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Keep to the Left…Mostly!

Minerva Hills National Park

In Australia we drive on the left and usually we walk on the left. At the start of the walk to the Skyline Lookout, I automatically walked on the left. It’s the natural thing to do!

Not far from the start this sign caught my attention and, as the track narrowed on its uphill climb, I instinctively moved to the right.

The loose gravel on the path meant I needed to concentrate on where I was stepping. I didn’t want to stumble and fall here – it was a long way down.

Wattle trees in full bloom covered the hills while closer to the track wiry tufts of spinifex dotted the stony slopes.

The track followed the curve of the hill, passing from open grassland into acacia forest where the trees were adorned with dozens of spider webs. Some of the large sticky webs were suspended across the track and I forgot about which side I wanted to walk on. Instead it was a case of dodging from one side to the other to avoid coming face to face with one of the golden orb weavers who built them.

The last section of the track wound around the peak of Mount Zamia to two viewing platforms. One faced south towards Virgin Rock and the little town of Springsure and the other looked out over the fertile farmland to the north.

The track to Skyline Lookout was 800 metres out and back and the return walk was a little easier. I just stayed on the left – except for the part where the spiders live.

28 Spot the Wallaby

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Minerva Hills National Park

A pretty-faced wallaby rests in the shade of a cycad.

For a few moments she’s curious, carefully watching us watching her.

But she soon returns to more important tasks.

27 Threads of Gold

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Minerva Hills National Park

While the slopes of Minerva Hills National Park are brushed with gold dust from the wattle trees, the trees on the Skyline walking track are hung with delicate strands of spun gold.

The branches of the acacia trees are festooned with dozens of spider webs, their yellow strands of silk glinting in the soft light of late afternoon.

Who are the master spinners and weavers creating these beautiful webs?

Female Golden Orb Weavers work tirelessly to build these natural masterpieces. They live in groups of overlapping webs designed to deter predators.

While the females are quite large, the males are tiny. Luckily for the males, their gigantic mates are not aggressive and, although they might look scary, they’re not a danger to humans either.

21 A Birds’ Eye View

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Lake Maraboon, Emerald

The sweet blossoms of a gum tree provide a tasty feast for a pair of rainbow lorikeets.

They’re so engrossed in feeding our presence doesn’t bother them.

From their perch high up in the tree, they have a great view of Lake Maraboon and Fairbairn Dam.

17 Ready for Night

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Hoods Lagoon, Clermont

As night falls, birds begin roosting in the trees around Hoods Lagoon.

sulphur crested cockatoos

kookaburra

Australasian darter

11 Watching and Waiting

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Broken River, Eungella National Park

We’re hoping to see a platypus at Broken River, but there’s no guarantee. The man beside us has been to the viewing platform every afternoon for a week with no success.

Late in the afternoon a small group of people has gathered on the tree-lined riverbank. The setting sun casts deep shadows over the water; the conditions are perfect for platypus spotting. All we need is a co-operative platypus.

A saw-shelled turtle rests on a submerged log while several others coast along with the current. More than once we mistake a submerged turtle for a platypus.

We all heed this advice – waiting quietly, talking in whispers and watching for tell-tale signs.

Suddenly we do see ripples and bubbles and there is a platypus.

As quickly as he surfaces he turns and dives again, disappearing into the murky water. But he’s in a playful mood and reappears time and time again.

We stand for a long time watching the platypus as he searches for his afternoon meal. It’s such a privilege to see this elusive animal in the wild.

We feel elated, but we’re not as excited as the man who’s been waiting all week. He’s ecstatic!

10 A Flash of Yellow

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Broken River, Eungella National Park

As we wander along the boardwalk at Broken River, a flash of yellow in the trees up ahead catches our attention.

It’s an Eastern Yellow Robin. At first it’s shy and hides in the foliage.

We stop and wait quietly until the robin comes closer.

Eventually it’s brave enough to fly down to the path and our patience is rewarded when it’s joined by a friend. They hop along the boards in front of us before flying away into the trees once more.

7 Life Support

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Finch Hatton Gorge

Rawson’s Creek tumbles down from the mountains surrounding Finch Hatton Gorge, rushing over volcanic boulders on its way to the valley. While the water sustains life in the subtropical rainforest, trees also provide sustenance for other plants and animals.

Giant strangler figs with massive buttress root systems shelter new saplings from the blazing midday sun. Vines use tall straight tree trunks for support.

Insects thrive in the foliage. Some are easily seen, while others leave evidence of their activities.

Even fallen trees give life, as other plants and animals feed on their decaying trunks.

This stump is all that remains of a long gone tree but, with its cloak of thick green moss, it’s a thing of beauty.

27 After Dark

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

Evening was already closing in by the time we arrived at San Francisco’s Pier 39.

At the end of the pier, the sculpture Open Heart mirrored the luminous colours of the sunset. 

Even though it was almost night, we could still see the California sea lions who live around the West Marina. They had already gathered on the docks, their glossy pelts shining in the fading light.

The sky darkened and the sea lions began to settle but we were reluctant to leave and stood watching until they were no longer visible.

By the time we were ready to move on the sky was dark. The pier wasn’t dark though, with 1,800 glowing LED lights illuminating the San Francisco Carousel. 

After starting with beautiful artwork, our evening ended the same way. Across the water more LEDs, an installation of 25,000 called The Bay Lights, lit up the Bay Bridge, all the way from San Francisco to Oakland. 

22 Squirrels in the Garden!

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the Japanese Tea Garden – and happy to pose for photos!