Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

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Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby roopass » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 8:56 am

Hi there, I'm going to meet up with a mate at North Era campground on the otford-bundeena hike , looks like I'm going to be doing about an hour of night hiking , is this hIke pretty straight forward, there's no tricky turns?
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 1:14 pm

With a bit of care the track is quite easy to follow. Sometimes the start may be a bit hard to find, mainly at beaches. From the main road at the carpark go up and then on the management vehicle track. There's a signpost at the turnoff, then down steps to a more even track. Just follow this, over headlands, then down to the beach. There's one section over rocks beside a cliff with waves crashing on the other side, quite a wide terrace. I think that this is north of your proposed campsite. Tracknotes see
http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-an ... deena.html
They are a little dated but still fairly accurate.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby roopass » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 1:47 pm

Thanks Lop :)
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby johnw » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 4:00 pm

Lophophaps wrote:Sometimes the start may be a bit hard to find, mainly at beaches.

I've walked parts of RNP at night but not the coast track. In the dark this would be the main issue. A good head torch will help and you might see lights coming from some of the beach shack communities around Burning Palms and Era. I haven't walked the southern end for a while, and never in the dark, but in many places the track has now had raised metal walkway installed, making the need for any navigation more or less non-existent in those areas.

Lophophaps wrote:From the main road at the carpark go up and then on the management vehicle track. There's a signpost at the turnoff, then down steps to a more even track.

If you miss the signposted turnoff (on your right) there is another signposted turnoff soon after, on the left, for the Lilyvale track. Turn back otherwise you'll end eventually up at Garawarra. Can recover from there but makes a longer trip to re-route correctly.

Lophophaps wrote:There's one section over rocks beside a cliff with waves crashing on the other side, quite a wide terrace. I think that this is north of your proposed campsite.

Correct.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 4:26 pm

The metal walkways and new works are mainly in the northern half. As the track gets further south it's more of a trad bush track. This does not matter in most places. However, for a kilometre or two the track is deeply eroded, non-contiguous, and these parts should have been given the upgrade. The following are south of Little Marley (steps) and 20 minutes from the north end.

Masonry steps s.jpg



Bridge S.jpg


Overengineered in my view. Funds wouild have been better employed with a lower standard covering more track, perhaps a slightly higher standard to the Wedding Cake.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby michael_p » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 5:11 pm

I walked Garrawarra Farm - Burning Palms - Garie Beach - Wattamolla a few months back.

The section between Burning Palms and Garie was not maintained to the same standard as the track to the north of Garie. If I remember correctly there where some of those older type wooden steps that had eroded badly. We had to walk on the edges of the steps as the soil fill was gone. Please note that for the life of me I can't remember whether this eroded section was to the north or south of the camp ground at North Era. I would suggest that this is doable at night BUT some caution would be required.

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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby roopass » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 7:11 pm

Thanks for the info peeps, track notes say allow 5 hrs to get to campground , it shouldn't take 5hrs to walk 8k's? Think i'll try my best to avoid hiking in the dark, I'll get to Otford stn at 3
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 7:28 pm

The online maps do not have enough information for me to determine where the eroded section is, but I think they are north of the campsite. A lot of maps are quite dreadful, and have major features unnamed. The problem for me was the depth of the steps, 250-300 mm, knee straining going up and down.

It took me about four hours Garie Beach to Otford. Except for the painful ascent from the rail, the climbing is more or less the same the other way, so I think four hours to North Era is about right. If you leave Otford rail at 3pm then 7pm at North Era is daylight.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby tqc » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 8:45 pm

The upgrade moved the track in places, so at least as of a few months ago a map isn’t particularly helpful. Following the walkway probably gets you to the right place, but I managed to lose that after encountering a sign that identified the coast track as a muddy trench pointing in a completely different direction.

