Bournda National Park is a very special part of our beautiful Sapphire Coast. We first discovered this area in May 2012 at the start of a 2 week holiday on the NSW South Coast. It is situated between Tathra and Merimbula, 15 km SE of Bega, and covers 2590 hectares. The Park was declared in 1992. ‘Bournda’ means ‘place of teatrees and kangaroos’ in the local aboriginal dialect. This is a photograph of a map of Bournda National Park from ‘The NPA Guide to National Parks of Southern NSW’ by Peter Wright.We camped at the Hobart Beach Campground for 4 days and were very impressed with the amenities, especially the hot showers! Being May, there were very few campers and we had the place mostly to ourselves, except for the bell miners, wonga pigeons and choughs!!
The campground is situated on the southern shore of Wallagoot Lake, a large saltwater estuary on Monck’s Creek, which was last opened up to the ocean in June 2008. It is stunningly beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset.There are a number of short walks from the campground to the local beach and brackish Bournda Lagoon, formed by alluvial deposits from Margaret Creek; freshwater Bondi Lake and the 210 m high Bournda Trig to its west; and Scott’s Hut, a relic of former agricultural days. The latter is of bush post and beam construction with sapling rafters, slab walls, three rooms, a timber floor and an iron gable roof. The central room has a large stone fire place with an iron chimney. The hut was constructed in 1890 by Thomas Scott. It was originally one of two buildings and was used as a kitchen, dining and storage area.
You can also drive from the northern side of Wallagoot Lake to Turingal Head, the southern end of the Kangarutha Track, which follows the coast 9 km north from Wallagoot Gap to Games Bay, then White Rock, Kangarutha Point, Boulder Bay and Wild Horse Bay before ending at Kianinny Bay, just south of Tathra.
We walked the first third of the track to Games Bay. The Games family cleared the land here back in the early 1900s for dairy farming and growing rockmelons for seed. It is a beautiful walk, with plenty of interesting geology, flora and fauna, as well as stunning coastal views and delightful little rocky coves and rugged headlands 30 – 40 m high. The underlying rock is mainly rhyolite, a solidified lava from a volcanic eruption almost 400 Million years ago.
Here are some photos from our walk :
Wallagoot Lake from the North :Turingal Head and Wallagoot Gap :
The bush track through Coast Banksias and architectural tunnels formed by Bracelet Honey Myrtle :
Stunning coastal scenery looking north to Games Bay and south to Bournda Island :Games Bay :
What a wonderful place for a feast! An aboriginal midden on the headland at Games Bay :Conch shell and orange lichen :
A possible aboriginal stone artefact and a rock covered with a variety of lichens and mosses :
Most of the park supports a Dry Eucalypt forest of Woollybutt, Silvertop Ash, Blackbutt, White Stringybark and Yellow Stringybark, as well as Forest Oaks. Pockets of Gallery rainforest – Coachwood, Lilly Pilly, Sassafras, Rusty Fig, Cabbage Tree Palms, Wattles and Pittosporum, ferns, orchids and vines – line the creeks at Boulder Bay, Games Bay, Sandy Beach and Margaret Creek.
Hakea macraeana and Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis subsp angustifolia) :
The fruit of Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) top and Hairy Pittosporum (Pittosporum revolutum) below :Orange fungi (Pycnoporus coccineus) and catkins of the male Sheoak (Casuarina cunninghamiana) :Calocera sinensis and a Correa reflexa :
Sandpaper Fig (Ficus coronata) and Rock Orchids (Dendrobium speciosum) :Photos of the animals and birdlife :
Stalked Sea Tulip (Pyura gibbosa gibbosa) and Porcupine Fish :
Little Pied Cormorant and a White-Faced Heron :White-Breasted Sea Eagle and an Eastern Grey Kangaroo :
Roo Footprints and a Swamp Wallaby :Red-Necked Wallabies :
The next day, we drove up to Tathra and the northern end of the track at Kianinny Bay. See my post : https://candeloblooms.com/2016/01/21/the-jewel-in-the-crown-tathra-and-kianinny-bay/From there, you can access the rough 4WD track south to White Rock, a white pipeclay deposit used in brick manufacture from the 1960s till the early 90s.These unfortunate, but very well-camouflaged, flathead were left behind in their own rock pool, high on the rocks at White Rock.
