Werrikimbe NP

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Werrikimbe NP

Postby Neo » Wed 12 Apr, 2017 7:52 pm

G'day the last entries about Werrikimbe National Park were November and December 2014. Surely people have explored this Gondwana area since then... any info?

Being in Port Macquarie and loving our ancient natives (potted conifer collection) I've been very slow to realise how lucky I am to be 2hrs from Werrikimbe.
Will probably skip the Easter and holiday season then start heading up there to car camp and do the marked tracks.

Heaps of rain in March but the Hastings Valley Way via Wauchope/Beechwood is pretty good as its also a logging road. This will get you to Brushy Mountain campsite. Recently went as far as the Wilson River picnic turn off.

A couple of years ago I did a Sunday arvo drive via the Oxley Hwy and Yarras to Plateau Beech. This way in would be best if you have a 4wd.
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Re: Werrikimbe NP

Postby Neo » Fri 21 Apr, 2017 8:04 pm

Thursday afternoon I left Port and drove via Beechwood, was a neat 2hrs drive to Brushy Mountain campsite. The second half is dirt and a bit rocky but doable in a 2wd sedan. Fairly well signposted with accurate distances.
Arrived at 4:30 with only a minor detour at No 1 Lookout about half way. Not much of a view from there...
Hooray I was the only one at Brushy other than a Paddemelon and a kangaroo. Wandered around and picked a spot, pitched the tent then drove back along the road to collect sticks.
Brushy has plenty of space, the creek babbles along one side, there is a large shelter with two tables if you want and a few pedestal bbqs and rock fire rings dotted about. There were drifts of leaves and bark which suggests in heavy rain it could be pretty wet. Just a fire and stars above the tree tops for me.
Headed for Spokes Lookout 9:30am I took the path opposite the shelter. It's a loop walk that starts fairly open with grass trees dominating the undergrowth, then fern trees as it winds around. There are patches of mossy rainforest then you come to the signposted [left] turn towards Spokes. I believe this is a bit past half way on the loop that would have taken me back to near the his and hers pit toilets at the campground.
I continued on left, it was the last sign. The track is a mix of gentle incline/decline passing through different dominant fauna often with a leafy pretty path.
I lost the track momentarily on a left bend, through some old sawn fallen logs but then spotted the way around a dry fallen tree/sticks.
Another 100m and the path enters another change in flora and a more open patch but then disappears into some lush sedge. I followed the thin flattened line to what seemed like a dead end, then backtracked and took a break. Tried again, this time exploring a bit further through the greenery and yes, still in track. Marked it as a waypoint first, the trick here is to hook right then keep going until the sedge ends. From here a short way were three mossy stones to cross a nice water source. The track then continues as it has, sometimes a clean footpad and other places there is plenty of regrowth. Easy enough to follow but feeling a bit adventurous.
The last stage is loaded with bluey eucalypt regrowth and gently climbing until you come close to an escarpment with teasing views to the neighbouring ridges. From here there is the more obvious but still slight ascent and you come out on a fire trail at a timber parks sign. 400m to the right is a broken sign, right about 30m and its Spokes Lookout. Took photos, had a rest and snack while checking out the view and what was growing up on this piece of rock. The view is northerly looking into Willi Willi and Oxley Wild Rivers. Eastish through the trees was Mt Banda Banda I think, not sure of the other peaks yet. Switched on the phone, some optus reception. It was just over 5km and I took 2.5hrs.
Was looking forward to an alternate route back, following the old road/fire trail was a bit boring but still new. It was rocky and mostly downhill or flat so may not be that easy as an alternative way in. About 2km down you find a locked gate and cross a creek. Another clear water point, I went across the old concrete on my heels. Another 300m and you are back on the main drag(past Brushy if driving). So turned left and followed the road (going right would be a long haul towards Youldales Hut turnoff and the Mooraback campground on the western side of Werrikimbe). Found the old Grass Tree Picnic area parking so turned left there and walked a short way through great Xanthorrhoea and a bit of a cascade below them to join the track about 300m short of my starting point. The return journey was 4.3km and 1.5hrs so a km shorter and an hour quicker.
Perfect weather, not much wildlife seen, no people/leeches/snakes.

Next visit might be to Plateau Beech to do that walk, also check out the Banda arboretum which I passed on the road in. It looks to continue on as an unsigned track to get Mt Banda Banda. Am tempted to stop at a few spots on the road in and explore some of the overgrown forestry tracks.
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Re: Werrikimbe NP

Postby michael_p » Sat 22 Apr, 2017 9:29 am

Thank you for the report. Sounds like a nice area.

