Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Diamond Head, NSW, Australia


2015 November: Diamond Head, Crowdy Bay National Park, NSW northern coast, Australia

Prolog

I was here at Diamond Head three months ago. At the time I was impressed by the beautiful rugged coastline, and so, here I am again. This time, go into some of the nooks and crannies of the headland; and to experience ...

"the ridge-top where the spray gives way to flannel flowers and golden everlastings, pale violets, thick wrinkled Banksias holding out honeycombs for the gillbirds. All the froth of flowers splashes over the great dragon-spine slanting inland, rearing up above the sea its crown glittering quartz."

The above descriptive passage is from "The Man on the Headland", a novel by Kylie Tennant, inspired by and written about Diamond Head.

Diamond Head

Diamond Head draws its name from the quartz crystals in the cliffs around it ... and you may see them sparkling in the sunlight.

It is a wonderland well worth exploring around. There are:
- The rugged coastline
- Golden beaches
- A natural rock arch
- A blowhole area (I think there is a blowhole.)
- Historic Kylies Hut
- Well maintained walking tracks
- Tidy and well-kept camping grounds

And for peak baggers, there is a 114-meter high hill at the headland. In the 1:25,000 Laurieton map, it is labelled simply as "Diamond". I'll dub it as Diamond Hill.

A concrete cairn marks the summit of the hill, otherwise nothing much there, and no view due to the trees. However, 40 meters to the west of the summit, there is a dramatic panoramic view of:
- Dunbogan Beach with its golden sands to the north ... see photo #3.
- Kylies Beach to the south
- In between is the coastal area to the west - a lush forested hinterland with the majestic Three Brothers mountains ... see photo #49.

Map

9434-1S  Laurieton  1:25,000

Below is the 1:25,000 scale map of the Diamond Head headland.
- Diamond Head camping ground is at the top of the pic.
- Indian Head camping ground is at the junction of Indian Head Road and Forest Walk.
- Kylie's Hut is the small turquoise dot about 400 meters south-west of Indian Head camping ground.


Also useful is this map on an information board at the start of the Headland Walk from Diamond Head camping ground.
The red arrows point to, from top to bottom:
- Diamond Head camping ground, where I start the walk
- Possibly a blowhole
- Natural rock arch


GPS tracklog file & route

To reach Diamond Head by car, best is get to the town of Laurieton, then drive south.

For the walk, my GPX tracklog file can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSeW92VzFrZmVzTVk/view?usp=sharing

Here is the tracklog (brown colour) superimposed on the 1:25,000 map. I did the circuit walk in an anti-clockwise direction.
- Diamond Head camping ground is at the top of the pic.
- Indian Head camping ground is at the junction of Indian Head Road and Forest Walk.
- Kylie's Hut is the small turquoise dot about 400 meters south-west of Indian Head camping ground.

In summary, my walk is:
- Start at Diamond Head camping ground
- To Indian Head camping ground (Walk in anti-clockwise direction via Forest Walk.)
- To Kylie's Hut.
- To Kylies Beach via Metcalfe's Walk (aka Kylie's Bush Walk)
- To arch
- To blowhole area (I think there is a blowhole)
- To a 114-meter high hill which I dub as Diamond Hill
- Back to Diamond Head camping ground

Timeline & Distance

10:50  0.0 km  Start at Diamond Head Camping ground
11:00  0.5 km  At junction of Headland Walk & Forest Walk
11:19  1.6 km  At Indian Head Camping Ground

Explore around

11:23  1.7 km  Leave Indian Head Camping Ground
11:27  2.0 km  At Kylie's Hut

Lunch

11:52  2.1 km  Leave Kylie's Hut
12:05  2.6 km  At Kylie's Beach where Metcalfe's Walk (aka Kylie's Bush Walk) ends

Explore around Kylie's beach

12:16  2.9 km  Cross Mineral Creek
12:25  3.4 km  At bottom of Gliders Track where it meets Kylie's Beach
12:28  3.5 km  At top of Gliders Track
12:40  3.6 km  Start descending to the arch from Headland Walk
13:11  4.3 km  Back at Headland Walk after exploring around the arch area
13:32  4.6 km  Start descending to possibly a blowhole area by the sea
14:11  5.7 km  Back at Headland Walk after exploring around the blowhole area
14:33  6.4 km  At top of 114-meter high Diamond hill marked by a concrete cairn

14:34  6.4 km  Leave hill
14:34  6.5 km  At lookout with view to Kylies Beach, North Brother Mountain and Dunbogan Beach

14:35  6.5 km  Leave lookout
14:48  7.2 km  At junction of Headland Walk & Forest Walk
14:57  7.7 km  Back at Diamond Head Camping Ground

==============================================

Total:  4 hrs 7 mins
           7.7 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           8.8 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS

Pictures - Diamond Head camping ground

1)  Diamond Head camping ground - This is where I start the walk.
As at 2015 November, day parking is $8, payable at the reception at the entrance to the camping ground.


