In the busy commercial and tourist heart of Port Macquarie, the town park holds a secret behind its manicured lawns and gardens and picnic tables: the Kooloonbung Creek Nature Reserve.
As we followed a boardwalk through mangrove forests and paperbark swamps, the swarms of mosquitoes made it hard to focus on anything else, and in the heat of the day, little else moved. A young Water Dragon was a notable exception, quick to dash away.
This vine root had got itself so tangled and knotted that no dashing was being considered.
But high in the trees, the Reserve’s Flying Foxes were busy flapping their wings to stay cool.
On the industrial edge of Port Macquarie, the Googik Track offers walkers and bike riders an amazing escape into Nature. For the first part of it, the nearby traffic noise was loud and steady, an incongruous juxtaposition to what I was seeing, like these large robust and spreading gum trees, Eucalyptus signata, Snappy Gums or Scribbly Gums.
And much scribbled-upon they were…
More of the vegetation was swampland, with paperbarks and reeds and palms large and small.
In one part, pretty lilac native flowers grew beside the track, Burmannia disticha, new to me; also found in China, India and other parts of Asia.
One plant I am now familiar with was Xanthorrhoea resinosa, the Grasstree with the underground stem, and there were thousands of them here, all past flowering, some growing really tall.
My favourite sighting was of the dainty spider web cups suspended in the reeds and still glistening with dewdrops.
I didn’t walk the whole track; I will when it’s not so hot, and perhaps not at such a busy get-to-work time of day, for the traffic.
Not sure how to reduce the number of bike riders coming up fast behind me, none dinging their bells. Isn’t that the custom when passing a pedestrian on a shared path? Especially one who might stumble a bit as she goggled at spider webs…