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Published June 13th 2018
This Walk is Worth Doing Even if the Weather is Bleak
Tomaree National Park is set in the beautiful Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay and Port Stephens region on the mid-north coast of NSW. Three hours from Sydney, this seaside region is known for beaches, summer resorts, boating and fishing. However, there is more to do in this area than just enjoy the sun. What do you do if it rains?
We found out on a school holiday trip a few years ago that bleak weather should not dampen your break. It rained four out of the five days, and there are only so many indoor activities to keep two teens engaged. This is when I suggested walking to the summit of Tomaree Mountain.
Tomaree Mountain Shoal Bay has lots of bush as well as sweeping views of green and blue.
There are two moderate 1km walks and one easy 1.1km walk. We did all three and found out some Australian WWII history as well. Fort Tomaree Radar Station was actively watching for enemy ships entering Port Stephens harbour from 1942 to 1947. Also, the gun emplacements protected the Newcastle Steelworks and Williamtown Aerodrome because steel was an important commodity during the war years.
Views as you do the walk are spectacular. Even when the weather is bleak.
The views along the walk are great, and the rain made the greenery more vivid. If anything, the clouds made the blue of the water look more dramatic too. The rain held off for the two hours we were hiking, so apart from making sure we didn't slip (some areas were very wet) the whole experience was better than being stuck in our motel for another day.
According to the National Parks website, these walks are a Grade 5. This means you should have hiking/walking experience as some parts of the Tomaree walks are quite steep.
Our kids were twelve and fifteen at the time we did this walk, they enjoyed it and did not find it difficult. However, we have done many hikes with them, so make sure you and your kids are fit enough before attempting this walk as a family.
There are green and blue views all the way along this walk. The rain and clouds made the green really pop.
There was some hesitation from my family when I suggested walking during wet weather, but they were glad we did it, especially when the weather cleared as we reached the summit. We found the recent rain was actually a plus, the surrounding bushland and greenery had a fresh, natural smell.
The Australian history we learned was interesting too, something we were not expecting when we started the walk.
The rain held off when we did the walk to the summit.
The viewing platforms are positioned so you can view whales and dolphins. It is well worth taking binoculars with you, especially during the months of May to October. We did not see any marine life but a blue tongue lizard scurried out from the greenery whilst we were sitting having a break near the gun emplacements.
There is a picnic area so it is worth taking some lunch or morning tea up with you. There are guided tours as well, these allow for a lunch break in this picnic area.
Rug up, take some wet weather gear and enjoy this walk.
We are so used to sunny days in Australia that when it rains we can find it hard to venture outdoors. With kids and school holidays though, we need to find things to keep them busy. Tomaree Walk is one of those outdoor activities any active family can do, my family thanked me for a great suggestion. It made for a family break we will remember for years to come.
At the end of our walk, we sat at Zenith Beach enjoying some well-earned fish and chips. This quiet beach is a sanctuary, which means no fishing or collecting is allowed. It was a lovely beach to chill out at until the weather started to close in again.
A few safety tips when doing bush walks -
Make sure someone knows you are going. Some remote areas will not have mobile reception.
Wear sturdy hiking shoes.
Take an extra layer of clothing, higher summits can be cool.
Take water and snacks for day hikes.
Wear sunscreen and a hat.
Take insect repellent if hiking during summer.
Stay on designated tracks.
If children need to be carried DO NOT take them on long, steep hikes. It is best to find an easier track.
For more information about Tomaree Mountain walks visit the NSW National Parks website here.