In August 2023 I joined a retreat with Dr Sue Davis to explore and learn more about the plants of the Sunshine Coast wallum and coastal heathland environments.
Over the course of 4 days we visited 4 wallum sites and spent time observing and drawing many plant species under the guidance of our guest artist, Edith Rewa. It was a most enjoyable few days and I thought readers may enjoy seeing a selection of my photos from the walks.
On the first evening we did a quick bolt up Emu Mountain to observe the plants before the sun set. On the walk up we saw much Acacia hubbardiana perhaps coming towards the end of flowering, plus spots of flowering Pimelea linifolia, Mirbelia, Phebalium Woombye, Hakea actites, Wallum grasstree and Banksia oblongifolia. Of interest were the Bossiaea ensata seed pods as they caught the evening light. On our journey we were also treated to sightings of ground orchids in the fading evening light. We were sad when it was time to head back down.
Photos from the walk below.
On day 2 it was unseasonably warm but we braved the heat for a hike up the dunes following the fire trail. At the entrance we were greeted by a corridor of stunning Rinocarpus pinifolius in full flower lining both sides of the trail, which held us transfixed until a pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos landed nearby to feed.
As we continued up the trail there was much in flower including Conospermum taxifolium, Pimelea linifolia, Woollsia pungens, Phebalium Woombye, Philotheca queenslandica, Zieria laxiflora, Boronia rosmarinifolia, Sowerbaea juncea, Blood root in flower (Haemodorum tenuifolim), native iris of 2 kinds – Patersonia sericea and Patersonia fragilis, various Hibbertia, the Wallum wedge pea (Gompholobium virgatum), and a Dillwynia sp. Parrot Pea.
Mooloolah River National Park
On day 3 we visited a section of the Mooloolah River National Park from the Claymore Road entrance. There was some rubbish at the entrance which was sad to see, but after we passed it the habitat and track were in good order and we marvelled at the floral display that included masses of Boronia blooming alongside towers of starry white Sprengelia flowers to create a magical effect. There was much Mirbelia rubifolia in flower along the path plus many orchids glistening in the sunlight. There was also a magnificent Leucopogon heavy with white flowers and some iridescent blue and green Banksia robur in flower.
Kathleen McArthur Conservation Park
On our final day we visited the Kathleen McArthur Conservation Park for a walk that was a fitting climax for our days of wallum walks.
There were fields of heathland flowers as far as the eye could see as we were gifted a day when the park was clearly at it’s floral best. We recognised many species from the previous walks including Pimelea, Parrot peas, Dodonea triquetra, various Hibbertis and Boronia. We enjoyed a field of Epacris Pulchella in full bloom, together with treasured sightings of Hyacinth orchids, Goodenia stelligera, Emu Mountain Sheoak (Allocasaurina emuina) and a magnificent Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe vitellina) in flower.
Our introduction to the wallum complete, we were now besotted by its floral charms and all eager to return at the same time next year.