Next Walk:

  • Percival Hill - Wednesday 26th April 2017 - Meet at Schow Place, Nicholls at 9.30am (Postponed due to predicted bad weather until 03/05/2017)
  • Nursery Swamp – Wednesday 19th April 2017 Meet at Namadgi Visitor Information Centre at 9.30am
  • Lyrebird Trail and the Cascades Trail - Wednesday 12th April 2017. Meet at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Information Centre at 9.30am. 
  • Dhurrawarri Buranya Walk, Googong Foreshores Wednesday Walk 5 April 2017 

Jo Walker

The Dhurrawarri Buranya Walk is mostly on a track along the ridge between Burra Creek and Queanbeyan River and ends where the two waterways meet. But, before we got to that part of the trip, we had already crossed one of the highlights of the day, the London Bridge Arch. The Bridge is a large archway of limestone carved out over the years by water from Burra Creek seeping through cracks in the soft rock until caves and then the arch were formed. Eventually, some 20,000 years ago, the course of Burra Creek changed from its journey across the alluvial plain to a flow entirely through the arch. The vegetation on the limestone rocks is mostly short grasses, but a few tall Gynatrix pulchella adorn the entrance to the caves.
For a while we walked along the valley beside the creek – obviously home to quite a few wombats. The adjacent hillside was cloaked in Burgan (Kunzea ericoides) beneath Eucalyptus pauciflora (Snow Gums) and E. stellulata (Black Sallee). Further along, a series of steps and flat rocks led us up the steep slope to the shaly ridge. Along the climb, we passed through Cassinia longifolia and some Daviesia mimosoides with the lower understorey consisting mostly of Pultenaea microphylla with a few small patches of Cryptandra amara var. longiflora and Pultenaea procumbens.
As we progressed along the ridge, we came into dry forest consisting mostly of Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) and Broad-leaved Peppermint (E. dives) with a scattering of Red-stemmed Wattles (Acacia rubida) and Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa ssp. lasiophylla). Two robust Persoonia rigida were growing near the path, a species that .seems to occur only as isolated specimens or in very small groups.
Further on, the vegetation changed slightly as we came into an area of grey shale. Eucalyptus polyanthemos (Red Box) were sheltering an understorey of mainly Dillwynia phylicoides, but with a few Leucopogon fletcheri in bud, some tough and tufty Lomandra longifolia growing amongst the rocks and Stellaria pungens (Prickly Starwort) forming a few green carpets over the thin soil.
And then we came to the quite large population of Dillwynia glaucula, a rare plant found only in a few scattered populations from Michelago to Goulburn. Quite a few of the plants were dead, but there were a lot of younger plants replacing them and numerous still-healthy older plants.
After descending down a slight slope of metamorphic rock studded with quartz, we came to the confluence of Burra Creek and Queanbeyan River, a wide stretch of tranquil water often inhabited by a range of water birds. This time, there were only a few Coots and some Australasian Grebes on the water – but a Wedge-tailed Eagle drifted high above and kept an eye on us as we ate our lunch.
The return trip was on the other side of the ridge and close to the river for a while. The moister soil there gave rise to some different vegetation. Acacia mearnsii grew thickly beside the track above Pomaderris betulina ssp. betulina and a few P. angustifolia – and a flat muddy area near the river was carpeted with bright green Hydrocotyle tripartita, a striking contrast to the dark foliage of the wattles.
Most of the understorey along the return track consisted of Pultenaea microphylla and Dillwynia phylicoides. They were growing in mostly separate populations, their position influenced by soil type, tree cover, aspect and other factors of the landscape. Close to the end of the walk, a small population of Astrotricha ledifolia lined the track, another one of those species that occurs in widely scattered areas and in usually small groups.
The realisation that we were walking between two converging waterways on the Dhurrawarri Buranya Walk added a sense of anticipation to the experience of diverse vegetation in an ever-changing landscape
Jo Walker.