Yarriabini National Park is special country, of shared significance to the Dunghutti, Ngambaa and Gumbaynggirr peoples. The name means “koala rolling down the mountain”, the dreamtime story is represented in the mosaic artwork at the Pines Picnic Area.
Clement Hodgkinson was an early European explorer to the area in the 1840s, and paints a vivid picture of the lives of the people in his 1845 book Australia, from Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay. Mt Yarrahapinni at 498m with its communication towers is a local landmark that dominates the surrounding area.
National Parks of NSW are building a “Summit to Sea Walking Track” . We set out to explore this route, but decided climbing Sea to Summit was a nicer challenge than a downhill run.
We parked at the beach carpark near Middle Head, and set off uphill on the grassy Middle Head trail (the proposed new Parks route not yet built when we visited).
We stopped first on Cooks Knob for morning tea, there is no view to be had here. Despite a history of logging, there are beautiful forests of flooded gum (Eucalyptus grandis), bangalow palm and remnants of old growth forest on this shady walk. We saw the largest earthworm we’ve ever seen high on Ridge Trail.
We enjoyed our packed lunch at the picnic tables at Yarriabini Lookout just below Mt Yarrahapinni itself, with the resident lyrebird providing a glorious and loud soundscape to complement the wide view of the Macleay River valley towards Smoky Cape.
Update 2022: Most of the new track is marked now, and we show the new sections on the GPX and map below. We will add the remaining sections once they are complete and we’ve had a chance to walk them. The trail is marked with a meditating koala symbol.
This trail is also suitable for trail-runners and sections are popular with mountain bikers. Allow about 40 minutes for a car shuffle, leaving a vehicle at the top, unless you are keen to walk twice the distance! A shorter alternative, with a simpler car shuffle, is to start at Pines Picnic Area and head up on Allis Road to join the new track.