Sunday, 12 October 2008

Touring the coast

Last weekend I was a tourist - in my own patch. Four of us explored some of the Otway National Park, the Great Ocean Road near Port Campbell and the volcanic landscape at Camperdown and Colac. The weather was calm, warm and sunny, we saw lots of tourists, we saw some beautiful farming country, ferny gullies, tall forests and spectacular landscapes. We were in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia.

But it was only at The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard and London Bridge that we really felt like we were in a crowd. There are lots of places that are not visited by the bulk of the tourists and in a number of spots we were the only people there.

One of the quiet places was Moonlight Head, and it was in the nearby cemetery that we found the Twisted Sun Orchid Thelymitra flexuosa. It's reluctant to flower, even on warm days, but we were lucky to find it open. There were a lot of heath plants coming up to flower and flowering in the mown sections of the cemetery and it's well worth a visit. And so is Moonlight Head as well -it's one of the highest cliffs on the coastline.

Another sun orchid was flowering at London Bridge. Metallic Sun Orchid Thelymitra epipactoides was growing next to a path and I stopped to take its photo - and discovered that someone had broken it off and it was just propped up in the surrounding foliage. At that stage I didn't know what it was, so I decided to take it with me back to the car where I had a reference book - and felt decidedly guilty as we passed groups of tourists and National Park staff disguised as tourists. I had to hide it under my shirt! Me, in court, "No way! I didn't pick it - it was just lying there. Really." Anyway, it turned out to be an Endangered species. Which made it even worse than I'd imagined. It is a very beautiful orchid that grows on the exposed cliff tops in Port Campbell National Park.

And just for a change of scene, this was my lunch on Sunday. A delightful Fetta Salad, eaten in the garden at the Timboon Farmhouse Cheese. It looked too good to eat but was delicious. We bought a jar of the fetta so we could relive the taste at home.


Duncan said...

Beaut pictures of the orchids Boobook, and never fear, I won't tell anyone you had a Metallic Sun Orchid inside your shirt. ;-)

Gouldiae said...

Beautiful orchids Boobook. I'm glad you flirted with the law to show us. Had it been growing, a native animal might have come along right behind you and eaten it anyway!
Not a bad looking meal either - sounds like a good day out.