Blue Serendipity: Mt Glorious Delivers – D’Aguilar National Park

blue-tiger-feeding- rainforest

I have a small addiction. It’s not exactly a harmful one, but it can  distract me from working occasionally and result in some frustration. I’ll be  tapping away intently at my laptop until a characteristic fluttering movement in my peripheral vision causes immediate physiological and emotional responses. An increased heart and breathing rate accompanied by an idiotic grin and a sudden compulsion to leap up and grab the closest available camera heralds the onset of the maddening condition known as “take-a-picture-of-a-butterfly-itis.” This condition can be intensified if the butterfly happens to be blue, my favourite colour. I’ve been told that blue is meant to be soothing, however it doesn’t seem to have that effect on me when I see it on a butterfly.

Until recently, the hyperactive movements of Blue Triangle and Blue Tiger butterflies have eluded capture by my lens. Following their meandering flight through my garden has not led to photographic satisfaction, so much so that I had even renamed them the Blue Teasers. A recent series of events contributed to me achieving a much longed for state of blue delirium though.

I never thought I’d be grateful for a chest infection, my fear of driving through city traffic or for missing my early morning alarm until the day my blue desires were sated. Being tired from lingering illness, wanting to avoid road stress and starting late meant I chose a scenic drive to Mt Glorious from the south of Brisbane via Fernvale rather than a more arduous hike further afield. Reading hiking accounts from Cameron’s High and Wide blog also encouraged me to check out this beautiful area.

My route in green.

My route in green.

On the way, I enjoyed views of Wivanhoe Dam which was originally designed in response to the 1974 floods and is a water supply for Brisbane city and surrounding regions.

Wivanhoe Dam happens to be home to a population of Australian Lung Fish, Neoceratodus forsteri, a protected species and one of only six remaining species of lungfish in the world. I remember eating one as a child and being very unimpressed by its texture and muddy flavour.  They are nocturnal bottom feeders, growing up to 1.5m and weighing 40kg and have been known to live for up to 100 years. They are very slow growing though  and are threatened by human interference to their river habitats, in particular the construction of large dams. While dams provide a feeding habitat for adults they often do not provide the right conditions for spawning or for nurseries.

Here are a few images I have taken of Wivanhoe Dam on past trips.

Pelicans at Wivanhoe

Paddling at Wivanhoe

Wivanhoe Dam

A picture of me taking a picture courtesy of my daughter.

My first stop along the drive was the picnic area, Red Cedar. I’ve been here before with Lycra Man, one of my occasional hiking partners, who is more of a cyclist than a walker. Our attention was focused on a tranquil creek on an adjoining rural property rather than the picnic area though. Here are some memories from that occasion.

creek line

palm reflections

leaf in water

pool

This area originally featured towering red cedars  but many of these were cleared by the timber industry. Now the remaining red cedars are protected. Here’s a picture of me with the remains of one such tree. I can’t work out what I was feeling there – adoration or sadness? My daughter who likes to tease me for being a tree-hugger took this picture.

Old red cedar

Creek at Red Cedar Picnic Grounds

The horse flies never seem to leave me alone.

The giant horse flies never seem to leave me alone.

The next part of my walk is where my blue fantasies were fulfilled so I apologise if I become a little incoherent while I relive the intense rush. As I left the creek area and walked across the mown grass of the picnic grounds, the sight of hundreds of Blue Tigers fluttering and sipping dew had me hyperventilating and wondering if someone had spiked my early morning coffee.

My daughter and I spent the next few minutes trying to capture the enchantment, but the blue teasers were already warming up from the sun and our efforts are a little blurry. The Blue Tiger, Tirumala hamate, is a migratory species and apparently enormous groups of them can sometimes be seen in the Greater Brisbane Area. I wondered if recent heat wave conditions had encouraged their movements. Moreton Bay Shire Council has a useful information leaflet on butterflies in the region.

two blue tigers

butterfly

butterflies

butterfly three

butterfly group

Now to all you readers for whom clouds of butterflies are the norm, I apologise for my childlike excitement. But this was a first for me. Only those who also suffer from “take-a-picture-of-a-butterfly-itis” and a love of all things blue will probably understand.

After a calming tea break, I’ll now resume my hiking tale with a little more decorum. A further drive along a misty, winding, steep road took us to  Maiala Rainforest on Mt Glorious, which is part of D’Aguilar National Park.

Winding road - Mt Glorious

The original inhabitants of this area were the Kamilaroi people and Maiala means “quiet place’ in their dialect. European settlers felled most of the original magnificent hoop pines in the area to use for timber and only a small remnant remains within the rainforest. It is hard to believe now that the carpark and picnic area used to be a timber mill.

walking tracks

The gentle class 3, 2km walk through Maiala Rainforest, which was the first national park declared in this area was a delight for the senses. Lack of time meant we couldn’t continue on to do the class 3, 4.3km Greene Falls Walk, the class 4, 6.4km Westside Track or the class 4, 24km Aquila loop, but that gives me an excuse to revisit this magical area to write up more  hiking reports.

