The SEANA Campout at Mallacoota – a report

What a great choice of location. Mallacoota provides a wealth of experiences for whatever your ‘field naturalist’ interests might be. One hundred and fifteen participants from Victoria and NSW took part in the 2005 Spring Campout organised by the Sale and District Field Naturalists’ Club.

Organisation. Experience, planning, preparation and very hard work were quite evident from the way everything worked out so smoothly. Campout organisers Norma and Peter Garlick utilised he experience they had gained at previous campouts and then worked very hard to organise the event. S&DFN club members also helped, to a greater or lesser extent, both in preparation and at the event.
Keeping in mind that Mallacoota is so far from where we all live, preparation involved members travelling to Mallacoota and making many phone calls to get everything organised. The assistance of local Mallacoota residents was also invaluable in the planning and activities.

Which Excursion? Having excursion preferences nominated (and paid for) at the time of registration proved an efficient management system – although there were still some people who wanted to change their preferences at the time of the Campout. Excursion participant lists were prepared in advance and displayed at the Golf Club.

By providing the same excursions on both the Saturday and Monday, participants were able to broaden their choices and also increased their opportunity to receive their first and second preferences of activities. With the exception of the boat trips all excursions left from the same convenient location making it simpler for participants to join their convoy. Excursions left at staggered times (ten to fifteen minute intervals) with members on hand at the rallying point to ensure all excursions got away promptly. Excursion routes had been surveyed in advance by the organisers, leaders were briefed and so the (colour ribbon coded) convoys travelled well. All of the walks provided many interesting features and were not too long or arduous. The weather was ideal and nobody was lost.

The Ticks.The Paralysis tick is present in the district. Participants received printed information and first aid advice prior to coming to Mallacoota. Information was again available at the venue and a verbal reminder was given at the first evening assembly. A few people did catch a tick and these were dealt with competently and without fuss.

Program Local guides and SEANA members led the excursions and were assisted by the Sale & District Field Naturalists Club members. Excursions conducted on Saturday 15th were repeated on Monday 17th October.

Boat Trip (bird watching)
Pittosporum Walk
Birding with Bob Semmens
Casuarina Walk
Shipwreck Creek and Heathland walk
WW 2 Operations Bunker
Geology with Noel Schleiger
Double Creek Arm Walk
Genoa Peak and Genoa Falls
Excursions on Sunday 16th were half day with a free afternoon.
Old Coast Road Walk
Betka Beach and Quarry Beach
Gipsy Point
Genoa Falls
Maxfields Rainforest and Mallacoota Lookout
After Dinner Speakers;
David Hollands – “Owls, Journeys around the World”
Bob Semmens – Mallacoota – a slide presentation
Glinda Major – History of Mallacoota

Venue/ meals and accommodation. The Mallacoota Golf Club was a very comfortable and conveniently located venue. Hospitality was excellent, the dining room was reserved for our evening meals; the ‘conference’ area (separate from the dining area) was supplied with the registration desk, boards and tables for displays/notices and items for sale with tea and coffee available. Seating for the after dinner activities was arranged in advance by the Golf Club staff. The Club manager, the chef and staff were happy to meet specific needs regarding serving meals and time commitments. Meals were a la Carte with a menu to suit all tastes and dietary requirement

Acommodation. Participants organised their own accommodation, breakfast and lunch and this arrangement seemed to be convenient as Mallacoota had a range of reasonably priced accommodation available and there were suitable places to stock up on supplies if you hadn’t brought your own or ran low on anything.

Summing Up. Overall the general feedback of the camp out was one of “a good time was had by all”. Everyone had their own highlights; conversation was lively and excited each dinner time describing the day’s adventure, new sightings, photo opportunities or memorable experience. Some participants had travelled long distances to come to the Campout; several people had come from NSW, from Swan Hill and from the Western District. Many took the opportunity to arrive a few days early or remain a few extra days and travel further afield or just remain in the area to explore some more of “Magnificent Mallacoota”.