On Friday 30th August Margaret MacDonald gave an inspiring presentation on Heathlands Magic, and the next morning on the walk with Cheryl Westlau we experienced Otways Magic.
The weather was perfect for the walk, which started at the St George River mouth just past Lorne.
We initially had wonderful views over the sparkling blue ocean as we walked along a part of the old Tramway track which was used for transporting timber from the Allenvale Mill to the Lorne pier.
The only downside was the sight of large numbers of our least favourite weed, Boneseed, showing off its bright yellow flowers on the opposite hillside.
An early plant highlight was Prickly currant-bush Coprosma quadrifida in flower, with tiny creamy flowers, something I have not seen before. We left the Tramway track to walk up through Queen’s Park. We were most impressed with the amount of weeding that had been done, as immediately opposite the park was a mass of Sweet Pittosporum.
Morning tea at Teddy’s Lookout was delightful, with one of the most spectacular views to be seen along the Great Ocean Road. Cheryl then led us along a variety of tracks, many new to us, beside rushing rivers, and through stunning temperate rainforest with gigantic Eucalypts and superb tree ferns, past Allenvale to Phantom Falls.
We ate our lunch at he base of the cascading falls, with the water glistening in the sunshine.
Out return route was along the very scenic St George River. Cheryl led us at a cracking pace, but we still had time to admire the spring flowers and especially the wattles.
Two species had us guessing: Hop Wattle Acacia stricta which looks like an upright version of Varnish Wattle A. verniciflua, and Narrow-leaf Wattle A.mucronata with its long cylindrical flower-heads. We also noticed that the Prickly Moses plants seemed to have more pronounced cylindrical flower-heads than we find in our area.
Another forest plant in flower was the Bootlace Bush Pimellea axiflora.
“The stripped bark of this mountain shrub is so strong that it earned the name of “Bushman’s Bootlace”. The Koories soaked and beat it to free the fibres to make string. This was then knotted into fine nets with which to catch Bogong Moths for food” – from ABORIGINAL PLANTS in the grounds of Monash University – A guide
Right near the end of the walk we were rewarded by the sight of two large Koalas, and, in the grassy paddock on the other side of the river, a pair of Buff-banded Rails.
Thanks to Cheryl for a really beautiful and memorable walk.
Photos: Robert Setterfield