Kiama, Part 3.

Budderoo National Park – Minnamurra Rainforest

Hi There,

Following on from previous posts from Kiama, the Budderoo National Park is not far from Kiama on the south coast of New South Wales.  It’s a beautiful place with waterfalls and lookouts and a rainforest to boot as well.

Rainfall here approaches the 2 metre mark per annum, that’s 2000mm.  In other words a lot of rain and its evident here in the lush landscape of ferns, vines, rainforest trees and more ferns.  Ferns growing on ferns, on rocks, on trees, on everything in fact.  A very different landscape.

Above is a typical scene in this rainforest, huge vines scrambling everywhere, strangling everything looking for sunlight.  A constant theme in any forest is the search for sunlight by plants.  Trees reaching for the sky seeking that elusive substance.

Asplenium australasicum or commonly referred to as Bird Nest Ferns were evident everywhere.

These are actually Epiphytes(plants that grow on other plants-but not parasites).  They have a lovely silky smooth glossy green leaf.  Quite a spectacular plant and readily available in most nurseries.

A few more in some trees below!

And some more for good measure!  This rock was incredible-countless ferns and mosses all over it!

Check out the rock below, it has ferns running over it by the look of it, amazing!  I think it is Arthropteris beckleri also known as Hairy Climbing Fishbone Fern.

One of the trees in this rainforest is the Jackwood(see picture below) or Native Laurel, which is also known as Cryptocarya glaucescens which grows to about 35 metres tall.  Click HERE for more info on this tree.

I just realised that you can’t see the top!  Not a great photo but gives you a sense of scale!  Another commonly grown plant in gardens is the Elkhorn which is an Epiphyte as well.  scientifically known as Platycerium bifurcatum.  The one below is quite a size!

Another great tree was the Strangler Fig, Ficus oblique , which is also known as the Small leaved Fig.  The leaves are the only thing on it that are small!

And again!

It was very hard to get all of this tree in the frame, what a monster!

Some nice buttress roots

I think we will progress to smaller things just to calm ourselves down a fraction.  Below is the Fragrant Fern, Microsorum scandens which is clambering over a boulder.  Looks quite lovely don’t you think?

Now for something out of the blue and a slightly different track we came across a very interesting bird which can be difficult to see in its native habitat.

The Superb Lyrebird, Menura novaehollandiae .  Click HERE to find out more about this master of hiding and mimicry.  To hear its amazing vocal chords, click HERE.  I was quite chuffed to see this bird in the wild, a first for me.  One normally heres them if you can be sure of their birdsong but hardly sees them.

Not great photos, but in this case they will have to do.  Check out the amazing tail they have.  Below you can see the landscape and how green it is, a couple of patches of red reveal the Illawarra Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolius.  Click HERE for more info.  This was as close as I got to them.

Some more ferns, this could be Blechnum neohollandicum , Prickly Rasp Fern.

This may be the Sickle Fern, Pellaea falcata.

Some nice lacy effects from under a tree-fern

The one below is the Giant Maiden Hair , Adiantum formusum.

Heres another lovely side view of the Birds Nest Fern.

Some vines now to make it a little scary!

Look out!  You don’t want to stand still for too long Here!

Here are some roots of a strangler Fig and more vines!

Hmmmm.

A truly remarkable environment for adventitious plants.

Another remarkable tree here is the Australian Red Cedar, Toona ciliata var. australis.  This tree is now scarce as it was highly sought after by the early settlers and the early timber industry as the wood was highly sought after for its fine grain.  It has beautiful dusky pink-red trunks.

Very Majestic.

And another one.

This one below has some ferns growing on it.  I think they may be the Rock Felt Fern, Pyrrosia rupestris.

Ill finish our tour here with a couple of general shots in the Minnamurra Rainforest. Go and have a look at it if you ever get the chance!

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Until next time.

Cheers!

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A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 10

Kathleen Springs

Hi There,

Having spent 2 nights at Kings Canyon, it was time to move on towards the ultimate destination in the Northern Territory, maybe even the whole of Australia??  If you’re not sure what that might be stay tuned for part 11 while we have a quick look at Kathleen Springs.  We stopped here while travelling onto that great destination.  Kathleen Springs is an easy 2.5km return walk through lots of interesting flora to a permanent spring.  Along the way there are remnants of old cattle yards which show its previous history and descriptive marker boards relating to Aboriginal activities here.

img_2276img_2281Below is quite a bizarre looking plant called the Orange Spade Flower, Hybanthus aurantiacus .  This is a small erect shrub to about 40cm and quite widespread although I only saw it in a couple of places.  The flowers have five petals, four very small ones and one large one shaped like a shovel!!

img_1571-1

Here is a closeup of the shovel!

img_2271Here’s some more sea ripples, although the indigenous people have a slightly different story about these ripples.

img_2293If you remember in Part 9, we saw some of these ripples on the Rim Walk at Kings Canyon.  See below for a different take on these!

img_2292I don’t particularly want to meet Inturrkunya!!

img_1568-1 img_2278Golden Orb Spider with its young, we get these at home as well although this one was massive!  Below we have Hibiscus leptocladys also known as the Variable Leaf Hibiscus.

