As I have recently reported we are still on the Brisbane River, meanwhile safely moored up between two pylons. For only 70$ a week (including access to toilets, showers and a coin laundry) we are enjoying a unique absolutely first row waterfront view on the river and the city. Sometimes I wonder what sort of prices we would be looking at to own or rent a comparable land based property… Never mind, Australia is expensive enough even with cheap accommodation..
Thanks to Shirley’s (Gaylyns mother) kindness, we currently have access to a 4wd car including a trailer that unfolds to a basic caravan within a minute. We decided to make the best of it and headed out to visit Gaylyn’s favorite national parks in Queensland and New South Wales.
We started off with the Bunya Mountains were I got to see my first wild kangaroos. We set up our caravan on a campground in the late afternoon and were surrounded by wallabies of all sorts and sizes. The whole concept of marsupial animals still fascinates me and here I had plenty of opportunity to see them hopping around with or without their little passengers and got to watch the babies stare at me from the pouch, stick their heads inside to drink or climb in altogether for safety when I came too close. At the same time we were entertained by concert performed by the various birds that roamed the trees around us. Crazy sounds from whip birds, cat birds and kookaburras among others. Pretty strange..
The Australian parks and their campgrounds are very well maintained with wonderful clean bathrooms, sometimes warm showers, barbecues and a lot of information about the plants, animals geology and the history of the place. We headed off early the next morning, clean and well informed to attack the Barker Creek circuit and ended up doing well over 12 km of walks through constantly changing mountain landscapes. The trail lead us through forests of huge bunya pines, along little creeks running through rocky gorges and every now and then forming a little waterfall. We spotted a big black snake swimming one of the pools and giant tadpoles, the body the size of a walnut.
We were back at the car by by late morning and decided to pack it and head of to Stanthorpe, where we wanted to meet Marvin, a friend of mine from Germany who was working in the fruit plantations. We chose to take the secondary roads rather than the highways and ended up having to negotiate gravel roads with the trailer. Due to the vast extent and sparse population of Australia it was not possible to get in touch with Marvin that day. One of us was out of reach of internet or even telephony reception at all times.
Instead we headed on to the Girraween National park of the Granite belt, spent the night camping in another beautiful national park campground and took off on another early morning hike the next day. The Pyramid is a steep hill, the top consisting of pure granite rock. It was quite a challenge to climb. The slopes are pretty steep and should you slip and fall there would be no stopping till you hit the bottom. Once on top, you get quite a stunning view over the surrounding hills and granite domes and some rather fragile rock constructions. Going down was the tougher part but all went well and down at the river I met some big grey kangaroos resting in the shade near a creek. One of them gave me a mean snarl when I approached. Obviously not all Australians are equally friendly and helpful..
Again we headed off in the late morning, managed to meet my German friend and moved on to Queen Mary Falls and then down through lush green valleys and forests to the Gold Coast, where we received a very friendly welcome and were hosted by friends of Gaylyn.
We spent a day on the Gold Coast inspecting the available marinas and anchorages and having a look at the place in general. The school Gaylyn is going to work at is situated here so we were looking at moving the boat to a close by marina. We were not completely convinced specially because it takes Gaylyn about the same ridiculous amount of time to get to work from the marina as it does from Brisbane. We walked the Burleigh Headlands, Gaylyn visited her school and we met her Brother and his family. A busy day..
We chose to spend the last night of our trip in Springbrook – another beautiful national park with plenty of waterfalls and rain forest. We did a beautiful hike in the morning before heading off to Ipswitch to return the trailer.
After 5 days of touring Queensland (and a little bit of New South Wales) I am quite impressed by the diversity of the landscape. An hours drive takes you from a hot and dry desert like place in to a lush green rain forest or mountain meadow. All of it is pretty unique and welcomes the visitor with an infrastructure that makes camping and enjoying the nature a delight.