South of Taree and on the shores of Wallis Lake, this park is 6 557ha in size
and comprises most of the Wallingat State Forest 48 and part of the Bachelor
State Forest 689. We accessed it from the Lakes Way via Coomba Road, 30 km South
of Forster. This road runs along the Western shoreline of Wallis Lake and there
are numerous B&B homesteads and other low-key tourist facilities. These
would be key potential supporters for the park and should be contacted to
ascertain their support.
From Coomba Road we took the Thomas Road into the park. All sign posts are
still those of the previous Forestry regime but clear. New signs will need to be
put in place. Off Thomas Road we turned right into Rocky Gap Road and this took
us direct to the old Sugar Creek Flora Reserve. This was dedicated in 1970 and
previous to that it had received light selective logging in the 1930s and
suffered a wildfire in 1968. It had been the site for ongoing ecological
research by the UNSW for many years too.
The main species in this rainforest and moist eucalypt forest include flooded
gum (eucalyptus grandis), coachwood (ceratopetalum apetalum) and an understorey
of cabbage tree palms (livistona australis).
The area was part of the Bulahdelah Management Area and managed through an
Advisory Committee. This created "reference stands" of forest types
but as the area was only 87ha in size these stands must have been rather
We walked the Cabbage Tree Palm walk, a distance of 1.7km in a circular path
up to Back Road and along Hotel Creek. It was a wet track, covered in palm
fronds and stunning in its wet beauty. High up above in the canopy we found
Topknot pigeons and down in the Cabbage Tree palms there were Striated
Thornbills and White Browed Scrub Wrens.
At Whoota Whoota Lookout the view was spectacular. To the north it looked
directly over Wallis Lake and the length of Booti Booti National Park was below.
Nestled under Cape Hawke was Forster, a short drive away. Beyond that we could
see all the way to the three Brother Mountains. The southern views extended to
The road to the lookout was steep but negotiable by two-wheel drive vehicles
and while we were there several did indeed call in. There is an erosion channel
down the centre of the road and I can imagine that this road requires
considerable resources to maintain it to a standard suitable for tourist
traffic. However the NPWS must maintain it and I wonder if it can access extra
resources from the local tourist industry and related authorities. This site is
a jewel and would be a regular place for Forster’s tourists to visit at
all times of the year.
Down by Wallingat River we walked a poorly maintained track along the river
from the boat ramp to the camping area. As this area is an old launching place
for timber barges I would like it to be interpreted for this heritage feature.
Local residents at Bungwahl could be invaluable in this exercise and local
historical societies may be willing to prepare pamphlets based on oral history.
The picnic area and the small car camping area seems more than pleasant,
tucked in by the brackish waters of the Wallingat River. It was not at its best
when we visited. The area had suffered heavy rains over the previous three weeks
and the ground was quite boggy. Nevertheless there were several camps
established and Forestry had provided good facilities. Day picnickers and
campers were separated by a short distance and toilets were of good quality,
both at the River park and at the old Flora Reserve. They were clean and
Away from these tourist sites the park is clearly heavily modified from its
recent timber industry. There are large stands of trees of similar age;
blackbutts, tallowwood and flooded gums. Most of these were effective
plantations dating from 1968-74. This silvicultural practice must have been
disastrous for biodiversity and the park will take many years to develop a
Birds seen in the park include: kookaburra, noisy miner, topknot pigeon,
eastern whipbird, grey shrike thrush, grey fantail, yellow robin, yellow faced
honeyeater, little friarbird, striated thornbill, white browed scrub wren,
welcome swallow, golden whistler, eastern spinebill, white throated treecreeper,
eastern rosella and pied butcherbird. This list was collected between 11.00am
and 4.00pm on a clear day. It was quite warm and a stunning day for seeing this
Maps: Bulahdelah State Forests, Wootton 1:25000 and Coolongolook