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It grows to about 1.5m or occasionally to 2m and is quite widespread in the Northern Territory.

img_2320 img_2314Another piece of rock…

img_2326This is Abutilon leucopetalum, also known as Lantern Bush, grows to about 1m or less.

img_2317img_1560-1This one I think is Swainsona flavicarinata, Known as Swainsona or Yellow Keeled Swainsona.  This is a prostrate herb.

img_2296 img_2295More rock!

img_2294This one is quite possibly Indigofera basedowii, a perennial shrub to 1 metre with grey-pubescent foliage with inflorescences to 11cm long.

img_2304 img_1535-1Here’s a close-up of the flowers

img_2306Some more plants

img_2321 img_2303A small creek

img_2299This one is Senecio gregorii , alson known as Annual Yellowtop, grows to 40cm high and is an annual.  Widespread throughout all states.

img_1563-1This is Scaevola parvibarbata a perennial growing to about 50cm, widespread on sandy areas.img_2318img_1560-1 img_1525-1So there you have it, a short interlude at Kathleen Springs on our way to another great destination in the Northern Territory!

 

Cheers!

A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 9.

 

Kings Canyon

Hi There,

Now I never thought that I would do a nine part and counting series on our three-week holiday  to the Northern Territory, but here we are!  No need to panic just yet, I can assure you that it wont be long and we’ll be on the home stretch.  Meanwhile the stretch of road we were facing now was the Meerenie Loop.  A 154km stretch of dirt road which is a short cut to get to Kings Canyon, you can go the long way its only about 500km!  For the Meerenie loop you need a permit as it goes through some Aboriginal Land Trust area, also a 4 wheel drive vehicle of some description would be beneficial although not mandatory.  I’ve taken the next bit from The Outback Travellers Track Guide Book for Alice Springs to Yulara.  “The Meerenie Loop is very undulating with many crests, dips and creek floodways.  This area is mainly gravel with some rocky sections but is often plagued with corrugations and dusty conditions”.

img_1974To say it was corrugated and dusty would be a slight understatement to say the least!  The first section was an absolute quagmire of corrugations and at a slow speed you felt like you were on some sort of manic rollercoaster, every bump was a shudder of immense proportions.  This was going to be great for another 140 kilometres.  It did improve though.  We decided to see what would happen at a faster speed!  Well it was an improvement at a speed of 75-85kmh, mind you it was now a constant smaller shuddering.  I can only describe it as a cat the size of an elephant purring beneath your car with the reverberations oozing up into the vehicle and oneself.  Everything was just a constant shudder!

img_1992 img_1977You can see above the dips and creek floodways, these were the worst.  As you approached you would slow down to get across them and occasionally some were quite deep with pot holes in them which the front tyres would slam into with a tremendous thump.  It all sounds bad but it was an enjoyable experience and the scenery was quite beautiful.  Look at the rolling seam of rock in the left side of the photo above.

img_1979 img_1993There was a couple of classic road signs we saw, both on 44 gallon drums, one before a corner “LIFT UM FOOT” and the other around the corner “PUTTUN BACK DOWN”.  I  was too slow in getting any shots but click HERE to check them out!  What a classic!.  Having stopped for lunch and then continued on our way we soon came to Ginty’s Lookout.

img_2004In the distance you can see George Gills Range and Kings Canyon is at the right hand end of this range in these photos.

img_2005I think the boys enjoyed a chance to stretch and let off some steam, also gave me a chance to quickly check the vehicle and camper trailer were all in one piece.  There was a slight problem with the bike rack attachment on the camper trailer, parts of it had come loose and needed replacement, luckily I had spares!

img_2006Of course there were plants to admire, check out this pretty Erimophila!

img_2001Cant remember how long it took to complete our journey along the Meerenie loop but we had finally arrive at Kings Canyon.  Just in time to set up camp and then watch the suns rays set on the entrance to the canyon.

img_2014

img_2025The next morning dawned fresh and bright and away we went to get amongst the Canyon.  Kings Canyon is part of the Watarrka National Park and sits at the west end of the George Gills Range.  The walls in the canyon are over 100 metres high and make for some great panoramic views.  Here we go on the rim walk which is highly recommended, give yourself at least 4 hours to truly appreciate this place and watch out for the opening climb, it will test you!  Make sure you stop on the way up this straight up climb to admire the views, just don’t let on that you’re puffed!

