Tag Archive | #mondaywalk

Up The Hill

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland. 

When is a mountain not a mountain? 

When it falls short of the required 300 metres in elevation by a mere 14 metres.

Castle Hill might just miss out on mountain status but at 286 metres it dominates the city of Townsville. The pink granite monolith, also known by its indigenous name of Cootharinga, is popular with both locals and visitors who can either walk up the famous Goat Track with its 758 stairs or drive up the 2.6 kilometre sealed road to the top. On a steamy 33° afternoon we did not walk up the Goat Track. 

Once at the summit we could easily have just stayed at the car park lookout which has spectacular 360° views – Townsville’s sprawling suburbs spread across the coastal plain, Hervey Range in the distance and Magnetic Island 10 kilometres off the coast.

But after avoiding the long walk up the hill we had energy reserved for the short walks at the top. The Radar Hill walk was closed for renovations so we set off on the Summit Walk to Hynes Lookout. 

From here we could see the CBD, where we’d walked the Street Art Trail in the morning, the busy Port of Townsville and Cape Cleveland far away on the horizon. 

Closer to the coast, Magnetic Island was veiled by a humid haze. 

Further round to the north east the Pill Box Walking Trail, which leads to a relic of World War Two, was our next destination.  

This track and lookout gave us a slightly different perspective on the same views. But it was the history connected to the site which made it interesting. 

A 1942 Observation Bunker, once an important part of Australia’s wartime defence system, now stands disused, a silent reminder of a time when the country was under threat of invasion. 

The people who worked here had huge responsibilities. They also had the best view in town!

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Street Art in Townsville

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland. 

How often do you find the recommended time to see an attraction is simply not enough?

The Street Art Walking Trail in Townsville’s CBD, featuring 27 works of art commissioned by the City Council, winds its way around six city blocks. The brochure with descriptions of each painting and a map of the trail suggests 45 minutes is sufficient.

Perhaps they didn’t allow for us actually being able to find the paintings and then taking photographs of them. We spent more than two hours wandering through the city seeking out all the spectacular works of art.

Some were tucked away down the sides of buildings or dingy back alleys and sadly, some had rubbish bins and large skips right in front of them or graffiti sprayed across them. Some were on tricky angles, making them hard to photograph. But we did manage to take photos of several fabulous creations. 

This collection of street art continues to grow as new works are added. If you’re in Townsville, pick up a map of the Street Art Walking Trail at the Tourist Information Centre and be sure to allow plenty of time to see them all. 

Croc and Turtle – ROA, 2015

The Barrier – TELLAS, 2017

Sound and Movement Personified – Claire Foxton, 2018

Mother Earth – LEANS, 2017

Girroogul and the Soap Tree – Garth Jankovic and Nicky Bidju Pryor, 2016

L to R:

Concord – James Giddy, 2019

Cat and Mouse – 815K1, 2020

The Smizler – Lee Harnden, 2014

Brolga Dance and Song – Nicky Bidju Pryor, 2018

Under the Sea – HAFLEG, 2020

And this mural of tropical fauna we spotted on a large water tank up on the hill, not in the brochure but still worthy of inclusion. 

Joining Marsha for Photographing Public Art and Jo for Monday Walks

Beauty at Low Tide

Golden Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The esplanade at Golden Beach is perfect for walking. On one side of the street, private homes look out over the calm waters of Pumicestone Passage while on the other, the path follows the contours of the sandy beach…

until you come to the mangrove boardwalk.

As the boardwalk winds into the mangrove the houses disappear from view, hidden by a dense forest of trees, vines and undergrowth. Along the way two paths leading to viewing platforms over the channel branch off the main walkway.

The word mangrove refers both to an area of coastal vegetation and also to the particular types of trees which grow there.

Other native plants flourish in the forest too.

The mangrove is home to animals as well as plants. Golden Orb spiders build large communal webs, filling in the gaps between the trees.

When they feel the vibrations of footsteps on the boardwalk, small crabs suddenly stop their sideways scuttling. Once still, they’re hard to distinguish from the pebbles embedded in the sand.

At high tide the ocean reaches almost to the road, covering much of the vegetation on the ground. But when the tide is low and the water has receded, the true beauty of the mangrove is revealed.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Namesake

Girraween National Park, Queensland

Do you ever think about how or why places are named? At Girraween National Park in southern Queensland, the reason for some place names is more obvious than others.

The designation of Underground Creek is self-explanatory, as the tannin stained water disappears beneath an ancient rockfall. The creek might be hidden from view, but it can be heard trickling between the granite boulders before it emerges further downhill.

Girraween is an Aboriginal word meaning “place of flowers”. In late summer, drifts of golden paper daisies brighten the bush while delicate fringed lilies bloom close to water.

It’s logical to assume that Dr Roberts’ Waterhole was named for a local personality, but it’s only at the end of the track his story is revealed.

The wide sandy path leading to the waterhole winds through open eucalpyt forest. Huge slabs of granite, laid down as magma 240 million years ago, are revealed where the topsoil has been eroded by wind and rain.

