Friday, 22 August 2014

Coolah Tops National Park

Its a week now since we returned from our trip, so I thought I had better get  a wriggle on and tell you about our little side trip to the Coolah Tops National Park.

We spent the last night of our little holiday at Coolah, central NSW, and about 4 hours north west of where we live.  The highlight of the drive between Coonabarabran and Coolah was seeing a couple of emus on the side of the road. 

The reason we chose to come home that way was so we could go to the National Park, which is about 30km from the village, and where we diverted in the morning.  The road up is a bit of a hairy scary drive on dirt with hair pin bends and steep, unfenced drops on one side and cliff face on the other.  The views are spectacular!

We decided to walk the Grass Tree track, which was only a short distance, and really only as much as we could achieve in the short time available.  The walk was beautiful.  Early morning, dappled sun and a lovely flat, grassy track.

 
There were a lot of birds serenading us as we walked.  But high in the trees, and I wasn't clever enough to spot many.  This one stayed still long enough to pose for a photo.  He was a long way up and I am pleased with the shot.

 
This is an adult Crimson Rosella.  If you wish to find out more about him, there is info here.
 
It wasn't long before we came upon first one, then a whole stand of Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea glaucca).

 
Don't they look like someone's bad hair day?  LOL  I had never seen one in the wild, and here there were heaps of them in little groups and in various stages of development. 
 
According to the information boards, they are incredibly slow growing, and can go for years without seeming to grow at all.  Then within the space of a few weeks they throw a shoot up to 3m (9 feet) tall, which erupts into a spray of tiny little flowers.  They can live for up to 1000 years.  Yep.  Not a typo.  One thousand years!
 
Here is a baby, short enough that I could take a photo of the centre spike.
 
 
And here is one where some of the bark had broken away.  I assume that those funny spine like structures packed densely on the edges of the tree are the bases of old leaves.

 
Here is a close up of the spines

 
And a funny double sided one.  Definitely a bad hair day, but not mine!

 
Along the way, we spotted lots of this....

 
Scratchings with a little pile beside them, or in the centre of the path.  Some years ago, I had done a course on "Scats and Tracks", so I knew immediately that there were a lot of wombats around.  A sure enough I found a lair very close by....

 
That hole is roughly 18" to 24" wide.  Wombats are mostly nocturnal, so we didn't see any.  They are huggable looking little fat, squat animals who dig monumental burrows, and carry their young in a pouch.  Wiki has lots more info here.  Sadly, because they move slowly, they are often seen as road kill.

On the way out I noticed that the wattle has started to bloom.  A reminder that spring is just around the corner (and hay fever!).  But its so pretty.  Sweet little puffs of yellow all down the branches, and lovely feathery leaves.  Such a shame it causes runny noses, sneezes and itching.

 
We enjoyed that walk, and are determined to pay another visit to Coolah very soon.
 
From there, we reluctantly headed home, but stopped in Newcastle to have a cuppa with the Dearly Beloved's cousin.  We don't see them too often, so this seemed an opportune moment. 
 
When not stitchin'.....Keep on travellin'

7 comments:

  1. Loved the pics. Thanks for showing us your countryside xxx

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  2. Even though I only live 10 kms from the city we have some bush around us. Directly opposite us is a reserve and there are lots of grass trees. I can walk out of my front door and see these every day. It is a lovely place for a walk. We also have wallabies and other wildlife. Glad you could see all these special things our bush offers.

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  3. Hi Dasha ,such an interesting post and lovely pics,thankyou for sharing my friend.xx

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  4. must go there one day.........I love grass trees..........

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  5. must go there one day.........I love grass trees..........

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  6. What fun! Thank you for taking me along on your travels to the park. What fascinating trees!! I esp. love the photo of you standing next to the double one -- it's massive! It truly looks like something straight from a Dr. Seuss book :) And the red bird is lovely, very regal.

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  7. Exactly what M.K. said - Dr. Seuss trees! They are far larger than I'd thought at first. Having you in the photo quickly put things into perspective! I wonder what grows here that you might find odd? Probably not much. I think Australia has cornered the market on oddities! The wombat lair is much larger than I would have imagined, too. Are they not worried about predators?

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