We redistributed ourselves into three cars for the drive to the start of the Bangor walk. Kat had done the walk a couple of times before and knew that the dirt road is a little pot-holey, so we decided to leave our low wheel base town cars in the carpark. It takes about 45 minutes to drive through the farm and various gates to the start point of our walk (the first gate is locked and at last three others need to be opened and closed behind us).
The slow drive along Blackman Bay Road, through the lazy sheep paddocks and dry coastal bushland was a perfect way to slow down in preparation for this coastal walk. The road skirts the Blackman Rivulet Marine Conservation Area, and it is plain to see that the owners, the Dunbabin family, have taken some care to protect the natural values of the area.
|Taking it easy on a country road|
|The blue dot shows where we actually started our walk.|
We were lucky that Kat could be our guide, as there was no signage or clear direction marking anywhere. Of course the owners know this place inside out and don't need signs! First we drove to Lagoon Bay (just to the right of the blue dot on the map), just to take a look. There's an idyllic little camping spot there, with toilet and firewood supply, and a beautiful safe beach. We were blown away by the clear air and unspoiled beauty.
|Bull kelp at Lagoon Bay - Robert|
Then we drove back to find the tiny spot where the cars could pull off the road, and we commenced our walk to the Monument at 11.40am. The trail is very easygoing, mostly well cleared and with very little in the way of hills.
|All smiles at the beginning.|
There is a turn off the cleared path to the left, not well marked, with a fence to hop over, to get to North Bay.
|What's the best method?|
North Bay was pristine and serene, with a soaring sky.
We saw some plovers nesting, a couple of Sea Eagles enjoying the thermals, tiny Visscher Island (a bird and seal colony) at the edge of the bay, and Maria Island off in the distance to the north. A couple of little boats were out fishing, and we were spotted by a couple of sightseeing small planes (and later on a Hercules making circles for unexplained reasons).
|Who'd want to be anywhere else?|
|A scallop was here, by Kat|
|A pair of Sea Eagles were enjoying the day too|
|Shells, by Robert|
At the far end of the beach we sat down for a snack before climbing a small headland to meander around to the next little bay, called Tasman Bay.
|Looking north, Maria Island|
Of course it is called Tasman Bay because Abel Janz Tasman stopped here with his ship and landed, in 1642. There is a monument to prove it.
|Modern adventurers considering old exploits|
1.20pm seemed like a good time for lunch, on the rocky beach of Tasman Bay, which is a private looking little semi-lagoon with a half submerged rock reef across its mouth.
It was a bit of a challenge finding a spot to perch on the round rocks, but at least they were smooth!
|Has anyone brought a cushion?|
The weather remained kind to us as we backtracked along the route, poured ourselves into the cars and returned to Bangor winery at about 3.45pm for refreshments.
So this walk is approximately 3 hrs return, plus 30 minutes for lunch, and a 45 minute drive each way.
It was a fabulous day out with good friends. We were all exultant at being so easily able to experience these stunning and isolated natural areas. Private ownership in this case is ensuring protection and solitude.
Planning for walks in 2020 is well underway!