Christmas has always been a very special time in our house, especially the lead up in the month beforehand, with all the food preparation, gift making and present wrapping!
I have already written posts about :
Desserts for Pre-Christmas work parties : The Sweet Spot (October)
Christmas Cake and Pudding (November)
Christmas Drinks and Nibbles (December)
I much prefer to think about Christmas gifts well in advance, so there is no panic closer to the day, when the shops get so busy and crowded and choosing gifts becomes very stressful!!! If time allows, it is a wonderful opportunity to use all those craft skills and, at the same time, make so many people very happy! Home-made presents are THE BEST and are appreciated long after their store-bought equivalents. The recipient not only appreciates the originality and sometimes quirkiness of your gift, but also the talent and skill involved and the sheer amount of time devoted to their production, while thinking about their recipient during the whole process! My family adore my embroidered cushion covers and I get much joy out of planning and executing their design, as well as admiring the finished product, and then seeing the joy and love they bring to their recipient!
I made this cute Christmas bag for my daughter from a pattern in ‘Scandinavian Stitches‘ by Kajsa Wikman. See her blog on : http://syko.typepad.com/.
I embroidered this cushion cover with rainforest birds for my husband’s birthday this year.A Christmas tablemat for 2000!
I have loved all my children’s home-made gifts over the years and our house and lives have been enriched by all their wonderful creations! It is also a great way for children to develop their creative skills. Here are some great books with gift ideas :
‘The Good Gift Guide : Creative Gift Giving For All Occasions’ by Alison Pearl
‘The Good Gift Book : Ideal Presents For Every Occasion’ by Judy Hubbard
‘A Touch of Christmas : Easy To Make Stockings and Gifts’ by Pamela Allardice
‘Christmas Treats To Make and Give’ by Linda Collister
‘Homemade’ by Kay Fairfax
‘Creating Gourmet Gifts’ by Barbara Beckett
‘Aromatic Gifts : Scented Ideas From Kitchen and Garden’ by Stephanie Donaldson and
‘Beautiful Homemade Presents’ by Juliet Bawden.
Gifts can be more intangible too : a massage, a song, a performance, an IOU promise. My daughters made this hand-painted Monopoly board and these delightful wooden coasters for past Christmas gifts. A friend made this delicious Christmas cookie decoration one year.I really enjoy making Christmas cards and Advent Calendars in late November, the latter to be opened from the 1st December on. The last few years, I have used folded blank card, stamps and ink pads to create much more personal (and far cheaper) cards! Alas, this year, because I worked right up until the last week, I had to resort to using commercial Christmas cards!
There are so many different patterns for advent calendars from felt pockets with little treasures and sweets to this wonderful paper pocket Christmas Tree, which I made for our 2013 Christmas. Each pocket held a small gift or a rhyming clue to a treasure hunt for larger items, which could not fit in the pocket. The pattern came from ‘Folded Secrets : Paper Folding Projects: Book 4’ by Ruth Smith and is based on the old Chinese Needle Thread Pockets. You can order all 4 books from the author by emailing her at : firstname.lastname@example.org. For a quick view of them, see : http://purplemissus.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/happy-families.html
It is also fun making Christmas decorations throughout December, then finally decorating the Christmas tree in the last 2 weeks! Some people do it in early December, especially if they own an artificial tree, but I much prefer fresh trees, which do not last the whole month well.
I love the scent and colour of traditional fir trees, which are often sold on the side of the road in the weeks up until Christmas. After the 1967 Tasmanian bush fires, which devastated the native forests, my parents planted a large number of these quick-growing evergreens along the fence line of our property, only to spend every future Christmas chasing off would-be Christmas Tree thieves as the trees grew to maturity!!!
