Despite the threatening clouds the decision was made to walk even if it rained. So the enthusiastic members of Gloucester Environment Group left for the coast and Saltwater National Park.
The roar of the ocean greeted us as we pulled into the car park where brush turkeys foraged peacefully, oblivious to the human action around them. We started our walk on the Five Islands track among the coastal vegetation, orchids, ferns and fungi. The hum of quiet conversation was interrupted only by the calls of birds, notably the eastern whipbird, and the colourful display of rufous fantails.
The walk itself was very easy as we negotiated brittle twigs and avoided the fallen trees that were evidence of the recent storm activity. The national park tracks were well-defined but most of the walk was on old roads that appeared to compromise the safety of four-wheel driving.
The colour and texture of the vegetation, the flowers, the bird calls, and the scenery were of great interest. The track took us beside the creek that empties into the ocean at Saltwater. Flowering banksia were spectacular as were the tiny yellow orchids that prefer to grow in the middle of the track.
Our morning tea and lunch break were enjoyed sitting on old fallen trees until the uninvited mossies made sure we didn't stay long. We were glad we had chosen to chance the rain as it held off all day, but did send us scurrying as we enjoyed a coffee at nearby Wallabi Point at the end of the day.
The next walk will be on April 27, after Easter. We'll travel to Blackhead Beach and start walking from the Blackhead Surf Club. It is an easy walk and has beach and rainforest components. Bring lunch and your swimmers. Meet at Billabong Park at 7.45am for 8am departure. For more information ring Joost Werz on 0404 022 708.