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Price: $25.00

SOLD OUT! An updated and expanded version is currently being prepared and will be available in late 2024.

The perfect way to learn about the geology that underpins the landscape and diverse flora of the Sydney region

A photographic journey through the rich and varied geology, scenery and flora of the Sydney region

Look inside

Rocks and Trees captures the dramatic scenery of the Greater Blue Mountains, the beauty of the coastline and the great sweep of plains west of the CBD, but its main purpose is to highlight the geology and flora and their interrelationships. The book journeys from the Illawarra along the coast to Newcastle and inland to the Greater Blue Mountains, staying within the framework created by the massive sandstones and conglomerates of the Triassic Narrabeen Group.

Each formation, whether sandstone, claystone, gravel, conglomerate or igneous rock, is pictured 'in the raw' so to speak, followed by the floras it supports in a particular setting, whether tableland, lowland, cliff, valley or gorge, and whether forest, woodland, shrubland, heath or wetland. Characteristic trees are highlighted, including over 70 eucalypt species. But plants as small as tiny terrestrial orchids or filmy ferns are also pictured, especially if they typify a particular setting.

A4 portrait format
312 pages
Hard cover
Full colour on recycled gloss art paper
850 illustrations, mostly photographs of landscapes, rocks and plants, but also includes diagrams, maps and sketches
Glossary of around 200 geological terms
Full index
80 references


John Martyn was born in Cornwall and came to Australia in 1970 after mapping in the Rift Valley of Kenya for his PhD in geology. Although he has lived in Sydney since 1979, much of his fieldwork as a minerals exploration geologist over the last 30 years has been in Western Australia.

His first experience of spring in the West Australian goldfields left him stunned by the colour and variety of flowers in the bush. It was the beginning of a lifetime enthusiasm for Australia’s flora and fauna.

Moving to Sydney, John was amazed by the beauty and variety of landscape and habitats around the city’s suburbs. He has been exploring, mapping and photographing Sydney’s natural world ever since.

John joined the STEP committee in 1990 and has dedicated many hours to STEP’s campaigns and publications. John has assisted spreading STEP’s name and aims through the publication of the following books and maps of walking tracks:

  • Rocks and Trees (2018)
  • Understanding the Weather: A Guide for Outdoor Enthusiasts in South-eastern Australia (2013)
  • Field Guide to the Bushland of the Lane Cove Valley (2010)
  • Field Guide to the Bushland of the Upper Lane Cove Valley (1994, out of print)
  • Sydney’s Natural World (2007)
  • Map of Walking Tracks of Middle Harbour Valley and Northern Harbour Foreshore: Sheets 1 and 2 Bungaroo and Roseville Bridge (2004, 2009)
  • Map of Walking Tracks of Middle Harbour Valley and Northern Harbour Foreshore: Sheets 3 and 4 Northbridge and North Harbour (2004, 2020)
  • Map of Walking Tracks of the Lane Cove Valley (2000 and 2016)

John has also coordinated our walks and talks programs, with himself leading several very informative and eye-opening walks. In recent years, John has chosen wide-ranging landscapes such as Deep Creek at North Narrabeen, Kurnell and Botany Bay National Park, Dog Pound Creek and the Hornsby Diatreme, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park at West Head, Cumberland State Forest and Bents Basin. The popularity of his walks for STEP has led John to host walks for Hornsby Shire Council.