A Walk in the Watagans

August 2, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Tourism, Travel, Writing and Life | 11 Comments
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As it was a lovely winter’s day last week, we went for a drive into the nearby Watagans National Park. We wanted to go for one of the bush walks we’d heard about but not yet seen.

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We settled on the Boarding House Dam rainforest walk. There was little traffic on the road into the park – not surprising, as it was unsealed, rain-scoured and rough. We loved it!

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We also loved the walk. It usually takes twenty minutes, but we took an hour as there was so much to see, hear and enjoy.

The Watagans are part of the Great Dividing Range, which runs north to south along the whole eastern coast of Australia. Historically, the Watagans were an important logging area. Timber-getting (cedar) began there in the 1820s.

The boarding house area was originally the longest-serving and largest logging camp in the area. No buildings remain, but the name recalls its history. The roads into the Watagans originated from the routes the bullock wagons took to bring out the logs. The adjoining Watagan State Forest is still managed for logging today, but all flora and fauna in the National Park are protected.

Stumps of large trees remain, and you can see the cuts where tree-fellers inserted boards on which they stood to cut down the tree.

The first notch for wedging in a board for the wood-cutter to stand on is above my head.

The first notch for wedging in a board for the wood-cutter to stand on is above my head.

The dam is a small one, a weir really. It was built to ensure a supply of water for bushfires after the ravages of a major fire in the summer of 1939-40.

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Below the weir, rock ‘tanks’ have formed – naturally it seems. The ‘tanks’, almost perfectly round, range in diameter from a couple of feet to the largest which is probably six feet (two metres) across.

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At the end of the walk, I sat by the dam and wrote down some of what was there.
Here are some of the sights and sounds and smells of the walk.

– At least two different kinds of frogs in the dam. It is becoming rare to hear frogs in most places nowadays.
– Finches twitter and flutter about in the trees.
– I love to hear the call of the male whip-bird. It’s even better when I hear the answering female.
– Water flows over the dam wall and gurgles between the rocks in the creek below.
– I hear a currawong call out in the open forest.

The creek below the dam.

The creek below the dam.

We loved the walk through the rainforest. It is a place where you wouldn’t be surprised to encounter fantastical animals – gnomes, bunyips, even trolls.

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– The cold mountain air is clean, clear and invigorating.
– Fallen trees, rocks, trees trunks and ledges are all covered with thick, green moss.
– Elkhorn ferns grow on trees, logs, and even on rocks.
– The smell is a combination of damp wood and soil, and rotting vegetation, and is not at all unpleasant.

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The pathway is part natural track through the bush, and part board-edged to prevent erosion. In two places, small wooden bridges cross the creek. Some of the reinforcing wood and the bridge supports are also covered in moss. The man-made all fits unobtrusively with the natural environment.

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– The sound of our feet on the pathway is a dull, hollow thud.
– A 160-metre rock wall is a focal point of the walk. It is perpetually in shade and is almost completely covered by moss. Its name is, prosaically, The Mossy Wall.

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We took lots of photos, but the light was quite poor. We didn’t have the right cameras and equipment to get the best results. However, they are good enough, and the walk itself is etched on our minds. We hope we can take visitors to see it in the future.

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Is there a place you have found where you love to walk?

© Linda Visman

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11 Comments »

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  1. We enjoy getting off the beaten track too Linda, as you did last week. The cooler months are perfect for getting into the bush as there are fewer people with whom to share it. Lovely post 🙂

    • Thanks Linda.
      Yes, getting away from the hustle and bustle and into nature is very relaxing, refreshing and rejuvenating. We do it as often as we can – but not often enough!

  2. It looks so beautiful and peaceful there Linda. I’m fascinated by the light in your images. There’s just something about the dispersion of light in a forest. Thanks for taking me on your work.

  3. It looks like a wonderful place for a walk. I love to go walking in the bush and enjoy the peace, and the sights and sounds of nature.

  4. Thanks for all the lovely photos Linda. I still haven’t been there!

  5. Delightful photos and descriptions of an interesting place. 🙂


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