Port Macquarie to Crescent Head – 42.5 km (by bike)
We are on the traditional territory of the Dunghutti People
Today was Wayne’s birthday and we celebrated with Helen over breakfast at Casualties.
We had planned a short distance again today as the route included another long stretch of unsealed road and we are also a bit restricted in terms of accommodation options in this section of the route.
Just out of the town we took a short cable ferry trip over the Hastings River (no charge for bikes or pedestrians). Soon after disembarking, Lois and Wayne were surprised by a kangaroo hopping down a driveway and across the road in front of Wayne’s bike! We all saw more kangaroos later, not in the park where we were expecting, but grazing on farmers’ fields.
The unpaved Maria Road runs for 24km along the western boundary of Limeburner’s Creek National Park and then along the eastern boundary of Maria National Park. Limeburners refers to the early days of European settlement when oyster shells from the creek were burned to produce lime for mortar.
The road surface was a mix of corrugations, rough gravel and, for a time, graded dirt. It was slow and quite tiring from constant jarring, as we traversed ranch land, scrub, coastal swamp forest
and large plantations of small trees. We learned later that these were tea trees, used for the production of two essential oils. The effectiveness of the oil for the treatment of skin infections is questioned in a Wikipedia article.
Relieved to be back on tarmac, we were soon in Crescent Head. As we were too early to check in to our motel, we had some lunch at Barnett’s Bakery, threw some laundry into a machine at a laundromat down the street, and then cycled down to the beach for a view. From Little Nobby, an endless white sandy beach stretches towards Hat Head to the north and, to the south, the rocky cliffs of the headland. Crescent Head is famous for its legendary “right hand surf breaks”.
An early dinner of fish (flathead and NZ hoki) and chips at Hooked left us feeling the need to get back on our bikes!
The first successful land claim under the Native Title Act was made by the Dunghutti people in 1997, concerning a parcel of land at Crescent Head that had been used for residential development. The Crescent Head Agreement recognizes the native title rights of the Dunghutti people, including the exclusive right to possession, occupation and enjoyment of the land and, where title has been extinguished, to compensation, in this case, $6.1 million. Since 2014, the Dunghutti people have been working on a blanket land claim for all vacant crown land in the Dunghutti tribal area which extends from the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park at the head of the Macleay River, north to Yarrapinni Mountain and south as far as Walcha, inland from Crescent Head.