Inspiring others to walk the "Waterline"

AUTHOR Julian Day has walked the entire NSW coastline as close to the edge of the water as is possible.

Now he has started a new charity called “Waterline” to get as many people as he can across the nation either walking, running, cycling, paddling, kayaking, rowing or sailing.

He has also written a book entitled “Walking on a BOB or TWO” detailing his walks, and the Mystery Bay to Bermagui walk is listed as one of his three favourite half-day walks along the NSW Coast.

A child cancer sufferer, Julian has spent his life giving back to charity and this latest challenge continues his great works.

Julian has pioneered many events, including a raft race he started in the early 70’s that is still held every year and a circumnavigation of the county boundary of Oxfordshire by an amphibious craft which involved over 200 Scouts and Guides.

On a professional front, Julian has been in the IT industry since graduating from Plymouth Polytechnic in 1978.

His career of highlights in sales, marketing, customer service, software development and project management, was followed by founding Consensus in 1999.

Over the years Julian has walked hundreds of kilometres from Tweed Heads to Cape Howe – he has skirted cliffs and shores alike. Julian is further trying to raise awareness and money for a new charity Waterline. Waterline is an initiative to get people to travel the whole of Australia's "waterline" in 48 hours!

He aims to get as many people as he can across the nation either walking, running, cycling, paddling, kayaking, rowing or sailing.

Waterline will be achieved by getting everyone to do their bit simultaneously within a 48 hour period.

Waterline is a grand vision that will take place on the first weekend of September 2014 and aims to involve as many as 200,000 people each raising a minimum of $200 for their chosen charity. 

The money raised follows a 80:20 rule whereby 80 per cent goes to the charity of choice and 20 per cent into a central pool, so everyone is contributing to something much bigger, including water quality and environmental projects across Australia.

In Julian’s book – ‘Walking on a BOB or TWO’ he details a number of incredible walks with his top six being:

1. Half day walk – Crescent Head to Seal Rocks – 22km

2. Half day walk – Coffs Harbour to Emerald Beach – 18km

3. Half day walk – Mystery Bay to Bermagui – 16km

4. One day walk – Ballina to Byron – 35km

5. One day walk – Stockton to Anna Bay – 26km

6. One day walk – Kioloa to Batemans Bay – 28km

These six walks stood out to Julian because of their breathtaking views, intricate coast lines, and diverse scenery.

Julian’s book entails an inspirational story, whether it’s surviving cancer three times or bouncing back after a tumour that leaves him deaf in one ear, his strength of will and character, will impress you.

Here are the three entries for the Far South Coast NSW:

Ulladulla with Stevie Gonzalez

My route south from Ulladulla had to be on road to Burrill Lake, a distance of five kilometres, for two reasons. One was that the coastal route was circuitous and second was that I was pushing young Stevie, a guest of the Kids Home all the way alongside the road in his souped-up wheelchair.

Stevie Gonzalez suffered from a rare bone disorder and was never going to grow more than his tiny frame. He has a life expectancy of not beyond his teens. We were amazed with his enthusiasm for life. He was cheeky with a constant smile on his face and quite a wit. We donated all of the money raised on the Ulladulla leg to Yurana.

The Pacific Highway is quite narrow here and mostly one lane in either direction. Little of it has a path on either side, so we had prepared, with approval from the police and a large sign on the back of the car with Ricki driving behind me a few hundred metres to warn approaching traffic. The local media came to see us off as I pushed him up the hill out of Ulladulla. The weather had cleared overnight and it was now fresh, cloudy with sunny periods. We had only gone about 400 metres when Stevie asked to get a milk from a takeaway shop. So in we went. They knew him, of course, and donated the drink and wished us well for the push.

His wheelchair was lightweight and he also, so the challenge of pushing him all the way was achievable. For much of the way I was pushing him in the loose gravel that forms on the side of most highways. Hence continuous vibrations through the frame of the chair, but Stevie didn’t seem to mind at all. He was loving it and egged me on to go faster all the time. It was a real pleasure to get to know young Stevie that day and I admired his grit and determination of a man that would live only a quarter of my lifetime.

I had arranged for the local Rover Scouts to come out and assist in the push towards the end. They did and took turns with us all pushing the final leg over the bridge at Burrill Lake. Along the way many people came out of their houses and cheered us on and cars stopped on both sides of the road to put money in the bucket which Stevie carried or gave donations to Ricki.

We retired into the park by the side of the Lake for a long breather. Kate had followed us down and took Stevie back to town. I started my long trek down the coast to Kioloa, starting via Dolphin Point on to Wairo Beach and down to Tambourie Point. There is a vast amount of sand here between Campton Island and the mainland. It’s quite picturesque. As arranged, Ricki had gone to the fast food shop on the highway at Tambourie Lake and was waiting in the car park for me close to the beach with a pie and a beer, of course. A quick respite — then I was off on my way again.

