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National Parks Association of NSW: Regrow and Rewild

The overwhelming devastation of this fire season is hard to fathom. Over 5.2 million hectares of NSW has been impacted by bushfire since July 2019. With so many families, communities and natural areas affected, the damage will be felt for decades to come.

More than a third of our national parks and reserves in NSW have been burnt. Conservative figures place the loss of native animals at well over one billion Australia-wide. Many conservation reserves are changed beyond recognition with large areas of critical wildlife habitat lost.

It’s time for an immediate stocktake of what we have lost and what remains. It is not too late. The future of our wildlife and natural places hinges upon our efforts to regrow and rewild.
Please give generously to regrow and rewild healthy places for plants, animals and people.

The changing climate means we need to adapt and rebuild our relationship with nature. To do this, National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) will demand that governments:

  • acknowledge climate change is profoundly affecting the health and resilience of the environment to which our lives are inextricably bound,
  • manage natural landscapes in ways that enhance natural processes, protect biodiversity and maximise natural climate solutions, and
  • protect human settlements and communities from future disasters through better planning and strategic fire management.

Your financial support will help NPA to employ a dedicated Senior Campaigner – a person with extensive knowledge of the ecological, operational, community and political complexities of fire management. They will ensure members and supporters have access to the best, most up-to-date information about fire. And advocate for:

  • protecting the unburnt natural areas, giving remaining wildlife the habitat they need to re-establish their populations,
  • dealing with weeds and pests that threaten to kill or out-compete the recovery of native species, and
  • ensuring that future hazard reduction is both ecologically and socially sustainable.

Equally important, your support will enable NPA to coordinate a range of volunteer-based activities to regrow and rewild our natural landscapes.

Building on NPA existing expertise in conducting citizen science and community engagement projects, NPA aim to employ a dedicated Project Coordinator to conduct fire recovery projects with volunteers, members and branches. They will provide technical support for field projects across NSW such as:

  • identifying suitable areas for native species that were not directly impacted during the 2019-2020 fires,
  • surveying the survival and return of native plants and wildlife in burnt areas, and
  • implementing habitat enhancements and restoration works to improve the survival of native species and maximise their recovery.

If you are able to volunteer for NPA projects, NPA would love to hear from you. NPA would also appreciate any financial contribution you can make to our efforts as we all come to terms with the devastating impacts of the fires.

Please support NPA to regrow, rewild our natural heritage and provide healthy places for plants, animals and people.

Anne Dickson
President
National Parks Association of NSW

Gary Dunnett
Executive Officer
National Parks Association of NSW

 

Volunteering for Nature

Summer of 2019-2020 has been characterised by extreme weather in particular catastrophic bushfires and more recently rain and flooding events. Volunteers are needed to help local wildlife and bushland to recover from fires, floods and other climate change related events. Volunteering benefits both your physical and mental health and enables you to contribute positively to your community. To point you in the right direction below is a list of current nature conservation volunteering opportunities.

Birdlife Discovery Centre Sydney

The Birdlife Discovery Centre at Homebush Bay in Sydney is looking for volunteers who enjoy bird watching, conservation and promoting awareness of bird conservation. For more information on this and other bird conservation volunteering opportunities click here or contact Debbie Harris at daisyproctor@yahoo.co.uk

Birdata

Birdata is a national bird monitoring program run by Birdlife Australia that you can contribute to. Visit the birdata website for information on how to get involved.

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Conservation Volunteers Australia provides a range of opportunities for people with a passion for nature and conservation to get involved both locally and across Australia. Bushfire recovery projects are a current focus for conservation volunteers.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has volunteering opportunities available. If you would like to contribute to the protection of the environment and meet other like-minded people click on this link to explore volunteering positions at NPWS.

iNaturalist Environment Recovery Project

The Environment Recovery Project is asking participants to record and upload their observations in areas of burnt bushland. Findings will be used to assist understanding of how species recover from the 2019‑2020 bushfire season.

Regrow, Rewild – National Parks Association of NSW

The National Parks Association of NSW is looking for volunteers for future projects to assist in the recovery of national parks, communities and native species impacted by bushfires. Express your interest here.

Other nature volunteering opportunities

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has a range of volunteering opportunities in conservation, animal care, gardens and national parks. Click here for more information and to apply.

