Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Shipwreck Trail

From 8-12 November we hiked the Shipwreck Trail along the Sunshine Coast, starting at Port Alfred and walking mostly along the beach to the Fish River estuary. Overall it was beautiful as well as very windy.

We slept over at Bellevue Accommodation the 7th, in a very comfortable house. Packing was a mission but 11:30pm that night my parents could finally get some sleep as well. The next morning, on my dad's 44th birthday, Dave (the manager of the trail) drove us to Port Alfred beach where we set off with a strong (and rather cold) wind in our face. Since we were slackpacking, we only walked with day packs as Charlie (the slackpack manager) drove our heavy luggage and food from hut to hut. Here is the trail's website:

On dad's birthday, at the starting point.

The first day of hiking was 5km along the beach, with big sand dunes on the left and the ocean on the right.

 Walking in the wind.

The view from the top of a massive dune we climbed by mistake. That's what happens when you think you see the path at the top.... and you don't read the instructions. We had lunch there.

After the hang glider-dune climbing we turned inland and hiked about 3km to Milkwood Hut, a cozy little place hidden away in the bushes.

Break time.

Our own little pond and bench.

 The boys loved the milkwood tree.

Impalas and Nyalas. We saw quite a few at a waterhole.

We got surprise cupcakes from a local shop owner's wife because of my dad's birthday, and champagne because we were the first Shipwreck hikers staying at Bellevue.

The second day was along the beach for quite a stretch again. We turned inland after 6km, crossed a road, and hiked through a variety of different scenery for 4km on our way to the Treehouse hut. We walked through natural forest, savanna, a bit of grassland and bushveld. Lunch was fun as we stopped next to a river (I nearly fell in).

Cooking 2-minute noodles on a tiny hikers gas stove.

Arriving at the Treehouse was the coolest thing ever; it was a treehouse in a very literal sense. A big treehouse. About 6m up, built on top of Yellowwood trees, it had three wendyhouses and a big platform.

It's so well camouflaged we nearly missed it.

Right under it was a stream, and along the path a (natural) pool with a swing. We had a lot of fun swimming, despite gross mud and who knows what else on the bottom.

Looking for the Treehouse.

The pool.

 Maarten in action.

They liked they hammocks... did I. 

Mom stuck to chairs though. Notice we are amongst treetops !

The next day, we left reluctantly in a drizzle. It didn't bother us though, as it created a beautiful atmosphere in the forest with water dripping everywhere.

We hiked about 7km the third day, with a light drizzle on and off. It didn't take us long to reach the Three Sisters Hut. The building was used as a military marine radio tracking station but has been closed down for a number of years. It was clean, dry and smelled like a hospital. The drizzle and rain continued.


Since we were there so early, we decided to walk to Seafield for a milkshake after lunch.

Interestingly enough, every time we went outside it stopped raining.....


We also had a really special experience on this walk. On our way there, we saw a little penguin. It was standing alone and looking rather depressed on the beach. Dave had told us to call him if we saw one as they weren't supposed to be there (there's not enough food for them). We called Dave, and ended up carrying the little guy to the nearby beach toilets where the conservancy people (Fauna and Flora) picked him up. He was really cute and obviously hungry.

The fourth day the rain had stopped, and we had a nice hike of 13km in total, partly along the beach and then up across farmland to Stone Cottage, a really old cottage built by the Clayton family (British Settlers) in 1848.

Pirate caverns.

Treasure hunters.

The treasures. 

Lunch between the pine trees.

Tortoise visitor.

What can I say.  I need my beauty sleep.

Stone cottage.

166 year old stairs. 

One beautiful bathroom.


The last day, we visited the Great Fish River lighthouse (it was closed, but still impressive). For the remaining 9km, we strolled along, sat at pools, and had a good time until 1pm when we had a delicious lunch at the Fish River Diner, the end of the trail.

The lighthouse.



 Mom's occupation - it was a fairly easy trail so we could afford to stop a lot.

Poking at jellyfish.


We want to THANK all the parties involved eg. landowners, farmers and trail managers, in making trails like these possible and accessible to nature lovers, to be able to enjoy our country's diverse fauna and flora.  For more info on other slackpacking trails available have a look here:

1 comment:

  1. Hallo daar, ons is weer tuis na weke se heerlike toer met twee Hollandse besoekers en ek kon nie wag om jul blog te lees nie. Die staptoer klink en lyk wonderlik. Sulke interessante oornag plekke. Moontlik 'n opsie vir oupas en oumas ook want afstande is doenbaar en rugsakke lig. En julle lyk so gelukkig.


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