Tag Archive | #mondaywalk

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

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

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

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.

A Walk to Remember

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #11

Destination: Newcastle, New South Wales

It’s hard to imagine that the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in Turkey and the multi-national mining company BHP would have anything in common, but the connection between the two goes all the way back to 1915.

The ANZAC forces, comprising troops from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, landed on the shore at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, in what was to be an eight month campaign with more than 8000 Australian casualties. In the same year BHP, which was founded as a mining company in the outback town of Broken Hill in 1885, opened their first steel works in Newcastle.

It was this connection between two Australian legends which led to the construction of the Newcastle Memorial Walk. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, the 450 metre memorial walk passes over Strzelecki Headland, linking Bar Beach and King Edward Park. 64 tonnes of steel, manufactured and paid for by BHP, were used in the construction of the walkway.

Half way along the path, a bridge passes over the cliffs near the top of the headland. It is here the ANZACs are remembered. Striking silhouettes of servicemen and women line each side of the bridge.

Cut from steel, they are engraved with the names of 4000 regional families whose loved ones served during World War One. Steel plaques on the bridge tell the stories of their service.

The Memorial Walk is a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made in 1915.

 

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.

Up, Down, Up

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #9

Destination: Tomaree Head, Shoal Bay, New South Wales

The sign said it was only a two kilometre walk, but it looked a long way up to the summit of Tomaree Head.

At first the track was easy going,

but soon the gentle incline was replaced by steps up to a cantilevered walkway leading through the trees and around the edge of the hill.

At the top our efforts were rewarded with expansive coastal views to the north and south.

Heading back downhill, we left the summit walk and turned onto another path. It led us up again to the Fort Tomaree gun emplacements, part of Australia’s coastal defences during the Second World War.

The guns were removed a long time ago, but the structures which housed them have been left behind.

It was easy to see why Tomaree Head was chosen as a strategic site. The views were spectacular.

 

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.

All or Nothing

Western Queensland Road Trip #18 St George

After seeing seeing little more than puddles in several outback rivers, the broad expanse of the Balonne River at St George was an unexpected surprise. Tall river gums lined the river banks and the almost cloudless sky above was reflected in the water flowing slowly towards the weir.

With the sun nearing the horizon we set off along the Riverbank Walkway, a two kilometre track on the town side of the river. As the shadows lengthened and the tree trunks glowed in the light of early evening, a little cruise boat carrying tourists passed by.

There were plenty of locals enjoying the river too, with cyclists, walkers and even two horseback riders on the track. We mentioned our surprise at the volume of water in the river to a lady walking her dog and she explained. “The dam wall upstream needs repairs so all the water has been let out of Lake Kajarabie into the river. It’s being held back by the weir, but the situation is very worrying. This is all the water we have. If it runs out, there is no more.”

Even before the sun had set over the water the moon rose into the clear night sky. We stayed until it was almost dark, taking in the beauty of the river and the bush.

The next day we drove out to Beardmore Dam to see for ourselves. That lady was right. The dam wall, which usually holds back up to 81 000 mega-litres of water, could clearly be seen and the lake was as dry as those rivers we’d seen elsewhere.

Like the people of St George, we could only hope that rain would fall again to replenish the river and the lake.

Post Script: After recent heavy rain in the St George area, Beardmore Dam filled in less than two weeks and is now at 99.98% capacity. The Balonne River broke its banks, reaching a peak of more than 12 metres but no homes in St George were inundated.

Join Jo for more Monday Walks

Hills of Sand

Western Queensland Road Trip #14 Cunnamulla

In the heat of mid-morning there’s very little movement in the bush. Every now and then an unseen bird calls to its mate but it’s the constant hum of insects that dominates.

On the edge of town, a line of red sand hills rises up out of the trees. From a distance they don’t seem high, but the slope is steeper than it looks. Climbing up proves to be a challenge as the fine red sand moves constantly beneath our feet.

Once at the top our effort is rewarded. Cunnamulla’s buildings are just visible through the hardy mulga scrub and the Warrego River sparkles like a silver-backed serpent in the distance.

A small mob of kangaroos rests in a shady spot and they watch us watching them. They stop feeding on the sparse ground cover, lifting their heads to catch our scent. One seems to decide we’re no threat; he returns to his grazing and the others follow his lead.

For a while we copy the kangaroos, finding a cool place to sit and enjoy the view. And when it’s time to leave, the descent is much easier than going up.

Join Jo for Monday Walks

Small Town, Big Walk!

Western Queensland Road Trip #13 Eulo

With a population of just 48, the outback town of Eulo might be small in numbers but it has plenty of personality. And you can easily explore all the sights on foot, from one end of town to the other.

On the corner where the Adventure Way enters town and becomes Leo Street, you’re greeted by a giant lizard who’s seen better days. It’s a relic of the famous Eulo Lizard Races, held annually for 30 years up to 2000.

Nearby stands a memorial connected to the lizard races which, at first glance, appears quite ordinary. But the dedication to champion racing cockroach “Destructo” tells of his unfortunate demise at the peak of his career.

While lizards and cockroaches might reside in Eulo now, huge diprotodons, ancestors of today’s wombats and koalas, lived here during the Pleistocene Epoch up to 2.5 million years ago. The largest of Australia’s megafauna, the plant-eating diprotodon weighed as much as 2.8 tonnes.

The historic Eulo Police Cells are a reminder of days not so long ago. Built in 1923 to replace the original jail cells, which were destroyed by termites, these tiny rooms would have been uncomfortable for those unlucky to be imprisoned in the heat of summer.

Opposite the old police cells on Leo Street is the Eulo Queen Hotel, named for Isabel Robinson who moved to the town with her second husband Richard Robinson in 1886. Together they owned a general store and a butcher’s shop as well as the local hotel, and Isabel added to her fortune by acquiring opals from local miners. Her reputation as the Eulo Queen was enhanced by her habit of “entertaining” the hotel’s patrons while her husband conveniently looked the other way.

No such entertainment is available at the hotel today but enjoying a cool drink while seated on one of the hotel’s unique bar stools is a refreshing alternative.

Further along the street is an unusual structure you wouldn’t expect to find in the outback – an Anderson air raid shelter, built during the second World War to protect residents in case of attack by Japanese forces. The decision to build an air raid shelter was made by the government of the time, as Eulo was a crucial communication link between Darwin and Sydney. It was made long enough to fit up to 50 people, but luckily the need to protect the townspeople never eventuated.

The Japanese may never have attacked but there have been other times when Eulo’s residents have needed protection. When flooding rains come the Paroo River quickly breaks its banks, closing the highway and isolating those on either side. A modified truck has long been used to negotiate floodwaters, carrying both people and goods. Five years ago when the old flood truck was replaced with a modern version, it took up residence in a place of honour next to the store in recognition of its service to the community.

There’s no chance of the bridge over the river going underwater during the current prolonged drought.

Past the bridge, Leo Street once again becomes the Adventure Way and heads further west – time to stop walking and get back in your car!

Join Jo for Monday Walks