Seek Volunteer

The Seek Volunteer database is one of the largest in Australia and allows you to explore volunteer opportunities according to location and area of interest.

Forestry Industry, CFMEU campaign to log national parks

The Australian recently reported1 that the forest industry and CFMEU have called for fuel loads in national parks to be aggressively managed through hazard reduction burning and selective logging, to avoid a repeat of the recent bushfire crisis.

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness2 notes that the science is clear that native forest logging is a major threat to our dwindling wildlife and makes landscapes more fire prone.

The SMH3 has reported that calls by the forestry industry for hazard reduction in native forests are misleading as ecology and fire experts state that the evidence shows that thinning trees makes forests more fire prone.

The Colong Foundation states that the Forestry Industry’s Forestry Management Zone and Eden wood-chip mill were burnt due to poor fire management practices. The Colong Foundation believes that consequently the forestry industry is now seeking to log national parks which hold some of the only unburnt areas.

The Australian reports that Australian National University landscape ecologist Professor David Lindenmayer said selective logging of wet forests elevates fire risk for up to 40 years and that thinning the forest opens the canopy and more light and litter on the floor dries out the forest.”

These views4 are shared by Professor James Watson, director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland, who stated that we need to re-evaluate how we think about forestry and logging in Australia. “The science is pretty clear. Many of these fires got out of control in logged areas and logging is the very reason why many species are already endangered. If we want to maintain threatened species in these landscapes, we’ve got to realise that forestry does not work to save them.”

Writing for the ABC5, Professor Lindenmayer has expressed concerns that just as forests are starting to recover from fires they are now threatened by calls for post-fire logging. The Australian Forest Products Association has called for a “massive bushfire recovery harvesting operation” to recover burnt trees for timber.

Professor Lindenmayer writes “multiple independent, peer reviewed studies show logging forests after bushfires increases future fire risk and can render the forest uninhabitable for wildlife for decades or even centuries”.

 

References

1 The Australian, 8 January 2020, Forestry industry, CFMEU united on logging, burns to take fight to bushfires”

2 Colong Foundation for Wilderness Media Release 8 January 2020, Wildlife needs protection, not misinformation campaign by forestry industry”.

3 Sydney Morning Herald, 9 January 2020, “Scientists warn forest industry plan could increase fire risk” https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/scientists-warn-forest-industry-plan-could-increase-fire-risk-20200109-p53q4u.html

4 ABC News 19 January 2020, “Inside the race to protect 250 threatened species hit by bushfire” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-19/inside-the-race-to-protect-threatened-species/11877990

5 ABC News 30 January 2020, “Post-bushfire logging makes a bad situation even worse, but the industry is ignoring the science” by David Lindenmayer https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-29/logging-bushfire-affected-areas-australia-increases-fire-risk/11903662?pfmredir=sm&fbclid=IwAR0dilzC1UOUTMjg_OoejKaKGEK5aY2dMqQWhR5hIxtGU36QeS24eymb26g

Walks for hot days

Have you been feeling unmotivated to bushwalk this summer due to hot weather?  To help you find some inspiration we have put together a list of cool walks for a hot day. Make sure you take lots of water and maybe choose a walk with a waterhole or beach along the way for a refreshing swim.  You could also consider leaving for your walk early to beat the heat of the day or choosing a shorter, shady walk.

Burbie Canyon Walking Track – Warrumbungle National Park

Burbie Canyon Walking Track in Warrumbungle National Park is an easy 2km walk past a creek and through a sandstone gorge and is great for bird watchers.  Read more.

Cape Byron Walking Track – Cape Byron State Conservation Area

You can enjoy spectacular views on the Cape Byron Walking Track which takes you to the lighthouse through rainforest, beach, grassland and clifftop.  It is a fairly hard 3.7km loop track with lots of stairs and steep sections.  If you prefer a shorter walk the track can be accessed at multiple locations. Cool off along the way with a refreshing swim in the ocean. Read more.

Dammerels History Walk – Moonee Beach Nature Reserve

Dammerels history walk is an easy 1.9km return walk where you can learn about the history of South Solitary Island and enjoy the scenic views. Keep an eye out for native wildlife as the reserve is home to eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies and many bird species. Read more.

Fairfax Heritage walking track – Blue Mountains National Park

The Fairfax Heritage walking track is an easy 1.8km (one way) walk that is great for families and is wheelchair friendly. Enjoy spectacular views, majestic gum trees and beautiful wild flowers along the way. Read more.

