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Kondalilla Falls – Land of Rushing Water

Landscape Photography with marysejansenart

A Walk in the Rainforest Part 2

Kondalilla Falls by Maryse Jansen
Kondalilla Falls

The next morning I set out to Kondalilla National Park again, this time to explore the Kondalilla Falls track. (Click here to read Part 1)

It is raining again, steadily but not too heavy. Nothing my little umbrella can’t handle. The only downside is that holding an umbrella makes shooting photos and videos a bit more challenging. The beauty of rain in the rainforest, compared to rain in other places, is that it is so still, not windy. The dense vegetation breaks any amount of wind that may be present outside the forest. The water drips steadily down the trees and plants and they all have that shiny layer that the wetness gives them.

Staghorn Ferns

There’s a beautiful section of the forest near the start with very lush rainforest and a great Staghorn community. ‘A community?‘, you may wonder? Yes, let me share something interesting with you about these ferns. Staghorn Ferns are native to Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales. They are epiphytes, which means that they grow on the surface of another plant or tree, and they naturally occur in rainforests.

It has been observed that Staghorns grow in colonies, and that is what I see here: a lot of Staghorns close together in this section. They grow at a variety of height levels. Dr. K.C.Burns, a biologist who researched this, says that it appears the plants in a colony work together to ensure their survival. He compares it to a colony of worker bees!

The plants that grow high in the tree tops have the most spore-bearing fronds, for reproduction. The ferns that grow at the bottom of the colony have more spongy, nest fronds that absorb water. Since the colony is connected through a tangled system of roots, this may help the whole group stay hydrated. A large percentage of ferns do not reproduce at all, they just exist to help keep the colony alive. Hence the comparison with worker bees! Isn’t that fascinating?!

Staghorn Fern by Maryse Jansen
Staghorn Fern – the foggy conditions add a mystical atmosphere

Kondalilla Falls

The walk sets out towards the top of Kondalilla Falls. Along the way there are small waterfalls and cascading creeks leading all the rainwater towards the main waterfall. Kondalilla in local Aboriginal language means rushing water. It is a very fitting description of this place where the sound of rushing water is never far away. It accompanies me during the whole walk, which is very nice!

At the top of the falls is a good lookout and I see the slopes of the hills around me covered in rainforest. Clouds are rising up from the depths below and create a foggy atmosphere. A bit later, the rain begins to clear and a little bit of sunlight brightens up the place momentarily. Soon, due to this warmth the rain water will begin to evaporate and create an intense humidity!

Next, I start the descend into the valley which involves many steps and every now and then another lookout on the big falls. The lower I go, the more muddy and slippery the track is. All this rain is turning it into quite a challenging walk!

At the bottom of the falls is a beautiful spot for a short rest. Between the large rocks and boulders that line the water here I notice lots of spiders and their webs, just above the water. And on the water surface I spot silvery coloured water striders. Very interesting! Both animal groups prey on other insects, so this rock pool is obviously a breeding ground for those insects.

A variety of conditions for rainforest photography

I follow the creek that begins to flow from here for a short while, then cross it via a bridge and begin to walk back up the hill. It’s no longer raining and the forest gets a very different look now with the dappled light filtering through the trees. The conditions earlier this morning were quite challenging for photography: balancing an umbrella to keep my camera as dry as possible and negotiating a lens that kept fogging up because it was so extremely humid. But to be honest, the conditions now are actually worse, for the harsh contrast in light really takes the atmosphere out of the rainforest and is far from ideal to take good photos.

Nevertheless, I enjoy the scenery, the cascading water all around me making its way into the valley and the creek, the fungi and … the birds which are now beginning to make an appearance. They didn’t care much for the rain this morning and have kept quiet since the start of my walk, until now! I hear a variety of little song birds, the eerie call of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo and the beautiful call and answer of an Eastern Whipbird duo. Their calls really add another dimension to the rainforest now, a very pleasant one! Not one you can see on a photo, but watching my video below will give you a taste of it!

Come for a Walk in the Australian Bush #15 – The Rainforest – Part 2

If you are interested in purchasing ‘Kondalilla Falls’ or would like to see what the image looks like on the various products, please head to my shop.

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