389. Sunday 12th October 2014. Getting to know our new surroundings…

Monday 6th October

The madness has begun. Yesterday the southern states of New South Wales and Victoria switched to daylight savings time. With the border between Queensland and New South Wales less than 50 klms away and the twin towns of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads, both of which straddle the border, will be more out of step than the rest of the states.

Today was a long weekend holiday so we went exploring Sanctuary Cove, Couran Cove,

Rental houseboat. What caused the craft to sink in relatively sheltered waters?

Rental houseboat. What caused the craft to sink in relatively sheltered waters?

Runaway Bay and Paradise Point. We stopped at Coomera River so Donnis could take a swim.

Lots of tenders were scattered around the beaches in this sheltered anchorage.

Lots of tenders were scattered around the beaches in this sheltered anchorage.

The number of people picnicking and barbecuing and kids yelling and running and swimming shows what a popular family place this is.  There is a floating enclosure to create a safe swimming environment. 061014 enclosureThe canal system, which is connected to the ocean has lots of sea creatures doing what sea creatures do. That includes the terribly aggressive Bull Shark. During our visit a large jelly fish was pulled from the enclosure.

With thanks to the Queensland Museum for this photo of a jellyblubber.

With thanks to the Queensland Museum for this photo of a jellyblubber.

These are not the deadly chironex flexarii otherwise known as the Box Jellyfish found in tropical water further to the north. This jelly fish was just the common ordinary blue tinted body, jellyfish (locally they are called jelly blubbers) which when you bump into them in the water gives you a creepy feeling. They can sting. Their sting is much like a tingling sensation if the small tentacles are touched. (In Sydney waters, the Jelly Blubber’s large bell is a creamy white or brown colour, but farther north it is usually blue. This is because the jellyfish has developed a symbiotic relationship with algal plant cells that are kept inside its body. These plants vary in colour from region to region. The algae photosynthesise, converting sunlight into energy that can be used by the jellyfish.) Unlike the box jellyfish which trails 16 tentacles up to 10 metres when a touch, even from an unattached piece of tentacle will produce agonizing pain. Get a touch from a full tentacle and the pain produces unconsciousness and death. Although this jellyfish was not potentially lethal I can understand why a group of fathers got together and removed it from the enclosure.

Wednesday 8th October

There was a Blood Moon tonight.

Blood Moon seen over our neighbours house.

Blood Moon seen over our neighbours house.

Blood Moon. We were fortunate the clouds parted just long enough for  a couple of photos before obscuring the view totally.

Blood Moon. We were fortunate the clouds parted just long enough for a couple of photos before obscuring the view totally.

A blood moon is a total lunar eclipse. The term “blood moon”: seems to be a new title but belongs to an earlier time. Previously the term lunar eclipse was known as a, umm err lunar eclipse. However in Biblical times it was known as a blood moon and become part of biblical prophecy. Somewhere the term fell out of common usage but has now come back into vogue. The trouble with tonight’s blood moon was clouds beginning to roll across the sky in the early evening. Just as the appointed time arrived a break in the clouds allowed us to briefly see the eclipse and take a few photo’s before the clouds came back and totally obscured the event.

Bummer!

There is another Total Lunar Eclipse – Blood Moon – event, due to occur in April 2015.

Saturday 11th October

Gosh how time flies! We have been in our new house 4 weeks already and it seems most of that time has been spent shopping or installing window dressings. After installing 50% of the curtain rods using the supplied wall studs I noticed the top screw holding the brackets was beginning to pull out of the wall. Grrr! Here is the problem. The house is steel framed. Unlike a timber framed house where any screw can be used in either the plaster or directly into the timber stud, steel is mighty strong and is difficult to drill and attach a screw. I solved the problem by buying lots of toggle bolts (a wing shaped spring loaded device which when pushed through a hole drilled in the plasterboard snaps open. As the screw is tightened the wings pull against the inside of the plasterboard  to give a strong secure  attachment.

