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Surprise Beach South Coast Track

Osmiridium Beach to Granite Beach

South Coast Track

The Hike - After putting in the hard yards over the first four days, Day Five could almost be thought of as a rest day in comparison. With only 10.5km of walking to get through and a couple of beach sections, this would be the easiest day of the whole trip and a chance for us to spend some quality time at a campsite for once. With no real rush to get going, I enjoyed being a toasty burrito in my sleeping bag, thanks to the coolest night we had experienced so far. With a packed crowd at the Osmiridium Beach Campsite, we had a bit of a chat to a few people over the course of packing up our gear, with a lot of the focus being on the quality of the dark brown creek water we were all sourcing near camp (see the top of the first photo below). 

With some Aquatabs to treat the water and Staminade powder to change the taste, it wasn't a problem for me, especially after I inserted the bladder into my pack and could no longer see the odd brown/green colour I was drinking. With everyone ready to go just before 9:30am, we left the cosy thickets of the Osmiridium Beach Campsite and set about crossing Tyler Creek to reach the spur trail back to the official South Coast Track route. We weren't that far behind a couple of groups that were on the same schedule as us and as we entered the muddy part of the spur trail, we could see them ahead. Reaching the sign pointing down to Osmiridium Beach, it would be all new track from here and with blue skies ahead, I was excited for the short and relaxing day ahead. After climbing up the hill to reach the track junction, we enjoyed a bit of flat walking through a mix of buttongrass plains and low scrub. It didn't take long before we reached some mud but compared with the following day, it was shallow and easy to navigate. 


Coming across the upper part of Tyler Creek, this was the spot that the guidebook suggested walking to in order to fill up your water bottles, instead of the water near camp. Donovan went for a bit of an explore here to fill up his LifeStraw bottle and concluded that this part of the creek was no better than the campsite and it would have been an annoying walk to reach here and find this information out. The open plains walking was a lovely way to start the day and it was through here that we passed a large group that turned out to be one of the many companies that organise guided hikes along the South Coast Track. We also spotted more evidence of wombats in the form of square poop but unfortunately we weren't lucky enough to see one over the seven day trek. Savouring the last views of Pindars Peak to the north, we entered the start of a really nice forested section that would last all the way until Surprise Beach. It was a nice length of open walking to start the day but we were all excited to enter the forest as it typically provides better scenery. 

We weren't disappointed, with plenty of ferns lining the trail, mature trees and a variety of greenery within a few hundred metres of exiting the buttongrass plains. This also marked the start of the first of two hills for the day, each getting over a headland between beaches along the coast. The gradients were relatively easy compared to previous days, so we meandered along the track admiring the fantastic scenery around us. As we headed deeper into the forest, we started spotting more fungi and the first bigger clumpings of the giant ferns along the South Coast Track. As we climbed higher, the muddier track disappeared and was replaced with something much easier to hike on thanks to the smoother surface that was akin to what you'd expect on a more tourist friendly trail. Reaching the end of the main climb, we were deposited onto the ridge line running through this area and one of the best sections of walking for the day. It started with the some bigger trees and then as we continued on, it felt more like dry sclerophyll forest on a scale we hadn't experienced so far.


I love seeing large trees up close and this was some of the best old growth forest I'd ever walked through. As I walked through here I was reflecting on the fact that most forests in Australia have been logged at some point in time and true old growth is a pretty rare thing. This was exactly the type of landscape I was hoping to experience on the South Coast Track and I count myself very fortunate to have walked through here. The talk amongst the group centred on how much this felt like walking in the Walpole Wilderness and I can see where the others were coming from. The size of some of the trees through here was breathtaking and can be compared with the Tingles you find around Walpole in terms of girth. There is one particular example that has been hollowed out and Bronwyn could quite easily stand inside, with a lot of room to spare. I was in awe as I wandered through here, staring up at the massive trunks extending skyward or admiring the heft of the limbs coming off some of the trees.