The walk starts at the end of Andersons Rd near Middle Beach. You can leave your bike at the end of the road.
From 30 Nov -0001, last checked 07 Feb 2000
This is a short walk that can be done in a couple of hours or even less. From the end of Andersons Rd, take the marked trail to the left. This winds through the palms and eventually branches at a set of stairs to the left which head down to Middle Beach. The track straight ahead is the one to follow.
Along the way you will have passed plenty of muttonbird (Flesh-footed shearwater) burrows. This is the best place on the island to watch the muttonbirds come in to land, just after dusk. They begin to circle as it is getting dark, and they use the paddock off to the right as a landing strip. Most of the burrows are up the hill ahead, so it is worth bringing a torch and going out one night to watch.
Continuing up the hill, the path weaves in and out of the palms. After about 250m, there is a turn-off to the left to the Valley of Shadows. Note this, but keep walking, as you will take this track on the way back. After a further 100m, the track opens out onto the grassy clearing known as the Clear Place. There are great views of the south end of the island, including Intermediate Hill and Mt Lidgbird, and if the weather is clear you may also be able to see Ball's Pyramid in the distance.
Retracing your steps, take the turn-off to the Valley of Shadows, so called because of the mottled light that falls on the valley floor on a bright sunny day. There are many large Banyan trees, with their branches sending down aerial roots that form cage-like structures. Banyans are one of the "strangler figs", whose seeds can germinate in the branches of other trees, sending down roots which eventually strangle the host.
From the Valley of Shadows you can retrace your steps back to Andersons Rd, or if you are feeling adventurous, follow the Valley down to the rocks. From here it is possible to scramble around the rocks back to Middle Beach. Depending on the tide, the scramble may be quite difficult and involve a bit of rock-climbing or jumping. In the right season, hundreds of sooty terns nest on these rocks and if you are careful you can approach to within a couple of metres of them.
Once back at Middle Beach, there is a set of stairs leading back to the main track, and from there you can retrace your steps back to where you left your bike.