When a wallaby loped across the dirt road, my heart leapt. It used to be common to spot wallabies cavorting on the beach at dawn, but it had been years since I’d seen one alive. I’ve been walking up the beach to the North Wall in New Brighton and back through the forest on North Head Road for almost twenty years. The day I encountered the wallaby, I noticed the whipbird calls ricocheting across the canopy. The melodic bird songs seemed especially loud. I watched an echidna waddle into the brush.
It was not until I reached the gate that I realised what was missing. No utes barrelling past in a cloud of dust. National Parks had closed the road temporarily. For a few weeks, it truly was a Sanctuary Zone.
I’d like to propose the gate be closed more often, perhaps only open on weekends. Endangered birds make nests in this precious park. There are plenty of other beaches that can be reached by car. With the road closed to vehicles, walkers and bike riders could travel in peace and the wildlife have respite. If we step quietly, we might even see a wallaby!