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Kondalilla National Park – Thriving in a Very Wet Place

Landscape Photography with marysejansenart

A Walk in the Rainforest Part 1

Kondalilla NP: Creek and Rainforest Lookout by Maryse Jansen
Creek and Rainforest Lookout

This morning I started driving in sunny conditions but as I am climbing higher into the mountains I am driving straight into the clouds and a massive downpour! I can barely see two metres in front of me and have trouble making out where the winding road is going, so I’m taking it slow. Finally, I arrive at my destination. Yes, it’s a rainforest so I could expect rain, but this is a bit much to go for a walk in….

Unsure of what to do I try to check the radar on my phone … no reception… of course! I drive back to the nearest town and there I can see that I am in luck and this rain will be over very soon! So I stick to my plan and go for a walk in Kondalilla National Park!

Obi Obi Creek

Kondalilla National Park is situated in the Blackall Ranges in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Large parts of the 1591ha sized park are covered in lush subtropical rainforest. Other parts contain tall open forests, including Gum Trees, Grass Palms and She-Oaks. The park is also known for its waterfalls which should be in good shape after all the recent rain!

The park actually only recently re-opened all the walking tracks, a lot of which had been closed since the floods of late February this year, a few months ago. I can quickly see the effects of this morning’s downpour as I descend to Obi Obi Creek: brown water is gushing through the valley! A little bit of sun is coming through and immediately some bright red coloured dragonflies appear to sun themselves on the rocks that protrude out of the water surface of the creek. They are Fiery Skimmers and I enjoy watching them for a while as well as watching the water coming through.

An ideal place for Fungi

Then I move on, deeper into the forest. All the wetness has also provided great circumstances for an interesting array of fungi! I am most intrigued by an orange species that looks like a coral that you might find on the bottom of the ocean! It is a beautiful decoration of the dark, damp forest floor! Orange Coral Fungi (genus Clavaria) love this environment as they decompose the leaf litter and other organic material on the forest floor.

Orange Coral Fungi by Maryse Jansen
Orange Coral Fungi

Trametes versicolor is a very common type of fungus throughout the world and I also see it here. It typically grows on fallen tree trunks and branches. In the Netherlands the common name is ‘Elfenbankje’, which literally means ‘Fairy Bench’! I find it a much better name then ‘Turkey Tail’ which appears to be the common name in other parts of the world. What do you think?

Lookout points

Moving along, I reach a side track to ‘Narrows Lookout’. It’s a beautiful spot! There’s a small waterfall with a little rock pool, lined with Lomandras. The water gushes and swirls down a gentle slope between the rocks to then plunge over the edge into the depths of Obi Obi Creek. A great place to take a moment to enjoy the scenery and have a little picnic.

The next stretch of the walk leads to the lookout over Lake Baroon. I’m really high up on the ridge now and the cliffs are pretty much vertical when I look down into the valley where the creek flows into the lake. It’s beginning to rain again and due to the thick clouds I can’t see much of the lake. But looking straight down is a magnificent view of the creek from above that shows the tree tops of the rainforest on one side and the rocks on the other. I take a photo, which produces quite a surreal image, a bit abstract almost. It’s featured at the top of this post.

Leeches also thrive in wet places like this

A small group of walkers arrives at the lookout and they get busy getting rid of the leeches that have latched on to their legs. Leeches are one of the not so pleasant things that you might encounter in a rainforest, especially after rain, as they love this wet environment! In fact, apart from south-east Asia, Australia is the only place in the world that has terrestrial leeches. Everywhere else you will only find aquatic leeches.

These leeches are closely related to earth worms, but there are some distinct differences. They move around by using their suckers that they have on both ends (you can see this demonstrated in the video below). Only one end has a mouth though, which they use to bite and suck blood from their host. They secrete a substance which prevents the blood from clotting. They can drink up to five times their own body weight and let go when full. They can go without a feed for months if necessary.

While the leeches let go when full, not many people have the stamina to wait for that moment and do everything to get the parasite off their body! I would too …. but thankfully I’ve never been bitten so far! As a consolation to those who do get bitten, the leeches are considered harmless and do not spread diseases.

A good way to prevent being bitten is to wear long pants and put them into your socks. And keep an eye out, because I have to remove several leeches off my shoes and one is crawling up the outside of my pants! But thankfully it looks like I’m getting away without a bite today as well!

The sound of flowing water in the background

I enjoy the rest of my walk in peace, admiring the diversity in vegetation which also thrives in this wet environment! It is all complemented by the continuous sound of the flowing water in the background. What a beautiful place! I look forward to coming back tomorrow and explore the other walking tracks! Stay tuned for part 2 of Kondalilla National Park!

In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to watch the video of this walk below and enjoy the sound of flowing water and the beautiful scenery yourself:

Come for a Walk in the Australian Bush #14 – The Rainforest – Part 1

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

For another story about a wet walk in the rainforest, check out my post about Extreme Weather in the Lamington Rainforest.

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