For the last few years in the city, we bought our trees from the same supplier, who harvested them from their country property then sold them in their suburban driveway. We’d select a small, well-balanced tree, then place it in a tub of water within an old rusty family cream can (from dairying days), decorated with Christmas wrapping paper and a large red bow. I love this old photo from the early 1900s of my husband’s grandparents’ Christmas tree with all the toy animals underneath.Back in the country, we would cut our own tree – maybe a feral cypress or a native she-oak (Casuarina) or even a gum tree (Eucalyptus). This year, we had hoped to purchase a Wollemi Pine in a pot, which we would keep outside during the year, then bring inside for Christmas until it grew too large. Wollemi pines are incredibly ancient and very special, as they were thought to be extinct until a small stand was discovered in 1994. See : http://www.wollemipine.com.
Alas, they were too exorbitant for us this year at $ 169 for a 150mm pot ( plus $14 for shipping and handling). I know we would probably recuperate the price after 3 to 5 years of buying ordinary cut Christmas trees, but you would have to be certain that the plant survived!!! Maybe when we’re rich and famous…!!! For those with disposable income, see : http://www.wollemipine.com/order.php
It is always such fun decorating the Christmas tree with friends and family with all the old Christmas favourites, as well as a new purchase/ creation each year. After the baubles and ornaments, we drape the tree with tinsel, then last of all, the Christmas lights – so magical!!! Here are some photos of hand-made Christmas decorations: a simple, bright felt star for my eldest daughter’s first Christmas tree of her own; Christmas angels being made by my daughters : I made the middle angel, Caro the blonde angel and Jen, the angel with the dreadlocks!; I also made a beaded/ sequined and embroidered Christmas angel and pear one year.We were a bit late putting up our ‘tree’ this year, but it was just as well as the weekend before Christmas we experienced 40 degree days! We now live on a corner block fringed with very old Cypress trees, so we cut 5 branches, which were extending into the lane way, then bound them together and put them in the old family cream can. I think it looks great and it’s hard to detect that it is not a complete tree! My daughter made a beautiful wreath with the trimmed branches as well (bottom photo).And finally, Christmas Eve has arrived! When we lived in the ‘Big Smoke’, we always use to enjoy making a special visit into the city to see the Christmas decorations.
I loved the illumination of the Geelong Town Hall last year.And on the night of Christmas Eve, it was always worth doing the rounds of the neighbourhood to view all those outrageous Christmas decorations and lights. Some streets specialize in it!!!There were even still a few here in country Candelo! While the 3rd photo took the prize for effect, I must admit that I much prefer the simpler more discrete ones like the hammock shot (4th photo). Someone had even draped a large fir tee in their front yard with lights, which changed from green-and-blue to red-and-gold (5th and 6th photo)! A local farmer tied a big red bow round each of his fence posts, which looked really effective, though perhaps not so good at night-time! (1st and 2nd photo)It is always fun seeing everyone get into the Christmas spirit, including our old postman last year! We had a hilarious Christmas Eve a few years ago, when we came across a long line of ‘Father Christmases’, university students on their way to the pub, who then very good-naturedly, carjacked us for a lift to said hotel!!! I think my daughter thought all her Christmases had come at once! We caught up to their companions and dropped them off, little realizing that one of them had lost his mobile phone in our car! Two suburbs later, we received a very sheepish phone call, asking us very politely if we would mind dropping their phone round to the hotel! So funny, though it did highlight how quickly a car can be hijacked!!!
