It was just a perfect Otways day, and the 25 people who joined us for this great walk on 28 March were able to experience the remoteness and the beauty of the Otway Ranges with memories that should linger for a long time.
We can all be so thankful to the Otway Ranges Environment Network that managed to convince the Victorian Government to stop logging in the Otways in 1985, thus conserving the variety of eucalypts that grow in the area for us all to appreciate and to provide habitat for our indigenous fauna.
The group assembled at Mt Cowley, the highest point in the eastern Otways (654m above sea level) and Lachie explained the procedure for the walk.
Unfortunately as mentioned in the March Newsletter, a fuel reduction burn is planned for the area. One could question why they are endeavouring to burn rainforest! Vehicles had been along the track marking and removing trees in preparation for the burn, and with the recent rainfall the track had certainly deteriorated since Lachie had reconnoitred the walk.
Trudging along the muddy track.
However the conditions improved, and the magnificent vegetation certainly outweighed the initial disappointment of the works that had been carried out. The magnificent tall trees were the feature of the walk. We identified Mountain Ash, Eucalyptus regnans, Mountain Grey Gum E. cypellocarpa, Messmate E. obliqua, Narrow-leaved Peppermint E. radiata, Manna Gum E. viminalis and in the more open forest as we approached Allenvale stands of Blue Gums E. globulus and E. bicostata.
Walking through the stands of eucalypts
Tim and Cathy at the base of a Mountain Ash
In the rainforest section the track was lined with arching tree ferns underneath the canopy of the tall eucalypts.
A tall giant tree had made way for the planned burn, but it did make an ideal lunch stop
As the forest opened up we walked through stands of Blue Gums.
This koala had settled in one of them and obviously had plenty of leaves to eat.
A tired but happy group at Allenvale at the end of the walk
Report by Margaret MacDonald
Photographs by Penne Kwiat