You can’t get too badly lost following the coast, but I’d still avoid walking that section in the dark - It isn’t really difficult at all, but the track sort of disappears as you get close to north era, and the campsite is in the middle of a swamp that you probably don’t want to walk through.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby roopass » Thu 23 Nov, 2017 9:18 pm

Lophophaps wrote:The online maps do not have enough information for me to determine where the eroded section is, but I think they are north of the campsite. A lot of maps are quite dreadful, and have major features unnamed. The problem for me was the depth of the steps, 250-300 mm, knee straining going up and down.

It took me about four hours Garie Beach to Otford. Except for the painful ascent from the rail, the climbing is more or less the same the other way, so I think four hours to North Era is about right. If you leave Otford rail at 3pm then 7pm at North Era is daylight.

Good to know Tks
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby puredingo » Fri 24 Nov, 2017 6:03 am

Lophophaps wrote:The metal walkways and new works are mainly in the northern half. As the track gets further south it's more of a trad bush track. This does not matter in most places. However, for a kilometre or two the track is deeply eroded, non-contiguous, and these parts should have been given the upgrade. The following are south of Little Marley (steps) and 20 minutes from the north end.

Masonry steps s.jpg



Bridge S.jpg


Overengineered in my view. Funds wouild have been better employed with a lower standard covering more track, perhaps a slightly higher standard to the Wedding Cake.




Wow, they are some snazzy looking handrails! I might walk in this arvo with a shifter and relocate them to my back deck...you don't need them do you?


One you hit the spur over looking Sth Era you won't need a track from there ( day or night, really). Just head for the beach and walk around the small headland to Nth Era beach and the camp spot is at the Northern end of it...too easy.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 24 Nov, 2017 7:29 am

puredingo wrote:Wow, they are some snazzy looking handrails! I might walk in this arvo with a shifter and relocate them to my back deck...you don't need them do you?


Thank you, I have enough rails. It was a mistake taking them from Govetts Leap, too much uphill. If taking rails, ensure that there are no witnesses. :D
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Fri 24 Nov, 2017 8:30 am

tqc wrote: I managed to lose that after encountering a sign that identified the coast track as a muddy trench pointing in a completely different direction.

That might be the section at the top of the hill between Sth Era and Burning Palms? The track has been diverted there from memory.... the fancy boardwalk is the "high road", which also takes you to the junction with the track that would take you out to Garawarra Farm, and the old trench track is the more direct, lower route? It wasn't obvious going north-to-south and I suspect I took the "wrong" route, but all the tracks are a pretty good grade anyway.

Apart from that small section above burning palms (and maybe some to the south of BP, before the jungle, as well?), most of the boardwalk is north of Watamolla from memory?
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby DaveNoble » Fri 24 Nov, 2017 9:27 am

If you are starting from Otford at 3 pm, then you should have plenty of time to get to North Era in the light.

Some things to consider -

As you leave Otford Station, take the very steep path up the hill. Take the first turn off (road) to the left, and then later take a turn off to the right, which takes you to the main road close to the lookout where the Coastal Track starts. This is slightly shorter and easier than going straight up to the shop and then along the main road.

It is possible to go via Garrawarra rather than Burning Palms, and the track is a closed fire road to Garrawarra Farm. This may be quicker, but less scenic.

Around South Era - you can loose the track when going through the shanty town. The signs indicating the route across the beach are spaced a long way apart and there is no track formation.

The section where you can walk around on a rock platform close to the sea to avoid going over a hill is between South Era and North Era. This is not really signposted but is the faster and preferred route in all but high tides and big swells.

At North Era - the coastal dunes are being restabilised so they are fenced off, so you need to walk to the north end of the beach where the track starts up again, and from there, it is a short walk across swampy ground to the campsite.

From North Era, it is possible (perhaps?) to go around the headland to avoid the climb, but I think you would need a very low tide for this. The track over the headland is a bit rough at present - but there are great views from the top. Through that shacks at Garie the track is well signposted and then follows under cliffs to the main Garie area.

