Larapinta trail near Ormiston Gorge. We set off through Ormiston Gorge at 5pm and walked until 7pm. My idea was to shorten the distance across the tree-less plain for the next day. But it was so hot walking in the evening (35c) that we decided to abandon our attempt on Mt Giles as that day’s temperature was to be 38c!

The next Sunday, we went on another Club walk which was just from 7.30am until 10.30am because it was going to be 38c again! Our Club should consider some early summer walks too.

A week later the weather was cooling down and rain was predicted after more than 200 days without a drop. Barbara’s son Al arranged permits for us to walk through Watarrka (Kings Canyon) and north up Kings Creek. The whole day was spent passing through the domed rock formations that are unique to this area. Despite the lack of rain we passed a number of deep waterholes tucked into the rocky creek bed. Most waterholes were just below a small, dry waterfall. By evening we had crossed this range and could look north over a valley to one range after another. We gathered water from a permanent rocky waterhole in Back Canyon and slept overnight in a domed limestone cave. I couldn’t help but ponder how many hundreds of thousands of ‘bed nights’ had been spent where we lay.

The next day the 3 of us walked east along the escarpment for a few kms before following a shallow, sandy creek southwards, back towards near where we had started. 2 short thunderstorms gave us welcome relief from the 28c day as we had run out of water at lunchtime. We feasted on red quandong fruit by mid afternoon before finding water in a canyon a few hours before the end of the day.

This was a really special 2 days of walking where few other hikers would ever go. The harsh red rocky terrain of the Centre has cast a spell over us and we have so many options for returning next winter. Hooking up with local knowledge is something we could all do more often in our travels rather than relying on commercial operators.

IlukaYamba Walk, 15th july 2017

Attended:- Beverley R, Ken R, Gillian M, Irene S, Mary N, Judy W, Jude H, Kathy L, Fiona K, Trevor K, Jenny C, Sandy P, Bob B & grandson Xavier B, Steve M, & prospective members Susan S and John & Jan G.

19 walkers met at Iluka Bluff at 10am & most climbed to the lookout before we started the walk proper. About 10.30 we set off down the beach in beautiful sunny weather, stopping at the north river wall for morning tea. Then a short bush track off the little beach took us to the marine rescue building and the start of the riverside track, which is a fairly new track through forest, that connects to the town riverside track. We paused at the park near the fisho where Ken left us for a shorter option back to the cars. We continued along the river path around to the

ferry wharf, some taking advantage of the bakery nearby in Young st to buy pies for lunch, which we ate in the park next to the ferry. Followed by coffee from Marraca's cafe on the wharf for some of us. We boarded the 1pm ferry and it was a very pleasant trip of about 35 mins, with some dolphins swimming alongside the boat for a while. At Yamba we walked east along the river path, climbing the steps opposite Turners beach to the lighthouse headland. We paused to take in the lovely views, and have a group photo in front of the lighthouse. We walked past the pub, where Bob &Xavier left us to shortcut back to the ferry. We walked via Clarence, Ritz & Ocean sts, to South head park and a short track onto Pippi beach. We only walked a short way on the beach, as some walkers had opted for a slightly shorter walk on the streets. We all met back at the ferry, some buying icecreams on the way, and boarded the 3.15pm, with afternoon tea on board. Some carried their own, others bought cuppas & cakes from the on-board kiosk. As we walked through the Iluka streets to the start of the rainforest track off long street, the dark clouds & thunder rolled in rather quickly over Yamba. It seemed a fair way off and I thought we'd make it back dry. But half way through the rainforest the thunder was crashing over us and the skies opened up. We got a thorough drenching for the last 20 mins or so, but it seemed much longer. The track turned into a stream and boots were submerged. With the storm, the forest & fast approaching sunset it was very dark too. 17 dedraggled walkers were very glad to reach the cars finally at nearly 5pm; Ken of course was already there in his car, and Steve was met at the ferry by Barbara, so a lucky 2 avoided the drenching. Despite the wet ending, all seemed to enjoy the day and thought it was a great walk that they'd like to see on the program again...but perhaps it would be better on a day with later sunset! Thank you all for coming and making it a very enjoyable and social day. Gwen Mc.

