The rain had eased to a few light sprinkles and the sun was doing its best to peek through the clouds. The grey start to the day didn’t worry us in the slightest as we knew we were about to start something very special.
Grab your hat and lace up your walking shoes, it’s time to head out on Day 1 of the Light to Light Walk.
Date: Saturday, 1 October 2022
From: Boyd Tower Carpark
To: Saltwater Creek Campsite
Official Distance: 13km Actual Distance: 14.9km (Garmin watch)
Ascent: 341m Descent: 393m
Weather: A few light sprinkles of rain to start the day and then warm, and windy.
Stayed At: Wonboyn Lake Resort
- Accommodation: Before we get too far down the track, I’d like to share some information on the Wonboyn Lake Resort. While the word ‘resort’ is possibly a little generous, it is a very beautiful and comfortable spot to base yourself for this walk. Peter, the owner, is a wonderful host and goes above and beyond to ensure you enjoy your time in the region. The cabins are located right on the edge of Wonboyn Lake and there are free canoes and SUPs if you feel the urge to explore on water. A word of warning – the road into the complex is quite circuitous, steep and rough in places. Take it slow and drive carefully to avoid the worst of the bumpy patches.
- Boyd Tower: As mentioned in the Light to Light Walk Overview post, the path stretches between two towers/lighthouses. Unfortunately, on the day we set off, Boyd Tower was inaccessible for some reason and the path from the carpark directed us immediately southwards. We only caught glimpses of Boyd Tower from distance. So, in reality we only knocked over one light of the Light to Light Walk. ‘Carpark to Light Walk’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it or sound half as attractive.
- Bushfires: This region was devastated by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020. Even after nearly three years, it is possible to see the impact of these fires with many of the larger trees sporting black trunks and yet, at the same time, they are determinedly pushing out new growth. I imagine that vast areas of the terrain that we walk through have changed dramatically as the vegetation is only knee high. It will take decades before the land is fully restored, if there are no further fires. Thank goodness the last few years have been very wet, helping the land heal.
- Whales: Walking in October, we were in prime whale migration season as the whales return southwards to Antarctica for the Summer. We were treated to a true spectacle with whales breaching, splashing and tail slapping in pods of two-to-six whales. They were a joy to watch.
- Geology: Anyone with even a passing interest in geology will be fascinated by the colour and composition of the rocks on this path. Great platforms of rust red rock reach out into the sea, while on the stony beaches, grey volcanic boulders look like their surfaces have just cooled and popped.
- Animals: With the bush so thick, right up to the edge of the path, any large animals could make a speedy getaway or were well-camouflaged. They did leave behind plenty of sizeable evidence though which made us wonder what they could be. Wombats were certainly about, but also something much larger – perhaps feral deer?
- Path Conditions: Track maintenance was well overdue and, in many places, the narrow track simply disappeared into a wall of green. You had to hope for the best and push through it on the off-chance the path continued on the other side. Signage/waymarking was also a little haphazard. Look for boot/footprints of other walkers and stay aware of where you are in relation to the ocean.
- Rest Stops: You are spoilt for choice when it comes to resting and enjoying a snack break. Pause higher up on the ridge lines for glorious views over the cliffs and rocks, or make your way down onto the beach to get up close to the crashing waves.
- Wildflowers: More by good luck than good management we timed our walk to coincide with an explosion of Spring blooms. I also found a type of wild rosemary which added a spicey note to the salty air.
Top Tips for this Section:
- Ticks: I recommend you dress appropriately to avoid attracting any freeloaders. We sprayed out boots/ankles and around our collars with bug spray to encourage ticks to stay away. Unfortunately, a couple of walkers in our group were bitten and the ticks seemed to like disguising themselves in the hair on their heads. Yuk!
- Trip Hazards: The thick growth over and adjacent to the track, includes a number of vines and other climbing plants. These tricky buggers drape themselves across the path, trying to steal your hat (watch out for ticks) or wrapping around your boots to trip you up. Step carefully.
- Saltwater Creek: At the end of today’s stage you reach Saltwater Creek. It’s boots off/socks off time and the cool water is refreshing on tired feet. Just check how fast it is flowing out to sea and choose the shallowest point. We found it only to be mid-calf deep with soft sand underneath.
Time for a little rest to reflect on the day before setting out on Day 2. Sleep well.
- Light to Light Walk – read more about it – HERE
- Eden Tourism – find out more about this region – HERE
- Light to Light Overview post – read more about it – HERE
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