Trip Report – Royal National Park: Otford to Burning Palms Beach via Figure of 8 Pools Date: Sunday 30 October 2011
Party: Ben Pullicin, Naser Ghobadzadeh, Cathy Stansbury, Mei Zhu Chen, Lisa Fogarty, Katrina Veale, Elizabeth Wale, Parastoo Saharkhiz, Bruce Stafford, Peggy Huang

Photos (combined with photos from the recent Beginners Canyoning trip):

(Thanks to Katrina for contributing photos to the above album)

Link to Bruce’s photos:

As with most walks, this trip filled up pretty quickly and it appeared that we were going to have more walkers then initially planned for. But with 6 cancellations and 1 no-show, the number of people went down to 10.

The majority of walkers met at Central station for the 1 hour train ride to Otford station. We had a good chat, caught up with some familiar faces and meet some new club members. We arrived at 9.30am and made a visit to the Otford pantry nearby to try some of their famous apple pies.

We soon headed to Otford lookout. The walk started with some stairs, followed by a bush track up to the top of Werrong Beach track. Our first stop gave great views of Wollongong.
After some rain the previous days, Palm Jungle was a bit muddy in some sections, and even the trusty Dunlop volley couldn’t prevent some slip-ups in this terrain.

Instead of taking the coastal track at the end of Palm jungle to Burning Palms beach, we went a less conventional/more awesome/more gangster way (Chantal would be proud). This path less taken opened up the opportunity to add some interesting rock scrambling to the day. We cut through some grasslands and climbed down a cliff to the Figure of Eight Pools. With more experienced walkers to guide them, the newer members made it down safely with no issues and got a bit of a confidence boost out of it.

The figure of Eight pools located on the rock shelf were circular sinkholes in the rock. Over time, a few holes have joined to form the number 8. One person asked “why are they called Figure of 8 pools?” turns out they was looking at the pools from side view and the infinity figure resonated more with them. This part of the walk offered one of the most spectacular views. There were a number of Figure-8 shaped pools by the sea. One was so perfectly shaped we spent most of our time standing around this one. A few people contemplated coming back on a warmer day and going for a dip. But I think Ben’s story of his mate being swept away (during high tide) whilst enjoying a beer in the pool may have put a few people off.

We continued rock scrambling along the rock shelf to Burning Palms beach, stopping by some rock fisherman for a quick break. In good time we reached the beach. The weather wasn’t warm enough to swim, so everyone tucked into lunch. Ben brought a cake to go around. And I jumped over Bruce (just trying out some parkour). After a good refueling, we decided to press on. We set a goal to increase the pace in order to make the earlier train back to central. We soon stopped to chat to some Life Savers, and to observe and photograph a magnificent Water Dragon we found near Burning Palms. But after this, we really did get marching.

We made it back to Otford train station by 3pm with plenty of time to spare. And a few people went back to the panty for more pie.
Thanks to everyone who came on the walk for making it a great day. Some great group dynamics, with everyone helping each other. Thanks to Ben and Bruce for assisting with navigation. Hope to see you all on another walk.