Monday, 20 April 2015

Not Quite What We Expected

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Wednesday 15 April

In January, my 'Must Do Brisbane' e-mail brought to my attention Manchester Lake, near Ipswich. I hadn't previously heard of it, but google informed me that its dam on Cabbage Tree Creek [ tributary of the Brisbane River] was constructed between 1912 - 1916, as a reliable water source for Brisbane until 1988. Now it is only used in times of severe drought.

As it was unknown to all of our group and given the last several kilometres was on dirt road, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a large, green, well kept picnic area at the trail head. A wonderful family friendly area.

The notes described "a track of 18 kms with several steep ridges to ascend and descend making a great hike for people looking for a longer hike. There is a picturesque and easy walk alongside the lake shore."

We briskly set off after a delicious coffee and raspberry muffin, oohing and aahing over the whispering of the small creek we crossed, the lake reflections, colours of the earth of the dam cutting, ducks gliding across the mirror like surface of the water, the soft tinkling of bell birds flitting between the eucalyptus and ironbark trees, black swans, a lone pelican and the lake edged with the lace of waterlily fronds. Hiking down under was just perfect on this another beautiful autumn day.

Photo - Jocelyn

Initially we were so busy enjoying the views that we took no notice of the rise and fall of the terrain. Unfortunately at 5 kms my feet protested painfully [bursitis issues]. Thankfully at this time, we happened upon another gurgling creek, so it was off with the boots and my feet into its calming, cool waters.


                                   Photo - Jenny

It seemed that the day had also warmed without notice, and I wasn't the only one in the group grateful for a few minutes to listen to the birds and the story of the stream.

 Photo - Laurel

Heading off again, we were soon confronted with our 1st steep ridge.

And another.

And another………

And so the hike continued. At kilometre 12, we stopped for lunch and to release my feet from my boots again.  From the hike details we expected that the remaining kilometres would flatten out, but this was not the case. Eventually we neared our starting point and were able to look back across the lake to the ridges we had conquered.

 It was with much satisfaction and very tired legs that we descended to the carpark, where we were greeted by the cheerful yellow of a flowering cassia.

We may have found this 'hike down under' a tad taxing on this outing, but now we know what it offers, we will be back.

I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing read of the Lake manchester Trail. I would love to read your comment.

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Day of Contrasts

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Wednesday 8 April

After the heat, rain and humidity of the past few weeks, it was wonderful to set off walking under crisp, blue autumn skies.
 It was a short drive to Regatta Waters Lake, beside the Coomera River. Once a quarry for river gravel, it was  redeveloped as the Damian Leeding Memorial Park. It is beside the often clogged Brisbane / Gold Coast Motorway, but because of this proximity, I have never been inclined to explore it. Recently a friend cycled its shoreline and expoused its beauty.
There is a wide path around its perimeter [3.9 kms], picnic and exercising areas and participants of rowing, sailing, kayaking and model boats all make use of the lake. The sounds of traffic did not intrude on us at all.

Research revealed that Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding was shot in response to an armed hold up. His life support had to be turned off 3 days later. Damian was a physical fitness advocate, so it is fitting that this beautiful area be named in his honour.

Regatta Waters Lake

While the blue of the lake and sky mesmerised us, we were also enraptured by ducks, a very new born calf and its mother, a remarkable old gum, parrots, horses / riders and mushrooms flourishing after the Easter downpours.

We were able to extend the 3.9 km loop of the lake to 8 kms, by taking paths adjacent to it.

 A 10 minute drive took us to a small park, bordering the Nerang National Park. We enjoyed our lunch in a small, grassy park opposite the entrance.
The morning's walk was leisurely, but our 5 kms here, soon had the heart racing. We hiked up and down the ridges surrounded by open forest. This was in total contrast to our morning by the lake.

It is such a joy to be able to hike 'down under' regularly and to continue to discover new and inspiring destinations.

Thank you for hiking the lake and hills with me today. I hope you enjoyed the trails. I would love to read your comment.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

200 Roo Day

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Three weeks ago I had photodynamic therapy on my face and arms to remove lurking sunspots and skin cancers. During the 1st week, I was unable to step outside the house because of the gruesome reactions taking place, particularly on my face. Direct sunlight also dramatically increased pain levels. Week 2 and 3 saw me shedding dead skin at a rate of knots. I'm delighted with the end result. Previously I have used the efidex cream, a process which leaves one in discomfort for 6 weeks. PDT is more expensive, but definitely more successful and only 1 week of discomfort.

This week I am looking forward to hitting the great outdoors again.  This week's post however, is retelling the completely unexpected excitement of the Coombabah Wetlands on the fringe of the Gold Coast. It was my 1st walk after returning from my son's wedding on PEI last year and I have been waiting to find the time to share.

27 August 2014

It was a crisp wintery morning, with dark clouds teasing and being pushed away by billowy formations and blue sky. Opposite the parking lot was a sunny open field, where we spread our picnic blanket to enjoy warm sunshine with our coffee. We were delighted to spot a number of kangaroos resting under trees, across the way.

We were joined by 2 cheeky magpies.

A lovely start to a day of constantly being surprised. Number one surprise was, that this area of 1200 hectares of wetland, eucalypt forest, salt marsh, mangrove and swamp habitat and home to migratory birds, and an amazing range of plant and animal life, is so unknown. A definite destination for our visitors in future, especially if they are from overseas.

We covered 12 kms before lunch, at which time, the heavens opened and we had to seek shelter. Later we covered a couple more before the showers really set in. There are still a myriad of trails to return to.

Melaleuca Boardwalk

The track then took us through a drier area and we almost missed the kangaroos relaxing in the shadows. How many can you spot?

The Goshawk track bordered a drainage canal to Coombabah Creek.

Boundary Track then connected us with Koala Track, but no matter how often we searched the tree tops, not one koala was spotted. BUT every new, open, grassy space was abundant with wallabies and kangaroos happily grazing.

In this field alone, we did a rough count of 80.

Soon after we passed by here, the dark clouds rushed in and a hasty retreat was made to the car.

We eventually found shelter to eat our lunch. At this time I realised that I had left my hat lying on the ground, when I had put my poncho on. I was not at all happy with myself, as it had been an expensive purchase. Looking at the map, we realised that the shelter we were at, was near the back entrance to the reserve and reasonably close to the spot where I had left the hat. Once the rain had passed we hit the Boundary Track again, but from its western point.

Not only was the hat found, but we were excited to spot an echidna, nuzzling the soil for ants. He wasn't at all alarmed by our presence.

I had some amazing experiences on my travels in eastern, North America, but 'hiking down under with friends,' is hard to beat!                                                                                           [Photo - Laurel Scott]

Thank you for exploring the reserve with me. I hope you had as much fun as we did spotting all the roos. I would love to read your comment.