Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park is somewhat fragmented and the camping areas marked on the map are not widely advertised however, we did find a lovely quiet spot where we enjoyed a few days on our own. This lovely pond was a few metres from our camp ….. beautiful reflections in the still water.
Reflections on the pond
There was more activity on the water surface than was first apparent! This pair of Australian Emperors were flying ‘together’ while the female laid eggs in several locations around the pond.
Australian Emperor – Hemianax papuensis
Awake with the birds on our first morning, we set off early on the Tuan Track walk, collecting a leaflet provided by the Friends of Chiltern National Park on our way. It is a lovely walk and the weather was perfect with some sun to warm us and only a gentle breeze.
With the aid of the descriptions in the leaflet we were able to not only appreciate the change in vegetation as we progressed along the track but also identify a few species. It was also interesting to note the dominant bird species associated with particular flowering plants and along different sections of the track.
Dillwynia phylicoides – thanks to Eileen Collins from Mt Chiltern NP Friends for help with identification
Donkey Orchid – Diuris sp.
Pink Fingers – Petalochilus carneus
Cat’s claw Grevillea – Grevillea alpina
Other highlights of our few days exploring the variety of tracks in this national park included a morning walk at the Yeddonba Aboriginal site. A very pleasant stroll along their well set out ‘self-guided’ tour gave us a different perspective and a chance to imagine how the country looked before our European ancestors cleared much of the beautiful forest.
We then drove on to the Mt Pilot section, parked the car for a short walk up to the summit and Allen spotted this delightful creature snoozing in a dead Callitris.
Koala woken briefly by our conversation.
A short stroll to the summit revealed 360 degree spectacular views.
Easterly view of Mt Pilot range
Looking north from the summit
Enormous granite boulders on the summit support a surprising variety of vegetation that manages to not only survive but thrive in the extremes of summer heat and winter cold.
Leptospermum sp. with bee
Some plants have found shelter between granite boulders or have taken root in cracks of the boulders but the most entrancing ‘miniature garden’ grew around a large pond which had formed in a dip in the rock.
Granite rock-pool garden
After exploring the summit for a while we returned to the carpark to enjoy our morning coffee as well as the sight of a Scarlet Robin followed by a chestnut-rumped Heath-wren. We kept our eyes out for a glimpse of a Spotted Quail-thrush – no luck there but we did find a lovely patch of Greenhood orchids. We are not certain of which Greenhood but someone may be able to help us.
Greenhood Orchid – Pterostylis curta (thanks to Denis Wilson for identification)
Then we drove on to Woolshed Falls with its impressive granite race leading to the main falls – extensive paving with granite steps makes for very easy access to the viewing areas.
Granite race – Woolshed Falls
As we quietly enjoyed our picnic lunch we heard the unmistakeable creaky calls of some Gang-gang Cockatoos who alighted not far from us and sat in the tree apparently undisturbed by us walking around trying to get a better angle for a photo.
Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo
Female Gang-Gang Cockatoo
On our last day in Chiltern-Mt Pilot we were finally rewarded with a good sighting of a Turquoise parrot which, although not a first for us, was another on the list.
This is my final entry for our 2013 camping excursion – it was a wonderful journey, we did cover a lot of ground and there are many places to which we would like to return. We have been considering calling it our ‘parrot trip’ as we saw many species of parrot, new to us.
And so we travelled on to the Brisbane environs where we enjoyed some special time with grandchildren for a couple of weeks before travelling home up the coast.