At the end of the track a panel explains the conservation work of Dr Roberts, and the reason for honouring him becomes clear.

After good summer rainfall, the waterhole is full. A light breeze sends ripples across the surface, blurring the sky’s reflection.

I wonder how many times Dr Roberts visited this waterhole in his wanderings. I think he would be delighted that this beautiful place bears his name.

 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

#8 Hidden

I’m joining Becky in her February 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 Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #OddSquare.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Girraween National Park, February 2021

When is a creek not a creek?

Millions of years ago, in what is now Girraween National Park, an overhanging rock wall collapsed, burying a section of Bald Rock Creek under tonnes of rubble. Where the water flows beneath the rockfall, it’s known as Underground Creek.

Massive granite boulders lie where they fell, some wedged above the creek and others balanced in the most precarious of positions.

We’re dwarfed by the enormous curved wall of granite left behind after the collapse.

The tannin stained water of Underground Creek is heard but not seen for several hundred metres. Finally it rushes out from beneath the tumbled granite and continues on its way through the park.

So when is a creek not a creek? Perhaps when it flows in unexpected places.

Minimal Effort, Maximum Reward

Minerva Hills National Park, Central Queensland

In our experience, a vigorous uphill walk is often required to reach the lookouts with the best views.

For two of the lookouts at Minerva Hills National Park, the uphill part of the journey has to be completed by car. This time we’re happy not to be walking; the road up into the park is four wheel drive only and it’s steep, stony and rough.

Springsure Lookout is just a few metres from the first car park.

Perched on the edge of Mount Zamia Plateau, the lookout is aptly named. The little town of Springsure can be seen nestled in the valley below. The craggy cliffs and domed ranges surrounding the town are weatherworn remnants of the Springsure Volcano which erupted 28 to 30 million years ago. 

Further along the road is Eclipse Gap Lookout. While the walk to the viewing platform is even shorter, the view is far more expansive.

This ancient volcanic landscape was formed when liquid basalt flowed over the land before solidifying in thick layers of solid rock. Dillies Knob rises sharply out of the tree-covered plain. It’s one of several volcanic plugs exposed after millions of years of erosion by wind and water. 

The highest peak in the national park is Mount Boorambool, another massive volcanic plug. Rising up beside Eclipse Gap, the mountain takes on a golden glow when the wattle trees are blooming. 

Usually the effort of walking up to a lookout is rewarded by the views but at Minerva Hills there’s little effort needed. With a four wheel drive vehicle these two lookouts are easily reached and the time saved by driving can be spent enjoying the fabulous vistas.

San Francisco Views

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

The views from our Airbnb home in San Francisco were fabulous. In one direction we could see ships on the sparkling waters of San Francisco Bay.

Further round, we looked out across the suburbs and the always busy freeway to the Sutro Tower, high atop a hill between Mount Sutro and Twin Peaks.

While we thought this outlook was great, we were even more impressed when we visited Twin Peaks.

Perfectly positioned at the geographic centre of San Francisco with an elevation of 282 metres, the two hills of Twin Peaks have unrivalled views of the city and its surrounds.

Our walk from the car park up to Christmas Tree Point went right past the Sutro Tower, a radio and television tower which was once the tallest structure in San Francisco.

Although we could have stayed at the lookout at Christmas Tree Point, we couldn’t resist the challenge of climbing to the top of the hill. We were glad we did, because the 360° panoramic views of the city were spectacular.

On this clear winter’s morning, we could see the skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco, Alcatraz Island and its formidable prison and the glowing orange spans of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As well as the lookouts, there’s a short walking track which follows the curves of the road. Apart from the communications towers and a water reservoir the area is a designated wilderness reserve, dedicated to preserving the habitat of the  endangered mission blue butterfly.

We spent almost as long looking for butterflies as we had looking out over the city, but our search was futile.

The only creatures we saw were a few birds. From their perches high above the city, they seemed to be enjoying the views too.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Telling Stories in Pictures

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

Many cities’ art galleries are full of works depicting the region’s history and culture and the city of Exeter in Tulare County, California is no exception. What makes Exeter’s gallery unique is the location – it’s outdoors!

More than 30 spectacular murals have been created on the walls of historic buildings in the city centre. Some are time capsules, showing street scenes from bygone days. Others portray the people of Exeter going about their daily work, both in the past and the present. The scenic Sierra Nevada mountains and their native flora and fauna are also featured.

Come with me for a walk along the streets of downtown Exeter to see some of these beautiful works of art.