This year here in Candelo, we were hijacked in a different fashion! I saw 3 Santas walking up the hill, only to have a large group of them materialize on our doorstep to sing us Christmas Carols, then we were bundled up and absorbed into the group, as we wended our way back up the hill to accost other suitable benefactors! My daughter grabbed her Santa hat and reindeer antlers, which she had bought for my neighbour’s handsome black labradors, whom she was to babysit over Christmas, but unfortunately not her camera, otherwise you would have had some classic shots of me in her antlers with multicoloured flashing lights. It took me a while to realize that the faint Christmas jingle I kept hearing was also actually coming from those same antlers!!! It probably would have been a bit dark for a decent photo anyway. We found it increasingly difficult to read the words by candlelight, so ‘Deck the Halls’ was very dodgy and thin in the verse singing, but voices swelled considerably in the ‘Fa-La-La, Fa-La-La, Fa-La-La’ chorus! We finished at the local bakery, where we were kindly given a fresh, warm sourdough loaf straight out of the oven and a lovely moist Christmas Cake, which we quickly wolfed down with French Champagne and tea back at my neighbour’s house. It was such a fun night and a great way to meet all the locals!
Father Christmas certainly gets around, as can be seen by these eye witness accounts on our drives to visit family interstate over the Christmas period!He is such a busy fellow and must get so exhausted with all his travels! We have a family tradition of writing Father Christmas notes to attach to our stockings. He would then have to reply in the wee wee hours of the morning in an increasingly illegible scrawl! Funny how he always knew what had transpired during the year! When the kids were little, we always used to visit him in the shopping mall, resulting in a wonderful family photographic record of the childhood years.
Every Christmas Eve, we would leave him a slice of Christmas, a beer and a carrot for his reindeer and in the morning, we would discover cake crumbs, the bottle drained and little bite-sized bits of carrot all over the garden.
The kids would be up so early on Christmas morning, excitedly opening their Christmas stockings or, in later years, sacks! After the stocking opening and a much-needed cup of tea, we took it in turns to open the gifts, which had accumulated under the tree in the previous 2 weeks and had suddenly swelled in number dramatically overnight. The youngest often had the job of finding each person’s gift, while Mum (usually) kept a note of ‘who gave what’ for later thank you correspondence.
After the last gift had been opened, the kids all gathered around the open window to yell at the top of their voices ‘Thank You Very Much, Father Christmas!’, a tradition carried through from my childhood!
Because everyone tends to nibble stocking fruit and sweets and are a bit exhausted by this stage, we often have a rest till mid-afternoon, then prepare for Christmas Dinner : a roast turkey with stuffing, a clove-studded ham, roast vegetables and the finale, the flaming Christmas Pudding! One year, when we had just moved over into a cottage built to lockup with no electricity, water or stove, the thought of preparing the traditional Christmas dinner overwhelmed me and it was so wonderful when my ‘kids’ (late teens by this stage) took over and bought 2 barbecued chickens and boiled up vegies over the camping gas stove – the most relaxing Christmas dinner we have ever had!
I love setting the Christmas table and organizing the flowers ! For a few years, we even made our own Christmas Crackers, complete with corny jokes!!! We will miss our dear Scampie this year!
I will leave you with a few photos of our iconic native flora and fauna. Happy Christmas and All our Best Wishes for a Wonderful 2016!!!
This week, we visited Nethercote Falls, but because we will be revisiting this amazing area in late October to photograph the blooms of Rock Orchids on the cliffs, I will delay this particular post and introduce you to another of our favourite coastal beauty spots : Aragunnu and Bunga Head.Aragunnu and Bunga Head are both part of Mimosa Rocks National Park and are accessed off the coastal road half way between Tathra and Bermagui. It is a stunningly beautiful area with much variety and interest for the natural history enthusiast, as well as being popular with fishermen, divers and campers.
These photos are of the National Park boards on site.
The Mimosa Rocks National Park Management Plan can be found here : http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/planmanagement/final/20110246MimosaRocksNPfinal.pdf, but for now, here is a brief description :The geology underlying Mimosa Rocks National Park is very old. Sedimentary rocks like slate, siltstone, shale and greywacke were laid down during the Ordovician Period (430-490 Million years ago), then later subjected to much folding and faulting, during which time they metamorphosed. These old sedimentary layers have been exposed by wave action and can be seen on the flat rock platforms jutting out into the sea.
