Although there was a sense of disappointment that Parks Vic policy did not enable us to include the planned visit to the bat cave in our day’s activity, the group of 12 that assembled at Aireys Inlet was nevertheless keen to enjoy the Easter Saturday outing.

Once we reached our destination at Kennet River, we realized that we were in a very special part of the Otways.

Setting off for the walk

The private land we visited, part owned by Alison and Phil Watson, is completely surrounded by the Great Otway National Park. The land came into private ownership as part of the soldier settlement scheme after World War 2 and as a result of this, the land was exempt from the forestry logging that took place in the Otways for over 150 years until logging was stopped in the National Park in 2008.

The original homestead - the new house was burnt down in a house fire

We did see some signs of  early logging in the area in the National Park outside the private property.

The plate from the boiler which had been removed for scrap metal!

A large tree that was started to be logged with the springboard still in position.  It was inserted into a notch chopped into a tree and used as a precarious platform from which the tree is felled.

The wet sclerophyll forest behind the settlement of Kennet River is dominated by Mountain Ash, Southern Blue Gum, Messmate, Mountain Grey Gum and Manna Gum.

Alison and Phil dwarfed by the giant Mountain Ash

The ideal conditions provided by rich soil and high rainfall enable all these species to grow tall and straight trunked in contrast to the trees in our coastal areas that are often stunted and gnarled. Tall Blackwoods were also a feature.

Lunch under one of the large Blackwoods

As we walked around the boundary of the private land and through the private land itself we were just so impressed with the vegetation.

Beautiful fern gullies

Tree-ferns arched skywards – four different species are recorded, but we had difficulty distinguishing them, although we had no difficulty in admiring their beauty.

Impressive Tree Ferns

The many species of fungi as a result of the warm, damp weather were most spectacular.

Fungi

Fungi

Some spectacular fungi

Admittedly there were weeds as a result of human settlement, but nevertheless it is not often that one gets to walk in this type of environment.

As you can imagine it is ideal habitat for our indigenous fauna. We only saw one koala, though we did see evidence of others along the walk. Birds included Yellow Robin, Goldfinch, Pied Currawong, Superb Blue-wren, Brown Thornbill, White-browed Scrubwren, Grey shrike-thrush and we possibly heard Bowerbirds calling, but didn’t find any bowers. Frogs were calling but unable to identify. We did think one call might have been from the Growling Grass Frog, a nationally endangered species.

We felt very privileged indeed to share in its splendor and we thank Alison and Phil for making the opportunity available.

Margaret MacDonald

Events Calendar

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7

Mon 9:30am - 11:00am

Jan
14

Mon 9:30am - 11:00am

Jan
21

Mon 9:30am - 11:00am

Jan
28

Mon 9:30am - 11:00am

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