The beauty of our coastline should not be taken for granted. All too often we head inland seeking adventure and remote locations. The coast, however, has a more expansive wildness to offer. Hat Head National Park is a perfect example with its long, undeveloped stretches of coast where dolphins surf endless breaks and vast beaches are broken by rugged forested headlands, where whales pass within a whisper of the rocks below and birds of prey drift by at eye level cruising the on-shore winds.
For our most recent trip to this park we explored more of the rugged, rocky headlands by creating a little loop walk that could easily be done in a day but which we turned into an overnight excursion just because we like being out there for as long as possible!
Our walk started and finished at the small coastal town of the same name: Hat Head, population 326, a classic sleepy old coastal village with minimal development. The starting point was The Gap carpark and from there we walked west along the mangrove lined creek towards the turnoff to Hungry Gate Campground. From here it was a matter of following the road towards the campground, about 4 km, and despite the trudge along dirt road we enjoyed watching superb blue wrens in the roadside scrub. White cheeked honeyeaters and eastern spinebills were feeding on flowering banksias and a beautifully striped goanna scuttled off up the trunk of a nearby bloodwood.
Past the turn off to the National Parks' camp ground we side tripped up to Kinchela Trig Lookout, although views were limited by the encroaching coastal heath. Continuing to the end of the dirt road we eventually made it to Connors Walking Track. The track led us out to Kemps Corner, a grassy open headland offering views southwards down a 15km long beach to distant Crescent Head.
Back at the car we dumped our packs but kept walking, adding on the Korogoro Loop Track around Hat Head headland, another 3.2 km. This rugged little track gives stunning coastal views and clumps of flannel flowers dotted the steep hillside. The south western slope has a pocket of rare littoral rainforest and in whale migration season walkers can watch the humpbacks from the many vista points along the track.
Certainly, with such an abundance of wildlife and scenery, Hat Head National Park is a coastline that doesn't let you take it for granted. Always changing, forever interesting, filled with wildlife living on the currents of their landscape. There is no doubting the wilderness effect here. There is no doubting the beauty that works on you.