School of Computer Science and Engineering Bushwalk to Marley Beach from Bundeena Drive
22 September 2001

I'm assuming you've read Andrew Taylor's introduction to this walk.

Historical context: Staff and Research Students working in the Samuels Building did a walk like this (but near Glenbrook, Blue Mountains) in September 1993. It seemed to work well, but somehow we never got around to doing this again, till now.

Date: 22 September 2001 weather permitting.
Time: 11am and probably a second group at 11.30am. Revised to 10.30am and a second group at 11am.
Start: The planned start of the walk is where the Marley Track leaves Bundeena Drive (see
map - near the middle of the left hand side of the map, at the first "N" of Bundeena Drive). For those who understand map grids, note that the bottom horizontal gridline is numbered 23, and the ones above it are 24, 25, etc., and then the grid reference for the start is about 261246 - i.e. (26.1 East, 24.6 North). The gridlines on the map are 1 kilometre apart.

Public Transport Issues: The start point specified above is only practically accessible by car. If you don't have a car and can't get a ride with someone who does, the public transport option would be to catch a train to Cronulla, then catch the ferry to Bundeena (leaves every hour on the half hour from Cronulla at the weekend - e.g. one leaves at 10.30am. Return trips every hour on the hour - last trip at 5pm (?)) Ferry timetables number is 9523 2990. Then you could walk in via an alternative route to Marley Beach as follows: walk South on Brighton Street, entering the park at grid reference 293264, walking South the join the Marley Head trail at 290253 and so South to descent steeply to the East end of Marley Beach (286232). Unless lots of people want to do it this way, and we can find a leader, you might have to do this on your own.

Bike Access: Cycling options also exist (needs an off-road bike). Cycles may only be ridden on vehicular tracks in Royal National Park. The two closest vehicular tracks are the Mowlee Ridge Trail (downhill all the way there => uphill all the way back :-( ) and the Marley Head Trail (easy access from Bundeena - grid reference for start is 278260 - very steep descent to Marley Beach). According to NPWS, it is legitimate to wheel or carry your bike from the end of the vehicular track to a nearby destination like Marley Beach. Note that all vehicular tracks in this area have locked gates, so are accessible to bikes but not cars.

Access Route by Car:

NB: These are not the access instructions for Debbie's UTS group walk, which starts from Wattamolla.
For the Wattamolla access instructions, see
here.

Who can come: CSE staff and former staff, their partners and children, at this stage.

What the walk is like: the track is a clear non-vehicular track through heath and low scrub. While the track is clear (i.e. easy to follow), there are a couple of places where bush is growing across the track, and you have to push it aside. The track is eroded in places. At present there are lots of wildflowers out. According to National Parks and Wildlife Service, it is 3.6km from the car park to Big Marley Beach.

The area is one of the main haunts of the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, so bring binoculars if you'd like to check them out. It will take 1-1.5 hours walking time to get to Marley Beach. Roughly half-way, we descend into the wooded valley of Marley Creek, crossing the creek after 1.8 km, according to NPWS, at Deer Pool. Deer Pool could be an alternative end-point for e.g. a young family unused to walking - it has sand and shallow water, so kids can have fun there. After Deer Pool the track climbs (but not terribly steeply) to Mowlee Ridge, and we turn left onto the Mowlee Ridge Trail (a vehicular track). This peters out at the bottom of the ridge, and a non-vehicular track continues (not shown on map) across to the coast. One can then turn left for Big Marley Beach or right for Little Marley Beach. (If we have lots of people coming, we can split into two groups, one at Big and one at Little, to reduce pressure on the area.) This description assumes that persons undertaking the walk do so with someone familiar with the walk and with bushwalking generally.

