outdoors

Blog

Lake Cathie


No Comments

Hi everyone,
These are photos from Leon’s paddle around Lake Cathie a few weeks ago.
Sorry they are late but in the intervening period my computer died & went to cyber heaven & I am still getting used to my new version!!
This was a fantastic paddle as the lake was full & blocked off & Leon took us through the long grasses and melaleucas on the far reaches of Lake Cathie.
After navigating our way through the grasses, which was fascinating, we went back out in Cathie Creek where some of us headed towards Lake Innes. Bill & I elected to paddle up the lovely side creek & were not disappointed.
Paddling through the grasses is quite an experience & you have to keep up or risk becoming lost in a very short space of time. With the height of the grasses you Had to keep an eye out for the blades of the paddles of those out front as they were often the only things to guide you through!!
Thanks Leon
Cheers
Caroline                                

Blog

Yarrahappinni Wetlands


No Comments


Twelve of us enjoyed perfect conditions for our paddle last Sunday in the Yarrahapinni Wetlands which are a part of what is collectively known as the Clybucca Historic Site. In October 2015 a group of eight of us joined over 50 paddlers connected with the Save Our Macleay River organisation on a guided tour by the National Parks & Wildlife of these rehabilitated wetlands. I noticed some real changes on Sunday, particularly with the growth and spread of mangroves and the presence of birdlife.


In an attempt to secure good grazing land, this beautiful, timeless area had was drained in the 1970’s. Instead of good land, acid sulphate soils and ‘black water’ poisoned the land and waters downstream (hence the graveyard of trees). After a long process of negotiation by the Yarrahapini Wetlands Reserve Trust, and later the National Parks & Wildlife Service, tidal re-inundation began in 2008 with the creation of an opening in the levee. The tidal flow of saltwater resulted in an immediate reduction in the acid sulphate soils.


***As many of you are aware, Lake Innes suffered from human intervention also. This lake was originally a separate freshwater system, the largest in NSW. In 1933 a drain was excavated to connect the lake with Cathie Creek. This drain subsequently widened and deepened under flood and tidal flows, causing the lake to convert to an estuarine system. The introduction of saline water and tidal variations resulted in extensive biological changes to the biology of the lake, including loss of most of the fresh water habitat. It is now an established estuarine system (Port Macquarie Hastings Council fact sheet).


The Clybucca Historic Site comprises three separate areas totalling 459 hectares. Adjacent to the wetlands is the Golden Hole, a site of national significance registered on the National Estate. It is also referred to as The Clybucca-Stuarts Point midden complex. (Middens basically consist of domestic refuse such as bone and shells etc). It is the largest estuarine midden in the temperate area of Australia and runs almost continuously for 14 kms. The site was an important meeting and sharing place for the GUMBAYNGGIR and DUNGHUTTI nations, a rich source of food and part of a mythological and spiritual landscape with strong cultural significance to the present day Aboriginal people of the mid north coast (NPWS Plan of Management (Clybucca Historic Site). The natural heritage values of the Clybucca Historic Site include littoral rainforest communities, coastal wetlands and estuarine environments. These are estimated to support 135 species of plants and provide habitat for a diversity of fauna species.
Archaeologists have dated Aboriginal occupation of this site at approx.. 4000 years. Research into sea level changes suggest that at the time the midden was occupied, the entire Macleay floodplain was under water and the sea level was 2m higher. The subsequent fall in sea level created the existing coastline and estuaries.


At least 75% of the midden complex still remains and well over 50%, including most of the largest and best preserved mounds, are within the historic site. These middens were generally not used for limekilns, road base or landfill as were many in Limeburners Creek and the Port Macquarie area. The disturbing of some middens by earthworks, well sinking, road cutting and other damaging actions prompted the NPWS to request an archaeological report which concluded that the site was of archaeological significance; this led to its subsequent reservation. (NPWS Plan of Management).


