It was a chilly start at Byarong Park at Mt Keira at 9am on a breezy August day….!
Our boutique walking group started out watching a Kookaburra forage on the green grass where over a century ago the pit horses used to graze in between coal loads from the regions’ first mine, Kemira. The National Park walk takes you past the Girl Guide Camp and Archery up a mild wide staircase. You then quickly join the Mt Keira Ring Track. A turn right will take you to Geordies Flat and through a anti-clockwise traverse of the ring track, whilst left takes you through The Jumpers towards the Scout Camp. My recommendation is take the left option – a clockwise route to the entire ring track or Mt Robertson.
On this walk, we took the left option towards Mt Robertson. The first part of the trip is fairly easy swapping from single track to more open tracks. The track route roughly follows the curves of the road, so on a weekend it can be a little noisy in parts with Sunday motorbike riders, this particular day was notably quiet, probably due to the colder weather and wind! The bushtrack however, was reasonably protected from the elements.
The first part of the track before you reach the scout camp is pretty messy in terms of flora. It is quite overgrown with Lantana and stinging nettle, although the tracks are still clear, but you do get glimpses of some lovely tree ferns and other sub-tropical species. The track at the Scout Camp entrance drops into a gully, a feeder creek into Byarong Creek. Past this point the track starts to get slightly sleeper in sections as you start ascending closer to the escarpment.
You will pass options to move out of the track to the right to continue on the ring track, but today we continued toward the escarpment. The walk then becomes a little more rustic with more boulders and more impressive greenery – the good stuff! It’s really pretty in this section which is good – it’s a distraction from how steep it is getting! It’s a short steep section which is finished off with a little metal ladder/steps around some stunning large boulders.
Once you are on top of the escarpment it’s a fairly steady walk with a few undulations. The scenery also changes to a sclerophyll forest which is much sandier underfoot, drier and the plants noticeable spikier and grassier!! With a few little little rockier sections you might need to scramble in a few sections if you are not so confident jumping around, it’s very easy though.
A picnic table will greet you once you reach the lookout region, you can continue on the path, but I firstly like to take the little track to the left. It takes you to a rustic lookout, which has the remnants of poles, so probably an original lookout. It is a large rock that gives you spectacular views. Unlike the designated lookout, you get a little glimpse up North over the back ridge of Mt Keira to an idyllic view of the ocean and Norfolk Pines. Once you have taken ample shots you can head back on the main track which is cement now as it’s accessible from the road. The lookout here is still nonetheless impressive. Mt Keira is certainly at its finest from this angle. I also take the opportunity to gently jump the fence to go check out the old trig point. Views are great from here and the impressive ledge makes for some spectacular photos also.
I rate this walk as one of the best for views in the Gong, it’s spectacular, a good walk time of about 2hrs and provides a good mix of flora and fauna.
A special thanks to the group that joined us on the weekend, it was lovely meeting some new faces.