Ravensbourne, Bunya Mountains & Auburn River National Parks June 6 - 11 2023
  Or favorite road sign (if such a thing exists).

Darwin 3434km.

We don't usually see it, but this time made a detour to fill tanks at the cheapest near fuel station.

  Ravensbourne Nationa Park is small, the right distance from home, and has a short walk to get us in the mood for travel.

I wasn't quick enough to take a pic of the yellow robin that greeted us. Then enjoyed our short walk.

We camped at the sports oval, near the park entrance.

I took time to inspect the Shay Loco that has been partly restored and hides inside a cage.

Rather than the conventional horizontal cylinders and connecting rods directly to big wheels this has two vertical cylinders and gears to drive the wheels.

This is number 906. Made by Lima Loco and Machine Co in USA.

  There are two bogies, two axles each. All four axles are driven.

I can't work out whether the bogies rotate to go round corners, requiring some sort of universal joint in the drive shaft.

I think they must, so the loco stays on the rails.

Perhaps the square part of the drive shaft is a joint.

Maybe another day.

  Next morning we walked along part of the old tramway. The tracks and sleepers are long gone. Used between 1904 and 1936. 27km. Hauling timber to Palmtree timber mill. Then finished product to railhead at Hampton.

Lots of interpretive signs. An old pic of a bridge, and a loco, and finished timber on the way to market.

  There are four wells along the route.

Steam locos need water.

I knew that!

Just as well its fenced and covered. A couple of metres square (though it was probably  feet when it was dug). I think we saw the bottom, a hint of water, 10m below us.

  There were gates across the track at the boundaries to various cattle properties.

The loco would be stopped. Fireman hops off and opens the gate. Loco passes through gate and stops. Guard closes gate.

But .................. then the drivers discovered they could keep the loco moving. The fireman and guard had to run to keep up.

Did I mention that the drive mechanism ensured that top speed was about 6km/hr (or whatever it was in miles/hour). Designed to haul big loads slowly.

Until ................. one day a guard said "..... ", or at least the equivalent for the times, and instead of running after the train he (it had to be a he in those days) walked back to home.

Apparently "things changed" after that.

  This is one of the stretches of tramway where lantana hasn't overwhelmed the surrounds.
  We were lucky to see a small flock of wrens. They really are beautiful.

And a couple of apostle birds, though confused because we usually see them in flocks.

And some firetails, that insisted on hiding behind blades of grass.

  And so, to Bunya Mountains.

The wrens hop out of the swampy bit on one side of the campground.

  There is apparently a fungus, living in the soil, that is destroying bunya pines. They die and fall over.

This contraption, it really does deserve the name as recognition of significant, in my very, everso, humble, opinion, overdesign.

My recollection of anti foot and mouth disinfection when embarking on a ferry to the Isle Of Man many years ago was of squelching through a disinfectant laden hairy mat.

This device has a hard brush to remove soil/mud from the sole of shoes, then a grating to stand on which moves down and sprays disinfectant on the soles. And on my ankles, and socks, and ..... me, and I wonder what it is.

Having separated cleaning and disinfecting the device is duplicated as mirror images, to allow entry and exit from the park.

I wonder how much it cost, and how effective it is.

I rest my case m'lud.

  But anyway ...... looks like today is a fungus day.

Not the invisible ones that kill the bunyas.

The few that are visible above ground.

Looking (to me)like small, elegantly designed, cities.

We'll walk the short circuit today, and the long circuit tomorrow, and save the end to end for another day.

  Somewhere out there is Tarong Power Station.

Coal fired. Undergoing maintenance after a couple of turbine fires.

  The evening light. A good time for a pic.
  A bunya.

Every time we visit Bunya Mountains we have to relearn how to identify bunya and hoop pines. They are very different. We are slow learners.

We are uncertain why we need to know.

  So back to something simple.

More fungi.

  This is next day, and the big loop.

At Barker's Lookout we were greeted, ever so briefly, by a yellow robin.

