Make a day out of this coastal walk from Grassy Head to Stuarts Point – pack some lunch, bring your swimmers and a towel, and take your time to explore the culture and heritage in the area.
We parked near the Grassy Head Holiday Park, then set off to follow the waters edge of the Macleay Arm to Stuarts Point. A short distance after the track leaves the end of Millington Road, look for the rough hewn stone stairs that lead up a small hill to the location of the old pilot station.
A mast was mounted on top of this hill to guide ships through the entrance to the Macleay River. Until the great flood of 1893, when the Macleay river broke through the sand further south and created a new entrance at South West Rocks. The old entrance silted up, vegetation established on the dunes and a new pilot station was built.
The track continues at the edge of the Macleay Arm, past mangroves and through sedge, casuarina and banksia. We spotted a land mullet and lots of birds.
Stuarts Point village is a good spot for a swim and a snack at the lovely picnic area at the footbridge. There are toilets, a takeaway and a small supermarket.
Over the footbridge, a short track leads to the beach and seaside stroll back to Grassy Head. Follow the 4WD tracks that lead through the bush back to the Holiday Park. A track also leads from the beach up the gorge and onto the headland, but it is very steep and eroded, and not recommended. The headland can instead be accessed by following a track from the holiday park for some lovely views north and south.
While we were in the area, we continued on by car to Fishermans Reach with green avocado plantations on one side of the road and oyster farms in the blue water on the other side. Beyond the settlement, the road becomes gravel and winds between lovely old trees alongside the Macleay Arm. A sign indicates this is Clybucca Aboriginal Site and 4WD is required to continue on the sandy track.
Golden Hole is our destination – a significant sharing place for Ngambaa people, and the site of a 4,000 year old 14km long midden. The midden contains a diversity of shell, fish and mammal bones and is a valuable archaeological site. This peaceful place continues to have high cultural significance to present day Aboriginal peoples.