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It’s a Sign

Australian Landscapes #36

Destination: Mudlo National Park, Queensland

If we’d looked more carefully at the sign, would we have walked up to Pearson Lookout? Of course, but we might have been better prepared for what lay ahead.

Our walk in Mudlo National Park began on the Scrubby Creek trail, which took us through open eucalypt forest. Vines and lianas climbed every tree trunk in search of sunlight. Although we crossed the creek several times our feet stayed dry; there’d been no water flowing for months.

We were alone on the track this day, but found evidence of others who’d been here before us.

It was late in the afternoon when we reached the track to Pearson Lookout, but the extra distance wasn’t great and the temptation of a lookout was hard to resist. Enthusiastically, we headed off without looking closely at the sign. One of those past visitors had left a vital clue, but we missed it.

Before long, the track changed. Rough stony steps went up

and up

and up.

Encouraged by a few brief glimpses of what was to come, we continued our ascent

until finally we reached the lookout.

The effort of our steep uphill walk was forgotten as beautiful views of the Lower Burnett Valley were revealed.

Then we had to go down again.

Join Jo for more Monday Walks

Hidden Remnants

Australian Landscapes #35
Destination: Kilkivan, Queensland

Copper was first discovered in the area west of Gympie in the 1870s, at a time when it was selling for up to £95 a ton. The value of the ore more than compensated for the remote location and difficult terrain, and several mines and smelters were quickly established around the base of Mount Clara.

But after such a successful beginning, the mines were closed by the end of the decade and the hundreds of men employed by the companies had moved on.

All that remains to show for their effort is a hand built stone chimney surrounded by the ruins of a smelter which once processed ore from the mines. Thought to be one of the first of its kind and also the oldest surviving mining chimney in Queensland, it is now listed on the state’s Heritage Register.

Built in 1872, the Mount Clara smelter chimney was constructed of local bluestone and mortar made with sand from Fraser Island. The skill of the stonemasons is evident in the intricacy of their work, with stones of varying shapes and sizes neatly placed together. Iron bands, although rusted with age, still provide support for the chimney’s walls.

Did the stonemasons work with the stones in their natural state, building the chimney as if they were assembling a puzzle? Or did they deliberately create the unusual shapes to give extra strength to the structure?

We’ll never know.

Regrowth

Australian Landscapes #34

Destination: Great Alpine Road, Victoria

As the Great Alpine Road continues its ascent into the Victorian Alps, the vegetation changes again. Beyond an elevation of 1500 metres, stands of towering alpine ash give way to snow gums and low growing heathland. Orange snow poles alongside the road indicate how different this landscape is in winter.

The final remnants of last winter’s snow, packed hard into crevices on the southern slopes of the mountains, defy the midsummer temperatures.

At the top of Mount Hotham the road widens, revealing 360° views across the mountains and valleys of the Alpine National Park.

On 8 January 2003, lightning strikes ignited bushfires in the national park. They burned through inaccessible forests for 58 days and destroyed more than 60% of the park’s vegetation.

Since then the bush has regenerated and recovered.

But despite the regrowth the skeletal remains of thousands of dead trees still stand on the mountain slopes of the Alpine National Park.

Kings of the Forest

Australian Landscapes #33

Destination: Great Alpine Road, Victoria

As the Great Alpine Road leaves the Ovens River Valley and begins its ascent into the Victorian Alps, the scenery changes dramatically. Dairy farms, orchards and vineyards give way to mountain slopes covered with dense eucalypt forests.

When the road climbs even higher, the view changes again. Stands of magnificent Alpine Ash, their white trunks reaching high into the sky, line the sides of the road. These beautiful trees only grow between elevations of 900 to 1450 metres and are amongst Australia’s tallest flowering plants. While most average around 50 metres, a few are almost 90 metres tall.

Eventually the Great Alpine Road reaches the tree line, beyond which trees do not grow. But here, where conditions are just right, forests of Alpine Ash reign supreme.

 

Hidden Beauty

Australian Landscapes #32

Destination: Lockhart, New South Wales

Unlike the silos at Thallon or the water tower in Cunnamulla, the painted water tower in Lockhart takes some effort to find. For a start, Lockhart isn’t on any major roads so you’ll need to make a detour. And, once you’ve arrived in this small Riverina town, you’ll still need to search because the water tower is almost hidden by the trees in the garden around it.

