Vera Scarth-Johnson Wildflower Reserve
Mum wanted to get out of the house and go with me on a bush walk, as the past few days I’d come home with stories of my adventures and I thing she was a little jealous.
I had seen a Vera Scarth-Johnson exhibition in Cooktown only a few months ago and it was interesting to find out she studied and draw wildflowers on our doorstep. After looking online I found on the Bundaberg council website you could download a free Wildflower field guide. I added this to my iPad and was keen to identify as many plants as possible.
History from council website
The Reserve is named in honour of botanical collector, artist and conservationist Vera Scarth-Johnson who lived nearby from the 1940s until 1972 before moving to Cooktown. Vera was passionate about Australian native plants. She illustrated and published many books including two on wallum wildflowers.
We drove to the reserve which you can easily miss as its only an information board beside the road with room for a couple of cars to park.
We noticed that the walking track was mostly on a very white sand base and I highly recommend taking a pair of sunglasses as the glare is incredible.
After walking for about 30mins or more on the first day of spring we only came across one flowering tea tree bush.
It was a little disappointing as we expected more from a this wildlife reserve but I’m sure in another few months it will be magnificent. So I will return with another blog and see what a few months can do.
After been a little disappointed we returned to the car and drove around the corner to park at Coonarr Park Beach where I was the day before.
This time however we walked south along the beach which I knew would be much shorter. People were fishing and it was a little hard to scramble around the dead trees as it was high tide, but soon we had open beach to walk along.
Mum soon had her shoes off and was paddling in the water, I’m not one for going barefoot its something about sand I don’t like between my toes. I think this might stem from running around the backyard as a kid and stepping in dog poop and it oozing between my toes.
when ever I’m in bare feet I always manage to scuff my toes or step on something sharp, so I try and keep my hiking shoes on most of the time.
We arrive at a little inlet and sit down out of the wind, the water is so clear and looks very inviting but it’s still too cold for me to swim in.
We see a strange sight, hundreds of sea birds just floating on the water all lead by a few pelicans. I’m thinking that there on the hunt for fish in the shallow clear waters.
Sitting in the sun watching the army of birds pass by soon warms me up. I then decide that it would be good to go for a paddle. I’m amused once more with the soft sinking sand, this time almost up to my knees.
With wet shorts I walk towards the mass of birds, I get too close and they soon fly off and settle in the sea.
I look across the mouth of the river and spot 4WD on the beach, I turn to mum and ask if she would like to go for a drive on the beach.
15mins later I’m deflating the tyres on Prado Alby and hoping iv’e remembered everything from my 4WD course a few months ago.
The entry to the beach is rather bumpy and the sand troughs are almost at the limit that my car can handle without having the 2″ lift the guy at A2Z 4x4x is pushing for. So I start to get a little worried as I bottom out a few time in the larger holes.
Soon were on the hard beach sand and I have the biggest smile on my face driving along with the sea as a backdrop.
This shot wasn’t taken from the car but the beach was almost identical so added it anyway.
After driving the full length of the beach we turned around and went back avoiding campers and wandering children on the beach.
I was a little worried about getting off the beach but in the end had no dramas, this time I drove a little slower over the bumps and had a much smoother drive. Some idiot pass me totally tearing up the sand and creating big troughs and I can see why things are in a bad way and 4WD’s get a bad name.
I get out the compressor and inflate my tyres back up to road pressures with no problems and feel that little bit more confident about driving on the sand.
Once I finish my traveling I’m going to join the Bundaberg 4WD club and become a little bit more adventurous. I can see that this will come with more upgrades so maybe a year or two down the track.