Lake Arragan, Yuraygir NP: Sunday 13th August 2017

Walkers: Bill B., Ruth H. (leaders), Cathy C., Graeme M., Ruth M., John G., Jan G., Peter T., Helen T., Bev R., Ken R., Gillian M., Di N., Bert C., Peter S., Robin D., Susan S., Loraine M., Mark M.; non-members Karen S., Kasenya B., Kim S., Rachel N.

An 8 am gathering at Woodburn saw the group gather for a car share down the Pacific Highway to Mara Creek, just outside Angourie, where we met four visiting walkers. By 9.15ish, we were off, heading south through the coastal bush behind Back Beach, onto the boardwalk with its lovely views back up the beach. With perfect walking weather, we made reasonable progress across Woody Bluff. Below us is the sloping tidal platform, to be treated with with caution: it slopes seaward, lubricated by springwater and sea spray. Our leaders have memories of trying this route many years ago, and do not recommend it. Somewhere inland is a track marked on the map, a possible route for exploration, with a sidetrack to the 90m high Cassons Knob. With a large group and novices, however, today was not for exploration, so we kept to the well-maintained path. On to One Man Bluff and down onto Little Shelley Beach. The low high tide gave us plenty of beach, and soon we were at the Shelley Beach Head camp ground for morning tea. Back on the track behind the beach, through coastal swamp, literal forest and coastal heath. Birds, abundant wattle and banksia flowers, occasional bursts of flannel flowers and lilies kept our interest. Then the heritage feature of the walk: the line of concrete pipe-end bollards built across the track in the 1980s as part of NPWS’s efforts then to stop 4WDers, now known as Friedrich’s Line, named after the then director. Successful in stopping 4WDers, they imposed no impediment to our band, only a convenient seat for a few minutes. The plan was to visit Buchanan’s Head, where two or three of our group would stop for lunch before heading back early. We walked straight past it. Checking later confirmed that the path to the headland has disappeared. We can only assume that it has been closed, perhaps to help erosion restoration and plant regeneration. Not long afterwards we reached the Arragan creek mouth. Last time the leaders were here, it was by kayak on an ill-fated paddle up a very shallow creek and into a completely dry lake. We’d glimpsed water today, confirmed by Heike who was with a small club group of paddlers for the weekend: a couple of feet of water made both creek and lake much more paddlable this time. Lunch in the sun, and then we were off again, heading north and retracing out steps. After a pleasurable and seemingly shorter walk home (funny how the homeward journey always seems shorter …), we all gathered at the Mara Creek picnic area for afternoon tea. Many thanks to the suppliers of cakes, scones, gluten free somethings, date slices, biccies …. Another perfect day’s walking in paradise, another 23km round trip successfully completed.

Blue Mountains August 19 to August 25th 2017

32 members and visitors took part in what turned out to be a week of almost perfect weather. We were owed this after our last week down there in 2011 when there was heavy rain for 4 days out of 7. We stayed at the Blackheath Caravan Park, most of us sharing cabins. The park has great facilities and the camp kitchen was used nightly for happy hour and for communal cooking and where Dave and Carol entertained us on two evenings. The whole group dined out twice at the Golf Club. The walking programme comprised 3 of the most famous and grand walks with 2 days of walking on the northern side of the great western highway. The other 2 days was the overnight walk on the Six Foot Track led by John F. Here we stayed at the “way out” Eco Lodge which I am sure all of the 22 walkers will never forget. 2 dorms – no lights, no hot water, no electricity except for emergency lighting in the common

areas, a loo with a view and a camp fire in the rain. It was run by two lovely young people from the Czech Republic and their 13 month old daughter. They have a tough life. At Blackheath the 3 grand walks were the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, the National Pass at Wentworth Falls and the Grand Canyon. Tom reckoned the Grand Canyon walk was the best walk he had ever done. Each of these walks had options and car shuffles in place. Lockleys Pylon was revisited, this time adding Fortress Rock to the day’s walk. The surprise of the week had to be Mt York and Cox’s Descent which was the road built for Governor Macquarie’s carriage to cross the Blue Mountains in 1815. At Mt York there was a plethora of monuments, plaques, signs and memorials giving the history of the first crossing of the mountains by Burke and Wills and of the history of the building of the road. We returned via Lockyer’s Pass which was started be built as a road in 1832 but never completed. A real historic walk. As always all of us really enjoyed this club trip away and the whole week went smoothly. Ian

Pittwater YHA, Aug 27 - 31

22 of us shared this wonderful historic hostel, warmly hosted by the managers, Mike and Sarah, who shared the pre-history of the region, the history of the hostel and gave invaluable directions for our daily activities.

