Lamington NP, Queensland, Australia by Fiona Ruck

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I was standing in awe of the huge and magnificent trees surrounding me. Trees like this giant brush box (Lophostemon confertus) aged at least 1500 years, are thought to be relicts of an earlier period in the history of this park. Other trees such as the mossy and mystical Antarctic Beech tree have roots which are over 5,000 years old. Hoop Pine is one of the world’s oldest conifers and can be seen here intact. We walked along pathways lined with ferns; old logs covered in moss and brilliantly coloured fungi; we saw a trapdoor spider entering its lair. Further into the forest we came across a lookout and learned later that the view we were looking at was that of Mount Warning, the core of an ancient shield volcano that erupted 20-23 million years ago.

World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park lies on the border between Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. This beautiful, ancient rainforest is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia; Gondwana was an ancient supercontinent that broke up about 180 million years ago and is so-named because the fossil records indicate that when Gondwana existed it was covered by rainforests containing the same kind of species that are living today.

People come from far and near to this lush rainforest to experience the beauty, tranquillity and some of the most beautiful and interesting birds like the Satin Bowerbird; a stunning bird with black/blue feathers and purple eyes. The male collects all things blue and arranges them in a specific way in front of his bower to attract females. David Attenborough filmed these magnificent trees and bowerbirds for one of his series ‘Life on Earth’ in 1979.

This rainforest is one of my favourite places on earth and I have been there many times, each time astonished at what I find. However, unprecedented fires raged through the Eastern side of Australia; Queensland and New South Wales last year, damaging some of Lamington NP and burning down a heritage listed lodge.

I look forward to the re-opening of the lodge in September this year and to discovering more of this wonderful rainforest and its inhabitants.

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