Monday, October 10, 2016

Durras to Clear Point Around Point Upright

Here are a two things you need to know about Durras. First, say Duhhras with a long Australian drawl, not Dewrass. Telling the locals you are going to Dewrass will provoke gales of unstoppable laughter. Secondly, if you plan to walk the beach from Duhhras South to Duhhras North, prepare to swim the outflowing channel from Durras Lake. 

Point Upright rock platform

A couple of hours before low tide, Doug and I strolled north along Durras Beach confident that we would be on the rock platforms around Point Upright while the tide was still falling. After about 40 minutes, we got to the outflow of Durras Lake to find a deep swift moving channel running out to sea. I stripped to the waist and tried to cross the channel right where it meets the surf holding my pack over my head, but the water was too deep to cross without committing to a swim and we had no dry bag for our packs. A look at the map, confirmed what we both knew to be true, there is no bridge, so we scurried back down the beach and drove out to the highway and north to Durras North.

Grasshopper Island off Point Upright

We found somewhere to park that was not in the National Park (who carries $8 in 5 cent coins to insert into park ticket machines?) and took a track down to the beach on the north side of the channel. A quick walk north along the beach and we were on the rocks heading around Point Upright. The next two kilometres to Depot Beach is some of the best rock platform walking you'll find anywhere. A broad flat rock platform, accessible only at low tide, butts up against steep cliffs capped by sandstone roofs. There are deep sea caves and huge boulders. In some sections, the platform feels wide and spacious, in others, the waves are almost against the cliff walls and you have to hurry by between waves. 

Caves and cliffs

Depot Beach is a small bay of sand between rock platforms and continuing north you cross another broad rock platform and then walk along a pebbly beach to reach sandy Pebbly Beach. We had planned to turn back at Pebbly Beach but there were more rock platforms north of Pebbly Beach so we continued around the next headland north, across the head of a rocky bay, and then along more rock platform until we were almost at Clear Point. 

South along Point Upright

Heading back south, we followed the Durras Mountain track back to Pebbly Beach and then spent half an hour going up and down between between the streets of Depot Beach and various forest tracks until we found the track that heads back over Point Upright headland to Durras North. Hint, find the track at the top of Carr Street. A steady climb uphill through Spotted Gum forest leads over the Murramarang Range and then steeply down to Durras North.

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