Sunday, December 20, 2009


Well the weather has entirely turned around here. From the 41°C (106°F) heat of Wednesday it plummeted to 20°C (68°F ). As an aside I should probably say that I am speaking relatively and for those who are currently experiencing extreme cold in the Northern hemisphere all I can say is after 41 a fall to 20 feels decidedly cool. (Sorry Lisa no rubbing in intended).

Anyway because of the cooler weather we decided to go for a drive and a walk.
All in all it was a rather busy day so lest I become too Uncle Harryesque I’ll limit myself to one spot in our day.

Being the boring creatures we usually are we went in the direction of some of our favourite haunts- in this case Mount Donna Buang.
High up on the southern flank of the mountain, just past the turnoff to the peak the road gets narrow. Right there tucked down in a gully carved by Cement Creek is a pocket of remnant rainforest.

A quick note here about language. Aussies use the word creek in more or less the same way as our American, Canadian and Kiwi brethren. In the English of the old-country the word “creek” usually refers to a coastal estuary. Here it is used to refer to any watercourse smaller than a river.

Where was I? The remnant rainforest, this patch of forest is of the cool temperate variety. The dominant trees here are Antarctic Beech an ancient genus (not at all related to Northern Hemisphere Beech trees) left over from Gondwana days. These trees cling on to existence in high places where it is still cold. Most of these trees are hundreds of years old and it was thought until recently that they can no longer germinate in Aussie conditions.

At the top by the road there is a viewing platform from which you can see the first stage of the stairs that dive down into the forest.
Once on them they keep on going down.
And down. That is my youngest Lu, turning back to see what is keeping her Dad.

To protect the fragile soil here, Parks Victoria has put in these walkways to keep people off the forest floor. They are great except when you want to balance a camera tripod. Here Lu, having given up on her Dad, moves on to see what is around the next bend.

And around the bend is Cement Creek babbling down the mountainside. The water here is almost as clean as it gets. Quite a number of people collect this water above the road to use at home.

From the creek you dive in under the taller trees. This a majestic Beech towers over a companion that has been broken in some mountain storm.

But towering over all are the Mountain Ash trees . Here a moss covered trunk.

The scale of the mountain Ash is incredible. A Eucalyptus species they are the tallest flowering plants in the world. The tallest confirmed specimen was 114 metres (374 feet) almost as tall as the biggest Sequoia specimens.
It is claimed that Mountain Ash specimens were in fact the tallest living trees anywhere with giants of over 132 m (433 ft) allegedly felled by timber getters in the Nineteenth Century.

Then you begin the climb back up.
And up.
Thank goodness it was cool!


Me said...

nice photos...hehehe is that your motion stair?

happy holidays!

Kristen M. said...

I love these photos. I now have an idea for a piece (that will never be made) called "My Life in Trees". Having lived in Hawaii, California, Utah and Washington, it could be beautiful and inspiring ... just like your photos!

Al said...

Hi Me,
Thanks for commenting.
Yes I climbed all the way back up. Not too far really, but stairs always make it seem farther.

Hi Kristen,
Thank you!
Start it anyway! Never say never!

Gattina said...

It looks like a place here, would never have thought it was so far away ! It's so green, lol !
We are sitting in the snow in Belgium and in Brussels it was -11°C. I think I should move to Australia !
If you have a comment to make on my comment please do it per email. I have no time to go twice on a blog, sorry.

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

We went to the snow today. It was verrry cold. Your forest looks so pretty.

roffe said...

Hi...Thanks for your comments....I should like to be down there, too cold here up north. -18 degrees Celcius this morning...

Lisa said...

Apologize accepted even though it is, at present 8 degrees F here and we're in the midst of a blizzard!

I had no idea Australia had rainforest. That's fantastic. That climb up must be awful!

Al said...

Hi Lisa,
8°F that works out at -10°C. Cold!
Where I used to live in New England (the Aussie version in NSW) we often had -8°C and once -13°C which is the coldest I have ever experienced!
We have heaps of Rainforest in NSW and QLD, just patches in Vic

Al said...

Hi Roffe,
Thanks for commenting

Al said...

Hi Christy,
Hope you had fun. California is like Vic in that the snow is close enough to shoot up for a day.

Al said...

Hi Gattina,
thanks for the comment