Some investment is needed to get to this isolated accommodation on the western shore of Pittwater, just across from Scotland Island.

First is the challenge of finding a parking spot at Church Point, made doubly difficult if you have a motorhome like Peter & Helen. Next the beautiful ferry ride stopping at Scotland Island and then disembarking at Halls Wharf, followed by a 15 minute walk along a track that rises about 50m elevation above Morning Bay ( that's about half a Byron lighthouse). Some of our members could do with some lightweight packking tips from our overnight walkers, particularly the beer drinkers!

We spent our days doing some half-day walks, returning for lunch and then heading out again for the afternoon. David lead us to the stunning view from Flagstaff Peak and then through fields of wild flowers. That afternoon we climbed the Willunga track to the highest peak in Kuringai Chase NP only to find a photographer taking shots of 2 nude young women adorning the rock platforms just below our afternoon tea spot. Another Club first perhaps. The next day 6 kayakers paddled around Lovett Bay, Elvira Bay and right up McCarrs Creek; coffee at the Church Point Cafe with lunch on Scotland Island. The rest of the group used the ferry to access a full day walk that culminated in viewing extensive Aboriginal engravings on a rocky plateau. On our last full day, a few members who had little or no kayak experience were cajoled into making up a party of 17 to paddle across Morning Bay to scramble up a well marked bush track to yet another cliff-top view over all of Pittwater. This was one of the best Club trips ever! Steve

UnNamed Waterfall Walk, Nightcap NP, Sunday Sep 3rd

16 members and visitors participated in the walk to the SE corner of the Nightcap NP. Instead of walking up Peates Mountain Rd we deviated by walking some of the way on Peates Mountain Walk before rejoining the road and taking an old logging road to Perlite Rd and then walking down to the waterfall. The top of the waterfall with views over Upper Coopers Creek was easily accessed due to low water levels in the creek. We had morning tea before turning north along the Eastern Fire Break. At the entrance to 3838 Shane took 2 members of the party down into the chasm whilst the rest of us turned westwards and soon came to Perlite Rd. Here options were discussed and all decided to

extend the walk so we walked to the top of Perlite Rd. Here 3 participants returned to Rummery directly down Peates Mountain Rd and the rest of us walked up to the summit of Peates Mountain before returning down Peates Mountain Walk to Rummery Park where some of us enjoyed a bbq and a pleasant chat was enjoyed by all.

Saturday 14th October 2017 Old Bruxner Highway Morning Walk

Present: Bill B. (leading), Ruth H., John G., Jan G., Beverly R., Gillian M., David F., Rachel, M., Peter S., Robyn D. & Sue P.

Despite an official warning of 70% chance of rain, a band of members gathered at 8am next to Crawford House, home of the Alstonville Plateau Historic Society, for a gentle morning’s walk with local history. Car sharing took us down to the entrance of what is now known as Duck Creek Mountain Road, the former line of the Bruxner Highway. All walkers were furnished with a handout with extracts of the topographic maps surveyed in 1971, 1979 and 2009, showing the recent changes in the road line and other local features. Armed with an article from the 1968 edition of Main Roads, the journal of the Department of Main Roads (yes, such a journal does exist!), Bill was able to inform walkers that the earliest road, dating from the 1860s, linked a cedar camp on Duck Creek to Alstonville with a corduroy (and probably very muddy) road. Supplies were dragged up this road a bullock-hauled sled. It was a hazardous business by all accounts. Today’s walkers were faced with no more danger than a few mozzies. The old road is now a very quiet country lane, sheltered from vehicle noise from the nearby Bruxner and Pacific Highways. It runs through tranquil forest, with lovely views over the nearby Uralba valley, home to Duck Creek. Our exploration of a now-abandoned and overgrown section ended abruptly at the top of the new road cutting. On returning, we headed down into the valley on a dirt road, past a long-abandoned roadstone quarry now being re-purposed as the district’s very own mountain bike park. The 70% chance of rain became a couple of drops, turning only to real rain after we all departed 86 on Main, the re-purposed old Alstonville Post Office, location of the essential post-walk morning coffee. Who, you may ask, was Bruxner? Sir Michael Bruxner, after whom the road from Ballina to Goondiwindi was named in 1959, was an MP for over 40 years, leader of the NSW Country Party and Minister for Transport for a decade; he invented road classifications in NSW. Such is the curious information one learns on a Club Walk. [And for the information of those on the walk, the original Alstonville pub was the Ocean View Hotel.]

