Day 12: Ourimbah Valley to Kulnura

After a spate of hot weather over the Christmas – New Year period, today was forecast to be cloudy and much milder so I arranged transport with Allan Savins from the finishing point back to where I ended last time at Palm Grove in Ourimbah Valley.

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From there, the walk headed west along Ourimbah Creek Road, now a broad tree-lined dirt road through rural properties.

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Just ahead of me were a couple of people using a mode of transport more in tune with this part of the countryside.

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After a couple of kilometres, I came to the end of the trafficable part of Ourimbah Creek Road.

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From here, it becomes a service trail into the Jilliby State Conservation Area.

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Soon, the GNW diverged onto a narrower side trail…

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…which led me to the Stringybark Point Rest Area where it was time to put my feet up for a snack.

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The track then crossed a substantial bridge over a side stream before continuing along Ourimbah Creek.

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Eventually it was time to leave Ourimbah Creek behind, with the crossing being a series of mossy stepping stones.

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Once on the other side, it was a long steep climb to the top of the ridge. Although the temperature was still mild, the humidity was high and with little wind, it was a very sweaty ascent with plenty of drink breaks.

At the top, the track passed below a ferny slope leading up to a rocky outcrop at the summit. I was half expecting it to loop back and onto the top, but it didn’t.

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The track then joined Tooheys Road, itself little wider than a walking track although there were fresh horse prints in the sandy parts. About a kilometre along the GNW again turned off onto a track of its own.

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Descending now towards Dead Horse Creek (I kid you not, that’s its official name), the track passed a substantial termite mound.

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Going down a series of steep switchbacks and losing all that hard-won altitude, I reached the creek crossing at the bottom. There were no dead horses, but someone had left his trousers behind.

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On the other side, the track climbed a bit before meandering above the creek to a crossing over a side stream. Here a large tree had fallen, making the track hard to discern, with more fallen vegetation further along causing a few head-scratching moments as I tried to figure out which way it went.

Once unlost, more stone steps and switchbacks led me out of the valley to a wide cleared area where high tension powerlines crossed on their journey south.

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Soon I emerged on the edge of farmland where a geocache lay waiting for me to find.

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The cache found and another snack eaten, I resumed following the track along the southern fenceline of the farm, surprised to realise I’d almost reached Cherry Lane. A few hundred metres on I found my car waiting where I’d left it a bit over four hours earlier.

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Having finished this leg in quicker time than the guidebook suggested, with hindsight I could’ve continued on down to Yarramalong, but that relatively short leg can wait for another day. I did however pass the half way mark of the GNW (sadly there wasn’t a sign depicting that point), with about 122km now remaining in my barefoot journey to Newcastle.

My thanks to Allan for again being the roadie.

Coming up next: Kulnura to Yarramalong.

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