North of Eden ~ The Pinnacles and Panboola Wetlands, NSW, Australia
The white sands and red clay cliffs make a striking contrast to green eucalyptus, blue skies and water.
We live in a glorious corner of the universe, with National Parks, beaches, wetlands and mountains virtually at our doorstep. Trouble is, we are on the road so much that sometimes we forget to get out and explore when we are at home. That’s where having visitors comes in handy: there is no better way to appreciate your own neighbourhood than by showing it off to someone else!
It’s only a short drive from our little “Eden” to the northern half of Ben Boyd National Park – even so, we’d not been there before taking visitors to have a look last February.
The Walking Track
It’s an easy one kilometre circuit out to the Pinnacles and back to the car-park.
A short rise leads us up through the banksia trees.
Drying Banksia Flowers (Proteaceae)
Soon they will lose their characteristic flower spikes, and the gnarly “cones” will be visible.
Saw Banksia or Old Man Banksia (Banksia Serrata)
I can’t see these gnarled trees without thinking of the Australian children’s writer, May Gibbs…
“Gumnut babies” are the flower/seed pods of the Eucalyptus (http://www.kopida.com/2011/12/may-gibbs.html)
“The Banksia Men Make a Wicked Plot”
Not quite “bad banksia men” yet, but these seed pods are browning.
It looked like a beautiful afternoon on the beach. Usually you can walk down and view the Pinnacles from their base, but the steps were closed when we visited.
The coloured cliffs of the Pinnacles come into view through Banksia branches.
Trees line the sandy path around the point.
The white sand and red clay cliffs of the Pinnacles were laid down over 30 million years ago.
Leaf Litter and Seed Pods
The vegetation changes dramatically on the second half of the path, with tall trees and termite mounds. We even spotted two black cockatoo overhead! They were too fast for my camera.
The short hike around the Pinnacles left us with time and energy to spare, especially as we couldn’t walk down to Long Beach. Just a ten minute drive up the road is Panboola, a protected wetlands, supported by National Parks and local agencies and industries, situated on 77 hectares (190 acres) of reclaimed farmland, town-land and a horse-racetrack.
It was late afternoon: a perfect time for a stroll.
Entry to Panboola
We parked close to the entry and wandered some of the pathways around the 77ha (190 acre) wetlands.
From a covered pavilion near the entry, we learned about the reserve, and watched local waterbirds.
There are places to sit, if you have time.
Purple Swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Areas within the wetland are still used as farmland.
Buildings from the abandoned racecourse sit around the track.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos (Macropus giganteus)
Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to meet Australian wildlife. These kangaroos were the biggest I’ve come across.
Two more eastern grey kangaroos watch us from a safe distance…
… before bounding off into the scrub.
It is amazing what you find on your own doorstep!
Sometimes we forget that the “familiar” to us is “exotic” to someone else.
And, our own neighbourhoods are always worth exploring.