Steep mountain ranges, cool forest creeks, interesting walking tracks and unusual native flowers - sounds like a perfect family day out! Yesterday we drove about 100km up the Gibraltar Range, and away from the river flats of our hometown. It had been three and a half years since we had traveled this way, that visit was in mid winter, cool and slightly damp. Now it's mid summer, hot and drier.
We explored Boundary Falls picnic area in the Gibraltar Range National Park then headed to Washpool National Park. Between these two stops I noticed three small flat, dry, grassy swampy areas beside the road (just west of the Ranger's building/house). What really caught my eye were the Christmas Bells flowers! Christmas Bells are native to only a narrow strip along eastern Australia, an area I have lived in all my life, yet I had never seen these plants before. Despite the midday heat I was determined to stop and have a good look at these treasures (being the driver helps with these snap decisions)! There are only four species of Christmas Bells, these particular plants are either Northern Christmas Bells, Blandfordia grandiflora, which is the species with the largest flowers or Blandfordia cunninghamii, Mountain Christmas Bell. They are tufted perennial herbs. Their grass-like leaves, similar in appearance to small Kangaroo-Paw leaves, aren't visible in these photos, they are hidden beneath the other taller grasses. Their beautiful, brightly coloured bell-shaped flowers bloom in summer (December -February), making their name very fitting.
At Washpool National Park I found some dainty white flowers amongst the reedy grasses of the boulders (as well as stunning views). I haven't been able to identify these, they appear similar to the Western Australian Blue Lace Flower, Trachymene cerulean. So many wonderful things to see and more walking tracks yet to be explored on future visits - when the weather is cooler.