The closest mountain range to Melbourne is called the Dandenong Range. You can see the mountains from many places around our neighborhood, and you can drive there in about 45 minutes. Josh and I have been on two hikes there so far. The woods are made up of very, very tall eucalypt trees and beautiful fern trees. It feels very other worldly.
The sounds of the forest add to the sensation that you are stepping back in time. The chirping of the parrots, the laugh of the kookaburra, and the screeching of the cockatoos seem like something out of Jurassic Park.
The rarest bird in the Dandenongs, however, is the elusive Superb Lyrebird. It’s a very famous bird (featured on the 10 cent coin) but very shy. On our first hike, we saw some of his distinctive scratchings along the path, but didn’t spot the bird himself. On our next hike, we saw one dash across the path in front of us! We were so excited just to get a glimpse of one! Then, just a few minutes later, Josh looked out toward a clearing and spotting another one! We stood on the path for at least 10 minutes, just watching him scratching along, looking for grubs and worms.
About a mile down the path after seeing that one, Josh almost stepped on one as we came around a tree! The lyrebird quickly ran into the undergrowth, but we couldn’t believe we’d seen 3 in one day! Every time I begin to doubt that we will see any native wildlife, Australia never ceases to surprise and amaze me.