Looks like this massive cyclone Yasi is heading towards Cairns. They are evacuating the Cairns Base Hospital as I write this!

That is a long way north of us so we should be fine as long as it stays on the predicted track. This cyclone is posing a serious threat to Northern Queensland as it will probably be a category 4 when it crosses the coast in the next couple of days (category 5 is the highest intensity).

Melaleuca swamp

On a lighter note Tracey from blog Quiet Paws was recently discussing the delights of woodland creatures and woodland picnics. I said I would blog about the woodland near my home.

Boardwalk over the melaleuca swamp.

My little town on the shores of Hervey Bay is surrounded by the Burrum Coast National Park (sand-based coastal lowlands), which is a showcase of protected lowland vegetation types including paperbark swamps, mangroves and cabbage palms.

Sandy path further on from the swamp.
Burrum National Park

My family likes to go for walks in the forest to get up close and personal with the plants and wildlife. There is a lovely boardwalk across a melaleuca swamp, sandy tracks through the heathland and bird hides for the use of birdwatchers.

Burrum Coast National Park - melaleuca swamp

There is an abundance of wallum plants in the National Park and in spring there are displays of delicate wildflowers. Wallum is a Aboriginal name describing the banksias found in these areas, particularly Banksia aemula and Banksia serrata. Banksias are low plants with tough leaves which grow everywhere in the heathlands.

Butcherbird

This area is also home to a number of rare and threatened plant species including a paperbark tree Melaleuca cheelii. Thank goodness for the forward thinking people who fought to establish these sanctuaries.

Burrum National Park

On our last walk through the National Park I took these photos. The melaleuca are usually found knee-deep (so to speak) in swamp water. We spotted a goanna on the track (the track we had just walked on).

They dropped crumbs on the ground so they could find their way home!
Melaleuca swamp creature πŸ™‚
Spot the goanna!

We had a picnic after our walk. The Butcherbirds hung around to see if they could scrounge anything. They have the most beautiful song.

Wishing everyone up north the best of luck.