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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Yacaaba Head, Hawks Nest, NSW

As mentioned in previous blogs, we were so inspired by the views from Tomaree Mountain in Tomaree National Park that we vowed to return and go to the places we could see from the top. Looking north we saw the narrow neck of Wind Woppa Reserve leading to Yacaaba Head and it didn't take us long to discover that there is a walk from Hawks Nest to Yacaaba Head. Yacaaba Head is preserved as part of the Myall Lakes National Park.

Looking north from Tomaree Mountain to Yacaaba Head.
Before long we grabbed the chance to go to Hawks Nest. About 6.5 km off the Pacific Highway we stopped at Lion's Park. There are toilets and picnic tables and excellent views over Tea Gardens and out to Yacaaba Head and Tomaree Mountain. No camping is allowed here but there are several great options a little further on. Two popular caravan parks are North Coast Holiday Park Jimmys Beach (dogs allowed) and North Coast Holiday Park Hawks Nest Beach (no dogs). Myall River Camp (no dogs) is a little further north of Hawks Neck.

View from Lion's Park: Yacaaba Head (left) and Tomaree Mountain (right)
There are two starting points in Hawks Nest for the Yacaaba Head Walk, either from the carpark near the surf club at Bennets Beach or Jimmy's Beach Reserve opposite the North Coast Holiday Park Jimmy's Beach. We started from Jimmy's Beach Reserve which has toilets and picnic facilities. All up the walk is about 8 km return and is graded hard as fitness is required to climb Yacaaba Head to the top. We also found the sandy sections along Jimmy's Beach and Winda Woppa Reserve were a fair challenge on the calf muscles as the tide was in when we did the walk. Just north-east of Yacaaba Head lies Cabbage Tree Island where the John Gould Nature Reserve protects the only known breeding colony of the very rare Gould's Petrel. 

Walking along the beach to Yacaaba Head. Cabbage Tree Island on the left.
We crossed over Wind Woppa Reserve about halfway along and continued along the beach until we reached the base of the headland. There is a sign here indicating where the Yacaaba Head Walking Track is and giving a distance of 1 km to a viewpoint and 1.5 km to the summit.

The start of the track on Yacaaba Head.
The start of the walk is pleasant walking alongside smooth barked Angophora and gnarly old banksias. The track climbs steadily to the viewpoint with great views out over Winda Woppa, Jimmy's Beach and Tea Gardens.

The narrow neck of Winda Woppa Reserve with Jimmy's Beach in the background.
Of course we couldn't resist climbing to the top but be warned the last 500 meters is a steep scramble and the view is partly obstructed by shrubs and Grass Trees.

View of Fingal Island, Fingal Spit and Mount Tomaree (R), 
We didn't realise at the time of doing this walk that there is also a path around the base of Yacaaba to its pebbly southern side with views across the bay to Port Stephens. This area is called Dolphin Hole because dolphins frequent the area to rub their bodies on the smooth pebbles. So now we have a return visit added to our list for the future.

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