After lunch (Thursday 21st Feb) we headed through Otway National Park to Maits Rest an area of temperate rain forest named after the Otway region's first forestry officer Maitland Bryant and was opened to visitors in 1993. It was fascinating!
On our travels we'd seen lots of trees like this one with what looked as if the bark had come away from the upper part of the tree. We found out from our tour guide (who says that the tree was named for him) that it's a native Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), one of the giants of the forest growing to over 100 metres. These trees constantly shed their bark to help enrich the forest floor and soil.
My brother Garry and his wife Sue giving a bit of perspective against one of these giants!
Ash, our guide showed us how the forest rejuvenates itself ... when a tree falls and starts to decay other young trees close by take nutrients from it until the tree is completely destroyed ...
creating, many years later, arches under the trunks of those once saplings ...
some being big enough to shelter in!
Ash is explaining that some of these native slow growing Tree Ferns are 400 years old. I'm glad it wasn't raining when we visited, think of all those drips from the ferns!
Looking down the hill at the canopies of the ferns which can grow to a diameter of 20 feet.
Otway Rain Forest is marked my by red star just about half way along the Great Ocean Road
Once everyone had boarded the coach we set off again. Ash our guide is also our driver and he has very good eyes for spotting interesting things. Just a few minutes on the road and he pulled in and called to us that he'd seen a Koala in a tree. We all trooped off and saw this beauty ...
Ash explained that Koalas (they are not bears!) spend 19 hours each day asleep and for the other 5 they eat eucalyptus leaves ... but not from any old eucalyptus tree ... it will only eat the type of leaf that his mother was eating when he/she was born. These leaves give them all the nutrients and fluid that they need, if a koala is seen drinking water it's because he's ill.
Watch this space for more of our adventures in Australia.