Regarding the track work. It seems they have prioritised the worst bits and done those first. So there is a long boardwalk between the Palm Jungle and Burning Palms. This was the first section that was fixed. Then work was done between Bundeena and Marley, then the hill north of Garie was fixed, and more recently between Marley and Wottamolla. Currently there is trackwork south of Wottamolla - close to Providential Head. The new boardwalk (made from some composite - recycled plastic - fibreglass material) is easier to walk on than the old metal boardwalks (that you see between Garie and Wottamolla in places) but it does not seem to be bush fire resistant (as shown in the recent fire at Kurnell).

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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby puredingo » Fri 24 Nov, 2017 10:02 am

Dave, you can walk around the rocks at any tide really. The highest water will only reach the higher rocks that are still a few meters under the track. The trickiest part is the little Garie point but even then it's just a matter of boulder hoping and that's only with a king tide. There are big low tides for the next couple of afternoons so the poster should be fine.

Those new composite boards are a damn sight better than those old hardwood planks the NPs used to lay down. If not for the tech screws with the hex head they used to hold them in place it was like walking on sheet ice in school shoes! Dangerous stuff!!
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby jeremyw » Fri 24 Nov, 2017 10:06 pm

Did this walk last week or so. Only took us 3.5hours from otford to north era. You should have plenty of time. The old 5 hour estimate on the info sheet is probably due to the old track now largely replaced by a walk way over all the grasslands.

The only point you'd really struggle with in the dark is this turn off. The earlier one was non existent or at least overgrown enough we didn't see it (day light.) - well that and there wasn't an obvious sign like at the second one and you're walking on a nice new walk way up to that point so you don't expect it.

Just after you take that turn (under a low hanging tree branch no less), there is a few false paths down back onto the main trail. Those might be difficult in the dark - just stick to the bigger path, in any case its all grass and the false paths don't go far - and on top of that you'd probably hit the main track eventually anyway.

Re otford station, you leave the platform and instantly go straight up - yes, the really steep hill. I think you can turn off early but we didn't turn til we hit the main road, the other turn off looked like someones drive way and it adds all of 30 seconds to miss it anyway.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby tqc » Fri 24 Nov, 2017 10:11 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:That might be the section at the top of the hill between Sth Era and Burning Palms? The track has been diverted there from memory.... the fancy boardwalk is the "high road", which also takes you to the junction with the track that would take you out to Garawarra Farm, and the old trench track is the more direct, lower route? It wasn't obvious going north-to-south and I suspect I took the "wrong" route, but all the tracks are a pretty good grade anyway.

Apart from that small section above burning palms (and maybe some to the south of BP, before the jungle, as well?), most of the boardwalk is north of Watamolla from memory?


That’s the one. I walked a bit further up the boardwalk from the original junction, but the new route is sufficiently different that I thought I might end up at Garrawarra.

The continuous boardwalk is mostly in the northern half, though there are some other bits. Looks like they started with a combination of the worst mud (burning palms and south of marley) and the busiest track. Bundeena to Marley was in decent condition before, but the bit north of wedding cake can get more crowded than inner Sydney on a sunny sunday afternoon.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby roopass » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 5:05 am

DaveNoble wrote:If you are starting from Otford at 3 pm, then you should have plenty of time to get to North Era in the light.

Some things to consider -

As you leave Otford Station, take the very steep path up the hill. Take the first turn off (road) to the left, and then later take a turn off to the right, which takes you to the main road close to the lookout where the Coastal Track starts. This is slightly shorter and easier than going straight up to the shop and then along the main road.

It is possible to go via Garrawarra rather than Burning Palms, and the track is a closed fire road to Garrawarra Farm. This may be quicker, but less scenic.

Around South Era - you can loose the track when going through the shanty town. The signs indicating the route across the beach are spaced a long way apart and there is no track formation.

The section where you can walk around on a rock platform close to the sea to avoid going over a hill is between South Era and North Era. This is not really signposted but is the faster and preferred route in all but high tides and big swells.

At North Era - the coastal dunes are being restabilised so they are fenced off, so you need to walk to the north end of the beach where the track starts up again, and from there, it is a short walk across swampy ground to the campsite.