The impressive root systems of Strangler Figs, Ficus watkinsiana, fascinate me. For overseas readers, the fruit of these trees is popular with birds and often their droppings containing the seeds become lodged in the forks of other trees. The seeds sprout, the roots grow downwards and the leaves grow up. Eventually the host tree can be “strangled” by being encased in the roots of the fig.

rainforest-strangler

While looking for better words to describe the dark and sometimes gloomy interior of a tropical rainforest I happened upon an old favourite, tenebrosity, and a nice little literary quote:

“It was one night in winter, when all nature shone in the nocturnal beauty of tenebrosity…” Ulysses

Tenebrosity has also been used to label a  sinister, depressing kind of darkness. While I do find rainforests a peaceful environment, I can imagine it feeling quite different if I was lost. The sounds of catbirds crying like abandoned children, the frequent rustling in the shadows, and the lack of a horizon could encourage an ominous train of thought…

rainforest canopy

rainforest thick palms

rainforest thick

The rainforest floor was littered with fruit, many edible. Here are some albums of rainforest bounty. It’s a reminder of just how much food such environments contain. Along our walk we couldn’t avoid crushing Davidsons Plums and  lilly pillies underfoot.

rainforest food lily pilly

Australian lilly pilly syzygium luehmannii

rainforest food

Davidsonia pruriens – Davidsons Plum

Many rainforest trees feature buttresses which may have a few uses. Buttresses help stabilise the tall trees. The top soil is quite shallow which mean nutrients lie close to the surface. Buttresses may also help the plant to gain more nutrients as well as channel water.

rainforest tree buttress

We shared the path with young families which meant our sighting of wildlife was limited. Young children can be a little noisy when excited but I’m always happy to see joy expressed that is a result of something other than a computer or TV screen. Full marks to parents who take the time to introduce children to the joys of nature. I just have to choose my times more wisely if I want to view shy wildlife. We did, however, catch sight of our first pademelon, which I think is the red-necked variety, Thylogale thetis. They are usually shy creatures and I  barely had time to pull out the camera before it was gone. Their generous rumps make me feel fondly towards them as my own is not exactly small.

A shy red-necked pademelon

A shy red-necked pademelon

Red-necked pademelon

Red-necked pademelon

The air temperature in the forest was a delightfully cool 25C compared to the 39-40C (104F) conditions of my home area in the previous few days. However, I still managed to drown my shoes in sweat due to physical exertion in the extremely high humidity. The walk was an easy 2km though and apart from a few steps had a mild gradient.

Rainforest tree

rainforest moss

tentacles

rainforest log

rainforest plants

rainforest tree peel

rainforest bark peel

rainforest trees

It surprises me that we have rainforests such as these so close to the city centre. The South East Queensland Wildlife Centre at Walkabout Creek is another destination I plan to visit. It is even closer to the city and within the D’aguilar Ranges. The centre is one of the few places which provides views of a platypus in exhibits which mimic natural settings.  There are many beautiful areas within the D’aguilar Ranges to explore and more information can be found at the National Parks Site.

With my blue addiction fed, my senses stimulated and my mind soothed by a rainforest walk, I was ready to face the manic world of city living once again, for a few hours at least…

“A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home…”

– Hermann Hesse, Baume, Betrachtungen und Gedichte

rainforest palms path

36 thoughts on “Blue Serendipity: Mt Glorious Delivers – D’Aguilar National Park

  1. I envy you your blue butterflies (or flutterbys as I like to call them). Your photos are such a marvelous glimpse into the mysteries to be found down under. It all seems so very exotic to me. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Hi Gunta,
      I remember someone calling them flutterbys when I was a child. What a delightful name! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad I could share something “exotic” with you. Even though I’ve been to many rainforests, I still feel like they are something out of a novel. The atmosphere is such a contrast to our dry more open schlerophyll forests. I think they will always feel special to me. 🙂

    • Hi Susan,
      Thank you! I love landscapes as well as macro-photography. Actually I just love pictures of all kinds really! I hoped you enjoyed your art gallery “crawl”. That is something I would love to do too. Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness, Jane! Your photographs are so mesmerizing! Each and every one of them is outstanding and interesting… you take the reader on the hike and we see every little nook and crook and oddity along the way. I learn so much about your part of the world… and I find your thoughts and questions about all of it so similar to mine. I scrolled back and forth after I’d read the post, taking in the photographic beauty of the rain forest. And I loved the blue butterflies – a blue addiction indeed… I have never seen anything like those! ~ Lori

    • Hi Lori. You are so kind and generous with your praise of my blog, especially considering how wonderful your pictures and writing are! I am touched that you should enjoy my post in this way. I worry they are far too long but I do find it hard to decide what to leave out. It is lovely to know that I am not completely weird in my thoughts! Thank you so much for enjoying my blue addiction with me. I love to hear feedback from my reader friends. You have a wonderfully interesting blog that I will continue to enjoy. Thank you! 🙂

      • Oh thank you Jane! I sometimes think my posts are too long too, but I don’t feel good about leaving out details or cutting it up to “shorten” the story. What I love about your many photos, and the narration in your posts is that I feel like I got the whole tour, and I was sated at the end of it, happily reflecting (scrolling back over it to really take in the photos again!). It’s similar to eating out at a lovely restaurant… why do people feel the need to hurry through the experience (especially Americans) when it’s truly wonderful to eat slowly, enjoying every aspect of the experience – the company involved, the discussion and atmosphere? Most things are best not hurried. I love your storytelling… and your many photographs. I don’t want to read about a hike in thirty seconds. I want to experience the hike! That’s how your writing comes across… so thank you for an awesome experience!

        • Oh yours are definitely not too long! I love sitting down with a cuppa to savour your beautifully chosen words and pictures. I often save up my favourite long posts to read slowly during a relaxed Sunday. I enjoy my walks immensely and never like to rush them. It’s not about getting from A to B as quickly as possible and ticking off a box. It’s about immersing myself in my surroundings and enjoying every minute. I’ve learnt to slow down a great deal more now. I used to feel guilty if I wasn’t busy all the time. I do think it’s a cultural thing to be rushing around all the time. I know it’s not the same in other cultures. Thanks again for your beautiful response, Lori. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Let’s hope that rooster problem gets sorted soon. 😉

  3. Wonderful, Jane. This is an addiction I want.

    P.S. Love the comments above, and agree. Alas, too often I have the tendency of being one of those rushed Americans. But being from the South helps.

    • Thank you, John! Yes, I guess as far as addictions go, photographing butterflies is probably a fairly safe one, unless of course, I break my neck leaping over logs to capture an image! 🙂 It is hard to slow down and stop rushing. I tend to carry a niggling doubt that I really should be doing something. I grew up with a strong work ethic and a sense of guilt about having fun. But I am getting better at slowing down now that my joints are forcing me to! Ah yes, I have heard that the South tends to be more relaxed. I’d love to visit one day. Thanks for commenting again, John. I always appreciate your supportive feedback. 🙂

  4. You sure pack a lot of great photos and interesting information into a post! I think that I’d be obsessed with the blue butterflies, if we had them around here. The photos from along the creek were so serene, I felt as if I were there and could feel the coolness and hear the water. The plants and trees of the rain forest never cease to amaze me. I hope that you’re feeling better now.

    • Hi Jerry!
      Packing in a lot of great photos and interesting information is actually how I would describe your blog! It’s always a great pleasure to read and such a huge contrast to my own environment. One of the lovely things about starting a blog has been “meeting” so many nice people from all over the world and reading about their interests and countries. I am also amazed by rainforests even though I have seen many of them. They are so full of life. That creek really was a serene spot so I’m glad the pics showed that. Thanks again for reading and commenting! 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed them. It’s lovely to be able to share them with you and have you take the time to comment. Yes, I was happy to have finally “caught” my blue teasers! Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

  5. The blue butterflies are indeed beautiful! I’ve not seen such a thing before and I really love butterflies!
    Also the photos in the rain forest are wonderful. I’m quite used to pine and fir forests and cedar forests, but have never been into a real rain forest. I would love to do that some day, but the nearest one from here is about 600 miles. Gorgeous photos! I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    • Hi!
      Wow, I didn’t realise this would be an unusual thing for other people. I’m glad it was something new for you too. It was certainly a lovely experience to be surrounded by these blue flutterers .
      Six hundred miles is a long way to travel but I hope you can visit a rainforest one day. I still find it magical even though I’ve been to many. Thank you for reading and for the kind feedback once again. I enjoyed sharing with you. 🙂

  6. This post is absolutely stunning! I live around this area also and haven’t explored nearly as much as I would love. This post has now put a wonderful spot on my list. p.s your writing is incredible

    • Hi Sofija,
      Lovely to hear from you! I’m glad my post have given you a new place to explore. I must admit I really had no idea until recently that the D’Aguilar Range has such beautiful spots. I have only just begun to explore it and am looking forward to more trips very soon. I’m not a fan of the heat and humidity though so I hope we get some cooler days again soon. Thank you for the encouraging feedback. I see you also have a blog and I’ll enjoy following along. I hope you finish writing that novel! I have a similar goal. Happy days. 🙂

    • Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed them. Pademelons are lovely little marsupials. One of them actually had a baby in its pouch but you can’t see it in the photo. They are sweet little creatures. I just hope their habitat remains protected. Thanks also for the follow! 🙂

  7. I have to say Jane that I really appreciate and enjoy your attention to detail in your walks and subsequent blog posts. I sometimes am walking too quickly to take in the tiny details and as my husband has pointed out to me “its not a race!” I have attempted to slow my pace on my walks. Its not that I don’t enjoy the small things, its just that I walk like I talk and think – fast! I have to say I am getting better at noticing the little things and posts like this certainly encourage me to stop and watch the butterflys 🙂

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thank you for those kind words. I am glad you enjoy my posts. I also really enjoy your great blog! I don’t think there is anything wrong in going fast if you want to! I just used to feel like I had to rush. I had difficulty relaxing and feeling like it was ok to go slow. People walk for different reasons such as cardio fitness and if they have kids they are often chasing after them about. I spent years rushing around and now have time to enjoy the details. I expect you are so happy to escape the normal routine of life that you enthusiastically walk, eager to see everything and discover what’s next. It can be exhilarating to go for a brisk walk. If it is something you want to do then nothing wrong with that. Just enjoy it in your own way. My joints and ongoing anaemia mean I actually can’t go fast these days either, so that’s another reason I have slowed down. So thank you for your lovely praise of my blog, but don’t feel bad because you enjoy walking fast. 🙂 Looking forward to reading your next lovely post. Perhaps we can go for a walk together one day if you are nearby? It’s a little hot and humid lately though! 🙂

  8. Yes Jane, I know what is is like to almost choke with excitement when experiencing something truly wonderful. In my case, swimming with dolphins in Port Philip Bay and seeing puffins for the first time in Wales.

    Your photographs reminded me of visits to rainforest in Far North Queensland. They are so lush and so dense with so many varieties of plant life.

    Congratulations on your photographs of one of the species of Blue Teasers.

    • Hi Margaret. Swimming with dolphins probably would have had me even more choked up with excitement than the blue teasers! Oh yes, puffins are such special birds. The puffin symbol on my childhood book covers started my own desire to see puffins one day. I would love to go to Wales. I am glad you can understand my childish excitement, Margaret.
      I always enjoy the amazing amount of life in rainforests. We are so lucky to still have these regions.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Margaret. I’m looking forward to your next post. 🙂

  9. Hi Jane,
    I’ve never stopped at Red Cedar picnic area – what a lovely location! Many mozzies?
    I’ve got some good memories of the drive from Fernvale up around the east side of the dam… Pity there aren’t so many of having done walks there.
    As for the Blue Tigers; how could one forget? Are they different to the black and white ones? I was never sure if they were just faded blue. They seemed to become more common than the blue ones in our yard over the years. I guess they must be a different species. I’ve never looked it up, but an enthusiastic lepidopterist like yourself would surely know?
    😊

    • Hi Dayna,
      Yes, Red Cedar is lovely although there was quite a lot of weed growth on my second visit. It’s actually much prettier through the fence and further along the creek under the little bridge but that is private property. No mozzies when we were there which was surprising but there was an annoying horse fly. Yes, the drive on the eastern side of Wivanhoe is lovely. The best views though are often on parts of the road where I can’t pull over, so the driver misses out a little!
      Blue Tigers are different to Common Crow butterflies (if that is what you mean by the black and white ones). Funny that common crows actually have such beautiful shiny silver cocoons by the way. Anyway, Blue Tigers do vary in how vivid the blue is. You can tell the age of one by how blue it is. It is vivid when young and fades as it ages so it is possible you’ve seen some that only look black and white from a distance but when you examine them closely they have traces of blue left. I’ve read that they can live up to 5 months! Thanks for reading and commenting, Dayna. 🙂

  10. Hi Jane amazing photos of D’Aguilar National Park and is beautiful nature.The Blue Tiger like you call them are so gorgeous.Never saw this sort of butterflies before.It’s fantastic.

    • Thank you! I do love the Blue Tigers. They are gorgeous butterflies and I couldn’t believe it when I came upon hundreds of them in one little area. I’m glad that you like them to. Thanks for reading and commenting. Lovely to hear from you. I’m enjoying your blog too. 🙂

    • Thanks very much for your kind praise. It actually made me re-read the post which I hadn’t done in a long time. It brought back happy memories for me. It felt pretty magical being surrounded by butterflies and sharing that experience with my daughter. Life was a little simpler back when I wrote that post. It’s been a little too busy lately and it’s good to be transported back to special moments in the past. 🙂

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