img_2031Here’s one of my scenic views(puff,puff,puff) lucky there was some plants to look at!

img_2036img_2041 Above is Tall Mulla Mula also known as Pussytails or scientifically as Ptilotus exaltatus.  Below is a Blue Bush. Maireana sp, I’m not sure which one, there are 57 specie endemic to Australia.img_2039 img_2040Now that I’ve got my breath back, lets continue up the steep climb!

img_2038 img_2042In the above photo in the middle on the right you can see the car park receding in the distance.  Below you can see the canyon walls starting to come into view.  The river of green at the bottom is Kings Creek, providing the life blood for those plants.img_2048

Once you get to the top the rest of the Rim walk is quite easy and breathtaking at the same time!  Firstly you are walking through scrubland and rocky formations before you really get anywhere near the rim.  Mind you, you don’t want to get too close to the edge!

img_2057 img_2060 Picture below is of Sandstone mounds which are quite prolific up on the top of the George Gills Range.  They are known as Mereenie Sandstone which has been cross bedded.  Basically over time(lots of time) wind has deposited sand in different directions(see description in next photo).  The domes you see have been eroded along joint-bounded blocks with rain and wind eroding the corners and sides of the blocks giving us these domed shaped sandstone mounds.img_2090 img_2061img_2080 Looking closely below you will see Rhinoceros Rock.  Well that’s what I called it!img_2143These two photos you can see those Sandstone domes I mentioned earlier.img_2084 img_2103Now we come to parts where you need to hold your breath as you edge closer to the edge.

img_2088 It is a shear drop off the edge there!

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Kings Canyon sits in what is known as the Amadeus Basin which is a intracratonic depression covering approximately 170,000 square Kilometres in Central Australia.  Interpret that as an inland sea I would think! Now I will quote the Geology of Kings Canyon National Park by L. Bages, report 4 for the Northern Territory Geological Survey.  “The oldest exposed rocks in the park are those of the shallow-marine to continental Cambrian Pertaoorrta Group.  This group is conformably overlain by the marine Cambro-Ordovician Larapinta Group which is conformably overlain by the shallow-marine Mereenie Sandstone.  The sequence was gently folded, faulted and partly joined during the Alice Springs Orogeny between 400-300 million years ago.  Since the Carboniferous, the area has undergone a long period of erosion.  During the Tertiary, the climate was tropical; fluvial sediments were deposited in places and silcrete and ferricrete were formed.  During a period which lasted from the late Tertiary to the Quaternary, acolian sand dunes and sheets, which now cover large areas in Central Australia, were deposited under arid conditions.” Did you get all that??  Basically means what a fantastic landscape we are looking at now!! Here we have the ocean floor with ripples in it, incredible!img_2117img_2097Above we are looking out towards the car park and yes, the views are quite beautiful.img_2104 Yes you are correct, those are people  on the opposite side of the canyon looking over the edge!  No fences here!  Scary!img_2100img_2085Not a great photo below but just showing a chasm(Joint) and the cross bedding(layers) in the sandstone. img_2098Lets have a look at a few of the plants up here.  The Desert Heath Myrtle, Thryptomene maisonneuve were in full flower.  These Thryptomenes are widespread throughout arid Australia and can grow to 1.5m high. img_2056

The ones on top of Kings Canyon in the open were quite close to the ground to get out of the wind!img_2197Below is Macrozamia macdonnellii, The Macdonnell Ranges Cycad, interesting to see cycads out in arid country!img_2063 This one below looks like some kind of Hibbertia sp.  Also know as Guinea Flowers, pretty nether the less.img_2065 Not sure of this one, obviously situated in the Daisy family, could be a Calotis or a Minuria or some form of Brachycome or I could be totally off the money.  Nice flowers though!img_2066This is Pandorea doratoxylon which we saw at Serpentine Gorge .img_2075 This is the stunning Holly Leaf Grevillea, Grevillea wickhamii.img_2070 img_2071A shrub or small tree 1-4m or even 8m tall in places, seen in Western Australia and inland Northern Territory.

img_2151We’ll leave the plants alone for a little while and head back into the scenic elements of Kings Canyon.

img_2207Below we are looking into the Garden of Eden, an oasis in the middle of Kings Canyon fed via Kings Creek which creates a sublime environment in the heart of this arid country.img_2210img_2146Look at the reflection in the water, beautiful! img_2159Here is a stand of the Macdonnell Ranges Cycads.

img_2136 img_2130Check out these reflections!  Not Bad!

img_2165 The one below is actually taken looking directly into the water!img_2171Staircase leading out of the Garden of Eden and on towards the rest of the Rim Walk.img_2124Here we are around the other side of the rim.  That edge to the right of those people is a straight drop of about 100m or more and then maybe double that to Kings creek  at the bottom, scary stuff!

