Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gundabooka National Park - Road Trip with Danish Visitors - Part 3

Summit day! Not too bad using a day off climbing an outback mountain. I had done it before and I can promise that I would love to do it again. After a great nights sleep we got up, had some porridge, filled the water bottles and the fresh-of-the-plane Danes had to use some time getting their virgin skin covered in a protective layer of sunscreen. While all that rubbing was going on, I gave a little 101 on how to walk in the bush, what species of animals we were likely to encounter and that we would not see. I used quite a bit of energy explaining that we would not(!) encounter snakes and therefore we very perfectly safe walking through high grass and scrubby bush. I think, I even managed to state that seeing a snake under these conditions would be as lucky as winner the big one in Lotto .. after approximately 100 meters of walking the little fella below tried to cross the path in front of us. According to my previous statement it could obviously not be a snake - that would be too lucky - so I mentioned that there was a good chance of it being a legless lizard ... having had a bit of time looking at photos and a visit to the the website for the Atlas of NSW Wildlife, I must admit that Gundabooka is inhabited by two types of snakes with black heads, the Monk Snake and the Mallee Black-headed snake, my best guess is that our little friend is a juvenile of the latter. Crossing the scrubby flats is warm and tedious work, but the reward is well worth it, as soon as the landscape start rising the bushes and trees disappear and you start climbing Mount Gundabooka. There is no well defined path to follow and if you get to eager and try to gain high too fast, you are likely to be find yourself stuck in a dead end having to backtrack, but as long as you take it easy and just follow the flow of the landscape it is an easy climb. Taking your time on the way up gives you the possibility of observing how plants, insects and animals change as you leave the grassland below and get some rock under food. The views change as well! What a lovely way to spend time with some good friends! Sitting on a big rock in the middle of nothing, with wood swallows circling around you, skinks curiously peaking out from their small caves and a wedge-tailed eagle hovering high above trying to spot dinner or just out stretching its wings. The raw landscape of Gundabooka national park and the views from the mountain makes it one of my absolute favorite national parks in Australia. If you live in Sydney and have visitors flying in, that are willing to (and capable of) doing a good hike/climb, I think Gundabooka is their best chance of getting a feel of what the Australian outback is about .. unless you splash out and fly.

1 comment:

Jarrod Amoore said...

It's a lovely park and about time I went there again.