(and in the future, let this be a warning to you, there will be many, many more)
Having been ramblers for the past few years, we are now bushwalkers again.
I had wondered how we would get on with bushwalking without a car as, unlike UK, Australia’s parks, forested areas and bushland is not usually easily accessible by public transport. Serendipitously, I did not have to wonder long as the job I got came with a car. I like it when difficult decisions are taken out of my hands.
The next hurdle was to find walking spots within a reasonable distance for a day’s worth of hiking. Surprisingly, there are plenty. Our first trip out was to a park no more than a half hour drive from home: Organ Pipes National Park. It was such a tiny park that our walk was but a short stroll. We paused to admire the eponymous rock formations, paused for longer to admire some Superb Fairy Wrens (and they really are rather superb indeed) and paused for even longer still to read our books in the sunshine, surrounded by the sounds of the bush: high-pitched clicks and whistles from wrens berating us for invading their space and the creak and swish of tall eucalypts.
We forgot to take a camera with us on our walk. I was glad of this because I know I would have tried and tried to get a photo of the superb fairy wrens, only to fail. Instead, freed of the burden of documenting, I just watched and delighted.
Next, we headed towards the Brisbane Ranges National Park. A guide book (Daywalks Victoria by John Chapman & others) informed us that the area had excellent wildflowers, especially in late Winter / early Spring; the day was overcast with the sun intermittently shining through rather ominous clouds. I think I’ve mentioned before that we’re fairly sanguine about the weather. It does its thing; we do ours.
We packed our waterproofs; we hunted around for our compass and could not find it. We looked into our first aid kit and discovered that it was empty of contents. Presumably, I had binned everything before we got on the flight from Germany back to Australia and we’d yet to replenish it. Ah well. I tossed some bandaids and some paracetamol into my back pack and called that our first aid kit. In the past, they are the only items I have ever used from a first aid kit. We also had no sunscreen. Before I left for the UK, I would never have gone on a bushwalk without sunscreen. Never, ever, never. But I shrugged and went anyway, surmising (correctly) that we would mostly be under tree cover for most of the walk.
The walk we did – Boar Gully Circuit – was a fine and fairly easy yomp through dry eucalypt forest with lots and lots of grass trees. I like grass trees. They have a stump from which long stalks of grass sprout like a fountain. You can run your hand through the grass and it makes a delightful swishing sound. I camped among some grass trees, once many years ago, and was lulled to sleep by the sound of the grass in the evening breeze. In the morning, I listened as some creature rustled about inside the grass, finally emerging with a surprised plop somewhere near my head, scuttling away from me and leaping back inside the grass before I could focus my eyes sufficiently to attempt an identification.
The flowers, too, did not disappoint – as demonstrated by the photos interspersed throughout this post -, although perhaps we were a wee bit early for the best show. There were certainly a few buds promising something more spectacular in a week or two. I’m still somewhat photography-averse post cycling trip, so I was rather lackadaisical in my photo-making.