Our tenth day walk for 2014 was much tougher than we anticipated, when eight Cartophiles (Tim, Andrew, Paul, Annie, James, David, Sue & Kit) did the coastal circuit in the southern section of Wyrrabalong National Park, south of Tuggerah Lake on the Central Coast .
Wyrrabalong National Park conserves the last patch of coastal rainforest on the Central Coast. The walk runs through this long, thin strip of forest before returning via the boulder-strewn shoreline and beaches.
We met at the Bateau Bay Beach picnic area and lookout, which proved a slightly less obvious rendezvous than expected. During the wait to all goather some of us went on a coffee run, which added further delay. It was a late start!
The first part of the walk follows a flat, easy path before climbing the hill to Crackneck Lookout. On the way is passes a bench seat with plaques commemorating Luke Hankey, a 24 year old surfer who was found murdered in the car park of Bateau Bay Hotel in 2007. The lookout had some nice views out to sea, but more fascinating was the hangliding launch spot beside the lookout. Why anyone would throw themselves of that cliff willingly was a puzzle to most of us.
Something about the bush after the lookout brought out our inner child, with most of us climbing a tree. From there we walked up to the top of
Cromarty Hill before beginning the steep descent to Forresters Beach. Here we met a family with their pet yellow tailed black cockatoo, the first such pet any of us had seen. After the significant photo opportunity we finished the walk down to the beach, where we had lunch.
During lunch the informal Forresters Beach dog club came running past us, to the delight of the dog lovers in our group. We were careful where we stepped after lunch.
The next part of the walk was rock-hopping along the shoreline and was tough going. It was a game of balance, endurance and daring, all the while exposed to the sea. The rocks were carved into wonderful sculptures by the wind and waves … the curious thing was the frequent old, rusted car engine block.
Finally we reached the last beach and split up to go to the car park. Half the group went up the concrete access ramp from the southern end of the beach, the remainder went up the steps from the northern end. That produced another short comedy session when we met at the top missing Paul!
Yes, there’s a public toilet along the way.
We finished with a detailed debriefing session at the Bateau Bay Hotel.