Beaches: Lake Mombeong Camp to Swan Lake Camp (16.5km)
This was probably the most annoying day of my walk. It started to rain before I even left the campsite. The next problem was that, according to my map it would be a walk along the beach for around 15km, but before I even arrived back at the beach, there was a track marker pointing to an inland track.
I found that on the beach section of the GSWW, track signage is often confusing and didn’t match with the map.
But in the end it’s hard to get lost, because you can always just follow the beach. Which I did, ignoring the unknown inland track, and after a few minutes I faced difficult rocks on the beach. Because of the tide I had to climb over them and it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I think the inland track might have allowed to avoid the rocks and reaching the beach at a later stage only, but I didn’t try it so I can only guess.
Strong rain started, and combined with the strong wind on the beach, the rain was almost horizontal. My clothes were wet and my mood got worse. I just focussed on moving on as quickly as possible to get as much distance done before I would get tired from walking in the sand. Meanwhile the weather kept changing all the time.
It didn’t help that the sand was really deep that day and I once forgot to pay attention to the waves, which left me with wet boots.
The beach seemed endless. And without any track markers or indicators for the distance walked, I was never sure how much distance I had already covered. At one point I started to notice the wind park at Cape Bridgewater on the horizon. Did I walk too far already? I knew there was a windpark at the Cape, but I didn’t expect to see it already, it seemed so close.
I decided to climb the sand dunes to see what’s behind, maybe it would give me some clues on where exactly on the track I was. I noticed some dune buggy tracks in the distance, and on my map the Swan Lake campsite was located next to a dune buggy area. I was a little confused and checked the timestamps on my photos to find out how long I had been walking. I wasn’t sure if I had maybe missed a track marker that led to Swan Lake, and I thought about walking inlands towards the dune tracks I could see.
In the end, I decided it was best to continue on the beach for a little longer.
Finally, I arrived at a clearly visible inlet where track signs pointed to Swan Lake camp. But from the beach to the camp it was another 2km to walk. It was following some of the dune buggy tracks.
The area was absolutely stunning. Giant sand dunes combined with what looked like volcanic rocks, very scenic and it made up for all the pain that it was to walk there. I saw one dune buggy driving around and it sure must be one of the coolest toys to have.
I had some trouble finding the walkers campsite, it is quite hidden behind the campground of the Portland Dune Buggy Club. A visitor there pointed me into the right direction. Once again I was the only person on the walker’s campsite. While setting up camp I only met a friendly day walker, and nearby on the club campground there was one family with a camper van and dune buggy.
The campsite was quite nice and quiet, but again it was all covered in millipedes, just like at Lake Mombeong. I don’t know why they all seemed to concentrate around the walkers campsites.
Wildlife seen: Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Black Wallaby, various sea birds on the beach.