Slow start to the 2018 Season

Western Australian Orchids

A couple of trips to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35), in mid and late March did not prove successful, with not one flowering orchid discovered. We were chasing the Leafless orchid and the Pygmy orchid with a possible Bunny or Hare orchid, if the season proved early. However no such luck and as our 2 week break was fast approaching we decided to focus our attentions elsewhere until then. 


Triton and Camper

Leaving from our new home

Our 2 week break has arrived and we make tracks via saying goodbye to our little Grandson Oliver, for our first stop of the trip. Elverdton Road lookout just before Ravensthorpe has proved successful on previous visits but not this time. So somewhat disheartened we move on to Ravensthorpe to grab some supplies before moving on to Kukenarup Memorial west of Ravensthorpe. After having a spot of lunch we venture off on the walk trail and yeehah we find a very small Bunny orchid in flower. From the leaf shape I am naming this the Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus)  which flowers April to May in a range from Northampton to east of Esperance. The orchid is limited to 3 flowers and is pollinated by native bees.

Very close by, Debbie finds a Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) which flower March to June in a range from north of Kalbarri to Israelite Bay. They may have up to four flowers per orchid and are pollinated by flying ants. Another flowering specimen and other yet to flower specimens found. 

 Nothing more found, so we hit the road again before stopping for the night at Chirelillup Nature Reserve, a few kms east of Gnowangerup. Set up the camper, then enjoyed a well earned glass of wine.  A quick look around before dark, however no orchids in flower found. 


Moving on we pass through Gnowangerup to Broomehill, to check out the starting point of our planned trek in Aug/Sept this year. Tasted some wine, it was after 11am, purchased some cheesecake for lunch and headed off to Kojonup. Here we visited the Myrtle Ben Flora and Fauna Sanctuary (Mud Map  SC8) and walked around the White Sister’s Loop trail but did not find any orchids in flower. Possibly a better spot later in the season. We ate lunch on the Triton’s tailgate then onwards towards Dinninup. We stop along the way twice at what looked promising sites but nothing found, so a little disheartened we finally arrive at Bellside, the farm home of cousin Kerry and her family. After a wonderful catch-up over a pot of tea, we make tracks towards Nannup where we hope to find somewhere to camp along the way. Past Bridgetown we pull into the Bridgetown Jarrah Park, set camp, cook dinner then crash after the obligatory game of Yahtzee.  


After breakfast we break camp, before heading off on a bush walk. We chose to walk the Fallers Brand Trail, which incorporates the Shield Tree Trail. It is so good to be back in the forest. No orchids in flower, however we did find some Bunny orchid leaves in bud as well as many Slipper orchid leaves. Deb finds a huge spent inflorescence of a Slipper orchid. A few weeks late it seems. The walk was enjoyable, even though it started drizzling halfway through. At marker 6 we cross the creek bed to marker 5 and backtrack to our camp site. On the way to Nannup we call into Karri Gully and take the walk trail hoping to find something in flower. Again no such luck but the forest felt so fresh and alive due to the drizzle. We visit a friend from Esperance who now lives outside of Nannup, where we enjoy a tour of their farmlet which borders the Blackwood River followed by a wonderful lunch. We now make tracks for Dalyellup where we are staying with friends from our time in Manjimup for the night. Old rivalries are relived as men v girls in a game or two of Canasta. Then we head off to Kmart for midnight shopping …Interesting way to end the day. 


Following a leisurely breakfast we visit Deb’s cousin Alison who lives in nearby Australind. After a few cups of coffee and a great chat we backtrack to Donnybrook to visit another friend from our Manjimup days. We now head into the hills at Waroona along Nanga Brook Road, then Nanga Road before setting up our camper in my brothers backyard at my childhood home town of Dwellingup. This will be our base for the next few days and as we guessed, the nights are going to be cold. 

Nanga Brook Road
Nanga Brook Road – Mining overpass


Enjoying breakfast in the Lizard Lounge, the name given to their gazebo, is a great way to start the day. After having morning tea with Geoff and Robyn we go for a walk downtown then relax back at “The Corner Cottage”, the name given to their house,  until lunch. After lunch we head down to the Dwellingup visitors Centre to grab info on the Marrinup POW Camp. We get side tracked as usual and visit Marrinup Falls first and take the walk circuit, in the hope of finding some orchids due the environments traversed. Granite rocks, Creek bed and Jarrah/Marri forest.

Lost our way back to the POW camp so we had to 4WD along the power lines. After finding the parking area we hit the walk trail. I was unaware the POW’s were actually Italians from the war in North Africa and later the Germans were transferred from Victoria. I always thought they were Italians and Germans who lived in Australia but may have had allegiances with their mother country. The actual foundations etc were great however the interpretive signage was in a very poor state. The flower beds in the shapes of card suits and the fish pond were a change from the rigidity of life as a POW.  Again no orchids found.

We all headed down to the Premier Hotel in Pinjarra for the $10 steak night, where we caught up with my sisters, other family and friends to enjoy each others company at my late nephews local watering hole. However in less than 1 hour and barely finished eating my $10 steak, Geoff abducted me and whisked me off to Mandurah to play in his carpet bowling team. What a mistake that was. We came away with chocolates as the worst team on the night. Before heading home we popped into sister Maxine’s place for a cuppa. A late night tonight. 



Breaky in the Lizard Lounge before heading off to Pinjarra with Robyn to buy supplies. First up we hit the chemist as Deb wasn’t feeling flash so needed some antihistamines and Panadol, then to Dome for morning tea. I grab a bacon and egg roll with chutney, whilst the girls only grabbed a coffee. I was so full that I missed out on Robyn’s homemade lunch of savoury croissants. 

