Hiking the Coast Track - Day 1

Bundeena Travel Blog

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Starting off on the Coast Track
Seeing that my flat looked like it had barely survived WWIII, we decided to bust out of town with some friends for a camping weekend o' fun!  Lise had been eying the Coast Track in the Royal National Park for some time now and with the weather being perfect for hiking (clear skies, not too hot or too cold at night) we made plans to walk the 27km trail.

Saturday morning proved to be a slow start for us.  When we got to the bus stop we realized that we were going to get to the train station just in time to miss the train.  Mel and Lise were already at the station waiting for us.  Unfortunately, if we missed that train, we'd have to wait an entire hour for the next one slating us for a mid day start on the trail - not so good.
The beginning of the Coast Track
  As soon as our bus dropped us off on the north side of the QVB, we raced across the street, through the QVB underground and clammered through Town Hall station.  And just to make it more fun, we had camping gear, food and water strapped to our backs!  Rod shot off ahead of me and by the time I made it to the station, he had just managed to purchase our tickets.  We raced 2 floors down via the escalator only to jump into the train about ten seconds before it pulled away.  Whew!  The timing couldn't have been more tight!

We managed to find our friends on the train and we kicked back until we got to the end of the line, Cronulla.  From there we caught a ferry to Bundeena where the track began.  It didn't take long before the trail brought us right to the coast of Royal National Park.
  Perched on the top of a cliff, the trail wound its way south following the coast line.  The views were positively stunning.  The walk was more relaxing than I would have hoped for.  The trail's surface was even and easy to follow.   The sun was bright coupled with a perfect coastal breeze keeping us from getting too hot.  It looked like we had an awesome weekend in store for us.

By lunch we managed to make it to Marley Beach where we found some shelter from the wind to snack on some sandwiches.  Happily fed, we crossed the beach and continued south past Little Marley Beach and up along the cliffs again.  We passed some pretty interesting sandstone formations along the trail.  Nothing majestic or anything, just some interesting shapes in yellows, oranges, and reds.
Crossing Marley Beach on the Coast Track
  By late afternoon we made it to a creek where we contemplated setting up camp for the night.  There was a nice looking patch of grass right by the water.

Then we thought, well, we've come this far, why not go another kilometer and camp at the next creek?  We knew the second day was supposed to be harder with more uphill hiking so we thought tackling just one more kilometer on Saturday would help.  Oh boy, what a kilometer it was!  Soon after we set off from the creek, we realized that maybe we were more tired than we thought.  We didn't know the entire 1.5 kilometers (it turned out) was uphill over the headland.  The trail took us inland and we lost the soothing coastal breeze.  We were really breaking a sweat and the sun was steadily sinking.
  By the time we finally made it to Curracurrong creek, we were in dire need of rest. 

That extra push was totally worth it though.  We found a camping spot far superior to the one at the first creek.  We climbed down to the ledge just below the official trail and found the perfect nook for two tents with amazing views of the water.  There was plenty of room for us not to worry about getting too close to the edge and there were bushes to keep us from accidentally tripping over.  We still had access to the creek and upon further inspection, we discovered that it was actually a waterfall that plunged right into the Tasman Sea. 

That night, after dinner, we lit a camp fire strategically placed against the cliff wall to protect the vegetation from flying sparks.
  We thought life was fantastic but we were in for an even better surprise.  At first we didn't know what we were seeing.  It was something bright and orange floating on the water, and it was getting bigger.  Pretty soon we realized that we were watching the full moon rise.   Only once before have I seen a full moon rise over water and both events have been spectacular.  The moon was unbelievably large, much larger than the setting sun.  And it was orange.  It was like watching the sun rise over water but at night, only it didn't glow as vibrantly, naturally.  As the night crept on, so did the moon and as it ascended into the sky, it got smaller and whiter, just as we'd normally see it on any other night.   
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Starting off on the Coast Track
Starting off on the Coast Track
The beginning of the Coast Track
The beginning of the Coast Track
Crossing Marley Beach on the Coast…
Crossing Marley Beach on the Coas…
Sandstone shapes along the track
Sandstone shapes along the track
Sandstone shapes along the track
Sandstone shapes along the track
The trail heading inland
The trail heading inland
Bundeena
photo by: Connie