411. Sunday 1st March 2015. Walking in clouds, a death in the family and a long overdue surf…

Monday 23rd February

The weather forecast was for showers and that was what we had. It was difficult to plan anything involving outdoor activity.

Tuesday 24th February

The weather forecast was for a few showers. On the strength of that forecast I thought it would be suitable for a trip to a Queensland National Park in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast and which is adjacent to the NSW border and sits on the edge of a giant extinct volcanic caldera. The hinterland was deluged with around 300mm of rain over the weekend so the waterfalls in the park should be pumping. The area is part of the Gondwanna  Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area.

The road to Springbook is narrow, steep, winding and in a few places, over timber bridges, single lane.

Narrow one lane bridge on the steep winding road to Springbrook.

Narrow one lane bridge on the steep winding road to Springbrook.

Our first stop was at Purling Brook falls and as expected, the falls were pumping.

Purling Falls

Purling Falls

Along with the heavy rainfall also came the problem of parts of the park being closed to tourists. Most of the walks to the bottom of the canyon were closed or too wet and muddy to consider. Far below we could see park staff working on a bridge with raging water all around. With the naked eye we could see the orange safety jackets of the workers. With the camera on 48 times zoom the men were easily seen.

Yet another view of the Gold Coast. This time from one of many lookouts on the escarpment at Springbrook.

Yet another view of the Gold Coast. This time from one of many lookouts on the escarpment at Springbrook.

We next visited the original public school at Springbrook built in 1910, now a Qld Parks office.

100 year old Springbrook Primary School now a National Park office,

100 year old Springbrook Primary School now a National Park office,

Original water tank and hand washing facilities. There is no town water here. Everybody relies on tank water.

Original water tank and hand washing facilities. There is no town water here. Everybody relies on tank water.

Next to the old school, is the stump of a huge Blackbutt tree. It seems the school was sited and built beside the tree estimated to be 1,000 years old at the time. A year after the school was opened it was decided to cut down the tree as it might become a problem and injure children. No thought was given to building the school 50 metres away from the tree. Nor was any thought given to moving the one room school away from the tree. The magnificent tree was chopped down and the wood burned.

This 1,000 year old tree was unfortunate to have a school built beside it. Fears for childrens safety resulted in the tree being chopped down.

This 1,000 year old tree was unfortunate to have a school built beside it. Fears for childrens safety resulted in the tree being chopped down.

Sigh!

Next was a place higher up the mountain to visit the Best of All Lookouts (yes that is its name). As we drove up the winding road we soon entered cloud and found the final 600m walk to the lookout was in dense moist cloud. The lookout itself was, initially, disappointing, as all we could see was thick grey cloud.

Donnis at Best of All Lookouts with a whiteout of clouds obscuring the view.

Donnis at Best of All Lookouts with a whiteout of clouds obscuring the view.

After few minutes we noticed a strange black cloud mixing with the grey then suddenly, like a curtain being opened we saw the valley floor and the distant township of Murwillumbah and the high peak of Mt Danger over the border in NSW. We were standing on the rim of a volcanic caldera which erupted 22 million years ago.

Same location with a break in the clouds.

Same location with a break in the clouds.

As suddenly as the clouds parted they closed again.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at a umm err, picnic spot. I heard Donnis squeal from the ladies toilets. The squeal turned into a request to bring the camera. Imagine my surprise (and certainly Donnis surprise) to find a large live specimen of a spiny crayfish, a sort of land based lobster. It was making a snack of a piece of toilet paper or maybe something which was in the toilet paper. These tasty but protected species normally live in and around creek beds or anywhere there is constant moisture and being on top of a mountain, in a rainforest which is covered in cloud much of the time I guess that counts for constant moisture.

This little creature is a Lamington (Lamington National Park that is, not a lamington cake) Blue Spiny Crayfish. From clawtip to tail tip it measured about 300 mm.

This little creature is a Lamington (Lamington National Park that is, not a lamington cake) Blue Spiny Crayfish. From clawtip to tail tip it measured about 300 mm.

Saturday 28th February

The remainder of our weekday was mainly taken up with health, dental and motor vehicle repair appointments.

We had planned to drive to the Sunshine coast yesterday afternoon to visit my uncle Bill. He had a bowel cancer operation last week and had indicated before the op that he hoped he would die on the table. ( he has had many health problems including cancer ops and broken bones over the last decade and was simply tired of living in pain). The op was a success – at first. He then started to decline then improve so we decided after we got the RALLYE back from the mechanic in the afternoon we would visit him. We collected the car at 2pm then received a call at 3pm to say he had passed away.

REST IN PEACE BILL.

Visiting with Uncle Bill in October 2013

Visiting with Uncle Bill in October 2013

We decided to visit with Enid anyway as she had spent more time with Bill than anybody else, including his children and grandchildren. His death was an emotional release for her and we thought a family visit would be beneficial to her.

On the way to the Sunshine coast we stopped in Brisbane to visit Peter and Regelyn. Peter has offered us his Mini Cooper so we took it for a test drive. We need to sell TERIOS before we can afford to buy the car and we certainly do not need three cars. It was an experience driving a low to the ground sporty car but Donnis is keen to own it so TERIOS is on the market.

At Enid and Ken’s we had chilli prawn pizza and a beer and wine as these were favourites of Bill’s so it was a way of toasting his life, saying goodbye and having a final meal with him, at least in spirit.

Sunday 1st March

We were all up early and drove to Noosa Beach. It pays to get to the beach before 7am especially on a weekend as parking is at a premium. We first walked to the National park entrance then on our return enjoyed a body surf and caught waves on a boogie board. I must have turned twenty again as soon as I waded into the surf. I enjoyed myself so much and was last out of the water.

Reluctantly.

However I had spent so much time on the boogie board I developed a rash on my chest and stomach.

Sigh!

I wanna go for a surf every day!

I forgot to take my camera this weekend.

After lunch and a siesta Donnis and I hit the road but once we joined the motorway traffic movement was down to a bumper to bumper crawl for the next 40 Klms. A trip of around 2 hours ended up being a 3 and a half hour test of patience.

I am sooooo tired tonight.

ZZZZzzzzz.

 

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