Another awe-inspiring aspect of the National Park was its vegetation – so different from anything I had seen on the island. A welcome break from the desiccated emptiness of the east coast, here, the world was filled with temperate rainforests: in fact, it is one of only three large temperate wilderness areas remaining in the southern hemisphere (the others being the Fiordland region of New Zealand and the Patagonian Andes in South America). The 20 minute walk to Russell Falls through these temperate forests, was in that sense, a surreal experience – the thick foliage of the towering eucalyptus trees barely allowed sunlight to bounce on the forest floor. The result was a mushy- swampy ground, filled with undergrowth, mosses and dripping lichens. The soft, ever-present sound of flowing streams created a wonderful meditative backdrop, while giant fern trees and eucalypti stood like sentinels of the rainforests, watching every step of us untrustworthy outsiders.