Good Friday. A last minute picnic (always the best kind, hard boiled eggs, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, a quick home made hummus and some mandarins) and a trip down into the Royal National Park. The usual rule is that we head for somewhere we haven’t been before and include a bit of a walk. There are lots of entry points to the Coast Track, we picked Garie Beach as we were pretty sure Wattamolla would be full for the Public Holiday (and anyway, we’ve been there before). Garie was busy but not crowded and after our picnic in the sun we headed off along the Coast Track to the South towards North Era.
The track heads along a narrow pathway above high tide mark around to Little Garie and then over Thelma Head to North Era. We made it to the top of Thelma Head and it was well worth the climb – spectacular views down the coast, past the Sea Cliff Bridge to Wollongong and Port Kembla. Sensational spot to stop and eat the mandarins.
The most fascinating part of this section of the Royal National Park for me is the beach shacks. Mostly built during the 1930s and 1940s, the shacks have been holiday places and even homes during the depression. In 2006 the shack owners negotiated new licensing arrangements with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and in 2012 the shacks were listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. The shacks are made from fibro, tin and salvaged materials and their history is now part of local legend.