But it’s worth looking for!

Located on the main street, the water tower was painted in 2018 by two Blue Mountains artists using freehand techniques and spray cans. The mural they created pays tribute to one of Australia’s most important resources – water. It depicts a waterfall tumbling over a rocky cliff before flowing down to a creek on the forest floor, giving sustenance to the plants and animals native to this area.

If you’re on the road in the Riverina district, look out for the turn off to Lockhart. The extra kilometres will be forgotten when you do find the water tower!

On the Road

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #31

Destination: Australia

Many Australians love a good road trip and, with more than 900,000 kilometres of roads in Australia, there are plenty of places to go.

For a great road trip, leave the major highways and explore the country roads – your journey will be an adventure.

You’ll travel on single lane roads,

and wide dirt roads. Don’t get too close to anyone in front or you’ll be covered in bulldust!

Sometimes you’ll need to go around obstacles,

over cattle grids,

and through farm gates. Make sure you shut the gate behind you.

You’ll find paved roads hand built by pioneers,

and record breaking roads which opened up the interior.

Sometimes you’ll share the road with large vehicles,

or large pedestrians. Don’t argue about who has right of way with either.

So next time you’re thinking about a road trip pack your bags, start up the car and head off the main roads. If you want to see the best of Australia, country roads are the only way to go.

See this post from 2013 for more Australian country roads.

While our travel plans are on hold I’ve joined in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. Thanks Becky, it’s been a fun month. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time.

Islands in the Sun

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #30

Destination: Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

If you’re in search of a tropical paradise, look no further than the Whitsunday Islands, an archipelago of 74 islands located between Queensland’s central coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Coral Sea, some of the islands are home to luxury resorts, but many are uninhabited.

The island group was named in 1770 by James Cook while on his first voyage of discovery. He thought he sailed past on Whit Sunday, without realising he had already crossed what would one day be known as the International Date Line.

That slight miscalculation isn’t going to worry anyone who’s enjoying an tropical island holiday in the Whitsundays.

 

While our travel plans are on hold I’m joining in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time.

Rain in the Rainforest

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #29

Destination: Goomburra Section, Main Range National Park, Queensland

Last November Queensland was in the middle of a crippling drought. So even though we were in a rainforest, we didn’t expect it to rain.

The sky looked ominous but we gave it no thought as we set off up the track to the Mount Castle Lookout.

We saw evidence of damaging storms which had passed through a few weeks before.

As we reached the lookout the sun broke through the thick layer of clouds, illuminating the sheer stony cliffs of Mount Castle.

Through the haze we could clearly see the domed tops of distant mountains – Greville, Moon, Barney and Maroon. But as we lingered, gazing out over the valley and the mountains, the mist enveloped us, bringing with it heavy rain.

The patter of raindrops joined the calls of birds hidden high in the trees, enhancing the beauty of the forest. We were drenched, but there was no inclination to hurry back along the track.

It’s not every day we get rained on in a rainforest!

 

While our travel plans are on hold I’m joining in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time. Also joining Jo’s Monday Walks.

In The Vineyard

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #28

Destination: Stanthorpe, Queensland

Stanthorpe, on Queensland’s Granite Belt, is renowned for its crisp winters, perfect for growing stone fruit, apples and pears. The region is also famous for its vineyards and award winning wineries.

And where there’s a vineyard, there’s bound to be a barrel or two.

 

While our travel plans are on hold I’m joining in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time.

Cloud Shapes

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #27

Destination: Granite Lookout, Washpool National Park, New South Wales

The information board at the Granite Picnic Area promised us sweeping views of the Gibraltar Ranges.

We walked for 400 metres on a track shaded by eucaplypt forest,

until we came to a natural granite platform on the edge of the range, 1065 metres above sea level.

The huge slab of granite was perfectly positioned to see over the hidden gully where Coombadjha Creek flowed to the tree covered mountains beyond.

After walking through the forest with its branches arching overhead, the open sky was a welcome change.

We got all we were promised and more.

 

While our travel plans are on hold I’m joining in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time. Also joining Jo’s Monday Walks.