If you want to walk with me this Sunday morning, you’ll need sturdy walking boots and an even sturdier walking stick, preferably an old friend made from spotted gum and smoothed over the years by the grip of your sweaty palms. The terrain is rough and rocky, but the rewards are tremendous. The air is palpable and the silence intense. Mountains loom beyond the trees, and the gullies drop steeply from the dirt road. It’s only fifteen kilometres from yesterday’s sandy walk, and it is a completely different world.

Watching my footing with extreme care, I climb up the rocky ridge, through lichen-covered rocks, over fallen trees and through fountains of grass. Rocks wriggle under my feet, but my walking stick steadies me. At the top of the ridge I begin to look for sprays of rock lilies, a pilgrimage I make nearly every year in spring. They grow mostly on rocky outcrops, cunningly positioned out of the reach of marauding animals and therefore difficult for humans to get at too. I proceed with extreme caution, sitting down and bracing myself against the rough rock-face before I start photographing. The road is far below now.

The drive back home is slow, and I notice signs of spring flowering: white paper flowers and wonga vine; puple hardenbergia, kangaroo apple, and flag lily (still elegantly furled); pinky-purple indigofera; and creamy brush kurrajong.

Today’s gourmet meal, brunch by the time I eat, is kushari and salad, much of it plucked from the new garden thriving beyond the water tank, including year-round tomatoes.


Watch out for wriggling rocks


My shadow proves that I was there


Out to the Great Dividing Range


Ridge conglomerate


Rock decorations


Rock orchid buds


Thelychiton speciosus


Spotted throats


Orchids and grass


Thelychiton habit ... and the pesky morning light


More Thelychiton


On the rocky hillside above the road