Tag Archive | #mondaywalk

Where There is Water

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020

The main track at Carnarvon Gorge is 9.7 kilometres one way. With several sets of steps, many creek crossings and some gradual inclines, the track is classed as Grade 3/4 and is suitable for bushwalkers with some experience. Nine side tracks off the main track lead to the scenic wonders of the gorge. The walk to the Moss Garden begins 2.8 kilometres from the Visitor Centre.

Its location in central Queensland means Carnarvon Gorge is surrounded by a landscape often severely affected by drought. Inside the gorge, where water is abundant, it’s a different matter. And where there is water there is life, especially in the Moss Garden.

Hidden away in the depths of Violet Gorge, the Moss Garden is reached by a 650 metre walking track off the main track.

Like all the walks in Carnarvon Gorge, there are creek crossings and steps to negotiate. The bright green foliage of fan palms and tree ferns spreads out on either side of the track – it’s noticeably cooler in the shade.

Further into the gorge the open forest is replaced by remnant rainforest. Lianas loop from tree to tree and the roots of strangler figs take hold wherever they can. 

The track rises steeply away from the creek and the gorge narrows until the sandstone walls on either side almost touch. 

A boardwalk replaces the sandy path for the last few metres. Even though the sound of running water is ever present in most of the park, here it dominates. Water tumbles over a small waterfall, filling a round pool before flowing away down the creek. More water drips constantly from the sandstone walls of the canyon. It comes from a natural spring high above and filters through the sandstone. 

The permanent supply of slowly filtered water supports a micro climate of mosses and ferns which cover the stone like a thick green carpet. 

Dozens of dragonflies add jewel colours to the green of the Moss Garden. They skim across the surface of the waterhole and up over the mossy rocks, stopping for just a few seconds before taking off again. 

Where there is water, there’s always life. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Don’t Count, Just Go Up!

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020

The main track at Carnarvon Gorge is 9.7 kilometres one way. With several sets of steps, many creek crossings and some gradual inclines, the track is classed as Grade 3/4 and is suitable for bushwalkers with some experience. Nine side tracks off the main track lead to the scenic wonders of the gorge. The walk to Boolimba Bluff begins one kilometre from the Visitor Centre.

At just 2.2 kilometres the Boolimba Bluff walk sounds easy, but don’t let the distance fool you. Most of the track goes uphill and there are 960 steps and several ladders to negotiate, which is not surprising when you are heading to the top of these sandstone cliffs. 

The first set of steps is just a few metres from the start of the track. From there a wide sandy path leads on through the bush, going ever upwards to more stony staircases. 

Before reaching the top of the ridge, the path climbs into Wagaroo Gorge, the widest side gorge in the park. This is the steepest part of the walk, with 300 steps and several ladders over just 300 metres. There’s no need to rush. Take your time in the remnant rainforest, protected from the heat of the day by the overhanging cliffs.

Stop for a while to admire the beautiful formations in the sandstone, carved out by wind and water over thousands of years. 

You’ve come a long way up Wagaroo Gorge – you’re nearly at the top. 

Reaching the final step is cause for celebration… 

until you realise there’s another 750 metres of track to walk across the top of the ridge to the lookout. At least the path is level, and there are encouraging glimpses of what’s ahead.

Finally the lookout comes into sight. There’s a bench for weary walkers, but the spectacular view means you probably won’t sit for long. The bluff faces towards the mouth of the gorge and is 200 metres above the Visitor Centre from where the walk started.

At this point the gorge is 600 metres wide. The sandstone walls of the gorge are at least 200 million years old but the darker basalt layer on top was formed by volcanic lava flows just 30 million years ago. 

These divots on the bluff are almost as ancient as the sandstone below. They are actually puddles formed by slow moving water 180 million years ago, when this area was part of a flood plain. Upheaval 80 million years later forced the land upwards and erosion of the sedimentary rock revealed these prehistoric potholes.

It’s been worth the effort to walk all the way to Boolimba Bluff. Now you’ve taken in the views and caught your breath it’s time to retrace your steps. Just be careful on the way back down.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Getting Back to Nature

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 

The main track at Carnarvon Gorge is 9.7 kilometres one way. With several sets of steps, many creek crossings and some gradual inclines, the track is classed as Grade 3/4 and is suitable for bushwalkers with some experience. Nine side tracks off the main track begin at various distances along the main track. The Nature Trail is the first side track and starts just past the Visitor Centre. 

When a walking track is called The Nature Trail, we would expect to see plenty of natural wonders. The trail at Carnarvon Gorge delivers all that and more!

The level track winds through open eucalypt forest beside the creek for 1.5 kilometres, beginning and ending at the main track.

The path crosses Carnarvon Creek in two places, with large flat stepping stones linking each bank.

The towering walls of sandstone on either side of the gorge create a magnificent backdrop for the creek and the bushland.

In some sections the bush gives way to stands of bushfire blackened Carnarvon fan palms. Primitive cycads, little changed in appearance since the time when dinosaurs grazed on them, grow beside the track. Both plants are endemic to this central Queensland region.

Delicate wildflowers bring splashes of colour to the bush. 

An eastern snake-necked tortoise enjoys the sun on a rock in the middle of the creek

and a pretty-faced wallaby, used to human visitors, watches with fearless curiosity. 

Bird calls fill the forest and, although they can be heard, the small birds stay hidden. Larger birds are easier to spot in the trees or close to the water. 

While the little birds are shy, the insects are not. Several types of butterfly move from one plant to the next, taking time to rest at each one. Around the creek, dragonflies dart like tiny jet planes, never resting for longer than a few seconds. 

Part way along the track, movement in amongst the fan palms catches our attention. Hundreds of Euploea climena butterflies flutter around the trees. Dozens more are clustered on the underside of the palm fronds – only moving when a gust of wind shakes them loose. 

It’s a display only nature could put on.

Joining Jude for Life in Colour – Yellow and  Jo for Monday Walks

Down by the Water

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 ~ The Rock Pool

Carnarvon Creek is the lifeblood of the spectacular gorge it helped to create over the last 200 million years. Flowing north east through the gorge for more than 30 kilometres, the creek has only ever completely dried up twice in recorded history. Even in the most severe of droughts, a lush oasis flourishes inside the gorge.

The Rock Pool, located just inside the mouth of the gorge, is one of the most beautiful sections of the creek. Massive boulders slope steeply up from the water. Shaded by Carnarvon fan palms and stands of she-oaks, it is crystal clear.

Even here at the beginning of the gorge, white sandstone cliffs tower high above the bushland.

The walk to the Rock Pool is the shortest and easiest of all the walks in Carnarvon Gorge. A leisurely 300 metre stroll from the car park leads to not one but two deep pools of cool water.

Where the creek is narrow the water flows fast. Two sets of stepping stones cross the creek but it’s also shallow enough to wade over.

Further on where the creek widens the water is deeper and moves more slowly. The pools are the only places within the national park where swimming is allowed, but no one is tempted the day we’re there.

It seems a shame to disturb perfection.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

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.