Capertee National Park Field Trip

capertee-crossingFifteen OFF members and friends enjoyed our annual weekend field trip on 24 & 25th September to Capertee National Park. Heavy rain overnight presented the visitors to the national park with a swollen river crossing. It was a challenge to smaller cars, but all crossed it.

dscn8713The highlight was seeing gorgeous gold and black Regent Honeyeaters at close quarters. It was a fitting reward for those who had made artificial nests for a predation experiment run by ANU postgraduate student Ross Crates. One night Ross showed photos of predators, including Brush-tailed Possums, Sugar Gliders and Grey Shrike-thrushes, that had raided the artificial nests.

capertee-np-24-26_09_2016-042There were ambles along trails through different habitats that offered plentiful subjects for the photographers in the group. On the upland Airstrip Trail four different orchids were flowering and there was a sweeping vista of distant peaks that included Mt Marsden and Tayan Peak in Wollemi NP. By contrast the shaded grassy banks of crystal clear Ullumbra Creek sheltered maidenhair ferns and native violets, and supported massive river sheoaks on which fine-leafed mistletoes were flowering.



capertee-np-24-26_09_2016-073 capertee-np-24-26_09_2016-077



walarooDriving back to the homestead after a late afternoon visit to the Valley Lookout, we were treated to a magnificent rainbow and encountered Wallaroos and Common Wombats venturing onto the river flats for their evening meal. Recent rains had put a fresh in the Capertee River and encouraged a chorus of frogs and crickets at night.

Many thanks to Deb Andrew who shared her intimate knowledge of the park and its rich flora and fauna.



Royal Botanic Gardens

P1000438On Tuesday 23 August 19 OFF members and friends gathered at the Royal Botanic Gardens in the Sydney CBD. It was a lovely sunny day despite the weather forecast.The walk covered some of the history of the gardens over the past 200 years visiting old and contemporary sites.

P1000445The red cedar was planted in 1822. They were logged to near extinction in the 1800’s.





The fernery which contains more than 300 species of ferns and other plants with the sandstone structure made by convicts showing Bankers marks.


Latitude 23 hot house with exotic rainforest plants from various parts of the world featuring a variety of orchids.



P1000498P1000469Kauri pine Agathus robusta 40 metres tall grown from a seed and planted in 1853. It is the modern day relative of Agathus juassicus which was part of the forests of Gondwana along with the Wollimi Pine which is referred to as a living fossil as it was thought to be extinct for 90 million years.




P1000501After going over the oldest bridge in Australia built in 1816 we walked along the avenue of Spring which features among other flowers 10,000 tulips which are planted each year. This spring walk has been an annual event in the gardens since 1856.


On the other side of the Macquarie wall built for Mrs Macquarie to keep the riff raff out was a spectacular display of cycads with big yellow cones and a row of bottle trees. The oldest one in a P1000523lower bed planted in 1846.

The tropical garden featured a display of many bromeliads and the spectacular Dinner Plate Fig.

P1000552One of the features of the month which was only discovered in 1970 was the Butterfly Amaryllis which we were lucky to see flowering.

The orchids and rock orchids which are flowering now were also spectacular.




After the walk some of the group visited the Sweet Addiction exhibition in The Calyix  – the gardens new green house.

Report by  walk leader Amanda Gibson





Hike It Baby in Oatley Park

P1000298Sunday 7th August Oatley Fauna and Flora held its first walk with the group Hike It Baby. Five OFF members and 13 adults and 13 children and babies met in Oatley Park to undertake a family friendly exploration of the bushland.

P1000296As we set off to the bushtrack through the centre of the park, we were met by several sulphur crested cockatoos who put on quite a close-up display in the steamroller park.

P1000310We spotted wattles in flower, blueberries on the bluberry ash trees,banksia flowers and seed pods, hardenbergia and  lomandras. Lower down colourful mushrooms, moss and lichens were seen. Scratchmarks on a tree, most likely from a possum, were pointed out.

