Butterfly lands on native Holly Grevillea | Ayla Rowe
Spring is one of the liveliest seasons in the bush, with animals venturing out of their winter homes to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, new life being born in the wilderness and all kinds of trees, shrubs and flowers putting on a bright colourful display.
The weather is warming up and it’s a lovely day for a bushwalk. What will we see, smell and hear on our springtime walk? The fragrance of the flowering acacia and gum trees; baby birds squawking in the treetops, wombats waddling out of their burrows, lizards sunning themselves in the sun or a rock wallaby navigating a seemingly impossible route on a cliffside.
In Sydney’s adventure playground, The Blue Mountains, the warmer spring sun summons the most surprisingly bright – and delicate - flowers on golden Wattle trees, the Eucalyptus, Tea-Trees, Banksias, Grevilleas, Spotted Sun Orchid and Pink Flannel.
Hike deeper into the Blue Mountains bushland and you might come across rare native bird species such as Parrots, Yellow Tail Black Cockatoo, Honeyeater, Lyrebird and the Bowerbird. The male Bowerbird searches diligently for blue objects to highlight his nest mound to impress potential mates.
Conditions in the Blue Mountains are ideal for the Rock Wallaby and home to the country's largest community, including the rare and endangered Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby. The Tiger Quoll, named for its distinctive stripes and the Green and Golden Bell Frog, perhaps the most beautiful of the amphibian species, all call the mountains home. You might be lucky out on your hike to spot the rare Blue Mountains Water Skink with its dark body and bright yellow white markings.
Further north, on Queensland’s ancient Main Range where the Scenic Rim Experience takes place, you’ll find the Red Eastern Bristlebird, the bright green Coxen’s Fig Parrot and the Black-Breasted Button-Quail birds flying high into the layered canopy tops. In Spring, the magnificent Giant Spear Lilies produce their red flowers that can grow up to 5 metres tall and, the on the rainforest floor, the Land Snail, Hasting Rivers Mouse, Fleay’s Barred Frog, Border Ranges Leaf-Tailed Gecko, Spotted Tailed Quoll and the colourful Richmond Birdwing Butterfly may past you by.
If you want to see carpets of wildflowers, head west! Western Australia is reputed to have the largest display of wildflowers in the world with more than 12,000 different species.
The South West region of this biodiversity hotspot is home to the White Beared Heath, Blue Fan Flower Candlestick Banksias, and many types of wild Orchids. The Karri Forest towers with Eucalyptus and the Wattle trees glow their golden flowers as the birdlife such as the Yellow Robbin, Red-Winged Wren, Purple-Crowned Lorikeet, Brown Falcon and the rare Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo swoop throughout the treetops.
On the Cape to Cape Track Walk you may be lucky enough to see the splendid bright blue colour of the Splendid Fairy Wren, whose colour returns dull brown camouflage colour after it has attracted its mate.
Reptiles including the Bobtail Lizard, King Skink and the Western Bearded Dragon emerge in Spring, to soak up the warmth, often sunning themselves on rocks.
Tasmania is home to some of Australia’s unique and most adaptable wildlife. The Tasmanian Devil, for example, is the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and the sound of its snarls and screeches is unforgettable.
Baby wombats emerge in the springtime and, in Tasmania, they have adapted to be smaller, lighter in colour and fluffier than their mainland cousins, as they need more insulation against the cold. Maria Island is known as Noah Ark as it’s a haven and breeding ground for threatened species. Keep an eye out for the short legged Pademelons, whose red-brown bellies stand out in the bush.
Tasmanian Platypus are larger than their mainland counterparts, with a woolly double coat fur layer to keep them warm; you’ll find them in the streams and lakes of the Central Highlands and may even spot one in the Walls of Jerusalem, on the calmer stretches of the Franklin River or in the rivers in the north-west.
Springs brings the leaf budding of the Deciduous Beech Tree (Fagus) – Tasmania’s (and Australia’s) only deciduous tree. It’s a sight to see in autumn when the leaves change to a brilliant red and gold. On The Overland Track, beware the beautiful flowers of the Scoparia whose white, yellow and red petals are extremely sharp.
Springtime is a great season to pull your boots on, to get out and explore Australia’s great wilderness and enjoy the flora and fauna as it comes to life.