img_2224 img_2213 On this Sandstone cliff you can see the horizontal layers that have been laid down over time.img_2221Wow!

img_2230 img_2226A bit more information above and no we didn’t smash any rocks to check the insides!img_2228 The colours were truly amazing!img_2227

The photos below show to good effect the Sandstone domes and layers

img_2214 img_2202 img_2201 img_2110I like this one above, it shows a couple of fault lines running in different directions.  We are now on our way back towards ground level and the finish of the Rim Walk, a few more plants have caught my eye!  I think this one is either a Goodenia,  Lechenaultia or Velleia sp.  Pretty little shrub on the sandstone hills on top of the canyon.

img_2096This one below is quite possibly Goodenia cycloptera.

img_2198Plants have an amazing knack of growing anywhere, have a look at this fig below.

img_2234This one below looks like a bit of an oddity and haven’t been able to work it out yet!

img_2225A few more pics of Ptilotus exaltatus.

img_2263 img_2265Here’s a good photo of one we’ve seen before, Solanum quadriloculatum.

img_2180This is Kestrel Falls, apparently where lots of Kestrel’s roost and also some good waterfalls here during the wet season.

img_2255A few more plant photos showing the tough environment here.

Well I must admit that’s about it.  It was a big day and everyone enjoyed it even though we were tired!

img_2219 img_2207It was good to sit down again!

img_2269Cheers!

A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 5

Alice Springs Desert Park

Hi There,

Its been a few months since I last posted about our trip to the territory, so I thought it might be time to get back in the groove.  Another great thing to do while in Alice Springs is to visit the Alice Springs Desert Park.  Here you will see an amazing array of Flora and Fauna which is indigenous to the Northern Territory.  You will need at least a 1/2 to a full day I reckon and whatever you do, do not miss the nocturnal house!  It is magnificent.  There are Bilbies, Quolls, Numbats, Pie dish beetles, tiny little jumping mice thingies, spiders, nocturnal snakes and many other nocturnal animals.  I unfortunately didn’t get any photos of the Bilbies, but here are some of the Numbat.

img_1596 img_1599Of course there were all sorts of snakes and lizards, sorry about the blurry picture but I just had to include this nasty looking fellow!

img_1604The Thorny devils are always great to watch, these fellows were standing there and eating the ants as they went past them.  Their tongues would just flick out and snaffle them up.

img_1605 img_1696 img_1694 img_1692 img_1688As you can see they are certainly thorny, also very well camouflaged for the desert environment.  The Lizard below is just hanging out, I don’t know his name.

img_1602What I noticed a lot of in the park were lots of different Erimophila shrubs.  There are about 260 Erimophila species endemic to Australia, also known as Emu Bushes.  There are also many cultivars available in nurseries now.  Here’s a few from the Desert Park.

img_1576 img_1580 img_1581 img_1574 img_1575 img_1710If I say Dingo, what is the first thing that pops into your mind?  If you come from Australia like me, I would haphazard a guess that the name Azaria Chamberlin would spring to mind.  If you don’t know what I’m referring to, click on her name!  Canus lupus dingo, also know as a Dingo(click here for more info) is a wild dog found in Australia.  It’s the largest terrestrial predator in the country.  There are quite a few around Alice Springs particularly the old Telegraph Station.  There is an excellent talk about these wild dogs at the Desert Park, very informative.

img_1584 img_1583They blend in quite beautifully with their surroundings as you can see.  They also come with different coat colours depending on what habitat they live in.  Interesting!

img_1606Here’s another plant that’s prominent in the Alice Springs area Senna artemisiodes subsp. oligophylla, also known as Oval Leaf Cassia.  A beautiful yellow flowering shrub to 2 metres.

img_1577 img_1578 img_1305-1Another very exciting exhibit at the Alice Springs Desert Park is the Birds of Prey demonstration.  Keep your head low!!  A couple of Kites put on quite a masterful aerial display.

img_1634 img_1636 img_1637 img_1633 img_1625 img_1641img_1628

The owl was quite stunning as well!

img_1645 img_1647 img_1644 img_1649Of course the star of the show is the mighty Wedge Tail Eagle.  These are quite widespread across the country and we see lots at home but still they are impressive wherever you see them.

img_1672 img_1671 img_1666 img_1665Check out his Wedgesticks(drumsticks) and not to mention his talons!

img_1668 img_1669 img_1670And of course that big rudder at the back-wedge tail.  Need to know more?? Click HERE.

Here’s a few more feathered friends from the Desert Park.

Now a few more plants from the Park!

The landscape around the park is impressive as well!

img_1608 img_1582Of course there are plenty of other animals here, this is only a snapshot of a few.  I will finish with one of our most iconic marsupials, Big Red.  Macropus rufus.

img_1681Cheers!