Tuesday 27 March: Wind changes the state of play

Author: Mrs A

Location: Wooli, NSW

Our initial plans of taking the packrafts out on the Wooli Wooli River were thwarted by a brisk breeze and grey skies threatening rain again, so we decided to get out our packs and go walking instead. On our 14km explore yesterday by bike, it had looked as though we might be able to cross the river on foot at low tide, so we headed off down there intending to cross and hike through the Yuragir National Park. Alas, once down there, we could see the water was much too fast flowing and deep for us to cross without a boat.

So, we decided that oysters would help us plan where we might go instead. The local oyster shed had no oysters on display, and we found that the rain had closed the river, the oyster farmers reliant on the Department of Agriculture to test the water and find the quality safe before they could harvest more. Oysters are filterers, meaning that their meat will consist of whatever they sift out of the water – in this case the rain has flooded the marshlands up the river, allowing the likes of E. coli bacteria to enter the stream. So instead, she went out back and returned with some oysters she had purchased from Merimbula, relatives of the the very oysters we had tried a few weeks ago!Our brains fuelled by oyster goodness, we decided to drive into the National Park north of Wooli and see whether there was a walk we could do there.

It was a short drive, but we soon arrived at a sign directing us to a campground. We drove in and ‘voila!’, a sign directing us to the Wilson’s Headland Circuit walk, just a 6km return. Perfect. We set off on what was to become one of the best walks we have ever done. Full of birdlife, fabulous views, plenty of variation in the scenery and vegetation it was great. The national parks authority had provided quality boardwalks and stairways – simply beautiful.There was not another soul on the walk either, something I am certain will change as we hit Easter this coming weekend, and the Queensland school holidays. Orchids, irises and delicate flowers were to be found with careful looking, not always obvious at first glance.We stopped for a plum at a cliff top bench with an incredible view. This would be a fabulous whale watching spot in the winter months.Readers who are still working will then be pleased to know that after all this fun we returned to the mobile apartment where I spent the next 4 hours programming an online research survey, while Mr A relaxed with a good book. Life is all about balance!

It’s such a peaceful and pretty part of the world. There is definitely a true community here in Wooli, though I am not sure you would describe it as truly thriving. It was clear from talking to the lady in the oyster shop that they are very reliant on the influx of visitors during the school holidays, and that the weather plays a big part in its success. She seemed quite anxious that the recent rain would put people off travelling down here, and that the lack of local oysters would put a big dent in her earnings. Her shop advertises that it stocks groceries as well as providing fish and chips seven days a week. The groceries when we entered were pretty scarce – a tin of supermarket brand coconut cream for $2, a few boxes of lasagna pasta for $3 and some loaves of bread.

The campground is extremely quiet – other than us just one or two other caravans and a couple of fishermen in tents – not really bringing in much money to the area given we all self-cater. While this is great for us as visitors, I can see that scraping a living from our meagre spendings would be very hard.

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