Along “Fire Trail No 5”, via Sunnyside Ridge Road, is a beautiful landscape caught in the tug-of-war between motorised recreation and conservation.

Like many parts of the Gardens of Stone area, it has a series of majestically shaped and intricately varied pagodas, the profiles of their protuberances and “gargoyles” standing out against the sky. Plants special to this region include the yellow Pagoda Daisies (Leucochrysum graminifolium).

Pagoda Daisies (Leucochrysum graminifolium)
[Photo:Neil McGlashan]

There are just a very few plants which are so specialised that they live only on the rocky crags (known as “Pagodas”) in the far western edge of the Blue Mountains.

A visit during June 2015 was greeted with a chorus of male lyrebirds assembled at various points around the slopes, each vying with the others and choosing a different sound to imitate than his competitors.

Open forest with stands of several Eucalypt species rolls down to a twisting pagoda-lined waterway, flanked with ferny overhangs.

Profile of an intriguing protuberance near the end of Firetrail No. 5 [Photo: Christine Davies}

Unfortunately, four-wheel drive vehicles have carved far too wide a route through this wonderland. A gate meant to restrict access to vehicles has been breached. An article in the Bush Club’s books on the Gardens of Stone* suggested things were much the same in 2007. [“The Gardens of Stone National Park and Beyond”, Michael Keats and Brian Fox, Book 6]

This remains a site that proves the Gardens of Stone are worth protecting.

 

© Don Morison