A ceremonial Welcome to Country by Aunty Colleen Dixon and Smoking Ceremony by Nathan Lygon today acknowledged the official opening of the Wharf to Wharf Walk, connecting two of Australia’s most historic wharves – Tathra and Merimbula.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick and Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain opened the walk at an event at Tathra Wharf.
“Once just a series of unconnected tracks between the two wharves, the 27km coastal walk now links the existing trails through public coastal reserves, flora reserves, beaches and Bournda National Park,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“The walk has been brought to life by Mark Darby from the Tathra Lions Club and Tracy Fleming from Pambula-Merimbula Lions Club, backed up by a tremendous amount of volunteer time by both clubs to clear and connect the tracks and develop trail markers.
“Tathra Lions Club provided seed funding and both clubs sought grants from St Vincent de Paul, the Australian Lions Foundation and through joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding arrangements.”
Tathra Lions Club president Paul Falvey said the Wharf to Wharf Walk demonstrates the resilience of regional communities, particularly Tathra.
“The tracks between the two wharves have been popular and well-used by generations of local and visiting hikers all year round,” Mr Falvey said.
“The Wharf to Wharf Walk website is the entry point to planning your walk, with navigational track notes and maps, day walk suggestions and information on access points, parking, camping, accessibility, safety and more.”
Pambula-Merimbula Lions Club president Gary Stilling said the walk showcases the Sapphire Coast’s stunning geography, from hard surfaces to rock scrambles and soft beach sand.
“Experienced walkers can complete the walk in a day and others can enjoy it many sections at a more leisurely pace,” Mr Stilling said.
“The southern half has more access points and the northern half has more of a ‘wilderness’ feel and is more challenging.”
Member for Bega, Andrew Constance congratulated the volunteers behind the Wharf to Wharf Walk who worked tirelessly to make this project a reality.
“This is a tremendous asset for the local community and will be a tourism drawcard for the region with its stunning views, short and longer hiking options, and wildlife and whale watching opportunities,” Mr Constance said.
Federal member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain said the walk is testament to the vision, passion and dedication of individuals and groups of the Sapphire Coast community.
“The Wharf to Wharf Walk crosses the ancient lands of the Yuin people, traditional custodians of the land and sea country along which the walk follows, and the significance of these sites remain today,” Ms McBain said.
“This is a project that has already united our community and is one of many projects across the Bega Valley that is playing an important part of our healing from the Black Summer bushfires as we celebrate the place we are lucky enough to call home.”
The Wharf to Wharf Walk is supported by Council, the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service and community groups, including Landcare, Conservation Management Networks, Far South Coast Birdwatchers, Panboola, Wetlands and the National Parks Association of NSW.
Today’s event was also supported by the Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council, Bournda Environmental Education Centre, Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness, the Bega Valley Bushwalkers, the local historical societies, Tathra Wharf Museum, the NSW Discovery Rangers and The Wharf Local.
The Wharf to Wharf Walk is a Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund project through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.