27 August, 2011

Main Range National Park

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Sunlight piercing the canopy illuminates the palm fronds in the dense rainforest and Birds-nest ferns perch high up on the trunks of the tallest trees.

The Cunning Gap it the pass that links Brisbane to the east with the agricultural regions to the west of the Great Dividing Range, a string of mountains and extinct volcanoes which runs the length of the eastern side of the Australian continent. Any streams flowing to the east quickly flow into the pacific but water flowing west takes a long journey inland and out to the Southern Ocean, although it may not make it that far during drought. The pass was discovered by Allan Cunningham (1791-1839) who incidentally was chosen by Joseph Banks to collect plants for Kew Gardens. He arrived in Australia in 1816 and under took many plant hunting expeditions in Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland, identifying many new plant species. The pass was opened up in the 1830’s, a vital link between communities though treacherous due to the steep unstable terrain which still poses problems today.

The Cunningham Gap still being repaired after sections of it fell of the mountain of were buried by landslides during the floods.

Looking up through a stand of palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana).

Looking up the trunk of a Strangler Fig tree which is one of the most prominent tall tree species and a shaft of light on a little shrub.

Higher up the pass where the forest is more light and open.

Looking up a tall Hoop Pine (Auricaria cunninghamii) draped with mosses and a young orchid among the mossy branches.

Unusual bulges on the trunk of a tree.

This picture was actually taken in the Greenstone Valley in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. My juvenile side felt that it would pair up well with the previous picture. Gota love nature!

Higher still mist from passing banks of clouds add to the atmosphere and the fronds of tree ferns replace those of the palms.

The tough waxy leaves of a tiny epiphytic orchid that ad fallen from the canopy.

The spent flower spike of a Spear Lilly (Doranthes excelsa) on the rocky outcrops that break above the tree line.

Looking up to the summit. The craggy rocks are the plug of a long extinct volcano which are peppered with Spear Lilies and Grass Trees.

Looking to the north to the sheer cliffs of a once vast volcanic creator.

Looking out to the east towards Brisbane and the coast and the flower of a Plectranthus species.


  1. Good to see your pics of Doranthes excels in the wild- my single stemmed one is now enormous! Archontophoenix cunninghamiana must be fairly common in tropical areas as I often see it in the Caribbean. As for the lumpy growth tree – say no more!

  2. Jamie, these are stunning photos. It looks like another world. Great blog!