only friends we haven't met yet"
The further off the beaten track I travel, the more friendly and open the people seem to be.
It is just incredible that tribal groups from as far south as the Clarence River (in northern nsw) would Journey north to the Bunya Mountains, every 3 years, for a massive Bunya Nut feast, to celebrate the life-giving "Mothers Milk".
Bushtucker vitamin suppliment
This landscape is vastly different to what it would have been 200 years ago, it is now mostly farmland, with remnant woodland being spared along the roadside and relic 'Bottle Trees' (Brachychiton rupestris) in amongst the crops.
This is the same situation back home, as the Rainforest has quite an exotic flavour, people forget other ecological communities, of which our own Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornus) Woodland is now very uncommon.
just 10km from the top of the Bunya Mountains, evidence of European land(mis)management
I was fortunate enough to pass some woodland remnant, and thus began to see a whole new spectrum of birdlife.
Different coloured lorikeets and parrots ... and budgerigars ... lots of Eagles and Kites ... and Herons ... and tiny little fairy birds that remind me of Petrie's family from 'The Land Before Time".
So eventually I made it to the bottom of the Mountain, as the main climb was in the last 7km ...
this just doesn't quite capture how intense a climb it is to get up into the mountains
These eco-systems are most similar to what the dinosaurs would have walked amongst...
Ferns trees and Conifers ... imagine a world before the evolution of flowers ~!
I spent 4 days up in the clouded mountains, with weather ranging from thick mist to heavy rain to intense gale force winds.
The National Park office is one of the best I've ever come across, with really friendly staff and loads of videos and books all freely avaible to learn from, which I did when the rain became heavy. (I almost spent a whole day in there) and would love to study ecology more in-depth.
the 'Noisy Pitta' ( Pitta versicolour) is a ground-dwelling bird that is found within the Rainforest understorey
typical of the Rainforest is the 'Strangler fig' (Ficus spp.)
The seed is dispersed by numerous birds, including fruit pigeons and the Coxen's fig-parrot that is believed to be regionally extinct within the Bunya Mountains. The seed germinates high in the canopy, eventually sending its roots down with the intent of slowly but surely strangling it's host.
The un-mistakeable scales of the Red Cedar (Toona ciliata).
Red Cedar trees many times larger than this one would have been widespread in the Rainforests up and down the East Coast of Australia. But are now much less common
If a tree falls in the Rainforest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?
think about it.
Fungi is a major player in the Rainforest, being able to break down lignin (the substance in wood that makes it so strong and durable). most often we only see the fruiting body
~ so cute ... see the little baby wallaby poking its head out ... awww ~
A Male Bowerbird nest, with his collection of blue toys to lure the Female bowerbird
the Crimson Rosella, a common bird in the Bunya Mountains, and most Rainforest eco-systems.
so .. after a good few days up in the Mountains I now head west for the Arcadia valley & Carnavon Gorge, passing through towns that are inhabited by a most friendly people.
They call this land 'The Western Downs'. Home to one of my favourite trees, the 'Bottle' Tree!
A massive old-growth 'Bottle Tree' (Brachychiton Rupestris)
Until next time,
May the Peace be with You
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover"
- Mark Twain