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Re: Werrikimbe NP

Postby Neo » Sun 23 Apr, 2017 11:00 am

Correction the view was easterly and just of Willi and the private land in its middle. Looking online I figured out you can see Double Mountain and it was Mt B B to the right.

The walk I did was Scrub Bird Track. Looking at my track log, the 'path' shown on the Garmin maps is way off, although the trail/road was pretty close. Also Google has a very smoothed out interpretation of it. My track was quite similar to the Parks pdf walks 'cartoon' and also similar to one shown on Mapio photo sharing.

Garmin shows if I went about 800m past the lookout I would have been on the highest point of Spokes. Also shows the trail continues on then forks at what is Coachwood Rd, wrongly name Spokes Trail.
Re-reading awildlands blog of Kemps Pinacle they walked in via my exit and took that route, having to find the overgrown trail to meet Coachwood Rd.
Wish that I'd had a look to check the condition. Its a possible extension to double the length of the walk going to either Hoppys Lookout or Kemps.

Also considering that I should get myself a plb and learn that compass as it could be a week before anyone came by up there.

Photos aren't great as I was expecting to return the same way. Spoiler alert, a couple at the lookout:
Attachments
IMAG2484~4.jpg
A view
IMAG2503.jpg
Mt Banda Banda
IMAG2474.jpg
Hook right, in there
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Re: Werrikimbe NP

Postby Neo » Mon 01 May, 2017 8:33 am

Back again Friday night, same spot at Brushy. Much cooler so glad I picked up some sticks off the road on the way in. The breeze was in the tree tops and didn't hear any nocturnal bird calls, otherwise a copy of last week with something small scratching around the tent once and a thud thud of a wallaby once in the night.

A crisp morning with blue sky. I was planning to do three walks that day. Started with the loop track from the drive way end. Recognised a bunch of plants amongst burnt eucalypt with plenty of regrowth. This leads into a bend of rainforest then into Coachwood and Beech, past the turn-off to Spokes, winds through more forest and a very mossy section until you come back to older eucalypt and grass trees. Was 3.5km with one fallen trunk to climb over, spent 1.5hrs but most of that was stops and fiddling with the macro feature on the phone.
Drove back out to the Banda Rd intersection and parked there. One 4wd camper passed by and we waved. This was a very pleasant walk in on a driveable track. After about 1.8km was an information bay with the same panels as the campsite. If you continued straight a few hundred metres you would get to the edge of the arboretum. I went left, clockwise on the Loop Rd. One boggy spot, a locked gate on the left then a bit past that a fallen tree stops any vehicles. Easy to follow with plenty of fallen plants, some I pushed through others I walked around. Its predominantly Coachwood with a bunch of plants I don't know yet. The Antarctic Beech are numerous, many over a metre thick.
Along the way you can hear falling water and get a glimpse of a cascade then come to where the crystal clear water passes under the track. From here it is a steady uphill grade with a lot of fallen branches and eventually join back to Banda Rd and a locked gate. It heads east and should be a way towards the Mountain.
So I return towards the info bay, more fallen timber and some very big Beech. There are a lot of birds here, only a few calls that I recognise. You can hear the bees in the treetops, some of the Beech are in full bloom.
Passing the arboretum which is on one side, I poked around a bit then left it to explore another day. There is also an overgrown trail and locked gate beside it. Returning to the car I had clocked 7.5km over 2.5hrs.
Drove back into the Park turning onto Cockerwombeeba Rd about 7km then turn onto Nth Plateau Rd. It is a bumpy trail with a couple of wet spots that might be OK for a 2wd. It was getting to 3pm so I cooked a late lunch and decided to not do the short walks from that campsite and leave the Park in daylight. A few mozzies.
I left via Cockerwombeeba Rd which is mostly downhill and bumpy with plants right to the edge so expect scratches. I wouldn't drive in this road by car. A nice drive past some big trees, eventually crossing the creek then through state forest and farmland onto Forbes River Road. Going out was about 1.5hrs to the Oxley Hwy but I drive slow. Saw a dingo (wild orange-yellow dog) cross the road. Most other wildlife including birds take off before getting within 20m even when walking.
So the loop walk and Banda Rd/loop/arboretum are both nice walks, easy to follow and doable.
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