Monday, 27 February 2017

North Kirra - Tweed River

Wednesday 22 February

With the temperature dropping to 31C, The Hungry Hikers chose a coastal path this week. We were walking by 8.30 at a relaxed pace, enjoying to the max the calm, aqua green of the ocean and the distant vista along the pure white sandy beach, to the northern end of the Gold Coast.

Synchronising fitbits.

Below is google map of our 14 km return route.

White arrow - Snapper Rocks, where in early March, the Quicksilver and Roxy Pro world surfing titles will take place. Scaffolding for the event was already marring my favourite beach on the coast.

Pink arrow - Point Danger, named by Captain James Cook in 1770, on his journey of discovery up the east coast of Australia, to warn later mariners of dangerous coral reefs. It stands on the line of the Queensland / New South Wales state border.

Yellow arrow - Duranbah Beach, another very popular beach for its surfing breaks.

Duranbah and the Tweed River mouth from Point Danger.

Flowerettes of the umbrella tree. I have just discovered it is classified as a weed.

Snack time by the river.

One of dozens of water dragon lizards seen basking in the sun.

Today we didn't have to watch our footsteps for hidden roots, rocks, snakes or leeches, so the craziness factor of our group came into play.

'Koala with Attitude' sculpture, part of a trail to raise awareness of their plight, as more and more of their habitat is bulldozed for housing estates. A great capture by Joc, which exaggerates its size.

Straddling the border. L - Qld. R - NSW.

On our return journey we passed a happy group of chanting Hare Krishna. Joc waved to them and suddenly they took her hand , including her in the group.

Laurel chose today's trail because she desperately wanted another exotic, 'Messina' ice-cream. Of course we didn't dissuade her. Laurel has the biggest smile.

Yes, I think one could say 'we nailed this trail' today. 
"Nailing the Coast" by Brad Jackson, is a sculpture of several large nails fixed into the earth at various heights and angles. [photo Laurel]

On Saturday morning, I took a drive with Laurel down through the cane fields, just 20 mins from my home, to participate in an hour of yoga by the tranquil waters of the Pimpama River.

The next 3 photos, taken on our journey home, comes with the title "Get me to the church on time!'

We assumed that the tractors were merely a guard of honour. 

In a park near by, was this impressive eucalyptus [gum tree], whose beauty I just had to share with you.

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Coombabah Boardwalk

Wednesday 23rd November.

Final catch up, after last years holiday left me so much to share.

Just home from our amazing holiday in Spain, I was super keen to get back walking with my friends.
Our 10 kms took in the Myda Boardwalk, Lake Coombabah and Pine Ridge Conservation Park.

It was great to be back with my fun loving friends.

Walking back along the opposite side of the creek.

Lake Coombabah - backwater.

Entering the Pine Ridge Conservation Park - completely different vegetation within a kilometre of each area.

Water loving, melaleuca paperbark trees.

We decided early spring would be a better time to see the wild flowers.

A delicious lunch was enjoyed at near by Paradise Point, with its cooling water views.

I would love to read your comment.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tooloona Circuit - Laughter, Leeches and Crayfish.

Thursday 16 February

This week, the Gaiter Girls had chosen to hike the 18 km, Tooloona Circuit at O'Reillys. There was time for coffee at Kamarun Lookout, before continuing on the last 10 kms to the trail head.

Initially the trail follows the path of the Box Circuit,  that I had recently hiked with The Hungry Hikers. Even so, I couldn't resist another capture of this grand, old brush box tree.

It was a delight to return to the wonderful Elabana Falls. Here we captured our first Gaiter Girl group shot.

I found another log, but wasn't quite brave enough to stand on it.

Immediately after these falls, our trail left West Canungra Creek and followed the Tooloona Creek branch for 7 kms of spectacular hiking. The creek was crossed 5 times. There were 7 waterfalls and  endless cascades, whose music accompanied us, as our path zig zagged, up, down and around the water course.

It was 7 kms to the Chalahn Falls, where we took a short snack stop, allowing us to soak up the tranquility of this secluded fall. It also gave me time to take a 360 degree movie.

Prior to reaching the falls, Rachel, leading the pelaton, had spotted a crayfish. It quickly hid behind a rock. We thought it most unusual for it to be so far [20m] from the water. This was to be the 1st of 10 Lamington spiny crayfish we saw, with only 2 in the water. I have since read that they 'often overland along the waterfall tracks, after rain.' 
'Pugnacious' was a word used to describe them.

At the Chatham Falls, we found this one swimming.

This one backed in to hide under the rock.

Because of the forest litter and darkness from the thick canopy, we would almost be on them before seeing them. They reared their claws threateningly, making themselves appear as large as possible.

This fellow above, reversed across the path until he fell down a short incline, thankfully landing on his feet.

And another.

Rachel had quickly stepped over this fellow below, but he was not happy that she had passed. As soon as he heard Janice approaching, he went into military mode and was ferocious in his stance. The path was very narrow. He wasn't going to move off, so I chose to jump over him. Alas, the path was slippery, with the result that I made a dramatic tumble onto my back into the bushes beside the trail. Our spiny crayfish retreated to the opposite bush and I was rescued amid much laughter. We didn't dare to think of what may have occurred, if the bushes hadn't cushioned and stopped me from falling further.

So small in the scheme of things, but sooooo feisty.

Meanwhile from the snack stop, almost back to O'Reilly's, we were constantly pulling thin, hungry leeches off our trousers. Some of us, who will remain nameless, have a sheer terror of this tiny, blood sucking creature, so the quiet of the forest was constantly being shattered, as yet another sucker was discovered. 
Our pace quickened and leaving the creek behind, we arrived at this view across the valley, to the coastline at Bryon Bay. [on a clear day] We didn't linger long, for obvious reasons.
The vegetation changed and the path became more open, wider and flatter. Moss covered the fallen tree trunks.

We now entered a mysterious and seemingly, haunted forest of ancient Antarctic Beech trees, some up to 3 000 years old. They grow from suckers and many of the new branches grow into trunks.

The worst thing about this trail was, that one just wanted to slow down constantly, to soak up its ever changing beauty.

On exiting the trail and entering O'Reillys Rainforest Retreat, we were greeted by an SES volunteer and spotted police and news reporter cars

Thankfully this mountain drama had a happy ending. Two hikers walked out by themselves at 3 pm after spending over 24 hours lost after they went off trail. We tried to imagine their night with the sounds of the bush and invading leeches.

Back at the car, it was time for a thorough check for leeches. Our driver didn't want any getting a free ride back to Logan City. Rachel had already had one attach between her fingers, when she was walking. Now she discovered one had attached through her sock, to her ankle. I had blood under my watch strap, but the leech had detached.

One can't complain about the feisty crayfish and blood hungry leeches on this 18.6 kms trail, when one has been constantly surrounded by its sensational rainforest, from go to woe. It had been a brilliant day hiking down under!

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