  And a view of "big falls".

We pass "little falls" further up the valley later on our walk.

We have been here many times, and enjoy afresh each time.

One day we may see water over the falls ....

  I should have mentioned the day started off misty at the campsite. Everything damp as we set off.

The forest stopped us getting wet.

And then the sun came out.

We do enjoy the light on the fresh damp green forest.

And on the fungi.

  Even a dead bush, festooned with lichen, looks good in the sallow sun after rain.

The small birds flitting in and out of it eluded the camera.

  "Pretty" says Ali.

And I always take a pic when its pretty.

That combination of damp and light. And strangler figs doing what they do best.

Quite pleased with this pic ..... sometimes I listen!

  This fungus is upside down. Or the ones we took pics of earlier are upside down.

Why do we all live in boxes?

  We've looked for pittas in many places. This was a chance encounter. With a very quiet Noisy Pitta.

Though perhaps not as chance as one may imagine.

We set off on this trip soon after final inspection of cataract replacement surgery.

Catching a movement in corner of eye. Following it. Discerning a cleverly camouflaged small bird through dense foliage. Being able to align the camera through a gap between the leaves.

The cataract operation well worthwhile.

  A red cedar.

Bunya Mountains became national park in 1906, and logging stopped about 10 years later.

The main goal was red cedar. Fortunately the bunya pines weren't on the menu. And by the time the cedar ran out the mountains were national park.

This specimen is one that was missed. Perhaps too young at the time. Massive now.

There's something about big trees .....

  Onward and north westward.

We left Bunya Mountains and looked back. We can't recall the wind farm last time we were here.

We are getting used to seeing wind and solar farms. But still marvel at them.

And we read that 2023 looks like being a good year for renewables, where manufacturing capacity and installation around the world exceeds what is required to reduce emissions.

  We've visited Auburn River National Park previously. May 2019 on our way to Cape York.

That visit was a quick overnighter. A walk along the gorge top for a not very exciting pic then on our way.

This time we are deliberately trying to travel more slowly. To smell the roses .... though I doubt we'll find any .... so metaphorically smelling.

  The same pic as last time, from the lookout at the end of the gorge top track.
  But later, when tea is on the boil, a quick (almost) run down to the bottom of the gorge.

For the evening light on granite.

  The 600m of track easy. Well graded, and steps. The last 50m to the river a jumble of big boulders.

Some washed clean by river in flood.

  That was last night.

And this is this morning.

Both Ali and I this time (Ali's knee is ok in the mornings and short walks).

Very different in different light.

  We also managed to scramble to the water's edge.
  On the way back up the hill. There's a few bottle brushes around. Perhaps a different variety to further north and west in Australia.

We took the scenic route back to campsite. A 4wd track that followed the edge of the gorge downstream for a while then curled back, anticlockwise, to follow the park boundary fence to the campsite.

A feeling of walking through open forest rather than the boundary between open forest and the gorge.

And the difference in undergrowth between inside the park and cattle grazing land.

  A short drive along Hawkwood Road to where the Auburn River crosses. A pleasant spot to camp beside the river. About 100m in from the road. And very little traffic.

Just a stop along the way to Taroom. We'll have a couple of nights here. Vegging out, and watching whatever lives in and around the river.

We seem to like river banks. The rear wheels are safely chocked with firewood that the last residents cut with chainsaw and left. Wheels about 4m from edge. On flat ground.

Looks like people may have launched boats lots of times over the years.

  We don't know what this is. Less than a metre tall. There's a few isolated examples scattered around. Not prickly, not lantana.
  It took me some time to realise I was looking at reflections, and even more time to work out where the water level is.

This comes under the general heading of "pretty".

A shoal of fish, a couple of cormorants, a wagtail with some odd markings and behaviour but not a flycatcher, a few small yellow birds (there always are), a few parrots high in far off trees, and a noisy crow.

We'll see what happens on Sunday.

Nathan Gorge June 13 - 15 2023

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