John Forrest National Park

The day of May 26 started fresh and cold, promising to warm up around the time we would be setting of for a walk through John Forrest National Park, 24 km east of Perth. This park was the first named National Park of Western Australia, and the second in Australia. It is also one of my favourite places to go for a walk, and I am not the only one—there are normally lots of cyclists and other walkers, and children and young people playing on the granite rocks and boulders. We were a group of 13 walkers, some new to me and some I was delighted to catch up with after a long time. I was informed it was going to be a leisurely pace and the walk was around 10 km long. No more ‘bush-bashing’, as we are all getting on in age. We left at 10 am, in line with our winter walking time schedule.

Our path took us along the Railway Heritage Trail, then, after morning tea, on to the wildflower walk, lunch at Hovea Falls and back at the car park for afternoon tea. I was interested in what birds would be around, but the area had too many people enjoying themselves to dedicate much time to this. I managed to hear or see the most common birds such as the Striated Pardalote, Australian Ringneck, Magpie, Raven and Carnaby’s Cockatoo but not much else as my attention was also drawn to flowers. Along the wildflower walk I first spotted Eucalyptus wandoo in flower by seeing the flowers on the path—probably broken off by Ringneck (or 28) Parrots. Then we spotted some flowering shrubs and orchids, specifically a many-flowered Eriochilus dilatatus (Bunny Orchid), Styphelia tenuiflora (Pin-heath), Leucopogon nutans (Drooping Heath), Andersonia lehmanniana, Calothamnus sanguineus (Silky-leaved Blood Flower), Adenanthos barbiger (Hairy Jug-flower), Drosera erythrorhiza (Red-ink Sundew) and Hardenbergia comptoniana (Native Wisteria).

Near Hovea Falls, within the moss on the granite outcrop, I spotted a smaller Bunny Orchid, which turned out to be Eriochilus helonomos, and also Red-leaved Sundew (Drosera bulbosa). On the old railway line, there was only the one Banksia (Dryandra) sessilis in flower and just before we got back to the cars, I spotted the Native Yam (Dioscorea hastifolia) with dainty yellow flowers climbing through a grass tree (Xanthorrhoea preissii).

Back at the car park I was told that I couldn’t leave yet as afternoon tea was to be served, with homemade cakes. I stayed, of course. It seemed the most enjoyable way of ending a lovely day with pleasant company. I hope to be able to go on more walks with the bushwalking group but probably won’t have time until next year—which is a shame, as they go to interesting places.

I would urge other club members to go out more with the bushwalkers. There is enough time to stop and look around, or you catch up a bit further on if you can’t resist taking that lovely photo… and it is nice to get out, do some walking exercise and enjoy nature.

Jolanda Keeble