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Whale tales by Paul Chai

Follow Paul's epic journey as he travels along the NSW coastline this whale migration season.

No whales, no problems

Posted by: Paul Chai | 17 August 2012 | 0 comments
Lighthouse Beach, Sugarloaf Point

It’s a whale-free day but we find plenty to get up to on the trip from Myall Lakes National Park down to Tomaree.

It’s time to leave our amazing home at Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, but not before an early morning rockpool visit, a final beach run and a last look out for whales off the point. It’s a windy morning and the surf is choppy, with enough white caps to make for headache-inducing whale-watching so we decide to check out the Neranie Headland walk instead.

The walk winds past an historic 19th century cemetery with a stone angel on lookout and a large lemon tree at its heart, and ends with a view of Myall Lake, where we are once again buzzed by military planes as we make our way through the blackbutts. This time the jets do several fly-bys to the kids’ excitement (and then boredom, cos kids are like that).

After that we pile back into the car and take the short drive to the Grandis, the tallest tree in New South Wales, which is even more exciting if you realise halfway along the track that you are in very real danger of running out of petrol.

Going coastal

We make it to Buladelah to refuel and then it’s a couple of hours drive to Nelson Bay and Tomaree National Park where we are going on the relatively new Coast Walk. The walk starts at the end of the Big Rocky 4WD track and was once a coast-hugging driving track itself before being restored for walkers.

The walk starts with a view out to Big Rocky — an island that used to have a license to collect shell grit and the area is also rife with Indigenous shell middens — and Little Rocky its smaller relative. Most of the walk is through bush with a break in the middle for whale-watching that looks out onto Boulder Bay. There’s no luck today so it is back into the rolling hills made out of three million year old bedrock as we make our way over to Fingal Bay. On the way we pass Broughton Island, a divers and birdwatchers heaven that has a range of new accommodation for campers and looks inviting even from land, though it might be a bit fresh this time of year.

Surf life saver

As we round Fingal Head there are a pair of whale boats going out past the heads but no sign of any activity, so it’s a stroll along Fingal Beach to the surf life-saving club. We grab a table at the Long Boat café and I team a dish of Asian prawn balls with a Murray’s Whale Ale as consolation.

Whale Ale



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