Sunday 15th Oct 2017 Big Scrub Field Day 3 Falls, Nightcap NP and Whian Whian SCA

Participants: David R, Steve M, Darren B, Michael J, Tess D, Ann J and leader Shane M

Three cars had a rendezvous at Old Mill Road on Nightcap Range Road at 8:15. We left two cars there and all piled into one of the cars and headed off to Minyon Grass. The day was billed as showers and that led to the 12 last minute cancellations. Not their best of decisions as Minyon Falls were at their best with a good flow the full width at the top. A few photos were taken from the viewing platform at The Grass as evidence. After introductions and a small wait for possible stragglers we headed down the track to the base of Minyon Falls with a much appreciated running commentary on the flora by Darren. At the bottom the group divided and three only scrambled up to the base of the falls. Michael quite unexpectedly arrived as we gazed at the spectacle, unfortunately there had been a misunderstanding in

the directions. We were pleased that he made it there and caught up. The fording of the creek went quite easily, the rocks being surprisingly not slippery. The walk up the other side of the creek kept a leisurely pace as Darren shared his considerable knowledge. At the hollow fig a few climb inside for the photo op, then we were off up the slope to Quondong Falls lookout. Once again we weren't disappointed, Quondong powering. Arriving at the top of the falls, we sat for morning tea, literally as Steve boiled a brew. Then it was up the fire trail to Condong trail and road walking through drier Sclerophyll to the now disused Boomerang Fire Trail. A short walk down this we reached the old bollards and then a little further and off track we headed for a crossing on Boomerang Creek. Over and under numerous vines and fallen trees past ancient stumps and tall trees to arrive at the magic of a fast flowing pristine creek. We came out spot on the ford and were soon across with barely a wet shoe. Up the opposite bank and along 50 metres or so of steep bank and we were able to drop down to the rock platform that is the top of the falls. Packs were discarded and food and Steve's brew were consumed as we individually took advantage of the safety line that was placed. The falls were powering, magic. The mist and spray drifting up from below trying to obscure the palm forest below. All to soon we were packing up and heading the short distance up to North Boomerang Management Trail. On that trail we were soon at the waiting cars at Old Mill Road and the short drive around to Minyon Grass for the debriefing and Tina's cake ( Thanks Tina ). A great day out, really people should not be afraid of rain, wet so what. Rain forests in the rain and waterfall gushing what more could you ask for. We have welcomed a new member from it so it was all good. Shane

Deep Ecology Walk to The Chasm October 31

Cally, Michele, Faye, Shalini (visitor), Ahna (visitor), Leader: Steve

The idea of this walk was to immerse ourselves in nature without the distractions of social chit chat. We left Rummery Park, walking along Peates Mountain path around 9am, stopping 10 minutes later to ly down on a bridge and to meditate on a reading about becoming one with the ‘Web of life’. We then walked in silence most of the way up the path, bush bashed across to the top of Perlite Rd, and then had morning tea along Fork Fire Trail. We then read a deep ecology piece by John Seed elaborating on the concept that very atom in our current physical form was around at the time of the

Big Bang! Then down into the splendour of The Chasm, 3838. I have never seen it so dry nor less green. However the waterfall inside the chasm was flowing at about half volume. Lunch was on the usual cliff edge. Then we followed the cliff edge south for about 100 metres to a tree that was full of epiphytes, including a huge staghorn 2 metres from the ground. We returned along Fork Fire Trail, turned left into Perlite and a few hundred metres later we turned right into the recently cleared Eastern Fire Trail, getting back to Rummery Park around 3pm for an enjoyable afternoon tea.