Tag Archive | #mondaywalk

Talaroo Hot Springs

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 our guide Jimmy calls a halt to our early morning walk while he pays his respects to the “old people”, we know we’re included in something very special. He’s referring to his ancestors, the Ewamian people, whose country we’re learning about at Talaroo Hot Springs.

The land we’re walking on used to be part of Talaroo Station, a 31,500 hectare cattle property in the heart of the Gulf Savannah. In 2012, the property was returned to the Ewamian people and listed as an Indigenous Protected Area and Nature Refuge. The hot springs, prized by countless generations as a spiritual place of healing and relaxation, are now managed by Ewamian rangers like Jimmy, who is passionate about sharing this site and his connection to country with others.

Jimmy leads us on to the boardwalk and up to a shaded platform, from where we look out over the springs and terraces. Over thousands of years, hot mineralised water continually bubbling to the surface and flowing over the ground has built up layers of sedimentary travertine. These mounded terraces are one of just two such formations in the world – the other is in Tasmania. The water rises from reservoirs deep underground, independent of the Great Artesian Basin.

Heated by extreme temperatures underground, the water reaches the earth’s surface at a temperature of up to 68°. Steam from the hot pools hovers in the cool morning air.

Some of the water is channelled into the communal bathing pool, where it’s a more comfortable 34°C. Our walk around the hot springs ends with a swim in the pool and we join our fellow walkers in a long relaxing soak.

Later, taking advantage of one of the four private pools, we sit quietly as the therapeutic water bubbles up around us. Surrounded by Savannah bushland, where the only sounds are those of birds and insects, we’re grateful to Jimmy and his people for sharing this special place.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Living History in Croydon

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. 

The Savannah Way passes right through the centre of Croydon and it would be easy to drive on without stopping. But this little town, isolated in the vastness of the Gulf Country, has a history worth learning about. 

Today Croydon has a population of just 266, but in the late 1880s it was the third largest town in Queensland. The reason for this population boom was, of course, the discovery of gold. People flocked to the area after the first discovery was made in 1885 and, by 1887, the town had a police station, general store, hospital and 36 pubs!

The population may have dwindled over time but the buildings from the gold rush era remain in Croydon, preserved in a Heritage Precinct on Samwell Street. We enjoyed a gentle stroll from one building to the next, going inside each to read their stories and look at the photos of times past. 

The Police Sergeant’s residence (1897)

The Police Station and Old Gaol (1896)

Croydon Court House (1887) 

Croydon Town Hall (1892) 

Club Hotel (1887)

Hospital Male Ward (1887)

In earlier times, kerosene lamps lit the streets of Croydon. Today four original lamps have been joined by several replicas along the length of Samwell Street, adding to its historic character.

After wandering through town on foot, we used our car for the next part of our exploration, to the site where Chinatown and the Chinese Temple once stood. The foundations of the temple are the only remnants left of this once bustling area of Croydon. More than 300 Chinese people lived in Croydon, mostly working in their market gardens growing fruit and vegetables to supply the settlement. 

Plaques telling the stories of some of the Chinese families are set beside the walking track. 

Another couple of kilometres along the road we came to Lake Belmore, an earth walled dam constructed in 1995. The lake may be far more modern than the historic structures in town but its legacy is just as important. It is the largest body of fresh water in the region and supplies the town and surrounding area. The lake is a popular venue for water sports and fishing.

On our way back into Croydon we stopped at Diehm’s Lookout. Its location in the hills behind Croydon gave us just enough elevation to look down on the historic town, isolated by the seemingly limitless expanse of woodlands and savannah of the Gulf Country. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

An Evening To Remember

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. 

Our second guided walk at Undara Volcanic National Park took place late in the afternoon. The Sunset Wildlife walk promised fabulous sunset views over the park and the chance to see little bent-wing bats emerging from a lava tube ready for a night’s hunting. We weren’t disappointed. 

A short walk uphill ended on a ridge with 360° views of the plains. Most prominent were the volcanos which helped form this landscape. Undara, with Racecourse Knob to its left, were clearly visible on the horizon. 

Eventually we turned our backs on Undara, because it was the sunset we’d come to see. 

With champagne and a little tray of treats in hand, we watched as the setting sun burnished the sky in an ever changing display of colour. 

As nature’s light show ended, we walked back to the bus which took us to Barkers Tube.  Here, on a platform just outside the entrance to the tube, we stood silently in the dark listening as hundreds of bats flew out into the bush. We could also feel the movement of the air as they passed just overhead. 

Just as she had in Wind Tunnel earlier in the day, our guide turned on her torch for a few seconds. It was long enough for us to see the bats without disturbing them or sending them back inside the lava tube. The privilege of being able to see these tiny creatures in their natural habitat wasn’t lost on any of us. 

It was truly an evening to remember.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

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