Further down the beach to Bawley Point I made another quick rendezvous with Ricki and then my route took me via Juwin Head, Murramarang Point, Bull Pup Point and on to Racecourse Beach. Just over a kilometer in length, Racecourse Beach is one of my favourites. It is perfectly formed with headlands at either end, and is a great TWO beach.

Ricki had gone on to greet me at the Caravan Park on Merry Beach at Kioloa. When I arrived she had everything organised ready to cook an evening meal plus two longnecks of Coopers. They shouted us a cabin close to the beach, and the quality of everything was just perfect. It’s one of the nicest parks I’ve stayed at. We sat on the balcony and recounted the events of the long day and fed the many extremely friendly native birds that came and visited.

My next day was glorious in two senses — the views and the accomplishment. This is one of my recommended walks. You cannot be very close to the coast due to the cliffs for about ten kilometres, but there is a fantastic walk along the ridge which affords unbelievable views in both directions, culminating in Durras Mountain. There are many places where it was just good to stop, take in a deep breath, be happy to be alive and count your blessings. My thoughts went back to young Stevie and all the other kids at the home. I was there once; I survived, but many would not. It is good to put back, going forward.

Eventually you descend down to Durras North and can walk across the beach that blocks Durras Lake into Durras. I had lunch at the little takeaway there. The owners were expecting me and gave a large donation. Thanks guys!

Then I pushed off on to a 4-wheel drive track that follows the coast for about three kilometres, at which point I took another track that headed inland and south west. I was headed towards Maloneys Flat on the north shore of Batemans Bay where the Bay’s Volunteer Marine Rescue members were going to pick me up. I got there with about 30 minutes to spare. I had finished my walk from Jervis Bay to Batemans Bay. I threw my boots off and paddled in the shallow wash of the beach while waiting for them. Soon I saw them coming. I have great respect for these people. I’ve had so much support from them along my walks and it’s all volunteered time and effort.

It was obvious that they couldn’t beach the small twin-hulled craft so I picked up my rucksack above my head and waded into the water up to my waist as they approached. Two nautical looking guys with big rosy smiles greeted me and they grabbed the pack and pulled me on-board, all in a jiffy with no words spoken. I’d had a long day, a great walk and helped promote Fiona Lodge down the coast. Much money was raised and now for the trip over the Bay to their base about five kilometres away.

As we motored across we spoke of the challenge, of Des Philips and of Fiona Lodge. They all knew the background and all the good Bay of Dreams was trying to achieve. Great care has to be taken by all craft entering or leaving Batemans Bay due to the large sands that change at different states of the tide. This was no problems for these two experienced hands and they dropped me off safely to be greeted by Ricki and Des.

I had timed the walk to coincide with a fund-raiser for Fiona Lodge at the local Bowling Club the day after. We had a relaxing day and I prepared my speech for that night. It was quite special being introduced as the guy who’s walking the coast for Fiona Lodge. It was attended by many special guests and I remember being introduced by no other than Phil ‘Gus’ Gould. I spoke about the walk I had just completed and the next one I was planning to Eden, again supporting the Lodge.

Lakes Paradise

During the next few months we attended several other fund-raising events and I planned the next walk from Bateman’s Bay down to Eden. This one was 180 kilometres in five days, instead of the four days I took to do the same distance on the last walk. I felt quite relaxed about it, but it turned out to be a real struggle towards the end.

I started with an early breakfast at McDonalds on a wet and rainy day and had a handshake photo taken outside with Jim Johns. The land that had been purchased for Fiona Lodge by McDonalds was about ten kilometres south of Batemans Bay and we had agreed to have a site visit. Not that much construction had yet taken place, but it was worthwhile to take it in as part of my walk as I was walking directly past. I remember them being impressed with the speed I travelled. I was doing a good eight kilometres an hour — because I was fresh. I almost got there well in advance of them as they had thought I’d take longer to get there. We were to visit the site a couple of more times and also attend its opening without Des.

The coast down to Tomakin for lunch at the RSL is not an appealing walk as the beaches are mostly short and inaccessible, so I mainly kept to the road but made good progress. Pushed along by many hoots of horns by passers-by who had heard the radio coverage, I arrived at the RSL well in time. The team was already there and the manager made an announcement whilst I had lunch and Ricki did the normal thing of passing the bucket around. The local fishing clubs were in the BBQ area and donated generously. Thanks guys!

I left my supporters and crossed the Tomaga River bridge and into Mossy Point and then Broulee. South of Broulee I am finally on a decent long beach, Bengello Beach. It’s a fair stretch of a beach all the way to Moruya Heads. Just before the heads is the small aerodrome and I met Ricki at its entrance for a lift seven kilometres up the river into Moruya itself. The Monarch Hotel put us up and host Michel took us for dinner at the best Italian restaurant in town.

