The councillors who trekked through Wollondilly’s wilderness on the weekend are still nursing sore bodies and blisters but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The flora and fauna they saw were “amazing” and thankfully all who went came out “alive and uninjured”.
Mayor Judith Hannan and husband Neil, councillor Matt Gould and son James, councillor Blair Briggs and wife Jacqui walked more than 50 kilometres across the shire over the weekend to raise awareness of Wollondilly as a bushwalking destination.
“The walk was absolutely amazing and I enjoyed getting to show the other councillors and staff the beauty we have out there,” Cr Gould said. “Now everyone appreciates what we are trying to do, which is rewarding.
“The walk showed that our [natural environment] was similar to the Blue Mountains but still unique.
“Wollondilly has the potential to be an eco-tourism mecca in its own right and a significant driver of the local economy.”
The core group and Wollondilly Council’s director of planning Chris Stewart left Warragamba at 7.30am on Friday, October 20.
The group walked through easy undulating fire trails from Warragamba to Werombi and made their way to Oakdale Workers Club where they spent the night.
On Saturday the group visited Yerranderie and finished at Thirlmere Lakes on Sunday at about 3.30pm.
Hume MP Angus Taylor joined the group for their overnight stay at Oakdale and walked with them for most of the morning on Saturday.
Councillors Matthew Deeth, Robert Khan and general manager Luke Johnson joined the group for part of the walk.
Mayor Hannan said the toughest day was Friday because of the rain but thankfully the weather improved on the weekend.
“We saw blue gum, acacia, waratah and mountain devil,” she said.
“We saw every species of wildlife except for a koala. We saw kangaroos, goannas, lizards, snakes, a wild pig, a wombat, a dingo, emus and lots of birds in kookaburras, lyre bird, cockatoos and black cockatoos, honeyeaters and many butterflies.”
The group only made one wrong turn and walked an extra four kilometres but otherwise stayed on course.
Cr Gould and Hannan said the landscape changed regularly allowing them to see different plants and animals.
Most of the trails can be walked on now. The council plans to work with Mr Taylor and National Parks and Wildlife Service and Water NSW to clearly identify the trails.
In the long-term Cr Gould hopes a big loop walk will be established.
Cr Hannan thanked the staff who put in many hours of work to plan for the trip and the support team who helped them throughout the weekend.