Banks-Solander track – Kurnell area, Kamay Botany Bay National Park

The Banks-Solander track offers an easy 0.7km loop walk and the chance to observe native plants that were first recorded by Captain Cook’s botanists in 1770. If you prefer a longer walk the Banks-Solander track links to Cape Baily track and Yena trail. Read more.

Bald Rock Summit Walking Track, Bald Rock National Park

Bald Rock National Park is located near Tenterfield and features granite outcrops, walks and amazing scenery. The Bald Rock Summit Walking Track takes you up the largest granite rock in Australia and you will be rewarded with spectacular views across the park.  You can choose either Bungoona walk which is medium difficulty or the harder option Rockface walk. More info here

Tomaree Head Summit Walk, Tomaree National Park

Tomaree Head Summit Walk is a 2.2km return walk that offers fantastic views to nearby Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands and the opportunity to view historic WW2 gun emplacements. More info here.

Grove Creek Falls Walking Track, Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve

Grove Creek Falls Walking Track is a 6km walk along Grove Creek to a lookout across the spectacular Grove Creek Falls. Highlights include birdwatching along the track including colourful parrots and rosellas. More info here.

Gap Beach Walking Track, Hat Head National Park

Gap Beach walking track is a challenging 6km walk with highlights including birdwatching, swimming and scenic views. Hat Head National Park is located near South West Rocks. More info here.

Minyon Falls Walking Track, Nightcap National Park

Minyon Falls Walking Track is a challenging 13km return walk through World Heritage listed rainforest in Nightcap National Park, Northern NSW, to the spectacular Minyon Falls with scenic views of the dramatic cliffs. Look here for more details.

Kiandra to Kosciuszko – Diverted

29 December 2019 – 5 January 2020 Trip Report by Anne Turner – for joint SPAN OUTDOOR CLUB and NSW NORDIC SKI CLUB walk

In October I planned a New Year Snowy Mountains adventure walk. What about Paddy Pallin’s famous K2K route? Kiandra to Kosciuszko? After contacting SPAN Bushwalking Club and Nordic Ski Club I quickly got 3 willing partners in crime.

We studied maps and websites and John Chapman’s great Australian Alpine Walking Track (AAWT) book (which goes from south to north rather than north to south). We decided on seven nights, the last night camping just out of Dead Horse Gap, with a short walk the next day then drive to Thredbo for breakfast (proper breakfast, muesli would be banned!)

We would start at Kiandra and mostly follow the AAWT to Dead Horse Gap. After Mackay’s Hut we would go off track (a break from fire trails), around the eastern side of Jugungal along Bogong Creek and Jugungal Saddle then up Jagungal. We would then go south to Mawsons Hut, and camp near water somewhere. Then along the Kerries and to Gungartan, across to the Rolling Grounds over Consett Stephen Pass and along the main range finishing with Rams Heads. What a plan – I got excited every time we looked at the maps!

The weather looked clear but bushfires were a worry as it had been very hot and we were in an extended drought. We discussed whether or not to go and decided to proceed as the park was open and we would keep our wits about us.

We didn’t have suitable car so would drive a hire car, leave it at Dead Horse Gap, and take a transfer from Dead Horse Gap to Kiandra on Sunday 29th December. We left Sydney on 28th December and on Sunday morning were on track by 11.30am walking towards 9 Mile Creek. There was water in the creeks which was good news. The march flies were around, not too bad at the beginning, but worse as it heated up.

Sue had given us a challenge to make up a limerick or haiku about each member of the walk. We were not particularly successful but there were some very funny conversations. The downsides were our heavy packs, overshooting 9 Mile Creek and walking up a horrible hill just to turn around and go straight back down. I’m not sure if singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ helped anyone’s spirits at that point or not!

Day 2 saw us climbing Tabletop Mountain (sans packs) with the outline of Jagungal visible though smoke haze to the south. A pair of walkers we knew were going our way and joined our group. We got to Happy’s Hut in the afternoon and enjoyed its shady veranda while overhead was smoke and the red sun. During the afternoon we were joined by Catherine, walking solo, and later Ryan and his father in law Peter.