From North Era, it is possible (perhaps?) to go around the headland to avoid the climb, but I think you would need a very low tide for this. The track over the headland is a bit rough at present - but there are great views from the top. Through that shacks at Garie the track is well signposted and then follows under cliffs to the main Garie area.

Regarding the track work. It seems they have prioritised the worst bits and done those first. So there is a long boardwalk between the Palm Jungle and Burning Palms. This was the first section that was fixed. Then work was done between Bundeena and Marley, then the hill north of Garie was fixed, and more recently between Marley and Wottamolla. Currently there is trackwork south of Wottamolla - close to Providential Head. The new boardwalk (made from some composite - recycled plastic - fibreglass material) is easier to walk on than the old metal boardwalks (that you see between Garie and Wottamolla in places) but it does not seem to be bush fire resistant (as shown in the recent fire at Kurnell).

Dave

Thanks Dave:), I had a feeling the shanty town area is going to be a bIt confusing
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby roopass » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 5:08 am

jeremyw wrote:Did this walk last week or so. Only took us 3.5hours from otford to north era. You should have plenty of time. The old 5 hour estimate on the info sheet is probably due to the old track now largely replaced by a walk way over all the grasslands.

The only point you'd really struggle with in the dark is this turn off. The earlier one was non existent or at least overgrown enough we didn't see it (day light.) - well that and there wasn't an obvious sign like at the second one and you're walking on a nice new walk way up to that point so you don't expect it.

Just after you take that turn (under a low hanging tree branch no less), there is a few false paths down back onto the main trail. Those might be difficult in the dark - just stick to the bigger path, in any case its all grass and the false paths don't go far - and on top of that you'd probably hit the main track eventually anyway.

Re otford station, you leave the platform and instantly go straight up - yes, the really steep hill. I think you can turn off early but we didn't turn til we hit the main road, the other turn off looked like someones drive way and it adds all of 30 seconds to miss it anyway.

Awesome jer, Tks , good to know an accurate time frame
Tks for the dropped pin page aswell, very handy!
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 9:24 am

The Garrawarra Ridge Trail-Coast Track junction is here
Coast Ridge Jnctn.png
Coast Ridge Jnctn.png (45.67 KiB) Viewed 643 times


and has a good signpost.

Top of ridge.JPG


The track from the ridge to Burning Palms is easy to follow, and I did not look at the map between Burning Palms and the junction. I had never been there before.The start of the tracks coming off the beaches and through the shacks can be a little hard to find, but in general look for signs where it seems logical.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby roopass » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 1:47 pm

Thanks For pics lop, didn't realise they had decent sign post like that!, are they installed thru out the hike?
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- Bundeena hike

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 3:02 pm

The signs are generally quite good. According to Google maps I missed the track a few times, but as someone advised above, the track has been moved in a few places. Knowing that the track has been moved in a few places is useful knowledge. The only time I was a bit uncertain was at North Era, where I could not see an obvious track to the campsite or where to continue southbound. Mostly I did not use a map or compass, and it was mainly on the beaches where I needed to look for which way to get out. There was also a car park near a kiosk, and it took a few minutes to find the exit, all okay, signposted. There are also some steep climbs with horrible steps - too high! - so being mentally ready for them is also useful. Note that PWS require visitors to bury their own dead.

Including rests but not camp the walk took me 10 hours 20 minutes, Bundeena track head to Otford RS. Northbound the hard part will be Otford RS much steep upness to where the track levels out, a short way south of the signpost picture. Apart from that it's flat with a series of short, steep climbs. There's a tap at the Bundeena track head, and a toilet block. Many tourists!
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- Bundeena hike

Postby johnw » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 7:40 pm

Lophophaps wrote:Note that PWS require visitors to bury their own dead.

Please keep them out of sight though.

Lophophaps wrote:There's a tap at the Bundeena track head, and a toilet block. Many tourists!

And a shop with ice creams and drinks, and an RSL club with even nicer treats.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 5:22 am

The PWS policy about burying dead is working. Not once did I see a dead person.

