22-Mar-2016 -- I had been looking forward to reaching this point, because it would represent a rare accomplishment in the Degree Confluence World - namely, successfully reaching a point that had earlier thwarted Rainer Mautz. Rainer’s attempt - in November 2012 - was from the south, along Sherwood Creek Road from the town of Glenreagh. Unfortunately he ran into a gate, with a “Keep Out” sign. So I looked for a different approach.
Like Rainer, I was trying to reach the trail - clearly visible on satellite imagery - that runs just 200 meters north of the point. I noticed that this trail appeared to start - at an underpass under the railroad tracks - at 29.99774°S 152.98985°E. So, my first goal was to reach that point. One possibility would be to start from the south - as Rainer had done - but walk alongside the railroad track (rather than continuing along Sherwood Creek Road) until I reached the trail. (As an aside, the earlier successful visit to this point - by Garry Mace and Lisa Nielsen in 2001 - was also from the south, but appeared to involve a lot of unnecessary ’bushwhacking’.)
Rather than attempt the long walk alongside the railroad tracks, I chose instead to try to approach the trail directly from the west - from the turnout off Orara Way at 29.99824°S 152.98207°E. This is only 750 m from the trail (and 1.7 km from the degree confluence point), but there’s a river (the Orara River) inbetween. Would I be able to wade across this river?
I had earlier ‘scouted out’ this area a little while driving from Sydney to the Gold Coast - in both February 2015 and February 2016 - but in each case did not have enough time to make a full attempt. This time however, I decided to allocate a full day to this task, by driving (3 hours each way) from the Gold Coast.
From the aforementioned turnout off Orara Way, I found an old path that doglegged to the south underneath the power lines, and then left this path to walk north-eastward, across a large field filled with long grass, to reach the Orara River. Fortunately I found that the river was easy to cross; wading across it, the water came no higher than my calves. I then reached the railroad tracks, and then the trail (signposted as “Muddle Gully Fit”, whatever that means) that starts nearby.
Walking along the trail was easy, but several times I encountered large
golden silk orb-weaver spiders that had constructed (striking-looking) golden webs across the trail. I had read that these spiders are venomous (though not lethal), so I took care whenever I encountered one of these webs.
As noted earlier, the trail passes just 200 m north of the degree confluence point. As I left the trail, I was expecting an easy hike through flat terrain, so I was surprised to encounter granite formations as I got 100 m away. The point itself lies on top of a plateau. A yellow Banksia plant marks the actual point.