Stephen led us through the opening in the levee, guarded by a group of pelicans. Care needs to be taken as oyster shell encrusted rocks lie dangerously close to the surface as you go through the levee into the ‘Broad-water’ which is the main area where the regeneration of mangroves and fish habitats is most obvious. The wide bay area is flanked by large trees on the side closest to the Golden Hole and there are lovely views to the distant hills. The most striking features are still the outcrops of dead trees that line the banks and form clusters along the way. It was encouraging to see the growth of the mangroves and I spotted three stag ferns, their green leaves standing out against the dull grey of the dead tree trunks. We saw pelicans, osprey, sea eagles, a brahminy kite, ibis, egrets, white faced heron, ducks and a few species I could not identify. The wetlands were full of life: osprey were ferrying large sticks to refurbish their nest ( see photo with the resident keeping an eye on us), birds were fishing and pelicans were preening. It was so uplifiting to see this beautiful area coming back to life and to share it with club members.


Thanks Greg for leading this trip and Stephen for putting up markers so we did not get lost (which can easily happen in here!!). We meandered around happily for nearly 2 hours being careful to stick together and avoiding dead stumps just below the surface  Bill and Colin enjoyed their longer paddle around Cockle Island and arrived back the same time we did.


Caroline                                   

Blog

Kundabung: Pipers Creek


No Comments

Hi everyone,

You can’t help but fall in love ( all over again if you have paddled it before ) with Pipers Creek on a clear, sunny morning.

Nestled down amongst some magnificent trees, this perfect little paddle never disappoints & remains one of my personal favourites.

No matter the conditions, it is always picturesque & atmospheric & there is always a reflection ( or two or three or four ) which takes your breath away.
This gorgeous creek is very secluded & located at the end of a tree lined dirt road in the sleepy hamlet of Kundabung ( which translates to ‘Black Apple Tree’ ).

Unfortunately there were quite a few campers set up there when we arrived…all 23 of us plus kayaks…so it was a not as ‘secluded’ as usual!! However, once out on the water we had the creek all to ourselves.

To comply with social distancing we divided into three groups with one electing to paddle down to the Maria River & the other two paddling up north…the pretty end of this creek.

I could rave on about the beauty of the natural landscape along Pipers Creek, but I will let the photos speak for themselves. Instead, some history as it has a fascinating back story.

Believed to be names after one Captain Piper who was involved in survey work, it was on an exploratory & survey expedition in 1831 that Surveyor Ralfe discovered a stratum of limestone of a very superior quality about six miles from the head of navigation of Pipers Creek. The Police Magistrate at Port Macquarie provided 20 convicts to make a road from the Wilson River to construct a kiln for the burning of limestone. Cells were built for the convicts to sleep in at night. Some kilns still remain ( I have included two photos ). The limestone was burned up on site & conveyed to the loading wharf at Kundabung ( where we launch  ) on low wagons with wooden wheels hauled by a team of convicts. Lime from these kilns was used in the construction of many of the convict-built buildings in Port. Once the lime was loaded onto barges at the wharf, convicts were again used to row those boats all the way down Pipers Creek, into the Maria River, then into the Wilson & finally into the Hastings & into Port Macquarie!!! So if you think you do a few long paddles, spare a thought for these poor convicts!!!
Pipers Creek rises within the Ballengarra State Forest & flows east by south then south before reaching its confluence with the Maria River. It descends 177 m over its 32 km course.

The first European settlers in the Kundabung district were engaged in the timber industry. Logs were brought out of the bush on skids & then hauled by horses to the wharves on either side where Smiths Creek enters Pipers Creek. They were then transported via a log punt to Hibbards Mill in Port Macquarie. The early settlement was referred to as Smiths Creek; the name change came as the settlement got bigger.

After enjoying our paddle, which was cut short by a fallen tree which we could not negotiate as the tide was turning, we headed up to Kundabung where we had our picnic lunch in the grounds near the community hall. Sorry we could not enjoy our usual campfire, but the reserve was too crowded. Hopefully next time, once the ‘tourists’ move on.

