Booyaan (Bellbird) Nature Walk
Grade 3-4: Suitable for most ages. The track starts with a sealed surface but then walkers encounter a steep rocky section leading to the Awaba Lookout. The return portion of the track is much easier being either level or downhill.
- Supervise children.
This walk leads up a spur between Hawkins Creek catchment to the south and another creek catchment, named by locals as Pots & Pan Creek to the north. This is a dry woodland area with a grassy understorey under the main canopy.
Disturbed plant communities is the best classification for this area, known by locals as the West Ridge – it is actually the most southerly of three westerly ridges between here and the Munibung Hill summit. This area was cleared for cattle grazing and since that ceased around 2010 non-native introduced weeds, notably the giant Coolatai Grass, have colonised the area.
Non of this detracts from wonderful views over Lake Macquarie and Speers Point to the south and west that include Lake Macquarie City (LMC) facilities such as the Museum of Art & Culture, Lake Macquarie Variety Playground and sporting fields. Speers Point Park is the venue for fortnightly Farmers Markets, the annual Living Smart Festival and other events. To the north-west the view expands to Mt Sugarloaf and beyond.
We find some interesting stories in the Community History department at Speers Point Library, such as this one: I remember there were several water holes around there – known as The Pots and Pans. There was also a large rock there known as Lovers rock – with initials carved thereon! This was also the site for a two up school. (Unidentified local resident). This part of Munibung Hill would have been approached from the valleys but now introduced weedy plant species make the area difficult to access.
This is bird and other wildlife territory. Hard to spot but often heard is the song of Booyaans (Aboriginal word for Bellbirds), thus the name for this walk.
Custom map created for MHCS by David Bretreger
Wonta, in Awabakal language means: where is this place? (1)
Enter: Quarry Road, Speers Point. Be aware that the climb up to Awaba Lookout develops into a short sharp pinch with loose gravel. Take extra care – it can be slippery.
After taking in the views, head east along a plateau, before turning right to tracks that connect with the Gondwana Rainforest Walk and once in the valley, the Tamarind Nature Walk at the foot of the cliff face to exit at the Quarry Road starting point. Note: If you miss the first turn to the right and end up at the Songline Heritage Walk, this will simply add to the options for the return leg.
NOTE: A random internet search for Munibung Hill – which can be accessed from locations on the north, south, east and west – without providing more details, will most likely present a rather confusing map compared with the directions supplied here. When using a search engine such as Google maps it helps to specify an address: in this case Quarry Road, Speers Point.
(1)Source: An Australian Language as Spoken by the Awabakal, by L. E. Threlkeld. 1892
There are no toilets, no picnic facilities and no disposal or recycling bins. The nearest are at Speers Point and Boolaroo.
Dogs on leashes only. No trail bikes. Please carry out what you carry in – don’t rubbish Munibung Hill. If you come across what other people have disposed of, consider picking it up and disposing of it thoughtfully. Help us care for the habitat of local native plants and animals. Thank you.
<< No signage other than Council and NSW Rural Fire Service notices. Please observe these messages and bring them to the attention of others.
There are no official car parks at the start of tracks, it is therefore important to respect the residents who live in close proximity to these areas.
When driving around Munibung Hill at night remember we are sharing the roads with our native wildlife, so take it slow and watch out for animals on the road.
For your safety and personal care, even for a short walk on a fine day, carry a light pack with a weatherproof jacket, water (1 litre per person for every 3 hours of walking), some high energy food and a first aid kit. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, a sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen. Insect repellent can also make your walk more comfortable and be sure to take a bag to carry any rubbish out with you.