Dorrigo National Park: Waterfalls and Wildlife

Just south of the Queensland-New South Wales border, Dorrigo National Park is a green rainforest refuge, one part of World Heritage Site known as the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. The patches of rainforest here are all that remain of the thick rainforest that once blanketed Australia millions of years ago. Thick mists and rain nourish the forest, and the water flowing from the soil collects into streams that tumble from rocky cliffs. And uncleared by humans, these forests remain a refuge to thousands of species: microbes, plants, fungi, and animals. Just a brief stroll through the forest reveals a kaleidoscope of wildlife, carrying on just as it did when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

We visited Dorrigo National Park on a rainy day, raingear ready and cameras poised to capture what we saw. Sometimes we were surprised. Sometimes we weren’t fast enough. But here’s a sample of what we found in the 7 km loop from the Dorrigo Rainforest Center:

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Peek: a tree that has fallen across the trail sports a family of fungi

 

 

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This shy bug has pulled his eyestalks in and waits for me to leave.

 

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A heavy vine winds around a tree and runs up into the canopy above

 

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Little family: mushrooms of varying age and fray clustered together

 

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Crystal Shower Falls, at one end of the Wonga Walking Track

 

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The view from the carved crevice behind the falls, where water collects and forms mud

 

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Eco-friendly graffiti: Hikers put their hands in the mud pools behind the falls and leave their prints on the wall.

 

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A skink rests on a rock near the falls. Possibly an orange-speckled forest skink (Eulamprus luteilateralis)

 

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Hiding out: more tiny mushrooms huddle in a woody crevice.

 

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Red fruit hangs from a walking stick palm (Linospadix monostachyos)

 

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Spot the leech in this picture. Leeches were all over the forest, and we had a few get onto us and suck blood.

 

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Ascomycete fungi grow from a tree trunk.

 

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A large bird (Australian brush turkey?) dashes off into the forest.

 

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Tristania Falls, the second waterfall on this hike.

 

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The water of Tristania Falls flows over the contours of an unusual rock formation