An early 8.30am start on the Old Illawarra Highway with the National Parks Association and a group of 15 walkers from both the NPA and Illawarra Ramblers, we set out north on the Forest Trail from Maddens Plains from a service trail.
This trail is an interesting walk that is mostly single track, a fairly easy trail that takes you to some gorgeous views and meanders through various types of bush and immense biodiversity.
Along the way there is sporadic signage which points out some interesting trees and facts along the way.
The trail is reasonably well marked and there are some small bridges over creeks and sedgeland that make it a comfortable walk.
There is a some minor rock hopping but if you take your time its nothing too strenuous and adds to the adventure.
Of particular interest is the dense Gymea lilies that submerse the paths along the way, which keeps it fun as you never quite know what is ahead of you.
Banksias, cabbage tree palms and the lovely angopheras that glow with their purple and bright orange bark are all common here too. I love this path for its ever-changing scenery and interesting pathways its never the same for long.
The lookouts on this walk are absolutely spectacular one of my favourites looks over Clifton soaring above the Art School.
There are plenty more majestic coastal and escarpment views along the way and you can duck off a side track to see a few sneaky ones too.
This track is long at 12.5km and with a good lunch and drink stops will take up to six hours to get through. Not ideal for younger children or the unfit, in addition the cliff edges are not fenced and could be dangerous.
The walk handsomely rewards you at the end with the spectacular Mount Mitchell overlooking glorious Stanwell Park. If you are lucky (yes we were!) you can watch the hangliders over Bald Hill.
This is the ideal spot for lunch, then you can turn around and head back alternatively the track continues through to Stanwell Park joining onto the Wodi Wodi track.
A big thank you to Col, the team leader from the National Parks Association, and the great crew who walked on Saturday.
For more information about walking with the National Parks Association Illawarra Branch click here.
Visit the Bushwalk the Gong Facebook page here.