Hope everyone enjoyed their paddle. Thanks Barry for organising the paddle.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blog

Balyngara & Stony Creek


No Comments

Hi everyone,

Further to Leon’s report on the Balyngara & Stony Creek paddle, here are some photos & extra information. Sorry I am running late!!

Twelve of us put in at the old ramp on the private property on Little Rawdon Island. This paddle is like a package deal as it comes with a pleasant Sunday drive through the green farming land of Rawdon Island with its sprawling properties, sleek cattle & peaceful vistas.

Rawdon Island was named after Francis Rawdon Hastings, the 1st Marquis of Hastings. The locale is made up of two islands…Rawdon & Little Rawdon Islands. The communities once boasted 27 dairy farms, two churches, a school, community hall & a footy team! The beautiful buildings of the old school are now a heritage function house. We are always grateful to the Galloways for allowing us to use their property to access the river up here as a starting point for our paddle.

After launching we paddled to the right under Little Rawdon Island bridge which always makes me think of Huckleberry Finn with people sitting fishing, their legs dangling over the edge of this narrow, one way bridge. We then veered right into Munns Channel with Quetta Island on our left. At the end we crossed over the main river & into Balyngara Creek, a wide creek flanked by farming land & lovely trees, before veering left into Stony Creek. It was perfect weather & calm water with nice reflections. We have not done this paddle for quite sometime & it was great to become reacquainted.

When a small group of us got back to the junction with Balyngara, four of us decided to paddle down to the end of this creek exploring. The remainder elected to wait for the others to catch up & then head back, & this is where Leon’s story starts.

We paddled right down Balyngara & into Loggy Creek but were pulled up in our tracks quick smart by a fallen tree. Back on Balyngara we paddled down to the Pembroke Rd. bridge. The spot where we used to have a cuppa now has a ‘pop up’ bush camp ( a bit ‘deliverance’ looking ) which I don’t think is quite legal as this area is Cairncross  State Forest. Our paddle back was uneventful & we enjoyed the peace & quiet & feeling of remoteness in this part of the river.
After making contact with the rest of the group by phone when we got back, we enjoyed a quiet lunch before helping the ‘wanderers’ back up with their kayaks.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blog

Korogoro Creek at Hat Head


No Comments

Our mid week paddle on Korogoro Creek at Hat Head had all the elements you could wish for:-

      • A relaxing, picturesque paddle on a sheltered creek
      • Great company
      • Sunny skies & calm water ( you could have walked across the ocean )
      • Picnic lunch overlooking the ocean
      • Whale & dolphin exhibitions
      • Bush walk with coastal views

Five of us enjoyed a lovely day out & it was great to catch up with John Rennes on the water again.

Hat Head & Korogoro Creek are in Dhanggati Country & there are three Aboriginal cultural sites in the immediate vicinity of the estuary.

Although considered part of the Macleay River catchment area, flood mitigation works carried out in the mid 1960’s & large floodgates separate the creek upstream from a large wetland known as ‘Swan Pool’ . The creek entrance is permanently open to the ocean & is drop dead beautiful with tree covered hills rising up  & some interesting rocky outcrops.The estuary has several endangered ecological communities & supports several threatened species including loggerhead turtles & Osprey.

As we set off from the ramp right at the ocean entrance, pelicans & sea gulls were resting happily on the exposed sandbanks. After we passed  under the pretty wooden footbridge we saw a huge grey kangaroo watching us from the bank . Following a leisurely paddle up to the floodgate wall area, John, Bruce, Jane, Bill, myself & ‘Billie’ ( on a training run ) enjoyed a picnic lunch up at The Gap overlooking the ocean. Here we were treated to whales breaching quite close in & a pod of surfing dolphins. There are several picturesque walking tracks up here in the Hat Head National park & Bruce, Jane & John undertook one after lunch.

All in all a great day. Great mid week as it is relatively quiet.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.