More sediments were laid down during the Devonian period (355-410 Million years ago) and at low tide, Devonian fish fossils can be seen in the black mudrock, including some of the earliest known shark fossils. The fossil record also includes some of the earliest known club mosses and other rainforest flora. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos for these fossils, but here is some of the amazing rock !!!
During this time, rhyolite ( a viscous sticky form of lava, which flows very slowly ) was extruded over the old sedimentary rocks to a depth of over 140m to produce the columnar (hexagonal) jointing of Bunga Head and the volcanic sea stack castles of Mimosa Rocks.
Poorly consolidated sediments like gravels, sands and clays were also deposited during the Tertiary and Quaternary periods (the last 65 Million years). Wave action has undercut them to produce gravel beds of water-worn round pebbles of quartz and quartzite. The ‘coffee rock’ found at Aragunnu is such an example and is an eroded podzol which has been hardened by humic groundwater.The sandy beach at Aragunnu provides a complete contrast to the pebbly beaches and rocky cliffs of Bunga Head. Behind the sand dunes of Aragunnu, Dune Dry Shrub Forest, dominated by Bangalay (E. botryoides), also contains :
• Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia),
• Saw Banksia (Banksia serrata)
• Tree Broom-Heath (Monotoca elliptica),
• Pine Heath(Astroloma pinifolium)
• Burrawangs (Macrozamia communis), and
• a groundcover of Bracken (Pteridium esculentum), grasses, sedges and forbs. The Bunga Head Littoral Rainforest (7Ha) contains a low canopy (less than 10m tall) of:
• Lilly pilly (Acmena smithii),
• Rusty Fig (Ficus rubiginosa),
• Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) and
• Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus), as well as
• Bangalay (Eucalyptus botryoides).
The rainforest understorey includes large shrubs of Beyeria lasiocarpa, copper laurel (Eupomatia laurina) and large mock-olive (Notelaea longifolia), and a diverse range of vines, sedges and grasses. The top photo shows a Birds Nest Fern on the left and Burrawangs on the right. The bottom photo is of an Elkhorn Fern. Both the Elkhorn Fern and Birds Nest Fern are at their southernmost geographical limit.
The rhyolite ridges of Bunga Head support 30m tall messmates and silvertop ash, as well as populations of the vulnerable Chef’s Hat Correa (Correa baeuerlenii), the rare plant Myoporum bateae, the uncommon yellow wood (Acronychia oblongifolia) and Zieria sp, and an unusual community of Port Jackson Pines (Callitris rhomboidea) and melaleucas, mixed with orchids. These photos show the Chef’s Hat Correa at the top and a Rock Orchid below.Mimosa Rocks National Park is in a climatic transition zone between Subtropical and Warm and Cool Temperate floras. Bunga Head and Aragunnu are the southernmost limit of many remnant rainforest species, including :
• Sassafras (Doryphora sassafras),
• Small-Leaved Fig (Ficus obliqua),
• Scentless rosewood (Synoum glandulosum),
• Koda (Ehretia acuminata),
• Brittlewood(Claoxylon australe),
• Pointed Boobialla (Myoporum acuminatum),
• Large Mock Olive (Notelaea longifolia),
• Orange Thorn (Citriobatus pauciflora),
• Sweet Sarsaparilla (Smilaxglyciphylla),
• Elk Horn (Platycerium bifurcatum),
• Birds Nest Fern (Asplenium australasicum) and
• Climbing Fishbone Fern (Nephrolepis sp).I loved the tangled roots and vines in this Fig forest out on one of the rocky headlands.