After lunch Geoff and Deb are going fishing so as I had nothing else better to do I tag along. The Dawesville Channel (Cut) is the chosen fishing spot where it is cold and windy with a shower or two of rain thrown in. Deb caught the only keepable fish, a 28cm flounder. Other fish caught were either inedible or under size. Grabbing a snack from Red Rooster for the drive home, where Robyn has cooked a wonderful tasty lasagne. Early night to bed after watching some of the Commonwealth Games highlights.


Late breakfast in front of the TV before we visit the Forest Heritage Centre. Firstly we check out the workshop and gallery then hit the walk trail. OMG we finally come across a flowering orchid. It is a white bunny orchid. The camera is still in the Triton so we back track to grab it then recommence our orchid hunt. Further orchids are found which all appear to be Common bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. multiflorus) which is a new orchid to us as it is found between Perth and Albany in the months of March to May. These bunny orchids can have up to 20 flowers and when first flowering the leaf can be quite immature and continues to develop afterwards.

We completed the walk trail with no further finds but experienced the colourful emu figures, 11mtr tall wooden tree top walk, mother kangaroo and her older joey and the beauty of the Jarrah forest. Back to town for lunch at the local Blue Wren Café, then a drive out Holyoke way. We stop at a promising spot under sheaoks but it proved otherwise. So back in the Triton for a slow drive along the track with heads out the windows. Unbelievably I saw a lone White bunny orchid at the side of the road only centimetres from a tyre track, so we have to get some photos.

Further along the track we find some Easter lilies growing along the side of the track in a creek bed. Back to town and Deb busies herself with getting tea on whilst Geoff and I go for a walk to the cemetery. Along the way he points out a banksia growing in a rock and nearby a few metres off the track I spy another lone white bunny orchid. this is the first one Geoff has ever seen. After the sombre visit we make our way back home through the bush on the north side of the road where the soli was sandy, compared to the south side of the road , our usual route, where the soil is gravel. Possible Leafless orchid territory. Well the day ended with finding the White bunny orchid is 3 locations around Dwellingup, which is a first for us.


Family day today…. Tim our youngest son arrives mid morning so I get out the Finska game, which proves difficult to play on Geoff’s luscious green lawn. However we persevere, Geoff mowing a patch lower, with playing multiple games, interrupted by Tim’s drone flying. A special treat of Mr Whippy is enjoyed thanks to Tim and Deb. After lunch, Tim, Deb and I head out to visit Megan, Geoff and Robyn’s daughter, in her recently purchased country cottage. Tanika my sister Maxine’s daughter is already there, so we have a tour around Megan’s property, inspecting the dam, chooks, parrots and sheds. 2 marron await our consumption at dinner, as we sit around under the gazebo chatting and enjoying a cold drink. Back to Dwellingup and the Corner Cottage where we enjoy a family dinner, including the marron and flounder, playing more Finska, flying the drone and of course eating and drinking. Richard had also arrived for the evenings festivities which concluded with us playing Cards Against Humanity, Last Word and Phase 10. A great night with Geoff, Robyn, Megan, Tanika, Tim and Richard.


Today we are travelling the Fawcett Track which runs from Nanga Townsite to Quindanning. We pile into the Triton, Debbie the driver, Geoff the navigator and Robyn, Richard and myself in the back seat. the drive takes us through the beautiful Jarrah forest along the banks of the Murray River then the Hoffman River. We even came across a creek flowing strongly with crystal clear water. Where we crossed over the Murray River we stopped for morning tea. Here we got to watch wrens, robins and silvereyes flitting around. I was lucky enough to spy a firetail finch. From here we encountered a deep wheel rutted ditch which Debbie manoeuvred brilliantly only scrapping the underside which proved superficial at worst. Our destination of Quindanning was reached where we enjoyed a cold bevy and awesome lunch. 

After lunch we head east to Williams to check out the Woolshed. A quick check out the back of the Op shop opposite the Woolshed provides us with a pack of BIG chalk, a straw hat and a child’s book. We make it into the Woolshed with minutes to spare as the kitchen was closing up. We ordered cuppas and cake, before checking out the Shearing Industry display and retail shops in the complex. We leave at 4.05pm with the doors being closed and locked behind us. Moving on we head north along the Albany Hwy where I point out the Williams Nature Reserve, so we turn off the Hwy and head in. Comments were made around the suitability of the woodland for orchids and echidnas, when what do we find crossing the road but an echidna. Everybody jumps out of the Triton for a closer look, at the now stationary animal. Geoff and I head off up the road, whilst Debbie, Robyn and Richard encourage the echidna off the road and hunt down some scats, which will be sent off for research as a part of an App Debbie has on her phone. No orchids were found , so we jump back in the Triton for the drive back to Dwellingup, via Boddington. Geoff kept us all amused by making up songs. Back in Dwellingup, we say farewell to Richard as he heads home , whilst the rest of us collapse in front of the TV. 

Echidna on the road

Debbie, Robyn and Richard taking photos


Today we celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. 

After breakfast we pack up the camper, then head up to the Dwellingup Pre-primary to have morning tea with Geoff and Robyn who are working today, as it is Monday. We say our goodbyes and head down to Mandurah to catch up with my sister Maxine for lunch. Her daughter Tanika also shows up, so the 4 of us enjoy lunch together. From there we pop into to see mum, who is looking well and was very chatty. Started colouring another page of her book before, all to soon it was time to leave, so she could enjoy her afternoon tea. We arrive at Debbie’s parent s place which is our home for a few days, whilst the camper gets a service. Mum cooks up a wonderful dinner and we crack open our Goldleaf sparkly to celebrate our anniversary. 

Visting mum
Mum always smiling


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