Great Ocean Road 2004

Page 1 - Brisbane Ranges - Staughton Vale

There were three places I wanted to visit west of Melbourne. Firstly I had not seen the 12 Apostles before. Being a world famous tourist attraction I thought I might visit it myself. The other two places were Anglesea Heath and the Brisbane Ranges, both for their wildflowers (particularly their orchids). Since some of the best time for wildflowers is in springtime I decided to go in October. I was hoping for spring orchids to be out but bot for hot days.

This is a photo-diary of my week-long driving holiday along the Great Ocean Road. I have split the adventures into several sections, loosely based on the stops we made.

Click on the small images if you want to see the detail in a larger image.
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Living on the opposite side of Melbourne meant the first thing to do was drive through town. Leaving on Sunday morning meant there was relatively little traffic and after a couple of hours we found ourselves approaching the first goal of the holiday, the Brisbane Ranges National Park.

Our first stop was Staughton Vale, a place used by adventurers for scaling cliffs. We were there for a different reason, partly to take a brief rest from driving and, of course, to look for wildflowers. We saw some from the car as we approached the stop but I was surprised by how many we found.

Wax-Lip Orchids Most notable were the purple Wax-Lip Orchids (Glossodia major). We saw them from the car and they were abundant. I had seen them before in reserves near to my home but this show put those few to shame. The Wax-Lip appears much like other flowers in that its sepals and petals are brightly colored. Freshly opened flowers generally have a deeper purple color and this tends to fade to white as the flower stays open.

Pink Fingers Dotted around everywhere were also the small Pink Fingers (Caladenia carnea). They are quite common in my area too but in the Brisbane Ranges they at least live up to their name and most are strongly pink in color (compared to white around where I live).

Greencombe Spider Orchid Another orchid that was fairly common in the area was the Greencombe Spider-orchid (Arachnorchis/Caladenia species). These are harder to spot as their color and construction more closely resembles grass.

We wandered around the area some more and found a few other orchids. There were quite a few Nodding Greenhood colonies (Pterostylis nutans) and some Pterostylis nana colonies too. Some Leopard Orchids (Diuris pardina) were also still out and I saw only one of the white Caladenia (pictured with bud).

Leopard Orchid (with Wax-Lip) White Caladenia Orchid Dwarf Greenhood

It was a surprisingly good first stop but this area looks like it'll get baked in summer.

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