The Penance Grove area of Monga National Park resembles the ancient Gondwanan landscape, and it is like travelling back in time when you are there. Here, you will experience an ancient forest with the many tree ferns and other simple flora which needs moisture and shade to survive e.g. mosses and lichens.What is Gondwana? Well, Gondwana is the name...more
One of the features of Monga National Park are the tree ferns at the Penance Grove boardwalk area. This is a small valley in the forest, where the temperature is cooler and with more moisture and shade, which can support the growth of these ancient and beautiful tree ferns (see photos here and travelogue section of this VT page).Tree ferns only...more
The Dasyurus Picnic Area near the banks of the Mongarlowe River is also the trail head for the Corn Trail.The Corn Trail (16km) is a historic trail, which was the first trade route between the Buckenbowra Valley farmlands near the coast and the early European settlements on the tablelands near Braidwood. This trail crosses high mountain ridges and...more
The Mongarlowe River Picnic Area is the start of 2 easy walks of the Monga National Park. The first is the Waratah Walk, which is a loop walk along the banks of the Mongarlowe River. The walk to Penance Grove is a short 10 minute stroll, a walk under the beautiful canopy of this lush, cool climate rainforest followed by the Penance Grove boardwalk.more
It’s an easy walk of just a hundred or so metres from the picnic area to the banks of the Mongarlowe River. It’s a pleasant and unspoiled little stream and I reckon it’s almost certainly home to the platypus, those curious duck-billed egg-laying mammals that so confounded the early naturalists who were convinced they had to be fakes. If you wish to...more
To be honest, when we took another of the walks in the National Park, the experience was pretty much “another walk in the Australian bush”. This walk followed what had formerly been a logging trail. It was pleasant, there were plenty of gum trees (eucalypts), even plenty of ferns of various kinds including tree ferns. But, having said that, I did...more
I’ve said that this place is strange. Now, what would you make of these “miniature pine tree’ plants on the forest floor? Yes, they’re another relic of Gondwana.Believe it or not, these little plants are mosses! They have no common name, but their botanical name is Dawsonia Superba and they can grow to a height of 500mm, which makes them the...more
… because many of their umbrella tops are at about eye level. These are Soft Tree Ferns (Dicksonia Antarctica). They are to be found in moister areas throughout the ranges of south-eastern Australia, usually in temperate rain forest. Continuing on the Gondwana theme, tree ferns are widely distributed and may also be found on Lord Howe Island and in...more
The larger trees, forming the forest canopy, are plumwoods (Eucryphia Moorei), one of the few members of a quite ancient tree genus once widespread in Gondwana and now found only in a few localised wetter parts of the forests of south-eastern Australia – and in Chile, South America. Within Australia, probably the best known species of Eucryphia are...more
Sorry, there are no restaurants here. You still can have an excellent feed though, depending on your culinary skills and provided you bring along the makings of your own barbecue. The Parks people have kindly provided a good gas powered barbecue which is free (as is now common in Australia). Don’t forget to do the right thing and clean the hotplate when you finish, so the next users aren’t facing a mess.
With your lunch cooked, head for the picnic tables to enjoy it – and watch the various kinds of birds come by to see if they can persuade you to share it with them. Feeding the wildlife is never recommended, but I suspect most people throw out at least a few tidbits! The birds in the second and third photos are Eastern Yellow Robins (Eopsaltria Australis), a reasonably common species in forest areas, which soon arrived when we had lunch.
Also in the picnic area is a large information board (photo 4) with details of the area and maps which seem more representational than accurate! Maybe the best idea (which I would strongly recommend, in fact) is to pick up a brochure on the Monga National Park from the Braidwood Tourist Information Office – I think brochures also are available at the Visitor Information Centre in Batemans Bay.
Favorite Dish: This dining experience is about the setting, more than the table setting or the food!
There is a wooden walking path at Monga National Park where you can explore the tree ferns and Gondwanan landscape which is very ancient and dates back many thousands of years ago. This place is called the Penance Grove and there is a signboard next to the mud track stating this place.Along this wooden path are various information boards about the...more
The entrance of Monga National Park is located off the King's Highway which links the town of Braidwood (see my VT Braidwood page) to the seaside town of Batemans Bay. After turnig off the highway, the road is a mud track which leads all the way to Penance Grove where the Gondwana forest is located. See the weblink below for more information.more
Getting to the Monga National Park is simple, just take the King’s Highway 20 km to the east from Braidwood, heading toward the coast. There you will find a well signposted turnoff to the right toward the Park . Drive in through the settlement of Monga itself, largely on unsealed roads. The choice of transport is yours, but public transport is not...more
Not all local customs are to be recommended. Let’s have another look at tree ferns. They’re very popular features in many Australian gardens. Most people buy them from garden shops or plant nurserys, where they are sold under government permits, each plant carrying an identification number.
But they can be collected by cutting the top from a happily growing tree fern in the forest, then transplanting it while keeping it moist to enable re-establishment. Taking tree ferns from the forest is illegal and the reason why nursery plants carry identification. Remember that I mentioned the “trunk” is just dead vegetable matter with the roots passing through it ? Once the top is removed, the trunk is finished. So people who remove tree ferns from the forest are destroying them in their habitat.
Sadly, at some time in the past, tree fern collectors have removed many tree ferns growing in Penance Grove, so you will see dead fallen or standing tree fern trunks with no tops. I am unsure whether this damage was caused prior to the area being declared National Park or not, but it is a crying shame and the reason this area is known as Penance Grove.