Start: Faulconbridge Train Station
End: Springwood Train Station
Time taken: 2-3 hours
USP: Bird life, fungi in Autumn, remote feeling
Autumn is a great time to be out in the Blue Mountains National Park. The air is cooler, the trails are quieter and there seems to be an ever-present lingering smell of wood smoke on the breeze. It’s also a great time to go hunting for fungi!
Agreed. It’s probably not the most exciting pass time, but if you’re heading into the woods anyway, why not keep an eye out and see what you can discover. The range of species in NSW is huge and some of the colours and forms they can take are beautiful.
So with a spare Sunday afternoon we hopped on the train from Sydney and made our way to Faulconbridge Train Station to walk the Victory Track into Sassafras Gully Reserve, before heading up the Sassafras Gully Track to finish at Springwood Train Station.
Unfortunately the best fungi conditions are usually after a period of heavy rain and it had been unseasonably warm and dry in the weeks preceding our stomp, so expectations were low. It was a new area to explore for us though, so we were excited to just check it out.
The Victory Track starts just down the road from the train station and follows a small, ephemeral creek into the forest. Giant Turpentine Trees towered high above our heads and strangler vines wound themselves around almost everything in sight. Going in we thought we would be looking for large, supermarket-sized mushrooms, sat conspicuously at the side of the trail. It wasn’t until Kat spotted a tiny, but perfect, bright, red mushroom right at the base of a tree trunk, we realised we would have to adjust our scale.
Although not very remote, the gully is very quiet. The thick tangle of trees and shrubs crowd around the narrow path, muffling any distant sounds. Stand still long enough and you’re sure to hear a rustling. Something shuffling through the dry leaves. Coming closer. Crunching through the leaf litter. Your primal brain runs a quick mental check on Australia’s dangerous animals just as the culprit, a Superb Lyrebird, struts onto the path, casts a cursory glance and continues picking through the leaves!
We saw so many Lyrebirds on this short walk it should be renamed ‘Lyrebird Gully’.
We followed the Victory Track until the junction with Sassafras Gully Track and turned left to join it. Here the creek had filled out a little and bubbled it’s way around a jumble of mossed covered boulders. The moss so thick it looked like carpet.
Climbing up the Sassafras Gully Track we came across a few more mushrooms growing on the fallen trunks of the giant trees. Another half a kilometre and we were out of the woods and into the backstreets of Springwood where a large flock of Sulphur Cockatoos surveyed us from a Eucalyptus tree.
From Springwood Train Station it was a quick and easy train back to Sydney. All up, Sassafras Gully Reserve is a great short walk. Admittedly we hadn’t timed it well for the fungi, but get out there after some rain and you could be surprised what you find.