New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2019, was very warm and concerningly there were burnt leaves falling from the sky. While the sky overhead had a big billow of high smoke coming from the north east, the air around us was pretty clear. We decided to walk to Mackay’s Hut where we could exit the park if things deteriorated.

Catherine headed out before us and Ryan and Peter left shortly after us. As we walked on Tolbar Road and Grey Mare Fire Trail the light changed from clear to red then dark and at times there was a surreal brightness without shadows. The smoke cloud got bigger and darker and burnt leaves kept falling. We all started looking at each other and wondering if we were doing the right thing. We planned to walk past Mackay’s Hut to O’Keefes Hut and access Farm Ridge or Round Mountain fire trails if necessary.

As we rested Catherine came striding towards us having turned around after making contact with the outside world at a high point. She told us that there were fires to the west of us and Bega was on fire. She had decided it was time to go east and not leave it until things went wrong and she become a burden on emergency services. As we had been considering the same thing we quickly decided to join her.

We walked back to the Grey Mare Trail and Tolbar Road crossroads and the sky kept getting darker with occasional rain showers, an eerie silence and smoke haze affecting visibility. After we had been walking for about 30 minutes we ran into Ryan and Peter.

We drew heavily on Catherine’s local knowledge of the park as we discussed our options and looked at maps. Walking back towards Kiandra to Broken Dam Hut then to the highway was one option but it would take us north west towards the smoke cloud so we decided against it. We decided to go down to Eucumbene Cove was too far and instead settled on walking north east down the Tolbar Road to Providence Portal (a little cabin community on the northern arm of Lake Eucumbene). It was close to Adaminaby and we thought it should have people there and up to date information.

The afternoon was now cool and breezy – nice walking weather if there had not been a raging bushfire nearby! We had enough rain at two points for raincoats and rolling thunder all afternoon. We heard a chopper at one point but we were in trees so couldn’t see it and it couldn’t see us. We saw a burst of new smoke on the skyline behind us and to the north and another way south of us. It must be lightning strikes we theorised and were glad to be getting out of there.

We walked about 35kms on our third and final day. Fortunately the end of Lake Eucumbene wasn’t a lake anymore as there was not enough water. Peter gave us directions and the river was so shallow and divided into tributaries that we would be able to easily wade across. This was great news as none as us had enough in the tank to do the huge walk around. It was a beautiful flood plain with lots of birds, kangaroos and white daisies. We all breathed a sigh of relief as the cabins of Providence Portal grew closer.

At about 7.30pm we were greeted by the park owner Hans riding out on his quad bike greeting us with ‘Where the bloody hell did you guys come from?’ We discovered the SES had evacuated the park an hour before. Hans got on the blower and we overheard him saying, ‘I’ve got 9 walkers that have just walked out of the bush – what am I going to do with them?’ He didn’t get an answer immediately, so we camped there the night.

We woke up to a plan. Some park residents and Hans would drive us to Adaminaby. It was New Year’s Day and the town was deserted.  We then managed to get rides to Cooma evacuation centre. Ryan and Peter got a ride from Cooma back to Wagga with a friend.

Cooma was very busy with lots of smoke and traffic as everyone holidaying south of Bateman’s Bay were leaving the fire zones through Cooma.

Catherine had organised for our drivers to be taken to the cars so they could collect the rest of us. Finally at 5pm we left Cooma and got back to Sydney around 11.30pm relieved to see home and a bed.

Today, the 9th January 2020, Fires Near Me advises the fires have cut through the northern section of the park – the area we were walking. Happy’s Hut looks like it is gone, the historic Kiandra Court House is gone and Providence Portal is surrounded by fire. Watching the horror of the fires spread over the coast and alpine areas we are so glad to be out. I was very glad to be with a calm level headed group who carefully considered the situation and our options and pooled their knowledge – thank you Catherine, Phil, Sonia, Sue, Paul, Sandra, Ryan and Peter.

Some other points we reflected on afterwards:

  • The superior phone coverage of Telstra in isolated areas
  • Between the group of 9 we had 4 PLBs
  • The Roof Top Map gave us a bigger area in one view than looking at several toppos to make decisions
  • Our phone batteries ran out – write your key phone numbers, personal and things like SES and National Parks down in your first aid kit
  • Ryan had a battery pack to refresh his phone – a weight consideration, but very useful
  • Where we had signal, we used Telstra phones to let contacts and the SPAN president know we were OK and what our plan was. We also contacted National Parks with the same news and told them where our cars were so they were not concerned for their owners. And then of course we followed up once we were ‘out’.
  • Next time I would lodge a National Parks Trip Intention form. While it isn’t a requirement, it would have helped.

