For Ron halling. Christmas has come and gone and a new year has scarce drawn first breath. Its 4.30 am and the kookaburras are already sharing a private joke.Their raucous laughter heralds the promise of a perfect day. In good company and with endless possibilities, the road takes us west, away from the sea, up and over the great dividing range. The seasons care not what we name them and one day plucked from many holds no guarantee, but a cool misty pass through the mountains soon gives way to a clear blue summers day. The river is even more beautiful than i remember, a series of quiet lazy pools interrupted by tiny sets of rapids where the water quickens and chuckles its way through the granite on its relentless march to the sea. Butterflies drift through the dappled light and dragonflies saw and dip, hovering briefly while cicadas break the silence with their incessant song. The grass covered banks are alive with grasshoppers, a blessing for the plump water skinks that seem to scurry from every step. Cunningham skinks bask on the boulders, alert to danger, retreating to the safety of a nearby crevasse on approach. Crossing the river, we head upstream and within minutes our first snake is seen. Not what we were expecting, an eastern brown snake, coiled in a patch of sun between boulders by the waters edge. Very alert and none too happy, he suffers a few quick pics before we resume our progress upriver. The habitat here is so rich that it is hard to know which way to turn as we meander our way in anticipation. Soon after, we stumble upon a lightly coloured copper head, oblivious to our presence, poking his way in and under small pebbles in the shallows, searching for prey. Water dragons abound on the rocks and branches, dropping into the water when disturbed, while big headed youngsters dart about under foot. Tadpoles, fish, and yabbys fill the pools. This truly is a place of plenty. Heading back to the car for lunch, only having travelled about 200 metres, we came across our third snake. A much darker copper head lying on the bank right were we first crossed the river. After lunch we head further up stream, carefully searching around logs and tree roots, still close to the waters edge.Another brown snake was soon spotted, this one in pre shed. In a pile of logs a large tiger shed skin can be seen but no sign of its owner. On the far side of the river an unidentified snake swam briefly before disappearing up the grassy bank. One last stretch of river and one last copper head before we depart back for Sydney. Once again the tigers have eluded us but we are more than happy with the days adventure. The tigers are going nowhere and there is always next time to visit the secret river. From closer to home a juvenile tiger. and one of my favourite frogs. Helieoporus australiacus.