Sunday, November 3, 2013

Coastal Rainforest Part I

The winding road becomes narrow as we drive deep into the heart of the forest. Soon the bitumen ends and the dirt road disappears around the next bend. We park our four wheel drive under the shade of tall palms and native coastal trees. Salty air and the sound of distant waves greet us from somewhere beyond the green and brown forest. Birds call in clean whistles. We begin our walk into the forest, water bottles in hand and dried fruit snacks for the hike.

white bottlebrush // forest crab // green jungle

Within metres, the hot dry air changes and as we continue through the shade created by a tall, dense canopy, the cooler temperature of the air feels fresh and clean. White bottlebrush and local honeysuckle flowers rise from the ground. A stealthy monitor lizard watches us from a safe distance, we almost overlooked it with his still statue-like pose. I gaze up towards the forest ceiling, tiny stars of sunlight sparkle through the dark green canopy that is dominated with Pink Bloodwood, Blackbutt and Flooded Gums that stretch as much as 30 metres above us.

woody climbers // nature lover

Tall, woody vines creep up over old moss-covered trunks. If I look closely, tiny ants can be seen marching along the stems of the vines. A gentle reminder that different communities of species in this green ecosystem can exists on a minuscule scale. Byron turns towards me and I snap his picture. The camera shutter click sounds unnatural in this pristine forest environment. We continue on foot, making crunching sounds as we step on dried leaves, twigs, rock quartz and other living debris that has fallen from the hardwood forest trees.

seaside forest // understory creatures // staghorn ferns

As the dense foliage beings to thin, the sound of the sea amplifies. The wind picks up, howling through the shrubs that line the edge of the forest. This is where the Bongil Bongil forest meets the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular, noisy seascape. We walk along the beach, taking in the dunes, sea grass, driftwood and white-tipped waves before returning to the cool, still forest. We sit at a damp picnic table setting where we enjoy navel orange wedges, grape tomatoes, carrot and celery sticks with spicy apple juice before gathering our picnic and wandering back towards the Hilux.

Along the way, we give into our inner wild creatures to play about in a small clearing. Laughter erupts from us like the wild calls of the native birds. Taking short breaks now and again to look up, we observe the lime green foliage of giant green Staghorn ferns, hovering over our heads like oversized bird nests.

The forest is an amazing place to explore, wide-eyed in the spring time. I hope my children and my children's children can visit this place, untouched by development for years to come. I hope it is preserved, protected and treasured for our future generations. It should be.

Do you enjoy hiking? Do you wonder at the beauty of the forest? Have you explored a place that appears as if it is untouched by people? Please share your stories in the comments below, I'd love if you could paste links to your blogs so I can visit.

I confess, I'm a lover of nature.

Bella xx

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Thank you for taking the time to leave your messages. I love reading your words and sharing snippets from our seaside life with you.

Love Bella xx


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