As I mentioned in my Nov. 6 post, the place where Australia’s first settlers started their colony, while wonderfully protected, with fresh water available, was pretty much a slab of rock under very little top soil. As a result, people were soon exploring the surrounding countryside. One of the areas they explored was a forested region of steep cliffs and waterfalls a little more than 100 miles south of Sydney.
While mining and a few modest farms took root in this area in the early 1800s, people soon began to realize that this area was worth protecting. In 1824 the residents of Bundanoon established a small reserve and created trails and lookouts. It was soon a popular tourist destination, especially once a railroad was put in. The reserve expanded. Then, in 1938, a proposal was pushed through Parliament in 1938 that created a 60,000-acre National Park for the Preservation of Native Flora and Fauna, largely through the efforts of Mark Morton. It was this sprawling property that became Morton National Park. Since then, the park has grown, absorbing smaller reserves, including the old one at Bundanoon.
Today, the park’s highlands and valleys are popular with bushwalkers, who enjoy the many trails that weave through the forests. Myriad wildflowers crowd between the trees, and birds add to the music of the wind and falling water. It is a thoroughly enchanting place.
Clearly, on a day trip, I couldn’t begin to see more than a small part of this enormous park, but that small sample was delightful. Fitzroy Falls is a popular starting point, and that’s where my friends and I started. Below, the photos show the top of Fitzroy Falls, a view of that part of the park visible from the trail near the falls, and a look back toward the falls after our hiking, climbing, and wandering amid the foliage brought us to a point of the rim that offered a splendid view of the valley.