Croajingolong National Park: Shipwreck Creek to Thurra River Hike – Day 3 – Thurra River

Welcome to the final day post on for the Shipwreck creek to Thurra river hike. Day 3 of my extended hike along the wilderness coast in the Sandpatch area of Croajingolong National Park.

The third and final day in which we would would both walk the longest distance we have ever covered by foot in a single day, a whopping 22km over Sand and rock crossings, and it was good if quite tiring.

If you haven’t read the preceding two days, I suggest you start here

Hike Details
Hike Details
Number of Days3 day hike - (Day 3)
Length & Time:Day 3: 22KM, approx. 8 - 10 Hours.
Difficulty:Hard
Trip Type:One-way
Start Location:Wingan Inlet Campground
End Location: Thurra River campground
GPX Data:Download
Permit Required:Yes Contact parks office at Mallacoota
Closest Town:Cann River

The final day in my opinion was not as difficult as Day two. The toughest of the rock crossings had been completed, and Wingan campground through to Thurra river, is pretty much all flat, although its a very large amount of walking on Sand. After waking in the morning I was sure that I was going to find it hard to move; incredibly it seemed that those golden dumplings and some kind of magical restorative properties, because I actually felt good. (Could be all that exercise I had been doing?) Heading out along the board walks, we were delighted to experience the walk back to the beach in daylight with Morale at a new high. I was unable to secure any spare batteries for my GPS so unfortunately again the GPS was not going to be much help. I did however have the foresight to bring my phone along with me, (yeah, yeah, I’m one of those people that carry their phones hiking. You just never know when you might need it! #caseandpoint!?) I turned off all non-essential features and ran Runkeeper for the entirety of the day. So with that in mind I was able to provide you with start and end points for each day, and only had to reconstruct one day worth of GPS info.

Wingan Inlet Boardwalk

I strike a dashing pose

Toward Rame Head 2

Rame head; you don't look so bad from this angle...

 The first 10 Kilometres are actually quite easy although you will spend some time fighting with the bushland along the track over Rame head. Unfortunately the bush has reclaimed large portions of the track here too, meaning that you have to be especially careful to keep an eye on where you are waking. Even with the over grown track, Liz and I managed to chew through the first 6.5km before lunch, enjoying the sight of stretching beaches in the distance. We quickly ducked behind a dune to eat and avoid being blustered and battered by the wind for the next 20 minutes while we scoffed down our Nasi Goreng.

trail marker at rame head track

A trail marker at the point that rame head track meets the beach

After lunch, we started along the beach depicted above and below, this would be our entire world for the next few hours. Depending on your constitution, this component of the walk could require lots of rests. We found that we suffered from an attrition to our speed over the walk until we were walking almost as slow as 2km an hour on flat sand. I would say that it is very important on the sand to have regular rests and you won’t know you’re knackered till you stop.

Ben walking down beach

Sand in-front, Sand behind, sand on my behind.

The beaches along the coast here seem to stretch on forever, it does tend to play with your head a little, by roughly mid-day we could see our final destination, this was a blessing and curse, we knew where we were headed, and could see the land we needed to cover, but it did feel at times like we were basically not moving. The day itself is a great test of your mental and physical fortitude, and asks a lot of the hiker. There is a heavy going component of rock crossings for about 2km at 10km into the day (i.e. Km #11 and 12 are rock crossings), this precedes the longest stretch of beach I have ever walked (something like 12km of unbroken sand.) with a full pack.

Toward Point Hicks

Me: "It doesn't look that far away..." Liz: "what doesn't?"; Me: "The lighthouse, see that spec in the distance?" Liz: "..."

Ben traversing a dune

There are several dunes that split stretches of the beach. They are also the only thing that lets you know you're actually going anywhere.

There are some incredible views each time you hit a new beach, with each dune opening up a new angle as you walk along the semicircular bay.

Beach shot

Back toward Wingan

Large Sea bird prints

The claw prints of a very large seabird!

 

As we closed with Thurra, we realised we hadn’t taken many photos all day, I took a few just before we walked back into thurra camp, but what you see above is the majority of the photos taken that day. We saw some incredible vistas and some huge Sea birds as well as quite a few dingo tracks, though no actual dingoes :( .