P1000291The highlight for both children and adults were the two tawny frogmouths roosting in the trees facing Lime Kiln Bay.

We had a very pleasant morning stroll before returning to the steamroller park for morning tea and play.


Stanwell Park to Helensburgh

A cool Sunday on 31st July provided the ideal conditions for a more arduous walk designed to go from Stanwell Park to Helensburgh.
P1000194After alighting from the train at Stanwell Park, 7 members of OFF ( one member  having  a train problem)  were asked directions by 2 foreign tourists (from Italy and Israel) to the north side of the Royal National Park. Realising they would have a great distance to cover they instead opted to join our walk. As we had back packs and maps they thought we appeared to know what we were doing. We set off for the long abandoned Otford Railway tunnel. This runs for 1.82 km between Stanwell Park and Otford and at the time, 1888, it was the longest and steepest single line tunnel to be built.
P1000202Torches were required and we had to be careful where we trod as we skirted rubbish, abandoned machinery, the eroded floor and the water running through.We were impressed by the quality of the brick work which is still in excellent condition.
After a brief stop at the Otford cafe our leader unfortunately had to leave us due an injury. As we had good maps and there were many signs along the way (and another member had walked the track previously) we continued. 
P1000230The ridge walk provided great views out to sea and down to Burning Palms. We saw some beautiful Angophoras and stringy barks as well as Gymea Lillies in flower. Epacris and a Correa reflexa were also seen. The Coast Track down to Burning Palms was wet in the gullies but the palm forest we passed through well made up for the wet track.
P1000250 P1000256As we enjoyed a quick and well earned lunch on the beach the skies cleared and we enjoyed a beautiful vista of the surf.
The trek uphill to the Garawarra car park was quite steep and hot. There we were met by our member who had earlier had  train problems.He had had an exciting walk of his own as he did some bushbashing to find the the Burgh Track. He agreed the walk back to Otford would be preferable to continuing on to Helensburgh as we may not make the train before dark.
P1000257The walk back to Otford along the Ridge Trail proved to be quicker and also a very pleasant walk through the beautiful angophoras. After a wait at Otford train station we were back on the train by 5.15pm. We were to find out later that there was one benefit to our leader having to leave us earlier; as he was making his way to Otford Station in the morning he came across a small brush fire which he and some others were able to put out and also alert the bush fire brigade.

ABC Studios to Barangaroo Walk

IMG_5046Despite inclement weather during the previous week, Wednesday 29th June was a beautiful, sunny day when fifteen OFF members set off to explore the western edge of the CBD.


IMG_5056We walked from Central station (with a short coffee break) down to the ABC studios for a guided tour, visiting both radio and TV studios producing the shows familiar to most of us. It was an opportunity to spot some famous identities such as Ticky Fullerton, Wendy Harmer, Richard Glover and Bernie Hobbs.


On leaving the ABC, we walked down the relatively new  walkway joining Central to the Darling Harbour precinct. This walkway has been built over the tracks of the original goods train line and many artefacts from that era have been built into the design, as well as leisure activities (such as metal ping pong tables) to provide for the nearby university students, workers and residents.

On the way we stopped to look at and in the “paper bag” building designed by the architect Frank Gehry and built for the UTS Business School. 



IMG_5063We had a leisurely lunch in the sunshine, before heading north to Barangaroo through the extensive construction taking place at Darling Harbour.




IMG_5071After enjoying the waterfront at Barangaroo together, we separated and made our own way to Circular Quay. Some of us had afternoon tea up in the Rocks, enjoying one member’s memories of  youthful exploits in the area.


Report by Walk leader Sue de Beuzeville

Oatley Historic Walk

On Sunday 3 April we (about 6 but grew to 9) commenced our walk in the Povelli Café and Deli with the large photos on the wall. We discussed James Oatley’s Sydney history before reading the words on the plaque opposite the Clock. Walking through the Memorial Park we remembered the splendid Kogarah Council on 1920’s that made it a Park before walking down through the old railway cutting between the Community Hall and Guide Hall. Janet Austin told us about the plaque commemorating the old Como rail bridge being maintained for the pedestrian and cycle way it is today.