Bushfire in Gondwanan Rainforests

2019 Fire in Nightcap National Park – A summary of Dr Robert M Kooyman’s talk at Wilsons Creek Hall, 23 January 2020

Click on image to watch Dr Kooyman’s full talk:

Rainforests contain 40 million years of evolutionary history with a range of plant and animal lineages and communities with origins in Gondwana. The ancient supercontinent Gondwana broke up approximately 180 million years ago and as Australia drifted away from Antarctica, rainforests contracted to its east coast and far north. Only 1 percent of the original 40 million year old Gondwanan rainforest survives in Australia. Read more.

Australia has the most diversity of remaining plant and animal lineages with Gondwanan histories. The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia are world heritage listed in recognition of their unique landforms, species diversity and role in demonstrating the development of life on earth. Read more.

In particular, the Nightcap National Park (NP) area contains many plant and animal lineages with Gondwanan histories, including many threatened species.

The scale of the November 2019 fire event in the Nightcap NP was unprecedented and catastrophic. Historical logging activities in the Nightcap area up until 40 years ago resulted in the loss of 90 percent of old growth trees. Of the remaining 10 percent, the bushfires have caused the loss of a further 10 to 30 percent of old growth trees.

Historical logging activities increased forest vulnerability to fire as flammable eucalyptus components were accentuated at the cost of fire resistant rainforest species. On eucalypt ridges smaller re‑growth trees, such as blackbutt or Eucalyptus pilularis, growing close together with crowns touching enhanced the spread of canopy fire.  Shrubs growing on the forest floor due to increased light penetrating the canopy were dried out by drought and promoted fire through the understory. Logging debris pushed into the rainforest and increased fire heat and penetration into rainforest.

Recovery of the Nightcap area ecosystem is likely to take hundreds of years. A total of 16 plant and 27 animal threatened species were affected by the fire. Tragically, approximately 25 to 30 percent of the critically endangered Nightcap Oak species was lost to fire. The endangered peach myrtle species were also affected. Brushbox and palm forest species were burnt at Terania Creek.

There are signs of recovery in the eucalyptus forests as these species are fire adapted. The eucalyptus ridgelines are re-sprouting and acacias have re-seeded. However rainforest species are not fire adapted and it is likely that some will continue to die due to the stress of the fire event. Lowland rainforest was less affected by the fire than upland rainforest. The Mt Nardi rainforest was sprayed with fire retardant and is likely to recover as there are signs of re‑growth.

Fire resistance of the forest would have been enhanced if more rainforest had been preserved by the Forestry Commission given that rainforest species resist fire. Future planning policy should incorporate planting fire resistant rainforest species near houses/communities as a barrier to fire.

Click on below image to watch an earlier video of Dr Kooyman discussing Gondwanan rainforest.

Contacting Emergency Services

with the Emergency+ smart phone app

Some advice to consider regarding contacting Emergency Services from an experienced bushwalker and engineer.

The Emergency+ app is highly recommended for bushwalkers. It lists all the important emergency phone numbers – 000 (triple zero) of course; but also, the SES, Police assistance line, poisons information and many others. It also has a simple clear display of your location as a latitude/longitude which can identify your position anywhere in the world, which is of course important for bushwalkers as the usual “street and nearest cross street” location is not useful in the bush.

But there are some limitations and misconceptions about the Emergency+ app you should be aware of.​

​Firstly, in an emergency, if you dial 000 (triple zero) using the Emergency+ app it is no different to dialling 000 from a normal phone. It does not send any special information and it does not send your position to the 000 operator. You will still have to tell the operator your position, and that can be the GPS coordinates from the Emergency+ app if that is the best way to do it. On the Emergency+ app it gives your GPS coordinates in a box titled “Tell the operator your location” – you have to tell the operator your position as the operator cannot read it from the phone directly.​

​Secondly, the Emergency+ app uses the GPS (or GNSS system to be more precise) in your phone to get your position. If the GPS is having difficulty in getting a position – maybe you are in a damp area, under a thick tree canopy or near cliffs – then the GPS will return the last position it got a fix on the position until a new fix is determined. This old fix could be anywhere you have been recently; maybe at home before you left, maybe on the drive to the start of your walk; but this fix will be displayed until a new fix is determined. The old fix could be wrong by kilometres, or even in the wrong country if you have just done an international flight!​

​To make sure the location fix it is displaying is a current fix and not an old fix there are two things to look at. The simplest is the little map next to the position. Check the maps shown is correct for where you are. But as this is a street map it is not very helpful in remote areas as there might not be any streets nearby so nothing will be shown.