Orange Harvest 1996: the first mural painted in Exeter

Exeter Road Race Circa 1916 2006: competitors prepare for a race through the streets of Exeter

Our Town, Circa 1925 1999: a sepia depiction of Pine Street

Yokuts Harvest 1997: Yokuts Indians harvest sour berries in spring

Timber Trail 2001: a mule train and wagons transport timber to Atwell Mill in the late 1800s

Golden Harvest 2000: farmers harvest a wheat crop circa 1915

Hometown News 2004: Staff busy at work in the Exeter Sun Newsroom circa 1920s

The People Behind the Label 2000: farmers harvest emperor grapes mid 20th Century

Packing Ladies 1997: Exeter Citrus Packing House circa 1950

Exeter Fruit Labels 1999: labels used by Exeter’s fruit packing houses

Mineral King “In Our Backyard” 2009: featuring the mountains of the historical Mineral King area

Poppies and Lupine 1998: California poppies and lupine grow beside the Kaweah River

Rocky Hill Guardina 2008: a mountain lion guards the entrance to a cave on Rocky Hill

One long mural honours those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Freedom Fighters 2010: dedicated to veterans in all branches of the armed forces

Freedom Fighters 2010

Another, taking up almost a whole city block, celebrates Exeter’s centenary.

Exeter Centennial 1911-2011 2011: Celebrating the city’s centennial with depictions of Pine Street circa 1911

Exeter Centennial 1911-2011

Every year since that first wall was painted in 1996 more murals are added to the collection. The tradition of visual story telling is alive and well in Exeter.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

The Last Walk

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020

There’s one track left to explore before we end our visit to Carnarvon Gorge and, of all the walks we do, it turns out to be the most adventurous.

The Mickey Creek walk begins inside the park, just before the Visitor Centre. Although the sign says it’s only 1.5 km everyone tells us the same thing. “Go beyond the end of the track.” As we set off, we’re not sure what to expect. 

At first the level path leads through the bush, following the course of the creek. As always, the sandstone cliffs of the gorge rise up in the distance.

It’s not long before the track narrows and becomes steeper, at times climbing up the creek bank and then crossing to the other side. 

We reach a fork in the track and decide to continue on to Mickey Creek Gorge, leaving Warrumbah Creek Gorge for later in the day. 

And then the mystery is revealed. The formed track comes to an end but there’s a well-worn path beyond it, following the creek further into the bush. Of course we go on, rock-hopping along the dry creek bed. 

The gorge becomes more pronounced; the sides are steeper, the path is narrower and daylight recedes as the walls close in. 

We reach our limit before we reach the end of the gorge. We can see up ahead where the walls meet, but the smooth stone has no footholds to climb up.

We retrace our steps back to the Warrumbah Creek Gorge track. Here the creek is flowing and the path goes alongside until it too comes to an end.

This time the way ahead is not so clear but there’s only one direction we can go, so we continue deeper into the gorge, past tree ferns and moss-covered boulders.

In Warrumbah Creek Gorge the rock walls close in much sooner. A fallen tree, long ago washed downstream, makes a handy bridge and where the stony ledges are narrow we take our time, carefully considering our next step. 

Unlike Mickey Creek Gorge, we do reach the end of Warrumbah Creek Gorge – it’s so narrow we can reach out to both sides. 

With so much incredible scenery, all the walks at Carnarvon Gorge have been amazing. This final walk has completed our week in the most spectacular way. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

All The Way To The End

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. Big Bend campground is the last destination on the main track.

So far, we’ve walked 12.58 km from the Visitor Centre and visited six of the nine highlights of Carnarvon Gorge. It’s another 4.5km to Cathedral Cave, Boowinda Gorge and Big Bend. Who’s up for that? Not you? Me neither! The main track is one way and we still have to go back the way we came. 

Glen and our friend Jock decide one day they’ll walk the whole 9.7km to Big Bend. They don’t need to stop at all the places we’ve already seen, so they should be there before it gets too hot. Let’s go with them. Pack your lunch, fill your water bottle and strap on your back pack. It’s going to be a long day.

We set off on the main track, go past the all the side tracks and continue beyond the Art Gallery, crossing the creek several more times. The sandstone cliffs of the gorge tower over us on either side of the path.

Don’t forget the restroom I told you about near the Moss Garden. It’s the only one between the Visitor Centre and Big Bend, so remember to take advantage of it on the way. 

After walking 9.1 km we finally arrive at Cathedral Cave. Like the Art Gallery, ancient indigenous rock art has been preserved on the walls of the huge cave. The vast sandstone overhang, eroded by wind and water, provided shelter from the weather for the local indigenous people who used the area as a campground. 

The artworks here depict their hunter/gatherer way of life. Many images are thousands of years old, while more recent ones were created just over 200 years ago and record the local people’s first contact with Europeans. 

The next stop on our walk is Boowinda Gorge, another 80 metres further along the track. Here the sandstone walls close in. The smooth curves in the stone have been formed over millions of years by water rushing through during flash floods. 

Finally we arrive at Big Bend where there are campsites, toilets and picnic areas. Let’s rest a while in the shade beside the creek and enjoy our lunch.  

Don’t get too comfortable though. Unlike other walkers who have set up their tents, we didn’t bring our camping gear. Soon we’ll need to walk another 9.7 km, all the way back.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks