Trio tackle Great South Coast Walk

Kent Holman, Daniel Loader and Paul McKee at the end of their 580km walk, taken at the Nadgee end of Disaster Bay after walking the Light to Light track. Photo: supplied
Kent Holman, Daniel Loader and Paul McKee at the end of their 580km walk, taken at the Nadgee end of Disaster Bay after walking the Light to Light track. Photo: supplied

Last week, three men from Toowoomba in Queensland completed a 27-day, 580 kilometre walk from Cronulla to Wonboyn.

The trio of friends had originally planned to walk the Australian Alpine Walking Track from Sale to Canberra, which is a 40-day walk, but logistically couldn't make it happen and opted to tackle the Great South Coast Walk instead.

Daniel Loader was one of the walkers and said he, Kent Holman and Paul McKee had just three rest days while on their journey by foot.

"Myself and my friends wanted an adventure. For people who are into walking and love their beaches I highly recommend it," he said.

Many people along the way asked if the walkers were raising money for a cause, but the three friends were walking together purely for pleasure.

The three walkers from Queensland had particular appreciation for the rocky headlands along the Far South Coast. Photo: Supplied

The three walkers from Queensland had particular appreciation for the rocky headlands along the Far South Coast. Photo: Supplied

"Each stretch of the walk took 3-4 days, we could keep stocking up on the way, we took our own tents and camped, but you can just about stay at B&B's or caravan parks too, there's the option to do it in more luxury," Mr Loader said.

The Garden of Eden Caravan Park was a scheduled rest stop for the men, giving them an opportunity to wash clothes and restock again for the last leg of their adventure.

Mr Loader had never been anywhere between Sydney and Melbourne and told ACM about the highlights of the long stretch of coast he explored with his friends.

"We had rough weather and heavy rains for the first couple of days, the Royal National Park was amazing, the waterfalls and amazing sandstone were very special," he said.

"There were hundreds of really nice beaches and little coves along the way, different to Queensland beaches, you have rocky headlands we don't have up here.

"The best small beach we found on that stretch of coast was Pinnacles, just north of Eden," Mr Loader said.

He said the generosity of people along the way was a definite highlight too.

"One of the biggest challenges was crossing the rivers, when we hit the mouth of Towamba River at high tide, we were lucky to be run across in a tinny, so we didn't have to bag up our backpacks."

Exploring the region almost 12 months after the catastrophic bushfire season of last summer, Mr Loader said north of Bega he and his friends observed "fingers of fire to the coast".

"In that area things are recovering nicely, most of the growth was shoulder height already and a lot of the big trees were recovering well," he said.

"The worst area we saw was around Boyd Tower, there were signs of regrowth but much of it only at ankle height, even one kilometre away from the tower things were coming back better.

"It didn't detract from the walking experience though, the contrast of black-barked trees made for some special photos," Mr Loader said.

The trio didn't sight a single snake on their 27-day walk, but saw lots of goannas, wallabies, echidnas and some very active birdlife.

Some locals described to the walkers how alone they had felt when the bushfire disaster was hitting the region.

"We were well aware of the disaster you were living through at the time and were thinking of you all - to get there and see it we were really encouraged, seeing it coming back. Maybe in a few years it will be back to its former glory," he said.

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