Thursday, August 4, 2016

Buttongrass Walk, Bunyip State Park - July 2016

I'm getting a little sick of retro posts so I thought I'd post something a little more recent, well this century anyway. This post goes back to a walk I did just after getting the bandages off my leg after my recent medical procedure, I'd managed a 1.7 kilometre around Kings Falls with dodgy leg, so today I thought that I'd push it a little more, I headed out to Gembrook to walk the Buttongrass Walk. The Buttongrass Walk comes out at less than 4 Chapman kilometres so I figured that my dodgy leg should be able to do it OK. So after breakfast with Sam I jumped in the ute and headed up to Gembrook, well the Bunyip State Park actually, but it's near Gembrook. Now the most painful thing for my dodgy post op appendage is actually sitting down, once I'm walking and the blood is pumping around my leg it's actually not that bad, but the 75 minute drive up there was going to test me. Luckily I came up with a cunning plan, I'd break the journey with a kitty cat and a coffee half way, and you know seemed to work. I arrived at the rough car park without shooting pain in my leg so all was good.
I started this walk near the bridge over Diamond Creek on Camp Road.
Bunyip State Park freaks me a bit, I'm not sure what it is about the place but it always gives me a mild case of the heebie-jeebies walking out here, it's got that feel about it. Now the local indigenous also thought that this area was a bit freaky, the legend goes that an (allegedly) mythical creature called the Bunyip inhabits the swamps around here, this creature was meant to punish bad people, hmmm maybe that's why it freaks me out a little. There's another place that freaks me out a bit in Australia and that's the Pilliga Scrub between Coonabarabran and Narrabri, I generally do my best not to stop for a sleep on that section of the Newell Highway if I can help it. Interestingly I'm not alone in getting that skin crawling sensation in the Pilliga Nature Reserve either, the Pilliga Yowie is rumoured to inhabit that scrappy forest.
Walking along Guide Track, this is about as hard as it gets.
So with my camera in hand and primed for a bunyip encounter I wandered off into the scrub, as the name implies this walk features some native buttongrass, now there is nothing unusual about buttongrass in Tasmania but you don't see much of it in Victoria. The track starts off by climbing gently up the side of a valley through mainly dry eucalyptus forests, the understory of wattle and hakea gave me something to practice my photography on without having to crouch down and give my leg a hard time. 
I was lucky to get a beautiful Melbourne winters day.
The open forest featured a lot of hakea. 
Along with some wattle.
After climbing gently for awhile the route turns to the east and contours across the head of the shallow valley, the views opening up a little to the north across the thickly forested hills of Bunyip State Park, now while the hills aren't that big they were looking good in the late afternoon winters sunlight. Eventually the track veers to the north to complete the circuit, it's along here that I encountered the buttongrass, now it's not buttongrass on anywhere near the scale of Tasmania, but it's buttongrass all the same. I passed another bit of flora along here that interested me as well, there's one section of track that has these multi trunked eucalyptus trees growing beside it, now the only multi trunked eucalypts that I know of are mallee trees and these trees did indeed look a lot like mallee trees, but I've never heard of mallee trees growing to the south east of Melbourne, who knows I might get off my arse and do a bit of research and find and what they are, or I might not.....
The low forested hills in Bunyip State Park looked at their best today.
It looks like a mallee tree to me, any ideas?
There are a couple of nice sections of duck boarding through the damper sections.
My hardcore tramp was rapidly coming to its conclusion now, after passing through some tank traps the parks people have put in to stop the dirt bikes (they don't muck around here!) I turned onto Guide Track, happy to be almost back at the ute with my leg still seeming to be working OK. The main interest on Guide Track is the large dark pond that it passes over, now while I didn't spot the mythical bunyip here I did get some nice photos of the reflections in the still, inky black water so I guess you've got to be happy with that, but a bunyip would be cool.... Passing my outward route I'd completed the circuit, the very short walk back to the ute enlivened by the now late afternoon sun lighting up the somewhat scrappy forest in a nice golden light. It was now just a matter of shoe horning my bung leg back into the ute and heading home after what had been another mild adventure.
Check out the size of the bollards, they don't muck around in Bunyip State Park do they...
Looking for bunyips.
The Dirt.
I walked 4.2 kilometres and climbed 48 metres on this stroll. This is another walk that has been written up and published by the House of Chapman, its walk number 39 in their Day Walks Melbourne Book. This is a really easy walk on good tracks so it would be suitable for young children and maybe even prams, although you'll have to lift them over the tank traps! Apart from the buttongrass the walk also features quite a lot of other botanical interest, and with the variety of flora on offer it's not surprising that it's also a good spot for bird watching. The good news is my leg is feeling OK so I'll slowly start ramping up the difficulty of my walks, all these easy walks and retro adventures are doing my head in a bit, and I'm guessing they're getting a bit boring for anyone else who has the misfortune to stumble onto my blog as well.
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