27th February- 2nd March
Hike leader: Paul B
At 6:00am sharp Michael picked the last of the team up on a dark cool morning. We stopped at the Tooradin Bakery for breakfast, then onto Fish Creek for a break. We had a rare treat as we drove up Darby Saddle, a Handsome Hog Deer stag trotted onto the road and peered at us for some time before returning to the bush.
9am. We rolled into Tidal River and registered for the walk, then up to Telegraph Saddle to park the car. There were lots of min-buses there and as expected we struck lots of school groups. Gaiters and packs on and we excitedly walked of down the road to the lower prom. Some of the school groups got it wrong and took the wrong track!
An array of wildflowers brightened the trail; the brightest was the azure blue of the wild Lobelia. But the tone of the trip was set by Michael who contributed to a botanical discussion Paul and John were having over the name of an aromatic shrub,
“ Was it a Cassina or a Dogwood?” to which Michael said
“Of course it’s a Dogwood, I recognise it by its BARK”
We were amazed at the extent of the erosion at Growlers Creek. Normally a dark rainforest gully. Now a 50 meter swarf had cut thru the gully and taken out the bridge. We sat on the new bridge and had morning tea. The road now hand been upgraded to take fire-trucks, so we were pleased to get off it, to the turn of down to Waterloo Bay, for it was a sand track wandering over the sand hills.
At Boulder Saddle we stopped to climb the boulders to get a view of both bays, Oberon and Waterloo. Walking down to the beach, we crossed several boggy wet lands which were now crossed on board walks or the new fibreglass grids. The beach was a stunning sight! A wide expanse of pure white sand reflecting turquoise water. We dropped on the beach and took it all in while we had lunch (and a snooze for some). John instructed us on how to identify female Pacific Gulls! They have red tipped beaks, “LIPSTICK”
Finally we dragged ourselves up to make the short journey over the point into Little-Waterloo Bay. Talk about paradise! The campsite is tucked in behind the sand –dune of a magic little beach, with coloured boulders at each end. We quickly set up our tents then down to the beach for a swim and sun-bake on the rocks. More beachcombing after afternoon tea, and after dinner.
About 7: 30pm. We notice two kayaks approaching and realized they were going to land in the bay. They had paddled from Tidal River at 2pm. 26klm. One of them was shivering, so we quickly got him a hot drink and help them get their heavy kayaks high up the beach. They were paddling to Tasmania. They camped on the beach, we returned to our tents for the night to go to sleep to the rhythm of the waves.