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23 Treasure Hunters

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.

Rubyvale, The Gemfields

There’s more to the Gemfields than precious gems.

The strudels at Muggachinno’s Strudel Hut in Rubyvale have an excellent reputation and we need no incentive to try them for ourselves.

Gunter is the strudel maker. Originally from a small village high in the Austrian Alps, he’s lived in in Australia for 65 years. Using his mother’s recipe he bakes fresh strudels every day, sometimes working a 20 hour day to keep up with demand. He tells us his strudels are better than the modern ones made in Austria because he sticks to tradition, never deviating from the original centuries-old formula.

The apostle birds and blue-faced honeyeaters have heard about Gunter’s strudels too. But they’ll have to wait their turn.

We have no intention of sharing ours – apple strudel on the left and cherry on the right.

We’ll leave the gem fossicking to others. We’ve found our treasure!

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.

20 Turned To Stone

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.

Emerald

More than 250 million years ago, a tree fell to the ground near a waterway in the area where Emerald now stands. It was washed downstream and quickly buried by sediment and over time became fossilised by a process of mineralisation.

The petrified tree lay buried in the soil until it was unearthed during the construction of a bridge over the Mackenzie River in 1979. It is now on display in front of the Emerald Town Hall on Egerton Street.

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

16 Changing Light

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 afternoon fades into evening, the play of colour and light on the water of Hoods Lagoon changes.

12 Rising Up

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.

Peak Range

At first you might think there’s not much to see along the Peak Downs Highway between Mackay and Clermont. It’s cattle and coal mining country and, for a long time on either side of the highway, the plains are flat and covered with trees and grasses.

Close to the junction of the Peak Downs and Gregory Highways the scenery changes. The land is punctuated by a series of massive rocky outcrops at the northern end of the Peak Range.

The rugged basalt formations are volcanic plugs and domes, remnants of an ancient volcano which erupted around 30 million years ago.

They certainly make the drive more interesting.

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.

9 The View From the Window

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.

Sky Window Circuit, Eungella National Park

At an elevation of 1259, it feels like we’re closer to the sky on the Eungella Plateau. And a walk around the Sky Window Circuit sounds promising.

The track follows the escarpment through sub-tropical rainforest. The trees grow tall and thin as they compete for sunlight while the undergrowth is so thick it blocks any sightings of the valley.

The views are only revealed when we reach the Sky Window Lookout.

Close by, the steep winding road we’ve just travelled up is clearly visible. Beyond that, the Pioneer Valley, flanked on both sides by the Clarke Range, opens up before us.

We can just make out the city of Mackay, 80 kilometres to the east on the coast. It really does seem as if we’re looking down from the sky.

8 Down the Mountain

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.

Araluen Cascades, Finch Hatton Gorge

Finch Hatton Creek flows down the mountain, carving a path through the sub-tropical rainforest.

Flowing across ancient volcanic granite, it tumbles over the rocks at Araluen Cascades into two deep pools before continuing downhill.