Page 2 or “+” page of app

A better way to check your fix is a current one is to go to the second page of the Emergency+ app (the “+” with a circle around it on the top or bottom bar) and in the red box at the bottom it says “GPS COORDINATES (Address updated XX secs ago)”. Make sure your address has been updated in the time you have been at your current location, and preferably only a few seconds ago. If it shows that your address has only been updated hours or days ago you should be cautious that the position it will display will be an old position which could be miles away.

 

Finally, remember that the position displayed on the Emergency+ app is just one way to give your position. If you know your position as a grid reference from a map, another GPS, a street address or even some nearby landmark then feel free to use that to give your position to the 000 operator. Speak slowly but remember that all calls to 000 are recorded. Any position reference is acceptable, just make sure it is accurate.

Get the Emergency+ App here now

Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake beach walk

As we all know during November and December 2019 prolonged drought and hot dry conditions lead to devastating bushfires along the east coast of Australia. The scale of the ongoing climate emergency has been unprecedented with disastrous consequences for the environment and native animals, people living in the bush, volunteer firefighters defending our communities and air quality in our cities and towns.

The resulting closure of National Parks has also meant lean times for those of us wanting a bushwalk! A quick glance at the Northern Rivers Bushwalkers (NRBC) calendar in November 2019 revealed a list of walks cancelled due to fire. Given this it seemed that beach walks provided the perfect alternative walk solution. So when Michelle from the NRBC organised a summer celebratory walk from Belongil Beach to Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake my sister and I were really keen to participate.

We were assured that the Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake was ‘safe’ with all visitors once again clothed and decent thanks to the Byron Shire Council cracking down on nudity and inappropriate behaviour in the area. Read here about the recent controversial history of the Lake.

Our walk started early at the Treehouse on Belongil near Byron Bay. After a quick coffee we headed up the beach for the walk to Tyagarah Beach and the Lake. Along the way we passed the opening to Belongil Creek and were told that before the drought this section of beach was often a creek crossing. Sadly this was no longer the case with water at very low levels and a great expanse of firm sand across the mouth of the creek.

Eventually we reached Grays Lane, a dirt road which leads to the Lake through Tyagarah Nature Reserve. The Reserve protects a number of coastal endangered ecological communities and threatened plant species which you can read more about here. After a short break in the picnic area we proceeded through the Reserve to the Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake.

On reaching the Lake our breaths were taken away by its stunning beauty and peaceful serenity. The Lake is framed by picturesque native coastal bushland with its cool waters stained by the healing oils of the surrounding tea trees. We settled down next to the Lake for a picnic lunch with many of us declaring we would wait to swim in the ocean on the return journey despite being hot after our walk. However once one person started swimming in the lake its appealing coolness was impossible to resist and soon enough many of us were gliding and relaxing in the water.

My sister Michele enjoying a cool swim in Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake

As we started the walk back along the clothing optional section of Tyagarah Beach the nudist visitors were in their full glory basking in the hot sun.  My sister and I couldn’t help but notice with amusement the stark contrast of our bushwalking posse outfitted from head to toe in protective gear trudging dutifully through the assortment of cavorting naked sun worshippers!

Our walk was approximately 9km in distance once we had returned to the Treehouse on Belongil.  Overall it was a very enjoyable morning out with a satisfying walk punctuated by a refreshing swim and the opportunity to visit new areas along the way. Thanks very much to Michelle from NRBC for organising this alternative beach walk event.  Click here to find out more about the NRBC and what activities are on.

Trek 100km along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road – join Diabetes NSW & ACT’s adventure of a lifetime!

Celebrating its sixth year this year, the trek covers 100km from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles across Victoria’s rugged coastline. Lace up your hiking boots and join Diabetes NSW & ACT for this seven day, 100km trek along the Great Ocean Road. Set yourself a challenge for fun, fitness and fundraising.

