As usual on the third Saturday of the month, members of the Gloucester Environment Group (GEG) set out on a bushwalk.
April's walk was in the Wallingat National Park, located on the western side of Wallis Lake, south of Forster.
The park is a mix of paperbark swamp, casuarina forest, cabbage palms and eucalypt forest, with stands of the straight, tall flooded gums, all of which are host to a myriad of very noisy birdlife. There are several walks in Wallingat, and the one we choose was a 13 kilometre loop of mountain bike trail, mostly a wide, flat trail but with a few hazards for unsuspecting walkers.
The most fearsome hazard was the cloud of mosquitoes that followed us along the route as we walked.
Fortunately, we had come prepared with loads of tropical strength repellent and so the bites were mostly avoided; not so much the leech bites which were discovered by two of the walkers at the end of the day.
Starting from the Sugar Creek Road access point, we walked north through the misty morning along the Wallingat River until we reached the tidal limit of Wallis Lake.
At this point, we waded through ankle-deep water for a 100 metres or so before turning east and eventually joining Reedy Creek Trail. By lunch time the mist had cleared to a lovely sunny day, and although it was quite warm, we were shaded by the forest for the whole day.
After lunch, a long steep uphill section led us to the carpark and turnoff to Whoota Whoota Lookout, which we drove up to in order to enjoy the fabulous views across Wallis Lake to the ocean with a glimpse of Forster in the distance. The lookout is on a long spur, so views in the opposite direction, where ranges of hills disappear into the misty distance, could also be enjoyed.
A highlight of the walk was the amazing array of fungusi of various shapes and sizes, and often in dazzling colours, that we encountered along the way. We all agreed that it would be good to learn more about these fungusi as none of us had any idea what varieties they were.
This month, the GEG will be taking two walks. The first is on the property of Bill and Elaine Murray at Back Creek, where they have challenged us to walk to the top of their hill. Alternatively, the less energetic can stroll along the creek and spot the many kinds of birds that live there.
This walk is on Saturday May 19. Those interested should contact Joost Werz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0404 022 708.
The second walk is an easy full pack walk, where we will camp overnight at Shelley Beach on the Myall Lakes.
The dates for this are Saturday and Sunday May 26 and 27, if interested contact Alison Lyon at email@example.com.