Party: Ning, Cathie, Xiaoxia, Zhong, Zi Hui, Mingxin, Bruce (leading).
Date: 17th October 2017
With two withdrawals (one for family reasons, one for eating “off” food the day before (!)), we started off from Woy Woy with 7 people for this walk.
Originally planned as a loop walk due to (at first) having only one car available, Zhong’s car made it theoretically to do a car shuffle with a one-way walk. I decided however to keep to the original plan. This turned out to be very beneficial at the end.
Despite an earlier weather forecast of possible showers, the weather was good during the walk, and got overcast only at the end.
We arrived at Killcare Beach, parked the cars, and then set off north along the length of Killcare Beach, which becomes Putty Beach at its north end. Then the track along the cliff tops to Bullimah Beach, and then the Bouddi Coastal Track to Maitland Bay.
The nice thing about the entire walk is that (except for the beaches) the walk is done under shady trees for much of the way. This makes it a suitable walk even in summer.
About 500 metres before Maitland Bay there is a track junction with the Maitland Bay Beach access track. Here we turned right to go to the beach at Maitland Bay, where we had a morning tea break. Zi Hui and Mingxin amused themselves by posing against the unusual colourful rock formations and drawing a chook in the sand (see photos).
There was a high tide which completely covered the rock platform at the north end of the beach, so a rock-hopping side trip there was not possible this day. Then we continued along the Coastal Track until there is a junction with the track to Mt Bouddi. We took that track and continued up and up (the steepest climb of the walk) through heath land, and then it levelled out to go through shady woodland.
Eventually we reached the summit of Mt Bouddi and found there a nice shady rock platform on which to have lunch. It also had nice views of the sea. Noted some Sydney Rock Lilies (also called Rock Orchids) clinging to the rocks there. The whole area around Mt Bouddi has fairly lush vegetation and a different “feel” to the coastal areas in the Royal National Park – a bit more “tropical”.
After lunch we continued to the Dingledei Picnic Area which has welcome loos, and a water source (although not recommended for drinking as it is from a tank – and the water level was low after the recent 2 months without rain). Up in a tree a raven pulled strips of bark off a branch, showering the bits down on Cathie, while calling out aaaarrrkkk, aaaarrrkkk. Someone commented that in China ravens are considered unlucky – interesting in that the Tower of London considers it unlucky NOT to have ravens.
At this stage I commented that we hadn’t seen any animals – that was soon to change in a big way. From Dingledei Picnic Area it is a 400 metres or so road bash to the start of Strom’s Trail, which is also shared by bicycles. This track more or less parallels The Scenic Road, which is always out of sight (but not sound), and ends at the Maitland Bay information centre. It is about 2.5km long. It runs level through open woodland with Cabbage Tree Palms and Grass Trees, and shaded most of the way. Quite a pleasant walk.
At the end of Strom’s Trail is the start of the track down to Maitland Bay. We went down this track until its junction with the Coastal Track, and here we rejoined that track where we had left it on the outward section to Maitland Bay Beach. This was the only section we covered twice.
So it was back along the Coast Track south, until we had a rest at the lookout near the headland of Bullimah Beach. We looked out to sea, wondering if there might be whales out there, but not really expecting to see anything. Suddenly, one was spotted breaching a long way out! Then another two (probably a pair) somewhat closer in, and then a fourth. We spent some time here watching the whales, and were rewarded even further by spotting a pod of 5 or 6 Dolphins quite close inshore. These fast-moving animals moved quickly round the headland so were soon lost to sight.
After the whale watching we continued along the track back to Putty Beach, which passes more unusual rock patterns. We saw a turkey scratching up leaves to build up his nest. Then we continued along the length of the beach to the cars. By this time it was getting quite cloudy and the blue sky had vanished. It looked like the forecast of late rain might happen.
As it turned out, there was no rain except for a light shower when driving back to Woy Woy. We opted for a coffee there – Cathie hoped that the shop she went to on Ashwin’s walk would still be open but it wasn’t. So we ended up at Woy Woy Maccas (with a delay in Zhong getting there as his GPS directed him to the Deepwater Plaza car park instead!).
After that we put people on the trains back to Sydney. It was a very nice walk with the unexpected bonus of seeing whales. I had not expected that as it is a bit late in the whale season. Had I converted the walk to a one-way walk to MacMasters Beach, we would have missed the whales.
No “no-shows” either.