The Como Bridge and Neverfail Bay followed and then the long walk to the Charles Street lookout. To the Oatley Pleasure gardens where David Koffel stated he was seeing things he had never known after only 43 years in Oatley!

Back to the St Pauls Church, the new plaque at the old War Memorial site and back along Letitia to the Radio Theatre and School of Arts.

0006 Oatley Bay  from Charles Street Reserve 1926a Oatley Radio Theatre

It took nearly 3 hours and the walk was revealed to many new discoveries or details of our suburb. Apart from those places mentioned above we looked at several other features along the way.

Thanks to the enthusiastic group who came and their additional knowledge that added the enjoyment to the morning walk.

Report on Historic Walk of Oatley  by Leader Rodger Robertson

Scarborough to Thirroul

On 27 th February, 20 OFF members and friends enjoyed a very pleasant walk along the lovely south coast from Scarborough to Thirroul. The walk which was capably led by Sharyn Cullis started out with coffee and finished in a hotel in Thirroul.


In between we walked about 8km along beaches, across headlands, had a swim and had great views of 38 sooty oystercatchers (an uncommon bird of rocky headlands). Sharyn’s local knowledge enhanced the experience.
Unfortunately, the high seas prevented us from exploring a rock platform, but overall it was a great day in beautiful surroundings and in pleasant company.


[Report by Graham Fry]


Lime Kiln Bay Guided Walks

IMG_1683OFF conducted free guided walks on 8 and 12 December around Lime Kiln Bay Wetland to show interested people how the wetlands improve the quality of storm water runoff and the abundant native plants and wildlife that the wetland supports.

The walks are part of  a  project undertaken by the society to raise awareness in the local community of potential environmental impacts on the wetland from urban activities. What goes down the drain ends up in the wetland and then into the Georges River. The project is being funded from the NSW Minister for the Environment’s Conservation Fund. It will benefit the local community and Council by improving the long-term health of local waterways and reducing maintenance costs of Council’s drainage infrastructure.



River Postman Outing

IMG_146930 OFF members took part in one of easier outings of 2015. After a relatively early start in order to get to Hawkesbury River station by 10am, we boarded the boat for a very pleasant 3 hour cruise on the Hawkesbury River.

Postman River Boat cruise map





















There was a good commentary and the participants were surprised at the number and extent of the many small settlements that are along the shoreline.




IMG_1525We dropped off mail at most stops except for one, where we met by a dog who gratefully accepted his regular ANZAC biscuit!





It was a very hot day but the cooling breeze on the water helped to keep us comfortable. After a nice lunch we arrived back at the wharf at 1pm in time to catch the train back to Central and then onto Oatley. IMG_1545


Whilst the day was not as  active as some of our outings, it was a good opportunity to socialise and I think most people enjoyed the day.

Report By Leader: Graham Fry



Rose Bay to Watsons Bay

IMG_1169The walk from  Rose Bay to Watsons Bay on 31 October was generally well reviewed and was given an overall four star rating. A total of 31 OFF members and friends took part ignoring threats by the weatherman of rain dispersed by thunderstorms. The weather was perfect for walking.

IMG_1185Features of the day included: a history of Rose Bay and Mr George Rose (1744-1818); seaplanes; Dumaresq Bay; the Hermitage Walk- the most extensive remnant bush on the south side of the harbour; Carrara (or Strickland) House; Greycliff House; lunch and a swim at Nielsen Park; Coolong Street otherwise known as Swank Street (many, many miles from Struggle Street); Vaucluse House park, Parsley Bay suspension bridge and the Watsons Bay Pub.

IMG_1209IMG_1249Some thought there was a step or two too many but most agreed that the world class views of Sydney Harbour were a rich compensation.

Field Report by Walk leader : Julian Sheen


Click here for map & brochure of walk