Bournda National Park

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.BlogBourndaNP20%Reszd2015-11-14 18.04.20We 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!!BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2307BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2251BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2293BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2304

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.BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1909BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1911BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1908BlogBourndaNP20%Reszd2015-05-01 16.11.29There 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.BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2220BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2227BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2209BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2211

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 :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2194BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2200Turingal Head and Wallagoot Gap : BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2073BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2082

The bush track through Coast Banksias and architectural tunnels formed by Bracelet Honey Myrtle :

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Stunning coastal scenery looking north to Games Bay and south to Bournda Island :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1966BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1969Games Bay :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1989BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2037

What a wonderful place for a feast! An aboriginal midden on the headland at Games Bay :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2003BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2012Conch shell and orange lichen :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1981BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1974

A possible aboriginal stone artefact and a rock covered with a variety of lichens and mosses :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2006BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2025

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.

Photos of the local flora :

Bracelet Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris) and Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2064BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1954

Hakea macraeana and Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis subsp angustifolia) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1948BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2190

The fruit of Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) top and  Hairy Pittosporum (Pittosporum revolutum) below :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2066BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2079Orange fungi (Pycnoporus coccineus) and catkins of the male Sheoak (Casuarina cunninghamiana) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2237BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1956Calocera sinensis and a Correa reflexa :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1962BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2111

Sandpaper Fig  (Ficus coronata) and Rock Orchids (Dendrobium speciosum) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2043BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2019Photos of the animals and birdlife :

Stalked Sea Tulip (Pyura gibbosa gibbosa) and Porcupine Fish :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2032BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2196

Little Pied Cormorant and a White-Faced Heron :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2099BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1933White-Breasted Sea Eagle and an Eastern  Grey Kangaroo :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1925BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1934

Roo Footprints and a Swamp Wallaby :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1958BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1928Red-Necked Wallabies :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2205BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2308

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/BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.33.35From 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.BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2122BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2115BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2152BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2105BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2180BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2117BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2177BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2168These unfortunate, but very well-camouflaged, flathead were left behind in their own rock pool, high on the rocks at White Rock.BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%ReszdIMG_2149BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%ReszdIMG_2146

The Bournda National Park management plan is well worth reading for a more in-depth description of the geology, flora and fauna and Aboriginal and European history. See : http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/planmanagement/final/20140029AmendBourndaNPandNR.pdf.
It is also worth consulting the Bournda National Park website on : http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/Bournda-National-Park  and  http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/Walking-tracks/Kangarutha-walking-track.

The website of the Bournda Environmental Education Centre ( http://www.bournda-e.schools.nsw.edu.au/), which is run by the Department of Education and Training and operates within the park, is also well worth visiting, especially as it provides a wonderful resource guide for local plant identification, the Bournda Online Herbarium. See : http://www.bournda-e.schools.nsw.edu.au/ecosystems/terrestrial/. It also has much information about the terrestial and aquatic ecosystems of Bournda National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Dreaming

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.Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 12.38.22Aragunnu 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.

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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 :Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2877Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2882The 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 !!!Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2890Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2869

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.Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-08-20 13.54.16Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 12.11.45Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 12.07.48Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 11.24.06
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.Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8965Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8964Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 11.26.58Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 11.42.36Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 11.27.36Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 14.28.08The 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.Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2802Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2786Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2931Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2805 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.Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8971Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9024
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.Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9021Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9023Mimosa 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).Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9061Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9071I 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 speciesBlog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9074Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2936It 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.2015-06-22 14.25.14 - CopyBlog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2811

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.Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 14.13.22Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 14.15.42Mimosa 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.Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-03-08 12.49.28Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-03-08 12.50.43The 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 !!Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2899Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2898The 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.

Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 11.34.13Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 11.34.38I 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.

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Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2792European 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.Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 11.39.56Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2841The 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!Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9000Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9013Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8998Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_2906Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9001