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My favourite thing to do on any given day is to get outside and explore the natural world. More and more my heart craves nature time and we take every opportunity to leave the city behind and spend time in some kind of wilderness. Yesterday we ventured east to Serpentine National Park for a day of walking and we were rewarded richly for our efforts!

About an hour and a half into our walk we stumbled across a piece of nature's magic. Thousands of beautiful monarch butterflies had taken up residence in a little grove of eucalypts along the edge of a dry creek bed. Butterflies hung in bundles from leaves and branches, creating spectacular orange 'bouquets. Some butterflies sat perfectly still, unruffled by our presence, and others took flight on sensing our movements. We spent well over an hour marvelling at the wonder of it all! I can only describe it by listing superlatives like spellbinding, breathtaking and beautiful! It was like a dream sequence in a fairytale with all of these small, fragile creatures fluttering around us.

Only 100 metres before we had reached the butterfly grove we had talked about turning back from our walk, as we had already come so far. 'Just a little further' we decided and what a serendipitous decision that turned out to be! Below are some photos of our magical butterfly encounter:

The park was littered with milkweed, which is the preferred food for the monarch caterpillar - it fills them with toxins that make them unpalatable to most predators. We saw plenty of hungry caterpillars and chrysalis too! The whole life cycle of these creatures was laid out before our eyes. Monarch butterflies are not native to Australia and they have only been here since the late 1800's. Here's a fascinating article on the monarch which examines the butterfly as an invasive species: Flying Weeds: How the Monarchs Colonised Australia Flying weed or not, there is no denying that the butterfly grove made for a spectacular sight!

Below are some more images of our day at Serpentine National Park. That swimming hole is really awesome. In summer it gets so busy here that they often close the gates mid morning and turn people away. We know because we've been turned away! Haha. We didn't mind one bit though as the intent is to preserve the nature of the park.

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