Toward Point Hicks sunset

Toward Point Hicks lighthouse at Sunset, taken at the mouth of Thurra River

We came into camp around 8:30pm on that day, as the sun was setting, within an hour we were chowing down on a very tasty roast, Thanks Mum and Dad for that one epic foresight!

This was an excellent hike and a fantastic experience for me, I haven’t done much coastal hiking, but let me tell you; when its 35+ degrees and you’re walking along the beach in full sun, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a sea breeze. I will be doing more coastal hikes, with the Great south western walk next on the agenda I think!  I hope that you have enjoyed reading this, taken something from it and maybe if I am really lucky, you will be inspired to do it yourself and share it with us here!

I would like to finish by saying, if you have any questions, please let me know via email or in the comments, I try to respond almost immediately which I can usually do; and will definitely do it within days. (Unless I’m out hiking!).

6 Responses to Croajingolong National Park: Shipwreck Creek to Thurra River Hike – Day 3 – Thurra River

  1. Hi Ben!

    I’m planning to do this walk in April!

    How much water do you think I should bring and the capacity for refills. Did you use up all your 14 Litres or do you think you were carrying too much?

    Cheers,
    Tony.

    • Hi Tony,

      Liz and I carried about 16L between us (Yeah, I carried the 14L majority). This was pretty much on the dead for the time of year, I finished my water about 5KM before the end of the walk and shared some out of Liz’s camel back for the final leg. I am a pretty religious water drinker, I really do stick by my 2 sips principle.
      In April, I would imagine this would be more than sufficient. Most likely you will have access to water at Wingan Inlet which will mean carrying considerably less water, though I would definitely check with the Mallacoota parks office first as its my understanding the wellspring there has dried up permanently. A pretty good rule of thumb for that time of year would be around 2 – 2.5L per day, but thats if you’re used to the kind of exercise the walk is going to be. Its going to come down to what kind of food you eat and how many people as well. If you’re eating fresh food, you’ll find you need to drink less water than if you’re eating straight up freeze-dry or dehydrated food. Its my strong opinion that you’re better of carrying an extra litre if you’re not sure as a reserve. I recon that 15L would be about right for two people assuming that you have water at both ends and are used to the level of exercise the hike will be.

  2. Hi Ben,
    Its Tony, remember me from last year at Cathedral Mountain Ranges?
    I have a camping suggestion for you, this may be a bit too adventurous, but in Portland (six hours drive from Melbourne) near Cape Bridgeworth, the Great South Western Coastal walk starts. It extends for 250 in a loop. With pre-set camp sites (areas cleared for camping). Along the way there are numerous interesting things as well as a breathtaking view of the sea. I highly recommend you going, so check it out!

    • Hi Tony,

      Of-course I remember, I have considered doing the great south western walk. I don’t know that I would have time to do the entirety, but there is the distinct possibility that I could do the costal component. It’s a good suggestion and definitely on my list. That being said, you should see my list, its huge!

      Thanks for saying Hi; always good to hear from people I see out there!

  3. Hi,
    I”m looking at doing this trip with a number of people in November. I’m a little concerned about the ocean crossing. How far / deep is it? what is the current like? And is it possible to organise a charter pick up? I may try contacting some places in Mallacoota to organise, as I really don’t want to take a group of people walking through a large river mouth / inlet.
    Cheers
    Ness
    Founder, Vic Outdoor Adventures.

    • Hi Ness,

      Its not that far, call it 20M; the major challenge comes from the depth of the water, it fluctuates as will the current and will depend on the day if the tide is coming in or out, and whether there has been much rainfall. I wouldn’t like to speculate too much on the depth or current in November. When we did it, in January, it had been quite dry and the water only came up to my middle chest height ~ armpits; which is roughly 150cm. I have heard of the depth reaching as much as 2M there.

      Organising a charter to ferry you across could work, though its a long drive/sail for the person coming from Mallacoota and might cost a few bob, you’d probably be in more luck (though again its a roll of the dice) trying to get somebody from Wingan inlet to let you across.

      Another option is that if your group is big enough, you can carry a packraft which would allow you to ferry two people across at a time, while it might be painstaking it could relieve some of the challenges.

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