Tomaree Head Walk (i.e. not a cycle!)
Today the 22nd July is our last day in Port Stephens. We decided to walk the trails on Tomaree Head. A lower level path takes walkers to the WWII gun emplacements while the upper track takes leads to the top at 161 meters where there was a radar installation – the earliest in use and longest in use in WWII in Australia. It was manned by soldiers who were all WWI veterans – and so were some of the guns in use there. All a bit worn out but allowing the younger versions to be up in Darwin or in PNG repelling the Japanese.
Sue and I had walked the walks to both sites 35 years ago on dirt tracks and met nobody else. Today the walks are paved at the lower levels and then the steep bits are gained via steel ladders and stepping stones and small bits of level, concreted or paved track. There were also heaps of people out walking. This included many young children whom I was pleased to see – it knocks on the head all that cobblers about our young all being unfit and obese. I have noticed this before when staying in caravan parks. The kids get out and about, don’t use screens, aren’t chubby and organise themselves without any adult intervention. It’s all good.
Anyway, we set off and walked the lower level to the gun emplacements. It was a great morning, sunny, no wind and the views through the trees were spectacular. Other walkers were enjoying the day too and we all passed each other with care and polite comments. Sue was feeling a little giddy on reaching the gun sites and so she decided not to go for the top. We chose our appropriate tracks and walked off. I found I had chosen the wrong path and ended up back at sea level before retracing my steps to find the correct path. On the way back up I met Sue who had also gone wrong! We passed each other and had a little chat and giggle about wrong choices.
Time for a rest on the way up
Old gun emplacement gone bush
This time I took the track that got me to the ladders that were the start of the climb to the top. Soon it was obvious that lots of people were taking the same path. I was able to slow down and tag along with a family. The small son was hanging onto Dad and every time son slipped Dad held him safe. And son battled onwards and upwards up ladders, stone steps of an uneven nature and along steel walkways. Every now and again we waited for people coming down, which was good for respiration and heart rate.
The start of the ladders
On the way up
The views from the top were as good as I remembered them, once I had pushed in and got a front row standing spot on the railings. Railings? They weren’t there 35 years ago. There was a lot of camera work happening – I wonder now how many people’s selfies I am in as an uninvited guest ?
Still going up
At the top
Going down was OK. Not staring at the next step quite so much I was interested to see the number of people involved with their phones during the climb. Fascinating. Why?? They were not using the camera – they were talking and even texting !!! “Switch the thing off and look at where you are” I thought and may even have muttered a couple of times.
On the lower paved walkway it was now getting really busy. Apparently certain people these days don’t need to walk single file on a narrow track and so you, coming against their progress, are supposed to walk off the path. I didn’t and several times came to a halt while the person in my way reluctantly sorted themselves out. I am quite used to this as it seems to happen in Hobart and Launceston and any other large town. Oncoming 2 or 3 abreast footpath walkers are always surprised when the old fart won’t move to the wall/gutter or other unpleasant place so as not to impede their “royal” progress. So I had fun on the descent but probably didn’t make anyone rethink their involvement in society!!
I ended up on the beachfront walk and met up with Sue sitting on a bench awaiting my arrival and passing me half a cup of coffee.
All up an enjoyable walk for me and Sue was safely down without a fall. I hope our “Giddy Aunt” ceases to be one shortly.
Starting tomorrow we move up the east coast some more and I look forward to finding some more coastal cycle trails.
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