Monolith Valley, Budawang NSW, 2021
and commentary: copyright Jonathan C Nevill, 2021, unless otherwise credited.
Camera: Samsung Galaxy S7.
Around thirty years ago, Nerida and I took the children (Jasmine and James) to Budawang National Park, inland from Nowra NSW.
This is an isolated, mysterious and dramatic landscape; a wilderness created by highly eroded sandstones and conglomerates.
This second trip for me was two days (one overnight camp). If I get the opportunity to walk the area again, I will make it three days.
The deeply dissected sandstone wilderness of the Budawang National Park,
This is hard landscape to photograph unless you can get elevation.
To present a general view of the terrain, I'm using photos from third party sources.
The two images, above and below, are courtesy of hikingscenery.com.au
Viewed close up, the rocks appear brownish rather than the uniform grey you see from a distance. The sedimentary rocks are strongly layered.
On my first day, I got off to a late start, commencing the hike at 14:30 hours. I made camp as the light was fading at 16:30. The next day I walked four hours in the morning, then four in the afternoon. I got to the start of Monolith Valley, but I got rather lost on the way back to the car-park. This wasted about an hour.
The bushfires of summer 2019/2020 burnt much of the Budawang area.
A few species of ground cover have recovered quickly.
The eucalypts (above and below) are sprouting from epicormic nodes, having lost their smaller branches to the wildfire.
The colours change depending on whether you are looking towards or away from the sun.
The hike was quiet, with hardly any bird calls. I heard a Lyrebird in the distance. The bushfires killed many animals.
Some of the rainforest pockets in protected gullies did get burnt, unfortunately, and may not recover.
Many of the plants, particularly in the open forest, are fire-adapted.
Some animals able to shelter below the ground surface can survive wildfires.
There were obvious signs of wombats and cicadas.
Some fire-adapted plants, like this grevillea, have thick woody cases for their seeds, which survive a mild wildfire.
The cases open after the fire has passed and release their seeds.
Over much of its length, the track from the car-park to Monolith Valley is overgrown.
If it's not maintained in the next two years, parts of the track will disappear.
I was relieved to find sections of old track marked with wooden steps; then I knew I was on the right path.
Cliffs are multi-coloured and dramatic.
Here conglomerate is layered alternatively with sandstone, suggesting some sort of series of cyclic events driving the original erosion which laid down the sediments.
There are many caves, but only a few with flat and level floors.
I slept in one of these caves. I carried a tent but it was not free-standing, and the rock floor did not accept tent pegs.
I slept in the open. I was carrying insect repellent, but I did not need to use it.
Sunset from my cave.
Ben Norsa takes great landscape photographs....
A land of beauty, mystery and magic....