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Blog: Whale tales

Paul Chai journeyed up the NSW coastline during the 2012 whale migrating season. Recount his trip.

Forest by the sea

Posted by: Paul Chai | 06 September 2012 | 0 comments
Bongil Bongil National Park beach

You are spoiled for choice in Bongil Bongil National Park with both sandy beach and littoral rainforest to keep the family entertained.

Few things illustrate the diversity of the coastal national parks like standing surrounded by lush littoral rainforest and listening to the surf crash just metres away beyond the dune swale. It’s a surreal and serene moment as I pause on the Bundageree Rainforest Walk (just out of earshot of my over-excited kids who are playing Tarzan with the many vines that overhang the track like an unruly fringe).

We are staying at the Tuckers Rocks Cottage in the Bongil Bongil National Park, which appears to be named to make kids giggle (they also love Booti Booti NP). It is a cute, fibro affair that feels wonderfully isolated despite being a short drive from Repton and the highway.

Bundageree walk is sunny at first with shafts of light warming the winter air and illuminating strands of cobweb, but as you progress you head into darker rainforest where the temperature drops and staghorn ferns abound. There are also loads of scrubby banksias and tuckeroo which attract honeyeaters, a few of which we see along the way.

A line in the sand

It’s a solid six-kilometre trek but just as the young kids get whingey you emerge onto the Bundagen headland and return via North Beach. It’s a Tale of Two Walks and perks the kids right up as we explore rock pools and fossick amongst the rocks and shells strewn along the shore, finding cowry shells, curiously Swiss-cheese looking rocks, and skimming stones. But first we scramble up a large sand embankment and check for whales. It’s a flat ocean but they are nowhere to be seen, so rock pools it is, as we wind our way back to the low-lying Tuckers Rocks themselves. A local tells us the last leg of the walk, up a steep road to our cottage, is dubbed Whingers Hill – we understand why.

Fire in the hole

Shortly after though, we are straight back down Whingers Hill to collect some driftwood for the pit barbecue in the backyard of Tuckers Cottage. With armfuls of wood the two boys and me once again brace ourselves for the hill when my wife turns up in the car. Much gratitude is bestowed.

The pit barbecue is fired up and its cooks a wonderful dinner and satisfies our two boys desire to, well, set stuff alight. It also keeps the cold night at bay allowing us to sit around the fire well past their bedtime and chat, which makes a wonderful end to the day. We carry them to bed, tired, still a little excited and slightly smoked.

Bongil Bongil National Park kids playing on rocks

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    • NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
    • NSW