The Heysen 78: Black Friday

Friday, November 25, 2016 – 17.28 km

The day began with road walking, then a fence-following drop to Tunkalilla Beach. The angle of descent was absurdly steep and I fell once. At the bottom, I met three older men with large and heavy-looking backpacks. I couldn’t hear them well over the sound of the ocean and missed where they were headed. Hopefully it wasn’t something like ‘to our ice cream truck parked just over that hill, do you want some too?’.

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The walk down Tunkalilla Beach was 5 km. I was surprised to encounter another group of section hikers – that’s like Black Friday turnout for the Heysen Trail. They were headed to the parking lot further along the beach. The map trivia mentions that ‘Tunkalilla’ is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place of bad smells’, and while there’s no offal washing up from a whaling station anymore, the western end of the beach did smell dodgy. I think it was the huge piles of algae washed ashore.

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After the beach came a scenic cliff section where I saw a big black snake. It wasn’t moving, so I backed up to detour around it, not an easy task on the steep slope. Luckily it slithered away with my retreat and I was able to stay on the trail.

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The trail entered Deep Creek Conservation Park and I was treated to single-track.

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I’m spending the night at Tapanappa Campground, which requires sites to be booked online. You must do this in advance since there’s no reception (Telstra anyway) at the campground, and I made my booking from a hilltop near Balquhidder Campsite. Unfortunately the site I chose (13) was gross, with garbage, toilet paper in the bushes (IT WAS 30 SECONDS FROM THE OUTHOUSE) and toothpaste stains. Choosing a site with the capacity for campervans/a larger number of people was probably a bad decision. My only consideration when booking was flatness.

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