To Indian Head camping ground  &  Kylie's Hut  &  Kylies Beach

2)  From the camping ground, first walk on the Headland Walk. Soon after, you'll gain enough height to look back towards the north at Dunbogan Beach and North Brother Mountain. I was at the top of that mountain earlier this morning.  Photos and an account of the trip are in my blog:
    http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/north-brother-mountain-nsw-australia.html
The low hill on the right of North Brother Mountain is Jolly Nose Hill.


3)  At the junction of Headland Walk and Forest Walk, and looking along Headland Walk towards a 114-meter high hill which I call Diamond Hill.
I'll walk up to the hill later in the afternoon ... see photos #46 to #48.
For now, I take the Forest Walk to Indian Head camping ground first.


4)  On the Forest Walk now and crossing Todes Creek.


5)  Typical pleasant scenery along Forest Walk


6)  The Forest Walk leads to here, Indian Head camping ground.


7)  Now at Kylie's Hut, about 400 meters south-west of Indian Head camping ground
Kylie Tennant, author, spent 11 years in Laurieton as a school master's wife. Diamond Head inspired her to write the book "The Man and the Headland". The book tells her love for Diamond Head and of its wild and natural beauty.

She bought the land and built this hut.

In 1976, she donated the land to Crowdy Bay National Park.


8)  I have lunch at Kylie's Hut, then head towards the south-east on the short Metcalfe's Walk, also known as Kylies Bush Walk. The track leads to Kylies Beach.


Kylies Beach

9)  At Kylies beach, looking back at where I came from ... from the yellow arrows ~~~
- The creek in the pic is called Mineral Creek.


10)  Need to cross Mineral Creek ... I hate getting my feet wet !
As it turns out, my boots are quite good. They keep the water out and keep my feet dry  :-)


11)  Ok, just crossed Mineral Creek, heading to where the yellow circle is.


12)  Rocks on the beach ... interesting patterns


13)  Green vegetation along the beach


14)  (Now at the yellow circle of photo #11) ~~~
In this pic, the yellow arrows mark the position of Gliders Track. I'm going to climb up the track to the top of the ridge. The rock in the red circle is the rock in photo #15.


15)  This is the rock in the red circle of the above pics.


Gliders Track

16)  Climbing up Gliders Track - mentioned in photo #14


17)  At the top of Gliders Track, where it joins up with the main walking track ~~~
This view is towards south-south-west:
- The beach is Kylies Beach.
- The red arrow points to Crowdy Head.
- The creek in red oval is Mineral Creek.  I came from there not long ago ... see photos #9 to #11.


Natural rock arch

18)  From the main track, the Headland Walk, there is a detour to a natural arch formation.


19)  On the way to the arch is a slope full of small ferns.


20)  Closer look at the ferns ... many of them are dead ... why?


21)  The arch and the interesting yellow coloured patterns on rocks on the slope


22)  Intriguing patterns on the rocks of the previous pic


23)  Closer to the arch.


24)  Now down at the edge of the sea.  This area is just to the left of the arch.


25)  The arch as seen close to the edge of the sea.
(This photo is to the right of the previous one.)


26)  Another angle of the arch area - The arch is under the highest point of the big rock.


27)  Still at the arch area ~~~
Sea birds


28)  Can't stay at this wonderful place forever ... time to leave.
The yellow arrows mark the foot-track back to the Headland Walk on top of the ridge.


29)  Back on the Headland Walk and looking down at the arch area.


A fascinating weevil

30)  Found this Chrysolopus spectabilis, a small weevil with a long snout.  It has two antennae that arise from halfway along the snout, and end in a small club ... how fascinating !
It is distributed mostly along the eastern coastal region of NSW and only feeds on selected species of Acacia (Wattle).


Blowhole area ???

31)  An interesting rock formation jutting out into the sea.  I'm going down there to explore.


32)  I read that there is a blowhole somewhere around here. Can this be the blowhole? High tide is at 12:38pm. Right now it is around 1:40pm. If it is a blowhole, there should still be some sprouts of water ... but no, there is none.


33)  A closer look at the hole ~~~
Love this pool of blue water !


34)  Depending on where you stand, the blue pool can look like a heart  :-)


35)  The hole


36)  Looking towards the north ~~~
- The hill in the middle of the pic is the highest point in the Diamond Head area - 114 meters high. I call it Diamond Hill.
- The far away beach on the right side of the pic is Dunbogan Beach.


37)  Next, I'll go to both tips - the 2 red arrows.
An aerial view of the 2 tips is in photo #31.


38)  A clear view of the rugged coastline towards the south-south-west (I'm standing at where the right red arrow points to in the previous pic.)
- In this pic, the left red arrow points to Crowdy Head.
- The right red arrow points to the rock where the arch is ... see photos #23 to #29


39)  A similar scene as the previous pic, towards the south-south-west. But this time, I am standing at where the left arrow points to in photo #37.
- In this pic, the left red arrow points to Crowdy Head.
- The right red arrow points to the rock where the arch is ... see photos #23 to #29.
- The platform at the centre of the pic is where the right red arrow points to in photo #37.


