November 1 & 2 (Sunday & Monday), 2 walks in the Central Coast:Patonga to Pearl Beach & return, and Bouddi Coastal Walk.
Day 1. Patonga to Pearl beach
The first walk on Sunday 1 November was in the Brisbane Waters National Park from Patonga to Pearl Beach is part of the Great Northern Walk. 6 trekkers joined for this 6 km round trip. The initial part of the track leaving Patonga Beach was quite steep however the reward was a level walk along the cliff tops on the northern side of the Hawkesbury River with great views across Broken Bay to Kuringai National Park.
The highlights included sighting a lyre bird, spring flowers, grand trees and impressive over hanging rock formations. After lunch in Pearl Beach, we visited the Pearl Beach Arboretum (Crommelin Native Arboretum). This natural botanic garden, established in 1976, is a sanctuary for rare and threatened plant species.
On the return trip, 2 walkers carried out some bush regeneration, when they removed the flowers off 2 invasive Ochnas. This well shaded walk is recommended at any time during the year.
Day 2. Bouddi Coastal walk
12 OFF members and friends walked Putty Beach to Maitland Bay (3 Km) on Monday 2 November. A cool sunny day to walk a part of the Bouddi coastal walk which is is known as one of the most beautiful central coast walks. Two creek crossing meant we had a refreshing toe dip in the water. This relatively easy hike is characterised by sweeping views and shady rain forest.
The coastal walk provided lots of opportunities to see geology in action. With the spectacular coastline of headlands, rock platforms, bays, beaches, dunes and lagoons. The intriguing tessellated pavements can be seen on the section from Putty Beach to Bullimah Beach. These pavements are formed by the shrinking and swelling of clay. The red crumbly Laterite soil was another interesting feature of the area. Fomed over the millennia as the surface sandstone has been weathered, decomposed and chemically leached of its silica. Exposed to the air they form red crumbly boulders. It has been used locally for making bricks to build houses.
Lunch was at Maitland Bay named after The S.S. Maitland paddle steamer wrecked on 6 May 1898 transporting people and cargo between the Hunter and the Hawkesbury Rivers before the rail connection. The Maitland was on its route out of the Barrenjoey Headlands when it was overwhelmed by the aptly-named ‘Maitland Gale’. The storm which wrecked the Maitland also took numerous other ships. Of the 36 passengers aboard the Maitland, 24 lost their lives.
Low tide provided a good view of the Maitland Bombora, a rocky reef area which produces distinctive waves, valued by some surfers. It is part of a marine national park. After lunch at Maitland bay our return was interrupted by a Diamond Python and Goanna on the walking track.