Today we drove to Southport to look at …A NEW CAR!!! Actually we plan on looking at several but more on that as things come together but today we looked at a Hyundai i40 Tourer diesel version.

Sunday 12th October

Wow! Today was long and enjoyable.

We packed a picnic lunch and drove to the Hinze Dam about 40 klms from home in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Hinze Dam Visitors Centre.

Hinze Dam Visitors Centre.

Hinze Dam Wall.

Hinze Dam Wall.

Part of the picnic area at Hinze Dam. The shelters comprise a couple of seats but no tables and no barbecues.

Part of the picnic area at Hinze Dam. The shelters comprise a couple of seats but no tables and no barbecues.

Looking down onto the spillway from the dam wall.

Looking down onto the spillway from the dam wall.

The dam is named after the Hinze Family who lived in the area flooded by the dam. Somewhere in my memory bank is the recollection the dam was named after Russ Hinze a politician with a 40 year career in politics. He served in the unpopular but somehow unbeatable government of Joh Bjelke – Petersen. Russ Hinze was noted as being involved in a number of  political decisions which were dubious at best. He resigned in disgrace and died before a Royal Commission looked into his dealings. Call me cynical but Russ Hinze came from the area where the dam is built. The original dam was completed in 1976, expanded in 1989 and again in 2011. It supplies water to the Gold Coast. We had a picnic lunch of cheese, pate and sourdough bread while seated beside the lapping water of the dam. The lake formed by the dam is called Lake Advancetown.

Dead timber on Lake Advancetown with a volcanic plug jumpup in the background.

Dead timber on Lake Advancetown with a volcanic plug jumpup in the background.

Advancetown itself is set a few Klms from the name and has a Sunday afternoon Jazz Session along with wine and cheese tasting. Darn! We only found out about this attraction AFTER we had driven through the town – twice.It is on our calendar for another visit.

View of Southport on the Gold Coast from near Advancetown.

View of Southport on the Gold Coast from near Advancetown.

Afterwards we drove a further 30 Klms through the Numinbah Valley to Springbrook National Park to see Natural Bridge, a waterfall like formation which falls through a hole in a natural cave.

Natural Bridge in Springwood National Park.

Natural Bridge in Springwood National Park.

Inside the cave viewing the waterfall within Natural Bridge.

Inside the cave viewing the waterfall within Natural Bridge.

A stand of Hoop Pines amongst the rainforest trees at Springwood National Park.

A stand of Hoop Pines amongst the rainforest trees at Springwood National Park.

The cave, which extends about 100 metres into the hillside, also has a colony of glowworms. The area was  formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Several remnants of volcanic plugs are still visible throughout the valley. The waterfall at Natural Bridge is spectacular as the water falls into a deep hole which is lit by the sun giving the water a blue phosphorescent glow.  The walk into the valley, although tar sealed and fenced all the way,  is rather steep and contains many steps. Donnis has knee problems and to her credit did not give up. To-night my knees are plaguing me also.

The entire Numinbah Valley and Springbrook National Park is quite interesting as some of the area, formed by volcanic activity is surrounded on two sides by steep sandstone cliffs.

Sandstone cliffs in the Numinbah Valley.

Sandstone cliffs in the Numinbah Valley.

An old style timber jinker.

An old style timber jinker.

Volcanic Plug in the Numinbah Valley.

Volcanic Plug in the Numinbah Valley.

The area is less than an hours drive from the Gold Coast and is sandwiched between those high cliffs and being naturally hilly the road has lots of low speed corners. The speed limit through the entire valley is a maximum of 80 Kph and the road is a favourite of motorcycle clubs for a Sunday loop ride from the Gold Coast south into New South Wales to the town of Murwillumbah then north through the Numinbah Valley to Nerang and back to the coast. It is a two hour ride of around 150 Klms with interesting historic places to stop and have a meal break.

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