Monday, 28 January 2019

Three Bays Walkway (Green Head)


A short but pleasant walk trail, the Three Bay Walkway links up several bays in Green Head. Starting at Anchorage Bay, the trail follows sealed paths to excellent lookout points and the beautiful beaches of the area. Centred on the excellent Dynamite Bay, the trail ends at the Cliff Park Memorial Garden and the wide, calm waters of South Bay. An enjoyable coastal walk suitable for all times of the year


Distance: 5 km (return)
Gradient: Some minor descents and ascents, particularly north of Dynamite Beach and towards South Bay. Relatively flat otherwise
Quality of Path: Largely clear and well maintained, mostly on hardened surfaces
Quality of Signage: Clear trailhead at Dynamite Bay but little directional info along the walk. A lot of didactic panels along the way provide information about the ecology, geography and history of the area
Experience Required: No Previous Bushwalking Experience Required
Time: 60-90 minutes return
Steps: Very few steps; would be wheelchair accessible for large sections.
Best Time to Visit: All Year
Entry Fee: No
Getting There: From Indian Ocean Dr, take The Lakes Rd west towards Green Head, turn right northwards along Green Head Dr and then turn left onto Johns St at Anchorage Bay. Walk Trail begins at the park and heads southwards


Having hiked continually through 2018 and with a fairly epic Christmas spent in Tasmania exploring Frenchmans Cap, Alissa confided in me that she was a bit burnt out from hiking and wanted a break over the hot Western Australian Summer. With our love of snorkeling having been reignited in 2018, we spent most of our weekends out snorkeling along the coast instead of hiking, and we planned the Australia Day long weekend to be mostly about swimming with Sea Lions at Jurien Bay. While in the area however, we agreed to tackle the short Three Bays Walkway in Green Head given it is only 2.5 kilometres long one way and something we'd attempted on our way back from Kalbarri in June 2018 but decided not to complete it due to the amount of seaweed that had been washed up on the beaches as a result of the stormy weather in the weeks before.



The Three Bays Walkway's northern end commences at Morphett Park immediately adjacent to Anchorage Bay. Oddly, there is no clear trailhead here or at the southern end of the walk for that matter. The track here is a hardened but fairly natural looking surface as it leaves the park and heads towards the first lookout point along the coast.



The lookout point takes in the views of Anchorage Bay. The bay is a popular boat launching area, with the calm, shallow waters near the shore being ideal for swimming.



The track continues southwards as it heads towards Rocky Bay.



At Rocky Bay, the hardened trail continues above the beach, however it is possible to walk along the beach instead. Alissa chose the former option at this point while I continued along the limestone shelf along the bay. The overall appearance of the limestone immediately drew comparisons with sections of the coast in Rottnest, particularly the excellent Karlinyah Bidi along the north coast.



From Rocky Bay, the track continues towards the trail's centrepiece - the beautiful cove of Dynamite Bay.



A sheltered bay enclosed by limestone headlands, Dynamite Bay is the jewel in the crown for the settlement at Green Head, and has been called one of Australia's best beaches - even being ranked 19th in a list of Australia's 101 best beaches. When there are beaches like Turquoise Bay, Lucky Bay, Elephant Cove, Greens Pool and Fitzgerald Beach to choose from in Western Australia alone, the ranking seems less objective than an intentional tourism booster, however even a cynic would have to admit it is worth checking out if in the area.



From the northern end of Dynamite Bay, the trail rises up an elaborate series of ramps through the dunes towards the main car park.



Finally, the trail's original trailhead appears, and indicates that the first stage of the walk was the stretch from Dynamite Bay towards Anchorage Bay. This gives some indication of why there is no trailhead at Anchorage Bay, however it also represents a bit of a shortsighted view regarding the trail as the trailhead is now located in the middle of the walk rather than at one end.



Given the temperatures were in the high 30s on the day of our visit, the waters of Dynamite Bay were extremely inviting, however Alissa and I were keen to continue and get the walking done before any snorkeling later in the day.