The Great Ocean Road Trek runs over five days and hikers say they take inspiration from the breathtaking scenery of Victoria’s rugged coast along the way. Connecting to nature, observing koalas in their natural habitat and discovering the full beauty of the region’s abundant flora and fauna is part of the daily experience. Participants comment on the spectacular beauty of the trek and their delight at hearing echoes of birdsong as they wind their way through forests, rocky shores, deserted beaches and windswept clifftops.

Our team took the opportunity to interview Beverley on the experience – from signing up through to conquering the five day challenge in October this year. Beverley said “I often wondered in recent years, if ever I was to be challenged, could I rise to the occasion?” Beverley went on to disclose to us the contemplation process prior to embarking on the Great Ocean Road Trek adventure. “I knew it would not be easy, as I would have my age against me (68), and type 1 diabetes to contend with. When I saw the article on the 2018 trek, I knew it was time to answer those nagging doubts I had!” Beverley recalled.

Beverley’s adventure of a lifetime – 100km across the Great Ocean Road!

Beverley said her favourite moments included witnessing the colour of the ocean shift from grey to blue, the cliff views and the comradery that comes with finishing a challenging endeavour with likeminded individuals.

“As a team, we helped each other, laughed with each other and deepened our connection, as we trudged as a group further along the length of the coastline.”

The elation didn’t stop there for Beverley and the intrepid team. Her excitement at reaching the Twelve Apostles is contagious. “As we reached the final hilltop, the summit seemed to be silhouetted against the vast, blue sky. I felt like the twelve apostles were waving to us upon our arrival. An incredibly joyful feeling!” said Beverley.

Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime?

Expressions of interest for 2020 are open, submit your registration by 31st January and save $150 on early bird offering. Don’t miss out, simply email fundraising@diabetesnsw.com.au or head to https://diabetesnsw.com.au/great-ocean-road-trek/ to find out more

 

Alternative activities

Have park closures or extreme weather conditions cancelled your plans?

Here are oodles of awesome alternate activity ideas.

No need to do them alone! Meet the group you were planning to head outdoors with at a cafe or library instead. Have fun and feel good about these ‘indoor adventures’ together!

  1. Find and schedule the walks and activities you want to lead in the new year
  2. Not a leader yet? Call a current club leader and ask if you can buddy up to learn to lead – they are friendly folk!
  3. Read the Bushwalking Manual – a great read for everyone doing all kinds of outdoor adventure 🙂
  4. Get started on a first aid course – you can do the pre-reading online for free! https://pfa.stjohn.org.au/
  5. Meet up with a club buddy to plan a club activity together in the new year
  6. Read our Risk Management Guidelines – it is truly worthwhile
  7. Learn all about our insurance – consider becoming an insurance officer – ask us how
  8. Start planning and coordinating a risk management training session for your club. You don’t have to know it all – ask club members with each special expertise to talk on their bit.
  9. Run a navigation theory session for your club and friends
  10. Learn how you can help our suffering wildlife: WIRES & NWC
  11. Write to members of parliament to ask for a climate action leadership:
    1. Federal Ministers.
    2. NSW Members.
    3. ACT Members.
    4. Tell them you’d rather be bushwalking or hiking, healthy and active, than sitting indoors because of extreme weather events!
  12. Brainstorm how to engage more youth in your club
  13. Organise your photos and send in some great ones to us so we can share them through our newsletter and website – email to admin@bushwalkingnsw.org.au.
  14. Contribute your photos and descriptions of the great walks of NSW & the ACT to manual@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au
  15. Check out all the resources available for you on the Bushwalking NSW website
  16. Ask your club management committee if they need any help
  17. Sign up for a Bushwalking NSW working group
  18. Help Bushwalking NSW develop a Hot/Extreme Weather Policy that can help all our clubs – contact us now!
  19. Schedule club social events for the new year
  20. Look for great speakers for next year’s club meetings
  21. Call friends affected by extreme weather and learn how they are doing
  22. Prepare you home for fire as a group – going to each member’s home to clip and clear.
  23. Learn how to plan and prepare for fire
  24. Help out others affected by natural disasters
  25. If you haven’t done it yet – put your Bush fire survival plan at the top of your list!

And once you’re done. Pat yourself on the back and thank your team 🙂