I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published December 19th 2017
Lovely walk close to Brisbane
The six-kilometer Morelia walking track starts from the Manorina car park on Mt Nebo road between Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious at the Southern end of D'Aguilar National Park. There is another 750m short walk, the Atrax circuit walk, which starts from here too.
I recently walked the Morelia track with five other bushwalkers the day after the club Christmas Party. We had been camping at the Baden Powell Scout camp at Samford for a couple of nights. It was a lovely walk through cool patches of rainforest with cabbage tree palms, and open forest. Halfway into the walk, we reached the Mount Nebo lookout with great views over the Samford Valley, and out to Moreton Bay. We could see our campsite. There were a few leeches around. Jeannette had a couple on her boots, but they didn't get on our skin.
We saw some interesting things on this short walk, including a beautiful lace monitor (Varanus varius). The goanna was at the bottom of a tree at the side of the track and didn't seem too worried about us. It let us take some photos before slowly climbing the tree. It had very long claws. Lace monitors eat birds, insects, bird eggs, reptiles and small mammals. This one was fairly small. I have seen much larger ones, usually hanging around campsites scrounging food in places like Harry's Hut on the Noosa River and in some National Parks. I once saw one with a plastic fishing reel over its head.
I wondered what creature had been digging holes in soil along the track, but was disappointed when Mark told me it was most likely feral pigs. I was hoping it was some native animal. We saw lots of these disturbances so wild pigs must be a problem in the area. There were some amazing remains of trees with bizarre shapes, which looked like they had been sculptured.
On the way back, we found an unusual red star-shaped plant. I had never seen one before and googled it when I got home. I think it was the fungus Aseroe rubra. They are described as bright red fungi with star-like arms and a hollow stem up to 10 centimetres tall. They pop up in parks, gardens and bushland overnight and are only around for a few days before disappearing. They really smell after producing gooey slime called 'gleba' which is a spore-bearing mass, which attracts flies. The flies feed on the goo and disperse the spores. The common name is stinkhorn. Ours must have been fairly fresh because it didn't smell. I read Aseroe rubra was the first Australian fungus to be formally described, based on specimens collected in southern Tasmania in 1800.