Russells Needle (23-24 Sep 2023)

Another weekend, another visit to the Nattai. After the hot weather a week earlier it was nice to be out in more normal Spring temperatures (around 20°C). I’d left it a bit late to advertise this walk so there were only 4 of us – Mikal & Barrett’s first visit to the Nattai.

Views from Ahearn Lookout

Examining a recent rock fall on Slott Way

Views down the Nattai Valley

One of many crossings of the Nattai River

Tom decided he wasn’t up for climbing Russells Needle, but he came with us to find water from the side creek. So conveniently I will blame him for our failure to realise we hadn’t turned into the side creek, but were just in a side channel of the Nattai River, where we all filled up water and had a drink. A few minutes further walking upstream showed up our mistake – the side creek we had intended to fill up from was flowing nicely so we were able to refill, but not much we could do about what we’d already drunk!

Mikal & Barrett enjoying some water from a side creek

Mikal, Barrett & I made quick work of the ascent to the needle. Popping out on top to the sudden vast exposure was a bit of a shock, but we quickly adjusted and enjoyed some time lounging about on top.

Mikal & Barrett on the summit of Russells Needle

Mikal & Barrett on Russells Needle

Looking in the other direction

The section of the Nattai between Slott Way and Russells Needle was a quite rocky without many sandy banks, so we were pleased when we found a nice flat one to call home for the night. We had a pleasant happy hour and evening around the camp fire.

Very pleasant campsite

The next morning we had an enjoyable amble down the Nattai. A lot more camping options as we headed downstream!

Beautiful section of the Nattai River

Tranquil spot near Emmetts Flat

We left Tom to take the easy way out up Starlights Trail, while the remaining 3 of us headed up Troys Creek Fire Trail. It was easy enough to locate at the bottom but some of the open slopes were well and truly covered with regrowth which made slow-going when we lost the beaten path occasionally. A layer of wattle flowers and dust had us all sneezing as we pushed through and stirred it up. The regrowth eased off as the track changed direction and before too long we were almost at the top of the climb. We found an acceptable shady spot with filtered views for lunch, before putting our heads down for the fire trail march back to the car park.

Lunch views from near the top of Troys Creek Fire Trail

Our march was temporarily interrupted as we waited for Tom to join us at the Starlight track/Nattai Road junction. He had been expected to be be ahead of us – but with grevilleas to photograph and lookouts to visit he’d somehow managed to end up behind us. But soon we were reunited and finished the final section of the walk to the car together. A lovely weekend in the bush.