The wide range of vegetation types provide habitats for :
• 39 species of mammals
• 115 bird species
• 21 reptile species and
• 12 amphibian speciesIt is worth consulting the Management Plan, especially Appendix 2 : Threatened Animal Species for a complete listing. There are 3 endangered animal species :
• Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor)
• Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis)
• Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)
The top photo is of two delightful little Hooded Plovers on Aragunnu Beach, where they breed from August to March. The bottom photo is of Crested Terns and a Silver Gull.
There are also 20 vulnerable species including :
• Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris)
• Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua),
• Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae),
• Sooty Owl (Tyto tenebricosa),
• Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura),
• Osprey (Pandion haliaetus),
• Gang Gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum),
• Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) and
• Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus)
The first photo shows a pair of Pied Oyster Catchers with a pair of Hooded Plovers, both Threatened Animal Species, which breed at Aragunnu Beach. I love the bottom image of a pair of Pied Oyster Catchers. They are monogamous birds, which lay their eggs from Spring to Early Summer.Mimosa Rocks National Park is also the southernmost limit for :
• Topknot Pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus),
• Brown Pigeon (Macrophygia amboinensis)
• Yellow-throated Scrubwren (Sericornis citreogularis) and
• Variegated Wren (Malurus assimimis).
Before the arrival of Europeans in 1788, the area was occupied by the Dhurga-speaking Djiringanj tribe, one of the 3 groups of the Yuin people, who lived between the Shoalhaven River and Cape Howe, on the Victorian border, for the last 20,000 years. The Djiringang occupied the area from Narooma, south to Bega and west to the top of the range. Food was plentiful and included : fish, shellfish, stranded whales, dolphins, seals, crabs, freshwater eels, birds and their eggs, fruits, seeds, tubers, honey, mammals, lizards and grubs. Cycad (Burrawang) nuts were soaked to remove their toxins, then ground into a starchy flour, which was made into damper. These photos show the huge Cycad cones, which break open to reveal these stunning bright red seeds.The rhyolite pebble and veins of quartz provided stone for tool production and the forests had plenty of material for weapons, utensils, shelters, decoration and ceremonial purposes. The photos below show a huge aboriginal midden in the foreground. Not a bad view for a feast !!The Yuin had rich social and ceremonial lives. Groups traveled through the Far South Coast and inland over the Monaro Tableland following ancient songlines. There is an old track over Bunga Head north to Hidden Valley, another little gem. They had sophisticated exchange patterns and large ceremonial gatherings. The park has a number of important ceremonial and mythological sites of spiritual value to the local aboriginals, including middens and artifact scatters, most of which are date to 6000 years old after the last rise in sea levels.
I loved the artistic work on these interpretive boards provided by National Parks.
Aragunnu was an important spiritual place for aboriginal women , who used it as a place to give birth. It is easy to imagine aboriginal children playing in among the rocks and the shallows at the end of this beautiful beach. While we were visiting, a raven flew down to check on us and I like to think that it might carry the spirit of some former aboriginal woman.
European settlement started in the 1830s with the arrival of timber loggers, then farmers and graziers. There were no roads and most travel was by coastal steamer from the 1850s on. Spotted gum and stringybark logged in the 1950s and 1960s were a mainstay of the Sydney boat building industry, as well as being used to build bridges and wharves in Fiji and India. With increasing shipping came the increased risk of shipwreck and in 1863, a paddle steamer called ‘Mimosa Rocks’, which was traveling from Twofold Bay to Sydney, hit uncharted rocks off Bunga Head and sank. It has been commemorated, not only with the name of the rocks themselves, but also the name of the entire National Park, which was gazetted in 1973. The photos below show the site of the shipwreck and some old wreakage off Aragunnu Beach.The area has 50 campsites and we are looking forward to the warmer weather , so we can spend a few days there. We have visited the area on three day-trips now and each time we discover new treasures including these amazing pagoda formations, shown below ! Whether they are a reflection of the spiritual nature of the area, a form of artistic expression or merely a need to record a visit, their layout is constantly changing due to the action of waves and weathering. Its fun finding them all!