The following morning Ricki dropped me on the southern side of the heads for me to follow the beaches to Congo Point, Mullimburra Point, Bingie Bingie Point and then Tuross Heads. It was an uneventful morning, just walking the coast and enjoying the scenery. It is spectacular on this part of the coast and there were no BOBs around.

At Tuross Heads I had arranged for the boatshed to take me over to the huge spit of sand that continues down the coast and then onto Potato Head. Brou Beach then extends all the way down to Dalmeny with a wooden bridge joining the beach to the township over the small entrance to Lake Mummuga. As I walk and do the south coast I am overwhelmed by the number of lake entrances I am crossing. The whole coast is just littered with them. So much opportunity for recreation, nature and bird life to flourish.

It was just another five kilometres to Narooma for a rest day for us to enjoy a trip out to Montague Island. We stayed at the Coastal Comfort Motel and had a great meal at one of Narooma many seafood restaurants. There is also a large fishing fleet based here and the town is renowned for the quality of its oysters, which are a feature of its annual Oyster Festival every May.

Montague Island is a must see. About eight kilometres off the coast, it is home to many Fairy penguins and heaps of seals. It was sighted by James Cook and named Cape Dromedary, however, it was then identified as an island and named after the master of the Second Fleet convict transport ship Surprize, George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax. Montague Island is a popular tourist destination, known for its lighthouse, wildlife (especially the little penguins), and recreational activities. The trips leave mid-afternoon giving people time to see all the seals (from the boat) and then land to view the lighthouse and residence before dusk descends and the fairy penguins start to arrive. They seem oblivious to the many flash cameras going off as they perform their daily routine of awkward landing and then waddling up the hill to their nests in the long grasses.

Swimming rivers and creeks

The next day, I am off via Narooma Beach to Glasshouse Rocks and on to Handkerchief Beach. I’ve never worked out why it’s called Handkerchief Beach, however good to see something very original. After all there are many five mile, seven mile and ten mile beaches around. Half a kilometer before Barunga Point, I divert inland on to the Pacific Highway to cross the entrance to Nangudga Lake and follow the road all the way down to Corunna Lake, eventually making it back to the coast at Mystery Bay. Ricki has gone on to investigate the hidden secrets of Central Tilba with its fine produce, wines and cheeses, and old quaint houses. We are to meet up again at Bermagui at the end of the day.

I walk along the beach of Mystery Bay, named because of the disappearance in 1880 of a geologist, Lamont Young, and four others while on a boat trip up from Bermagui. Their boat was found near Mystery Bay, but with no sign of them whatsoever. After four kilometres south of Mystery Bay and Cape Dromedary is the entrance to Tilba Tilba Lake, which can be open or closed based upon the amount of rain water backed up in the Lake. I was lucky this time as it was hardly running, and I timed it at low tide.

The next five kilometres to the entrance to Wallaga Lake was on a very even beach and I enjoyed walking across the bridge at Alolele to then across the flat into Wallaga Lake Heights. It was here that as I walked, a large black and cream butterfly just kept on flying ahead of me, stopping and then flying again. It did it at least seven times as if waiting for me to catch up and then flying another five metres, or so. Where the track opened onto the road, it just waited for me at the end. I stopped and watched it from only a foot away. It waved its wings a couple of times as if to say goodbye, then flew off, up and back into the wood.

I cut directly across to the coast so I could witness Camel Rock, a spectacular rock which does looks like a camel, surprisingly. Then I proceeded all the way down Haywards Beach. An hour later I was walking over the bridge across Bermagui River and into town. Bermagui has a lovely picturesque harbour and was home to a lot of the filming of The Man That Sued God, starring comedian Billy Connolly.

I was meeting Ricki at the Horseshoe Bay Hotel Motel where we are staying that night. She was on the balcony facing the harbour, talking to some people that live just down the road from us back in Sydney. What an amazingly small world. I joined them and shared a few Coopers with them. I could feel a blister starting to form on my right heal and hoped it was not going to get any worse. Maybe some minor surgery would be needed that night?

We had previously been introduced to the manager of Bermagui Country Club, John Collins. He is the splitting image of Rowan Atkinson, the star of Mr. Bean. As a result of the publicity caused by my walk promoting Fiona Lodge he organised a pro-am golf tournament to raise funds, which to the best of my knowledge has been held ever since, even though he has moved on.

Bermagui is derived from the Aboriginal word, permageua, possibly meaning ‘canoe with paddles’. Offshore from Bermagui, the continental shelf is at its closest point to the mainland and hence there is good fishing. This closeness of the continental shelf also means that this area is renowned for cold currents, and sudden changes in water temperature.


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