Over the last day and a half, two mates and I hiked the 26km+ Coast Walk from Bundeena to Otford in the Royal National Park. It is the first overnight hike I have completed in three years (last time involved a helicopter rescue). After calling off the walk a few weeks ago due to forecast heavy rain we walked in absolutely perfect conditions, with little wind, sunshine, and the temperature was neither too hot or cold.
The first day involved hiking from Bundeena to Burning Palms, where we stayed the night in a hut, before completing the track through to Otford this morning. Along the way we saw whales, a dolphin, a wallaby, a large skink, herds of wild deer, and a very large red belly black snake. Additionally, we managed to lose the track a number of times and walked for almost two hours in the dark to make it to the hut.
For the first part of the track we walked the 8k from Bundeena to Watamolla this took just under four hours. During the walk along the coast we lost the track a few times but never by more than a few meters. Crossing the stream at Marley beach one of my mates decided to try and throw their pack across the stream, unfortunately they threw it straight into the stream. Luckily, nothing inside the pack got wet. The remainder of the walk from Marley to Wattamolla was spent spotting whales along the coast.
After lunch at Wattamolla we continued onwards towards Garie Beach. We lost the track again heading down the hill into Curracurrang, but eventually saw a route marker in the distance. From Curracurrang to Garie Beach the track became very muddy and this slowed us down in numerous places as we looked for ways around areas of the track that had turned into mini lakes. Just before we got to Garie Beach a large wallaby decided to bounce along the track in front of us. We made it to Garie Beach in two and a half hours, just as the sun was setting.
At Garie Beach we made the decision to push on, despite the increasing darkness to Burning Palms where our hut was. We made it over the hill into North Era just as we lost the last of the light in the sky, giving way to a near moonless and very dark night. It then took us over an hour in the darkness to get to Burning Palms. We lost the track a number of times making our way between the huts scattered throughout the Era beach area. During this period it was rather fun to see herds of wild deer running along the ridges separating the beaches. Less fun was the amount of mud we continued to have to work our way through and around.
We finally made it to our hut at Burning Palms where we had dinner, roasted marshmallows, and tried to sleep the night. The python that is rumoured to live in the rafters of the hut was not at home, however, at midnight, and again at 2am a possum, or something similar decided to try and come down the chimney.
Day two began with porridge and before we headed through more mud and did a little bit of dolphin spotting as we continued along the coast. After walking through parts of the track that were so worn down they were over a meter deep we went into the Palm Jungle and yet more mud. We then climbed through to Werrong Point, before making it to Otford in around three hours. As a final piece of excitement as we walked through to Otford Train Station, we startled a rather big red belly black snake who raced across the track next to us.
Overall, the trip is one of the best hikes I have done. I am very sore and exhausted now, but doing the trip with the right people and perfect weather made it an awesome adventure.