The (apparent) flowers on this one were superficially similar to the previous weedy-looking plant. However the leaves were very different. Denis Wilson noted it looked like new leaf growth on Banksia, and he's right. There was another similar one with old bottlebrushes on it. We speculated on a Banksia when we were looking at it, but we were misled by this new growth. Thanks to Denis for helping. By a very rapid process of elimination then, these are simply Banksia marginata, although seeming quite different to the tree form I have seen on mountains. No mystery at all.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Saturday, 25 October 2008
These days the walk properly starts from Remarkable Cave, and includes a lot of interesting features, as I noted a couple of months ago. I'll post a detailed walk description which will assist in pottering about the top of Mt Brown and the end of Standup Point. This photo is from the top of the sobering 170m cliff on the southern end of Mount Brown. Phil doesn't like heights, so instead of staying where I left him while I sat on the edge of the cliff to take photos, he wandered off. I finished taking photos, but there was no sign of Phil. You know, it was like in those movies where you can hear the wind blow, the sea break on the rocks far, far below, the gull calling mournfully. Of Phil there was no sign. You call, and your voice seems to be carried away on the wind. While I wondered how to explain Phil's presumably painless demise to Yvonne, he was off photographing the cliff somewhere else. Maybe he'll post that photo up for us to make my high blood pressure worthwhile.
The coastal heath is quite spectacular right now, and if you can get down there and have a look at the flowers out between Remarkable Cave and Mount Brown. There are purple, yellow and white flowers out all over the place. You could spend a whole day just wandering amongst the heath and around the foreshore. The first part of the walk is a little undulating over old dunes, so for the less mobile this might be a bit challenging. The rocks along the shore are very interesting, and I'll post up a set of photos to show the features. This photo of a Mountain Dragon, (Tympanocryptis diemensis) shows how cleverly he camouflages himself on the ground.
Highlights today were the views from the top of Mt Brown, a Fur Seal on the sloping rocks at Standup Point and the wildflowers. Phil startled two Tiger Snakes along the track, so it's worth being vigilant. They ran away from us, but later in the season they might be more aggressive. The cloud sat on Cape Pillar all day. Tasman Island became visible later on, but the higher parts of the Cape were still in cloud as we left.
This walk features some very impressive opportunities to fall off high places, or INTO DARK and NASTY things. It's great. Phil was suitably impressed by the Maingon Blowhole, which is something you do not want to come across unexpectedly in the dark. If someone knows how deep it is, please let me know. The map suggests to me that it might be around 35 metres, but it's hard to tell where the contours run, and it didn't look that deep to me when I was logical about it. Phil thought it was deeper, but careful assessment of the cliffs on the sea-end of the gulch suggested it wasn't that deep. If you can bring yourself to look down into the blowhole, you can see that it is very narrow and very deep, and we've decided that you'd probably not survive the fall to worry about how to swim out of it. Good place for a (fictional) murder?! Maybe Phil should write a poem.
Now, I have a few other sets of photos to put up, so bear with me as I bore you with the stuff I have gathered up.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
What better activity for Hobart Show Day than a bushwalk somewhere quite a long way from Elwick! The weather forecast was good, and with a dusting of snow on many peaks during the week, Hartz looked like a good idea for a half-day trip. When I started from the car park just before 8am, the sun was out in a blue sky with almost no cloud. However there was a chilly breeze which continued blowing throughout. The views were pretty good today, all the main peaks with snow on them. The walking was great today. Sunny and clear, the light snowfall had transformed the landscape without putting more than a dusting underfoot in most places, and generally the track was dry and clear.
Many of the pandanni (Richea pandanifolia) had a plug of snow sitting in the crown of the leaves. Interesting sight. The leaves of these pandanni are very purple. At other times or in other places they range through various pink and red shades, in addition to the green.
Mt Snowy makes a good alternative walk at the Hartz Mountains National Park. With this much snow around however, it would probably be a quite wet trip around the base of Hartz Peak. The best way to do Mt Snowy is as a circuit which includes a traverse up the long curving southern ridge of Hartz Peak. This provides good walking and extensive views. I will have to plan a Mt Snowy trip soon. Camping is quite possible at Emily Tarn. There is space for a few tents (not many), however the surrounding area does require care as it is quite fragile.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
I find the weathering of the dolerite really quite interesting, and there are plenty of examples across the plateau.
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Interestingly, on the descent in the middle of the day, there were wallabies in various places along the track. A couple were sitting beside the track quietly, and were placid enough to wait while I composed a photo. These are the Bennett's Wallaby, known elsewhere as the Red-Necked Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus.