This weeks theme from Skinnywench makes me think of this old saying “You can’t see the wood for the trees”, because that is immediately what springs to mind. Trees and more trees. Trees in all their forms. The scraggly, scrawny Australian ti-tree scrub, spreading for miles across the continent. Hanging on to life as it survives drought and fire. The stately gum tree in all its many shades and textures, from the startlingly, smooth white ghost gum to the iron bark, with its rough, pitted dark grey bark. Further north in Australia’s red, dusty outback the clown of the tree world, the bottle tree, waves its bare branches at us, they sprout out from the top of its bulbous, pitted trunk. Some times they stand in isolated splendour, other times they cluster around in conspirital, gossiping groups.
The tropical north has its own unique type of tree. The lush, large-leaved rainforest species, supported by buttress roots, crowded together,jostling for space, dripping moisture and twined around with vines. They enclose you in a world of wonder, surrounding you and hugging you into their humid heart.
I have hundreds of photos of the trees we encountered as we travelled around Australia and I will make a gallery of them, but this time I want to show you one particular experience we encountered…
After a year on the road we are almost home. Taking a side road and leaving the main Bruce Highway we discover the Myall Lakes. The road winds along under a canopy of paperbark trees creating dappled shade and a cool quiet atmosphere.On our right mountainous sand dunes separate us from the Pacific ocean. We stop to explore. The dunes are a challenge as we struggle up and over, the sand sucking us back with each step. Finally we reach the highest point and collapse onto the sand to view our reward, the vivid blue ocean, sparkling and stretching to meet the equally clear blue sky.
The road follows the curve of the Myall Lakes with only an occasionally glimpse of the lake on our left, as between the road and the Lake is a dense forest of paper bark and gum trees. This is the Myall Lakes National Park and we discover a number of bush camping sites. Sandy clearings with a basic but clean compost toilet. We set up camp at one of them then we follow the tracks down to the lake and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the area.
We are on our own in splendid isolation surrounded by the rustling bush, evening bird song fills the air and lulled by the background murmer of the ocean we relax after another interesting day on the road. Suddenly a visitor wanders into the camp ground from the surrounding bush. A large, lumbering goanna, tongue flicking, searching for food. I grab my camera. He spots me and with a surprising burst of speed, climbs up the nearest tree, then freezes and tries to convince us that he is part of the wood….