The tap to which I was referring is at the end of walking track. This is a picture of the tap, with the toilet in the middle distance. I've written to PWS suggesting that there be another toilet in the vicinity of the Wedding Cake. The track is littered with toilet paper, quite disgusting.

Water at start walk.jpg
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- Bundeena hike

Postby cajun » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 7:23 am

Lophophaps wrote: There are also some steep climbs with horrible steps - too high! - so being mentally ready for them is also useful.


North of Garie. Only ever done them walking south, so down, but walking up them would be challenge for short legs!
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- Bundeena hike

Postby DaveNoble » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 9:30 pm

cajun wrote:
Lophophaps wrote: There are also some steep climbs with horrible steps - too high! - so being mentally ready for them is also useful.


North of Garie. Only ever done them walking south, so down, but walking up them would be challenge for short legs!


Not any more..... trackwork
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby johnw » Tue 28 Nov, 2017 11:01 pm

So, all this discussion piqued my interest to revisit the south end of the coast track. Overdue for a walk so I took off to Otford on Sunday and went via Garrawarra Ridge Trail to Garrawarra Farm, along the road to Governor Game lookout off the Garie Rd, then an old favourite route down Thelma Ridge to Thelma Head (only a route - not recommended unless you know the area), down to North Era and around the rocks at Mid Era Point, then long the coast track through Burning Palms, Palm Jungle and back up to Otford.

My observations - the signage is much better than it used to be; the raised walkway south of Burning Palms is much shorter than I had envisaged; the Burgh Ridge turnoff now starts as raised walkway; some improvements to steps here and there; otherwise that section of the coast track is as I remembered it. For a first time visit in daylight I would not think there are any significant navigation issues, particularly if consulting the topo map as you go. One notable (and disturbing) thing that I encountered were hoards of non-bushwalking types on the track, some playing ghetto blasters at full volume (for want of a better description) who seemed to be all converging at the figure of eight pools. There is now a warning sign at Garrawarra Farm of the risks of being swamped by freak waves at the pools (with photos to illustrate). But this looks like it's having the opposite effect to what was likely intended.

Oh, and somehow I managed to lose the silver plastic lens locking ring off my Olympus m4/3 camera at one of the turns on the BP raised walkway (I think). I discovered it missing about 10-15 minutes walk later but wasn't going back at that late stage to look for it.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby cajun » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 8:23 am

John,

The signs on the hway on Sunday were saying that the carparks Wattamolla and Garie were all full. This often happens when "picnic" days are being held. Some communities turn up in droves! May explain the prevalance of non-bushwalkers.
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby johnw » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 9:22 am

cajun wrote:John,

The signs on the hway on Sunday were saying that the carparks Wattamolla and Garie were all full. This often happens when "picnic" days are being held. Some communities turn up in droves! May explain the prevalance of non-bushwalkers.

Yes that often happens in the warmer weather but those people generally don't walk, or if they do, not very far. These were mainly coming in from both Otford and Garrawarra, and heading for Figure 8 for some reason.
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Region: New South Wales
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Re: Royal N.P Otford- bundeena hike

Postby michael_p » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 9:26 am

johnw wrote:then an old favourite route down Thelma Ridge to Thelma Head (only a route - not recommended unless you know the area)

Interesting route. I must look into this.
johnw wrote:One notable (and disturbing) thing that I encountered were hoards of non-bushwalking types on the track, some playing ghetto blasters at full volume (for want of a better description) who seemed to be all converging at the figure of eight pools. There is now a warning sign at Garrawarra Farm of the risks of being swamped by freak waves at the pools (with photos to illustrate). But this looks like it's having the opposite effect to what was likely intended.

The amount of "tourist" walkers on the Coastal Track beggars belief. Last time I was at Garrawarra Farm a young man came up to me and wanted me to show him ,on his phone, how to get to Helensburgh train station. They didn't look like bushwalking types so I decided that giving directions on how to get to Helensburgh was not a good idea and advised that they return to Otford instead.

Not unusual for the car parks to fill up quick. That's why I always get out there as early as possible.

Michael.
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