From the carpark on Bergalia Crescent, the walk leads out to Perpendicular Point, through small areas of rainforest, casuarinas and coastal heath. Two side tracks lead off to Fishermans Bluff and Pebbly Beach lookout. On the way back, turn onto the Flower Bowl circuit.
There are two more side tracks, first to the Camden Head trig beacon and Charles Hamey lookout, then on to the Dunbogan lookout. Each lookout offers different views of the Camden Haven river entrance, cliffs, beaches, and back across Gogleys lagoon with its oyster farms to North Brother Mountain. Far to the south is Diamond Head.
We walked in early summer, too late for the wildflowers that Kattang Nature Reserve are famous for, but the casuarinas were flowering.
Casuarinas are interesting plants that survive in all sorts of places. Their segmented green “needles” are photosynthesising branchlets, with tiny leaves at the nodes. The female flowers are red tufts that produce “cones” with winged seeds, while pollen from the male flowers turns the end of the “needles” an orange colour. Casuarinas prevent soil erosion, support insects and birds, and bee keepers use the fallen needles in their smokers.
Commonly called a she-oak, because to the European settlers the wood was not as good as a real oak, they are unrelated to pines despite the fruits resembling cones. To the local aborigines, the sound of the wind in the tree is the sound of women chattering, and you can safely lay your baby beneath the tree as snakes don’t like the leaf litter. The name casuarina is a reference to the cassowary, as the foliage resembles a feather.
Back at the carpark, follow the grassy track down, past the old Pilot House, and across a swamp on the boardwalk to Pilot Beach. We were lucky to see dolphins in the entrance to Camden Haven River, but as it was high tide we were unable to visit the Wash House beach rock platforms.