PORT STEPHENS EXAMINER

By Sam Norris

 

Whale watchers will no longer need to do harm to a Boat Harbour reserve to catch a glimpse of the majestic mammals.

The Noamunga headland has grown in popularity as a whale watching destination in recent years. Both residents and visitors would stumble along the ridge of rock and stunted shrubs.

"We had a few greenies say we should have left it," Boat Harbour Parks and Gardens 355 council committee chairman Peter Murray said.

"It was looking like a rabbit warren with holes everywhere and it was a trip hazzard.

"Now we have a beautiful path the elderly and even toddlers can walk along and people aren't damaging the flora."

The committee approached Port Stephens Counci in 2015 and applied for various grants.

Finally, it received a grant of $20,000 through then federal member for Paterson Bob Baldwin, in 2016.

Work commenced in July 2016 and three days later a gravel path was formed to Noamunga headland.

Some materials were left over which enabled the committee to expand the project.

Following a further three months of hard work 50 square metres of eroded ground was transformed into a walking track from Telegraph Point to Iluka Reserve with the assistance of the Green Army, Anna Bay Scouts, Tomaree High School and volunteers.

Port Stephens Council helped with further improvements like landscaping, a free electric barbeque with shelter and directory signage.

The project was a further enhancement of a path, gardens, bench and artwork installed at Iluka reserve by the Port Stephens Suicide Prevention network, for people to go for solace.

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson cut the ribbon on the walk on Friday. "This is truly a project greater than the sum of its parts," she said.

"The path, the seats, it's a place for people to look at nature, including whales and dolphins, a place to reflect and that really helps with suicide awareness."

Mr Murray said the path had been warmly welcomed. "Even in the past few days, we've been out installing signs and people - here to watch the big seas - have said how great it is," he said.

"The response has been incredible."