Wondrous Winter Walking
By Sue Olsson, Coordinator, NPA Port Stephens Walking Group.
Living in a seaside environment, so much of our focus is warm weather and water. Have you experienced the pleasure of walking in winter and early spring in our nature wonderland, both near and regionally?
A secret to walking in winter is wearing several layers to keep warm, then peel off as you warm up. Unlike spring and summer walking, you feel more invigorated and don’t overheat. And around Port Stephens there’s so many places to walk out of the wind.
When the cold westerlies blow— head for the Tomaree Coast Walk, much of Tomaree’s east coast is protected from the wind and surprisingly warm, especially Zenith Beach area to Big Rocky. Alternatively, when those south-easters blow, head into the protected heart of Tomaree National Park where wildflowers abound.
Join us to explore our local and regional environments
The National Parks Association’s Port Stephens Walking Group offer a regular walking program of half and one day coastal and hinterland walks, to scenic locations and places where wildflowers flourish. Discover our local Port Stephens environs, as well as our regional Hunter, Central Coast and Myall areas.
Wildflowers are a feature of Tomaree’s winter/spring wonderland.
Enjoy one of our wildflower walks in Tomaree National Park, a wonderland of winter and early spring wildflowers, especially along its sandy heathy woodlands. Experience the colourful buds and blooms of the pink wax flower, a favourite for bees. Delight in the variety of yellow and red peas, the yellow drumsticks or an orchid or two.
Short walks are a special on offer between 9-12 September. More information and bookings at Tomaree-Wildflowers 2023. Or you may enjoy a full day exploration mid August in Tomaree’s northern heartland as part of our regular program.
Take pleasure in our stunning geological features
Our landscape is shaped, buckled and worn in magnificent ways and though some consider not colourful like wildflowers, locally and regionally our spectacular geology is breath-taking.
Experience the time-worn chasms on Tomaree’s wild south coast 12 July, or walk the volcanic peaks in north Tomaree 26 July. Further north the forest trails of Bulahdelah (Alum) Mountain 20 Sept afford wonderful views and are an orchid haven. While further south to sandstone country 27 Sept again wildflowers abound but surprises like Elephant Rock (pictured) are marvels with widespread views. In contrast, there’s beauty in Samurai’s sweeping dunes 30 Aug, and the experience of walking to Fingal Island 8 Oct.
Wetlands are wonderfully diverse systems
Whether fresh, salty or somewhere in between, our walks follow the meanders of coastal or river environs.
Ash Island’s re-vegetated coastal bush and intertidal habitat of the Hunter River 9 Aug, contrasts with Brambles Green on the Myall River with coastal rainforest and late winter orchids 23 Aug. On the Tomaree Peninsula, walk the shady woodlands and beachfront tracks of Mambo Wetlands 13 Aug, or in springtime explore differing coastal habitats of the Tilligerry Peninsula on 25 Oct and 12 Nov. The tall forests and magnificent cabbage tree palm wetlands in Wallingat NP, 1 Nov, are a shady relief on a warm day.
New walkers are welcome
Are you interested to explore new areas or walk with others who enjoy the bush? Our walking group has a regular walking program with
- full day bushwalks most Wednesdays of around 9-14kms in Port Stephens and regionally
- half day bushwalks monthly on Sundays locally in Port Stephens, mostly on the Tomaree or Tilligerry peninsulas.
Our walks generally require moderate fitness though are not fast paced. We try to accommodate walkers who like to photograph wildlife and flowers though photography is not the focus. 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.
Our walking group is mostly from Port Stephens and is part of the National Parks Association. 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
Read more about our activities and download the program at www.ecops.au/walk-ps. We hope to see you at our next walk.
Contact Sue Olsson, Coordinator, NPA Port Stephens Walking Group