Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gibraltar Range and Washpool National Park
















Steep mountain ranges, cool forest creeks, interesting walking tracks and unusual native flowers - sounds like a perfect family day out! Yesterday we drove about 100km up the Gibraltar Range, and away from the river flats of our hometown. It had been three and a half years since we had traveled this way, that visit was in mid winter, cool and slightly damp. Now it's mid summer, hot and drier.

We explored Boundary Falls picnic area in the Gibraltar Range National Park then headed to Washpool National Park. Between these two stops I noticed three small flat, dry, grassy swampy areas beside the road (just west of the Ranger's building/house). What really caught my eye were the Christmas Bells flowers! Christmas Bells are native to only a narrow strip along eastern Australia, an area I have lived in all my life, yet I had never seen these plants before. Despite the midday heat I was determined to stop and have a good look at these treasures (being the driver helps with these snap decisions)! There are only four species of Christmas Bells, these particular plants are either Northern Christmas Bells, Blandfordia grandiflora, which is the species with the largest flowers or Blandfordia cunninghamii, Mountain Christmas Bell. They are tufted perennial herbs. Their grass-like leaves, similar in appearance to small Kangaroo-Paw leaves, aren't visible in these photos, they are hidden beneath the other taller grasses. Their beautiful, brightly coloured bell-shaped flowers bloom in summer (December -February), making their name very fitting. 

At Washpool National Park I found some dainty white flowers amongst the reedy grasses of the boulders (as well as stunning views). I haven't been able to identify these, they appear similar to the Western Australian Blue Lace Flower, Trachymene cerulean. So many wonderful things to see and more walking tracks yet to be explored on future visits - when the weather is cooler.


13 comments:

Stiletto ElsieXie said...

Its great to be able to gather your brood together for this outing to the wilderness. I hope they were as delighted as you with the vegetation. For a wild flower, the Christmas Bells are unusually bright.

Giga said...

It is a beautiful flower that grows wild in nature. A place that you show is very interesting. There are waterfalls and magnificent views. Regards .

Mary Huey said...

Lovely pictures on this snowy cold morning in Northeast Ohio, USA, Karen!! Love the Christmas bells! Thanks!

Dirk Rosin said...

sommer :-) her er det -10 grader ....

papillon said...

What a funny coincidence. We also have been in Gibraltar lately (southern Europe). Hope you had a lot of fun.
J+C

Fun60 said...

What a beautiful area to explore.

Filip and Kristel said...

A few fantastic pictures. Love the reflections and the blur elements.

Greetings,
Filip

Barb said...

The Christmas Bells are lovely. You brought some warmth to my cold day with your photos!

Kim said...

What a lovely drive and what glorious countryside! The little oasis where the waterfall streams into the waterhole looks the most peaceful and refreshing of spots. I love driving through this wonderful country of ours, one never knows what beautiful photo is just around the bend.

diane b said...

Can I come next time? The scenery is stunning. I used to see those Christmas Bells in the bush around my home in Sydney back in the fifties. I haven't seen them since. They are beauties where you were. Did you watch ABC's Heather Ewart's "Back Roads". She followed the Clarence River from start to finish and the scenery was stunning. She also stopped in Grafton.

Preeti said...

A great day of exploring with your loves!!

Liz said...

It looks like a gorgeous area! Your children are growing up so fast. Your third youngest is looking more like your oldest Miss E!!

Jeanne said...

Always love seeing your family outings. Such a lovely place to visit too!

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