Upgrade planned for Yacaaba Headland Trail

The National Parks and Wildlife Service met with local environmentalists and Worimi Elders in Tea Gardens to discuss the new Yacaaba trail. (L-R): Ranger Katrina, Richard Streamer, Christian Patteson, Auntie Dr Liz McEntyre, Ranger Deanne; Uncle Denis and Auntie Fran Flaus.

WORIMI Aboriginal Elders met with representatives of local environmental reference groups and the Manning-Great Lakes Area National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) last week to discuss essential upgrades to the Yacaaba Headland walking trail.

The NPWS has secured funding to improve and maintain the Yacaaba walking track for the long term, continuing the work culturally attributed to the Worimi people for many thousands of years.

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“Generations of Worimi people have cared for Yacaaba Headland, and are collaborating with National Parks to protect this culturally significant area for generations to come,” Worimi Elder Auntie Dr Elizabeth McEntyre told NOTA.

“The upgrade of the very poor walking track is a collaboration between National Parks and with Aboriginal people and groups, including the North Worimi Country Aboriginal Reference Group in Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest.”

“We thank local Rangers Katrina and Deanne for continuing to strongly advocate for this important work to be completed, to protect Worimi cultural sites, prevent further erosion and destruction of Yacaaba, and for more locals and visitors to experience new scenic views on a more stable track surface.”

The grand headland, which presides over the southern end of Bennetts Beach, hosts spectacular views of what locals consider the best beach and islands in the world, with vistas clear across Worimi Country/Port Stephens and beyond.

Yacaaba’s peak affords hikers a magnificent, unparalleled view in all directions, but getting there has become fraught with hazards.

“Presently, the track to the summit is steep, unstable, and badly eroded due to poor drainage making some sections unsafe for public use,” Auntie Dr Liz explained.

“Walkers are also widening the track, and damaging native vegetation to avoid the eroded areas, while the last repairs to address the drainage issues were in 2007, however this failed, resulting in ongoing erosion.”

Three independent consultants were engaged by National Parks to provide track assessment, repair options and cost estimates to enable the best way forward to upgrading the track.

A NSW-based business has been chosen to complete the track-work between March and August 2024, with a Worimi cultural induction taking place in early March.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Yacaaba Headland sits like a leviathan resting at the southern end of Hawks Nest’s Bennetts Beach and Jimmys Beach, and is a popular hiking destination.

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