Naturally The Best

Photo: Patterns in rock platforms near Redhead.

The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available for everyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea and sky and their amazing life.

– Rachel Carson, distinguished biologist.

Inspired by these evocative words, John Le Messurier shares some of the best natural attractions of the Hunter Region.

Held in trust is an astonishing variety of landscapes and seascapes that Nature has gifted to us. We’ve got the lot: a rich Aboriginal heritage; a wonderful mosaic of sun-washed beaches; coastal waterways; rugged mountains and ancient rainforests; subalpine areas and sculptured sand dunes. And we have sea caves, volcanic caves, limestone caves and evidence of past glaciers.

Anytime I spend scuffing my toes in beach sand between Newcastle and Catherine Hill Bay is a powerful teacher for me. It is a coastline full of surprises, revealing something of the earth’s past recorded in its exposed rocks.

South of Merewether baths, the banded cliff strata are layers of time with a fascinating story to tell. Different coals seams interbedded with freshwater sedimentary rocks reveal much of the story of the geological structure of the Sydney Basin.

The dense forests that once grew in the ancient swamps eventually produced the coal seams we see today.

All this activity occurred around 225 million years ago. The fossils seen along this walk are annals of life written in rocks. Sir Edgeworth David, an eminent geologist, described the strata of the Newcastle coal measures as, “probably the finest of its type in the world”.

Glenrock State Conservation is a beautiful place where streams tumble as a waterfall and spread into a placid lagoon sheltered by a sand barrier. Its gully has a pathway where brush turkeys scratch for food in a seaside rainforest that is the rarest type of rainforest in the land…

Story and photo:John Le Messurier.