National Park Experience – Autumn 2022 – National Parks Association of Queensland

National Park Experience – Autumn 2022

Author: Mitchell Prior

Photography: Mitchell Prior

An Ancient Landscape that stands as a relic of the giant mass that was once known as Gondwana or Gondwanaland. The picturesque mountains of Lamington National Park started to form 20-23 million years ago due to the eruption of the Tweed Shield Volcano and the Focal Peak Volcano.

All these years later through the test of time these mountains hold host to a pristine Subtropical Rainforest operating as a powerful ecosystem with an abundance of Energy & Life.

Crystalline Waterfalls cascading over Volcanic Basalt creating mineral dense springs and the most valuable resource for Flora & Fauna is what truly makes this Natural Area one of the most incredible sights my eyes have witnessed.

From the microbial activity beneath our feet to the incredible avian species in the canopy above us, this forest is one of a kind. Bioluminescent Fungi lights up the forest floor at night while Tree Frogs climb down from the canopy amongst the humidity & Snakes scan the forest in search for prey.

In the day, Wedge-Tailed Eagles soar through the sky in the distance while the birds of the Rainforest forage and try to attract a mate depending on the season. The oldest trees of the forest with their prominent buttress roots anchor themselves in the deep fertile soil of the mountains and limit the UV Rays that hit the forest floor.  They work with the microbes beneath them as a complex network stretching through the forest.

The ecosystem is the by-product of millions of years of consistent Natural Selection and is now a fine-tuned forest filled with the most well adapted species.

Hiking through these mountains learning, discovering and photographing as much as I can about this sacred land deeply connects me to our Earth. The raw power and energy of the forest keeps me alive and present but also the tranquil stillness over the mountains and valleys keep me grounded. The morning crack of the Eastern Whipbirds moves my eyes deeper into the forest floor, Antarctic Beech Trees that are centuries old remind me of a prehistoric time and the green cascading walls of dense rock covered by plants and moss captivate my eyes while

I watch Dragonflies chase the sun along the cascading streams throughout the day. Every portion of the Rainforest tells a story and each photograph I take tells a story. It’s a forest where you can let your imagination run free and a forest that can teach you so much about life itself and how a variety of species working in one system together can flourish and thrive. Through the change of seasons the forest grows and transforms with some seasons being more challenging than others.

The last12 months of Hiking and Exploring this National Park in my spare time has opened my mind and helped me grasp the importance of these Natural Areas. I’ve only scratched the surface of what these mountains have to offer and look forward to discovering more of the natural beauty of the Subtropical Rainforest of Lamington National Park.

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