The beach features a number of excellent picnic shelters, and it is clear that the area has been designed to encourage tourism numbers to the area.



At the southern end of the car park, a new, more detailed trailhead shows the entire walk from Anchorage Bay to South Bay, which is in fact five bay instead of three. It is a shame that this trailhead is not located at Anchorage Bay or South Bay as it would make the walk a lot more user-friendly. At current the trail seems more like a linking path for people from Dynamite Bay to visit the other bays that a walk trail to be explored from end to end.



Continuing along this newer stretch of trail, the Three Bays Walkway leads to a lookout point overlook Dynamite Bay. This is an excellent vantage point as it allowed Alissa and I to truly appreciate the crescent shape of the bay.



From the lookout, a spur trail runs towards to the southern point of Dynamite Bay.



This provides another great view of Dynamite Bay in all its glory and is well worth checking out.



Alissa and I particularly enjoyed the small architectural detail of the retaining wall on the southern end being shaped in a way that mirrored the headlands at the northern end.



Heading back along the spur track, Alissa and I noticed the unnamed beach just off the trail. The limestone shelf along here again bore a strong resemblance to Rottnest, especially the coastline near the Basin.



The trail continues onward towards Hunters Bay as it heads high along the coastal strip.



At Hunters Bay, a series of steps lead to the beach below.



Listed on the trailhead as a good fishing spot, hunters Bay features a more solid limestone shelf along the coast. Once again, the coastline conjured up images of Rottnest as well as the more limestone dominated section of the Cape to Cape such as the Blowholes near Hamelin Bay.



Back on track, the Three Ways Walkway disappointingly leaves the beach to follow the pavement along the road. This is easily the least exciting part of the walk, and one that seems odd considering that the trail could have continued around closer to the shore for a bit further. It almost seems like the trail makers ran out of money or the will to finish the track to the same standard by this point and went with the most expedient rather than most interesting option.



From the pavement, the track heads along a vehicle track spur trail to a lookout point.



Overlooking South Bay, the views were marred at the time of our visit by the Sun being directly over the beach and being overly glarey.



The trail reaches its conclusion at South Bay as it passes through the Cliff Park Memorial Garden and its wishing well.



The wide South Bay is an excellent end to the track, with the shallow waters clearly being very popular as a spot for boating and swimming. From here, it was a simple matter of Alissa and I retracing our steps back to the car and the end of our first Western Australian walk for 2019.

The Three Bays Walkway was something I'd heard about from WA Trails Forums as something of a success for the area. The walk - particularly the original northern end right through to the lookout south of Dynamite Bay - is an enjoyable short stroll and certainly brought two tourists (Alissa and I) to the town twice to check it out. Dynamite Bay is definitely the star of the walk, and is an area I'd love to visit again in the future. I do however think there are some issues with the trail as an experience, mainly the disappointing last leg to South Bay and the fact there is no obvious trailhead at the start or end. This makes it less user-friendly an experience as a walk unto itself and makes it seem more like a linking footpath to be walked from Dynamite Bay. Regardless of its flaws, the Three Bays Walkway is worth checking out if in the area and a nice short option that is still suitable through a hot Western Australian Summer.


2 comments:

  1. Looks like one I might get Sam out onto...we're heading over again next Christmas:) That 'un-named beach' you refer to looks like it would make for great snorkelling. Keep up the good work guys.

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  2. Hello Long Ways Better, thank you for taking the time to visit our Walkway. I belong to the Greenhead Coastcare Group and this has been our project for the last 20yrs. We had so much damage in the area from people doing as they please we thought this was needed to protect our beautiful coastline. looking at past photos it is pretty amazing how the flora has come back with our assistance. Why the path did not continue around the Coastline to Cliff Park (which we had wanted) it was advised by the experts that the limestone cliffs were not stable enough to be putting paths on Your comments about trail markers etc are valid as the path has only been opened late 2018 and not all of the directional signage etc was ready.They are here now and going in tommorow Yay!!!
    Thank you again for visiting.

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