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I Spy

Exploring Queensland: Tamborine Mountain

With 210 types of trees, 75 species of vine and 26 different orchids growing in the rainforest, you could play I Spy all day at the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk.

A 300 metre steel bridge beginning at the Eco Gallery winds through the forest canopy; the tops of the tall piccabeen palms are almost within reach.

Staghorns and elkhorns competing for sunlight cling to the trunks of the tallest trees. King orchids also use the trees as hosts. They are the largest orchids in the forest with each long spike covered in masses of tiny flowers.

Dense vine thickets monopolise the understorey, creating a tangled mess of stems and a green overcoat on  the trees above.

On the forest floor the buttress roots of giant strangler figs dwarf the small walking stick palms. With their host trees long ago rotted away, the figs are the strongest and tallest plants in the forest.

An abundance of tiny creatures live in and around Cedar Creek but they’re shy and not always easy to spot. Freshwater turtles, shrimps and eels hide under the rocks while water striders, water beetles and fishing spiders hunt their prey in the water.

It’s much easier to spot the forest animals on this beautiful hand carved bench.

The green hues of the forest are complemented by splashes of bright colour. Bottlebrush trees are loaded with crimson blossoms.

And if you’re lucky a pale yellow robin will join in your game of I Spy.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Small But Beautiful Part 2

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #23 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind Destination: Burleigh Head National Park Rainforest Circuit The Rainforest Circuit starts where the Ocean View Circuit ends, immediately beginning its ascent up the headland. It’s not long before the track is surrounded by littoral rainforest, a particular type which only grows by the ocean. Along the way there are glimpses of those majestic Norfolk Pines at John Laws Park and the white sandy beach at Burleigh Heads. At Jebbribillum Lookout the view expands, revealing the northern areas of the Gold Coast all the way to Surfers Paradise. After the lookout the track heads inland through the rainforest, where more of those hexagonal basalt columns lie half hidden by vegetation. There’s a second opportunity to see the ocean at Tumgun Lookout. This time the view is southwards, past Palm Beach to Currumbin, Kirra and Coolangatta on the Queensland/New South Wales border. The Rainforest Circuit does not go to the summit of the headland, 88 metres above sea level. The risk of rock falls means the highest part of the park is not open to the public. Instead the path heads gently downwards, rejoining the Ocean View Circuit at Tallebudgera Creek, the perfect spot to complete your walk with a quiet lunchtime picnic. This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare Also joining Jo’s Monday Walks

A Passion for Waves

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #22 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Burleigh Heads

The Ocean View Circuit around Burleigh Headland ends at John Laws Park in the Gold Coast suburb of Burleigh Heads. Popular with both locals and visitors, the park is filled with 450 Norfolk Pines, some planted more than 80 years ago. They provide welcome shade for those who want to sit, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful outlook or watching surfers in the water below. 

Surfing has long been part of the beach culture at Burleigh Heads. The waters off the headland have attracted surfers for decades and the world’s first professional surfing competition, the Stubby Surf Classic, was held here in 1977. 

Even the picnic tables in the park celebrate Australia’s passion for surfing.

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare

Small But Beautiful Part 1

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #21 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Burleigh Head National Park Ocean View Circuit 

Even though Burleigh Head National Park is one of Australia’s smallest at just 27 hectares, it dominates the coastal vista. Rising 88 metres above the Coral Sea and covered with dense rainforest, the headland separates the beachside suburbs of Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach.

The ocean view circuit begins on the southern side of the park. The walking track skirts around the base of the headland, beginning with rainforest on one side and Tallebudgera Creek on the other before rounding the bend to the ocean side.

Unusual six sided basalt columns, remnants of volcanic activity 23 million years ago, lie in scattered piles beside the path. 

Groves of pandanus palms laden with ripening fruit grow on the protected edges of the creek,

while further around only the hardiest vegetation lives on the exposed rocky shore.

More of those hexagonal columns, created when molten lava from those long ago eruptions cooled very slowly, jut out of the hillside above. 

Around the last bend in the track, the northern suburbs of Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach come into view. 

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare

Also joining Jo’s Monday Walks

Walking in the Clouds

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #14 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Springbrook National Park

With a name like “Best of All” this lookout promised much.

But cloud had enveloped the track, covering everything in a misty drizzle. We wondered if there would be anything to see at the end of the path.

Luckily the cloud lifted and the lookout lived up to its name. The views into northern New South Wales were the best!

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare.

Stay Away From the Edge

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #8 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Point Pure Lookout, Brooyar State Forest

The signs at Point Pure Lookout were straightforward – they left us in no doubt about where we needed to be.

Beyond the fence was a sheer drop, a favourite spot with abseilers.

We were happy to enjoy the views of Brooyar State Forest from the safety of the lookout.

It was a long way down to the ground.

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare.

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

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.

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.

A Walk In the Forest

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #25

Destination: Washpool National Park, New South Wales

The temperate rainforest at Washpool National Park is part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. The plants growing in the park now are the same species as those which grew here 550 million years ago, when Australia was part of the supercontinent Gondwana.

Come for a walk in the forest with me.

Ferns with ancient ancestry begin life on the forest floor, while larger tree ferns form umbrella-shaped shelter overhead.

Vines and aerial roots twist together, using tree trunks for support in their quest to reach the sky.

The clear water of Summit Creek flows around granite boulders strewn in its path, creating an ever-changing canvas of ripples and reflections.

The tallest trees compete for sunlight which filters down through the canopy, making shadowplay on the tracks below.

Before turning back, let’s rest a while. With its mossy coat, this bench might have been here since Gondwana.

 

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.