What Big Marley is like: You can get some idea from these snapshots:

Big Marley and Little Marley
from Headland to South
Big Marley Beach - note hordes of people :-)
Falls above Deer Pool (Small) dragon
Lagoon at Big Marley Cormorant and Egret beside Big Marley Lagoon
Rock Platform near Little Marley Sandhill at Big Marley

The ocean beach is unpatrolled, so swimming is not a good idea. However, the lagoon among the sandhills is suitable for children (and adults!) to swim/wade/play in. The body of water marked on the map as Marley Lagoon is a second lagoon, not really suitable for swimming (murky bottom). You can get an idea of the extent of the sandhills from the map. There are rock platforms at both ends of the beach.

On a fine weekend, lots of people pass through Big and Little Marley, most of them walking the Coast Walk, typically between Bundeena and Garie Beach, so they don't stay long.

What Little Marley is like: Well, it's smaller. The beach is unpatrolled, though I have seen people swimming there. There is a (smaller) lagoon behind the sand. There are grassy areas behind the beach. There are rock platforms at both ends of the beach. Sometimes there are people fishing on these.

Fauna: lots of birds, lizards. I saw a swamp wallaby at Little Marley once, and there are plenty of signs of introduced deer, including rustlings in the scrub, but I've never actually seen one (at Marley). Whales are seen from the headlands in winter. We saw an echidna at about grid reference 268235, once. No doubt there are snakes, though I've not seen any at Marley yet. Postscript June 2002: 1 metre snake at Little Marley.

What to Wear and Bring: Wear sensible shoes (joggers are fine), comfortable clothes - shorts or jeans depending on the weather, suncream, and a hat - sunburn is likely even on an overcast day otherwise. Thongs are definitely not a good idea.

Rainwear and warm tops are sensible, especially for kids - remember that you'll be up to 1.5 hours from shelter (car) and weather can change.

Bring a day pack with drinks, more suncream, lunch and snacks. We generally take 1.2 litres per person to drink (two 600 ml bottles). (Lagoon and creek water is likely to be impure.) Bear in mind that there are no rubbish bins, and that heavy glass containers may become burdensome on the walk out (but if you can carry it in full, you can certainly carry it out empty). You will be more comfortable if everything is packed in a daypack (not too heavy) and you have hands free.

Children: If bringing children, they'll want swimming gear (preferably including sunsafe tops). [Adults may want swim gear too.] If you are determined that your children will not swim, bring a change of clothes for when they swim anyway. And a towel - a small one is enough. Also bring a supply of bandaids, and maybe Stingose or similar. My kids first did this walk (on their own legs) just before they turned five. They were used to bushwalking at the time. Small children can ride in a kiddicarrier if you have one. In between these stages a combination of walking and carrying is possible. Resign yourself to a lot of the latter on the way back. Young kids enjoy sand toys - an icecream bucket will do.

Rules: National Parks and Wildlife Service has rules, of which the following come to mind:

More information on Royal National Park.

Bill Wilson
25/9/01

Who went

Andrew Taylor, with Monica, Tom, and Zoe
Tim Lambert, with Carmen, Justin, and Daniel
Bill Wilson
Ken Robinson and Rosalie
Chris Petrov and Geena Kordek
John Rice and his wife (?Gumzha) (spelling correction requested)
Dave Johnson, with Hong, Kevin, and Jeremy
Manuel Chakravarty and Gabi Keller
Kai Engelhardt and Claudia Bonifer
Zain Rahmat, with Keeva and Brodie (spelling correction essential)
Shahnaz Shahtahmasebi

(The reconnaissance walk was done by:
Bill Wilson, Debbie Street, Thomas Wilson, Amelia Street, Andrew and Tom Taylor.
Thomas and Amelia were unwell on the day of the main walk.)

Special Thanks

To Andrew Taylor for debugging the road instructions and much else!
To everybody who came, for their participation and their company.

Pictures

Four on the sand
Gabi, Manuel, Kai, Klaudia
Crossing Marley Creek
Andrew, Zoe's foot, Tim
On the beach at Deer Pool
I can identify Ken, John, Dave, Hong, Shahnaz, Zain, Monica, and Zoe, and probably Manuel and Gabi

Bill Wilson
29 August 2001