Evans Head, a quiet seaside town situated on the north coast of New South Wales, 180km south of Brisbane, off the Pacific Highway at Woodburn.
Here on this unspoilt coastline where beach and bush seem to roll on forever, our trip took us on a journey through Dirawong Reserve, at the northern end of Bungjalung National Park.
First impression of the area is that it has been cultivated. Then reality sets in. These plants are wind pruned. Anything that grows too high is pruned back to size with the continual sea breeze, which at times blows across these coastal heathlands at gale force. Luckily our visit was on one of those beautiful sunny days that was ideal for walking in the bush.
One of the delightful sights on our trip was to see three specimens of Banksia growing side by side, B. integrifolia ssp. integrifolia (White Honeysuckle Banksia), B. serrata (Saw banksia), and B. aemula (Wallum banksia), normally these species are found in their own separate colonies. Maybe this is one of those areas where all the species have found a compatible environment. Another species found close by was B. oblongifolia (Dwarf Banksia) although this was quite separate from the other group of plants previously mentioned. All these plants are already in cultivation in some gardens with their lovely golden flowers full of nectar for our beautiful native birds.
Another delightful plant was Scaevola calendulacea (Dune Fan-flower), found off the beaten track, a prostrate form with flowering spikes approximately 30cm high. Other plants of the area included Pimelea linifolia (Slender Riceflower), white flowers with orange anthers in terminal heads approximately 2.5cm diameter, Ricinocarpos pinifolius (Wedding Bush) with its lovely white flowers, although these plants were not as tall as specimens we had seen at Bribie Island, Hardenbergia violacea (Purple Coral Pea),with its long racemes of purple pea flowers, Persoonia virgata (Small Leaved Geebung) with yellow tubular flowers with four petals which curl back. Another enjoyable encounter was the very rare Acacia baueri. Flowers are golden globular heads that flower throughout the year, giving the plant a variety of colours from yellow to brown. This makes the plant a very attractive species.
Unfortunately our trip had to stop for us, earlier than we would have liked, as we had to rush back to Brisbane that evening. We would like to return to this area at a later date and continue our sojourning through the bush studying the various plants as there were too many to study on one visit.
Dirawong Reserve is open to the public all day. Admission to the Reserve is free. Picnic facilities are available. No domestic pets allowed. Unfortunately the only way to get there is in your own vehicle.
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