Time to become active in nature?
As our summer visitors depart our shores, and family visits are fewer, take a step into nature in our wonderful local and regional environments with the National Parks Association (NPA), a community and advocacy group for the environment and national parks.
We aim to
- connect people with nature through our activities program
- protect nature through community action
Here in Port Stephens we have a fantastic regular NPA walking program with a host of walking opportunities. We also have a wonderful group of volunteers active in helping improve the quality and resilience of Tomaree National Park’s ecosystem – and you’re invited to join us in either or both programs. Read on to discover what may be of interest to you.
Step out with us on day walks
Looking to walk with others who enjoy the bush. Our NPA Port Stephens Walking Group programs fortnightly Wednesday bushwalks, around Port Stephens and regionally. We enjoy walks of 10-14km over a full day (a bit shorter in our hotter months), and shorter half day walks on Sundays as well as some campouts.
Our 2023 program over the next 6 months offers a fantastic variety. We kick off at Barrington Tops NP’s Williams River with a shady bushwalk and cool off in the crystal flowing waterholes. Our coastal walks include locally sections of the Tomaree Coastal Walk, Worimi Conservation Lands surrounding Tin City, the spit to Fingal Island when suitable, and extend to Bouddi NP’s coastal walk. Bush walks take in parts of the Great North Walk and Dungog’s Girrawa Trail, and a touch of history with Wangi Point and Dobell House. Something for everyone! Weekend campouts join with our NPA Upper Hunter Group to places like Brackens Hut in Coolah Tops NP, and Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp in Wollemi NP. Read more about our activities and download the program at www.ecops.au/walk-ps.
Our walks generally require moderate fitness though many like to enjoy photographing wildlife and flowers. Most walks are graded G3. We carpool for walks away from our locality, and passengers contribute to costs – though there is no guarantee of that opportunity. We’re even trialling a small bus for our first bushwalking to the Williams River, so jump onboard! We encourage new walkers to try a couple of walks so you can assess suitability of our walks and group for you, before we ask you to join the NPA.
Dive into Tomaree NP and help improve nature
Volunteers with our Friends of Tomaree National Park program enjoy being active in the outdoors and the comradery in together taking action and seeing how we are making a massive difference to areas of our coastal environment.
While weeds are many and varied, we do focus on bitou, a highly invasive weed originally used to stabilise sands dunes following mining, but now overruns our native coastal bush. It’s rewarding to combat bitou, freeing struggling native plants and removing large swathes that have replaced natives.
Some areas naturally regenerate from local seed – which is always preferable – while others we need to actively revegetate. This Autumn we’re planting roadside at Kingsley and in Fishermans Bay gully.
Read more about our Friends group and our activities at www.ecops.au/fotnp
We work on focussed sections of the park, trying not to spread ourselves too thinly – then we can effectively maintain those areas annually.
Our regular morning work bees are generally at:
- North Tomaree, in the Zenith / Tomaree Headland areas
- Central Tomaree, around Kingsley / Boat Harbour / One Mile areas
- Southern Tomaree at Fishermans Bay.
Some people participate in bush regeneration at one or more localities, others try to attend maybe one morning a month somewhere. We appreciate your help when convenient for you, regularly or casually. Read about our regeneration activities here – locations, dates and what you need to wear or bring.
We hold special events in partnership with other groups.
Crag & Bush Care
We’re pleased to be working with Hunter Central Coast Climbing Coalition, the regional arm of Australian Climbing Association NSW who are encouraging climbers to join us in protecting native bush around climbing sites. Bookings are essential for our first Crag and Bush Care event, Sunday 19th February at the Boulder Bay climbing site off the Tomaree Coastal Walk. Opportunities for climbers and for those who prefer a flatter work space!
Clean Up Australia
We’re also partnering with Clean Up Australia in Tomaree NP at:
- Box Beach on Saturday 4 March AM please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fishermans Bay on Sunday 5 March AM please contact email@example.com
Connecting with the NPA
While the NPA initiated and supports our Friends of Tomaree NP group, you do not need to be an NPA member to participate – though you are welcome to join! Our Friends program is in collaboration with, directed and also supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the state managing agency.
Our Port Stephens Walking Group is part of the NPA and you need to be a member for ongoing participation. Membership not only provides insurance for walkers and leaders, as we are a community group, it supports NPA’s advocacy and action for national parks and for wildlife. Your membership also helps support groups like the Friends of Tomaree NP who are active improving nature.
We look forward to meeting up with you – whether in our walking program to connect with nature, or with our Friends program to help protect nature through community action.
For more information
Contact Sue Olsson: