South Beach sweeps in a long 11km arc from the Nambucca river mouth to Scotts Head. We set off at low tide early one holiday morning, joining many locals out exercising their dogs. The day was cool after a night of rain, the sun shining brightly on a lumpy grey-green sea, ospreys and sea eagles circling overhead.
We walked about half way up the beach before taking a path across the dunes to the estuarine Warrell Creek, with a view to Gumma campsite on the other side. Warrell Creek is formed by the confluence of Eungai and Allgomera Creeks, and joins the Nambucca river at the coast. We crossed Eungai and followed Allgomera as part of the “Clement Hodgkinson” series of walks from the Macleay to the Bellinger.
After viewing Warrell Creek, we walked through the forested dunes listening to the abundant bird life, back towards Scotts Head. The trail exited the Gaagal Wanggaan National Park at the wastewater treatment plant where the fence was covered in a mass of bright orange trumpet vine flowers.
Not wanting to walk on the road, we ducked down the 4WD access track. A beautiful tuckeroo tree in the car park here was completely covered in flowers. Back onto the beach, we continued toward Scotts Head, then climbed the headland to the lookout.
Gaagal Wanggaan is Gumbaynggirr country. The local aboriginal councils manage the park together with NPWS.
Near the path to the headland is a gorgeous Whale Table. The tail and fins hold up table top, which is covered with a tessellated design reminiscent of the artworks of MC Escher. On the amenities block are some lovely mosaic panels created by Guy Crosley and the good people of Scotts Head in 2001. The design shows the curve of South Beach as a Goanna, referencing the lovely Gumbaynggirr Goanna head land story (see the Scotts Head Goanna trail for more). Birds and surfers fly in the sky, fish play in the sea in this lovely piece.
We finished our walk with a welcome espresso from Oska and Co, sitting outside enjoying the rest and the view.
Dogs are allowed on South Beach, north of West Street but are not allowed in the National Park.