For the first time since I came home, I need my spotted gum walking stick as I feel my way down the narrow track to this beach of boulders. It’s like no other beach I’ve seen on my coastline: the rocks are large and chunky, with only occasional patches of sand, shingle, and shell debris. Some are rounded-rectangular, some smooth and eliptoid, some pitted and honeycombed, some patterned with apricot shapes or whitish splotches. Many carry an embedded line that wanders over gaps. Sometimes oyster shells cling to their undersurface, or a dead crab lies orange and exposed. It’s low tide and I clamber cautiously out onto the flatter slabs closer to the sea, where green weed grows luxuriantly and a living crab scuttles for cover.
I return to the track, uneasy through grass. It’s steeper than I remember and paved with elegant interwoven droppings of Norfolk pines. As I walk back towards the car, I realise I’ve edged my way north and staggered up a different track. I walk into a plantation of grand pines, not exactly natives, but providing pleasant deep shade and wonderful bark. My son tells me such trees were used as navigation markers for ships at sea.