40)  Looking down at the base of the cliff of the previous pic.


41)  Zooming down to the rock at the centre of thre previous pic - interesting tessellated pattern !


42)  Beautiful multi-coloured rocks !
The two red arrows in left pic point to the same areas as in photo #37.


43)  Tessellated patterns on the rocks


44)  Time to turn around and climb back up the slope to the ridge.


45)  Now back up on the Headland Walk walking track and looking down at where I had been


To Diamond Hill

46)  Towards north - towards where I'm now heading:
- The left red arrow points to North Brother Mountain.
- The middle arrow points to Diamond Hill ... I'm going there now.
- The right arrow points to Camden Head. The town of Laurieton is around there.
- The beach between the middle and right arrow is Dunbogan Beach.


47)  Closer to Diamond hill ~~~
- The far away beach on the right side of the pic is Dunbogan Beach.
The Headland Walk walking track is well maintained, almost suitable for wheelchairs. But for the whole time I'm here, I meet no one !


48)  Concrete cairn at the top of Diamond Hill, 114 meters ~~~
There is no view here, too many trees. But if you walk along the track for another 40 meters, there is a marvellous panoramic view ... see photo #49.


49)  After reaching the top of Diamond Hill (previous pic), keep going for another 40 meters and you are presented with this panoramic view. (Click on the pic to enlarge it.)
 - The 5 red arrows point to, from left to right:
      •  South Brother Mountain
      •  Middle Brother Mountain
      •  The faint clearing is Diamond Head camping ground
      •  North Brother Mountain
      •  Jolly Nose Hill
 - The bay & beach on the left edge is Crowdy Bay & Kylies Beach.
 - The beach on the right is Dunbogan Beach.
 - The very narrow strip of water between Middle Brother & North Brother Mtns is Watson Taylors Lake.
Actually Watson Taylors Lake is not so narrow as depicted by the above pic. It only looks narrow from where I am standing.

The three Brothers Mountains are named after three aboriginal brothers. Two of them were slain and eaten by a witch. The youngest, returning from a visit to his parents, killed the witch and buried his brothers' bones on North and Middle Brother, then killed himself on South Brother.

The parents searching for their sons heard a voice telling them that each mountain held the spirit of one of their sons. And so the name of the "Three Brothers Mountains" was perpetuated.

This dreamtime story was retold by the old men of the Birpai Tribe when they met for a tribal initiation in the Kempsey area.

It is easy to reach the top of Middle Brother Mountain ... a road goes right through the summit.

On the other hand, to the top of South Brother Mountain is a different matter. From maps, there is no track to the summit. Furthermore, the mountain seems to be surrounded on all sides by private properties. If anyone knows a public accessible route to go past the private properties, please let me know ... I like to climb it  :-)


50)  Zooming to right side of the above pic ~~~
- The main mountain here is North Brother Mountain.
- The beach in front of it is Dunbogan Beach.
- The thin line of water on the left side of the pic is Watson Taylors Lake.
- The red arrow points to Jolly Nose Hill.
This morning, I was at the top of North Brother Mountain. Photos and an account of the trip are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/north-brother-mountain-nsw-australia.html


Looking back at Diamond Hill

51)  I've come down from Diamond Hill and looking back at it.


52)  Further along the track back to Diamond Head camping ground and looking back at Diamond Hill.


Wild flowers

Wild flowers are abound at this time of the year. I snap these photos:

53)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


54)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


55)  Hieracium pilosella (syn. Pilosella officinarum), commonly known as Mouse-ear Hawkweed


56)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


57)  Is this Xerochrysum bracteatum (Golden Everlasting) ?


58)  Plenty of Actinotus helianthi (Flannel Flowers) around


59)  An entire hillside covered with these flowers. If you know its name, please let me know.


60)  This one is quite common on coastal dunes, a prostrate, creeping succulent. It has a funny name, Pigface. Scientific name is Carpobrotus glaucescens.


61)  Another common plant on coastal dunes ~~~
Seems to be Ipomoea pes-caprae (Goat's Foot or Bayhops or Beach Morning Glory). But the leaves of the plant in this picture is not as rounded as Ipomoea pes-caprae.


62)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


63)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


64)  Isopogon, a Drumsticks plant - Is it Isopogon anemonifolius (Broad-leaf Drumsticks) ?


65)  Banksia integrifolia (Coastal Banksia)


66)  Banksia integrifolia (Coastal Banksia)

Post Script

Diamond Head headland is a beautiful place. No wonder it inspired Kylie Tennant to write the book "The Man and the Headland". But apart from a few lethargic campers at the camping grounds, I met no one during my walk. Where is everyone?

Three months ago when I was here, I also met no one !!!  But after reading this blog, I wish you'll give the place a visit.

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