camping

CBBH Photo Challenge ; View of the Bungle Bungles from an Aircraft

I have just discovered this blog “East of Malaga” Marianne gives us photo challenges with a twist, as well as posting appropriate photos we also pass on a couple of other blogging buddies that we follow…

This challenge really excited me as I have photos of the amazing flight we took from Kununurra (I love the name of that town, it rolls off your tongue) Over the huge Ord river dam and Lake Argyle diamond mines into the heart of the Kimberly’s and landed among the surreal Bungle Bungles mountain range. We spent 8 hours walking through this ancient landscape before flying back as the sunset.

vegetables and sandalwood plantations

vegetables and sandalwood plantations

Lake Argyle used for the irrigation of this huge vegetable growing area

Lake Argyle used for the irrigation of this huge vegetable growing area

Huge irrigated vegetable crops

Huge irrigated vegetable crops with township of Kununurra in the distance

Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle

Argyle diamond mine

Argyle diamond mine

Escarpments stretch through the out back plains

Escarpments stretch through the out back plains

Bungle Bungles from the air

Bungle Bungles from the air

You can see the track we walked along into the domes

You can see the track we walked along into the domes

The track winds among the domes

The track winds among the domes

Deep canyons in the Bungles range

Deep canyons in the Bungles range

I had to include a photo from the ground they are the most amazing formations I have ever seen

I had to include a photo from the ground they are the most amazing formations I have ever seen

Information

Information

The Bungle Bungles domes

The Bungle Bungles domes

It took an hour to fly to the small landing strip and then we spent 8 hours walking among these ancient formations. This place rates as one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. The history of it is very recent in European discoveries as it was only in 1988 that these formations were discovered. Of course the Aboriginals had known of them for centuries and they are a very special and sacred place to the indigenous people.

In 2010 I did a 2 day over-land tour into this area and slept in a swag under the stars. It was truly a magical experience.

This time it was fly in and then as the sunset we flew back to Kununurra, my gypsy soul full to over-flowing with the experience…

If you come to Australia put a visit to this area at the top of your list it is truly a unique and inspiring place..

The sun sets slowly in the west

The sun sets slowly in the west

Now I have the pleasure to introduce you to a couple of my blogging buddies. It is hard to name just 2 as I follow and enjoy reading the posts and interacting with so many inspirational people out there in the blogosphere. I will be back to visit Marianne’s weekly challenge and I can then gradually introduce you to more.

Lisa of “Zeebra Designs and Destinations” is an artist living in Costa Rica. She is a very talented lady and shares stories and photos of her life and friends in the area she lives, taking us for walks along the muddy tracks into town. Showing us the food and interaction with the children and neighbours. I love chatting with her in cyberspace. Go over and say “hello”…

Ailsa of “Where’s my backpack” is a traveller, I love following her stories of the adventures and places she has seen and visited. She is a true free spirit and her descriptions and photos take you on the journey with her. She also organizes a weekly photo challenge “Travel Theme” each week she chooses a different subject to keep you searching for photos to portray the theme. It is hugely popular and hundreds of bloggers submit very interesting interpretations of the theme each week. Take a look, this week it is “shadows“..

Categories: australian travel, Bungle Bungle, CBBH photo challenge, photos, travel, View from aircraft | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

A walk in the park

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads

This National Park is  small, only 0.30 of a square kilometre, but it is an ideal walking track. Positioned right in the heart of the Goldcoast with the ocean along it’s border and the Tallebudgera River curling around the other side. There are two tracks to choose from, the flat ocean front walkway or the steeper track up and over the top. A favourite, challenging track for runners.

My favourite time is late afternoon. The sun has dipped behind the hill and the bush creates a cool inviting place to walk.

Start of the walking track

Start of the walking track

So I would like to take you for a walk in the park. This area was formed by volcanic action 23 to 25 million years ago and now supports a littoral dry rainforest that only grows along the ocean and in rich basalt soil. The distinctive Pandanus tree dominates the first part of the track, with their strange fruit formations.

Pandanus fruit

Pandanus fruit

Beware

Beware

 

Watch for falling rocks

Watch for falling rocks

High up the slope there are still signs of ancient volcanic action. These unique 8 sided volcanic rocks are only found in one other place in Australia. These were formed millions of years ago when a volcano half spewed them out then stopped in mid flow. The track is closed when we have heavy rain (which hasn’t happened for quite a while) as they still crash down and block the track.

This is an old rock fall

This is an old rock fall

Volcanic rocks line the track

Volcanic rocks line the track

This little fellow made us stop in our tracks and sneak up close for a photo. He did not seem too worried and posed nicely before scurrying away into the rocks.

Water dragon

Water dragon

 

Hello little fellow...

Hello little fellow…

As we round the corner and pass through the rock and rainforest area, the mouth of the Tallebudgera River comes into sight, with views  south to Coolangatta and the New South Wales border.

There is a walk/bike track runs all the way to NSW and beyond. A very easy flat, scenic, safe ride. From the northern end of the Goldcoast to the border is 40 kilometres.

Mouth of the Tallebudgera River

Mouth of the Tallebudgera River

Tallebudgera River

Tallebudgera River

This side is a popular and safe area for families. The Goldcoast highway crosses the bridge and in the distance you can see the misty outline of the Hinterland, but that is smoke haze…

Paddle boarder enjoys the calm water

Paddle boarder enjoys the calm water

We sit for a while and watch the activity and talk to a couple of tourists before turning back for home. Feeling relaxed and rather lazy we decide to go back along the ocean track. The challenge of the mountain does not appeal in this hot weather.

The same track but the view is quite different when we go in the opposite direction. The first thing we see is this busy boy…

Bush turkey

Bush turkey

He was busily digging in his old nesting mound. This male had built this big mound of leaves and debris to incubate his eggs. In spring he would’ve rounded up a number of females to lay their eggs in his mound then with loving care he would monitor the heat each day, using that yellow wattle, and either add mulch to heat it up or scratch some off to cool it down. The females just left him to it!! Once hatched the chicks are on their own and father can go back to his solitary life of bachelorhood till next spring

Going back, views across the ocean

Going back, views across the ocean

Views of Surfers Paradise

Views of Burleigh

Burleigh only has a few high-rises, but Surfers Paradise is the tourist hub of the Goldcoast and it is packed with apartments and hi-rise buildings. The tallest building you can see in the photo below is the Q1 apartment. When it opened in 2005 it was the tallest residential building in the world at 88 floors. It has since been surpassed by a building in Dubai. But is still the tallest in Australia.

Zoomed in on Surfers Paradise

Zoomed in on Surfers Paradise

The sun is setting and time to go home. The Goldcoast is a maze of canals, lakes, rivers and waterways. On the way home we pass one of the lakes and just had to stop as the sun dipped below the horizon in a blaze of glory.

Sunset

The sun has gone but left a silver lining.

The sun has gone but left a silver lining.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk around our beautiful national park. I will be back soon with another look at one of the unique features of this place I call home…

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, Burleigh, Burleigh Heads National Park, Goldcoast, Queensland | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

New year. New format. New me???? (Well maybe not new me)

I am loving having a cable internet connection, it is SO fast.

It is hot outside, so what better thing to do than explore the WordPress options. Have you had a browse through them lately? The number of theme options is mind-boggling. I am a Pisces and one of their characteristics is indecision, procrastination, inability to make up my mind…

 I have travelled and been blogging for over 3 years now and thought it was time for a change, a new look, a new direction. What better time to start than at the beginning of a new year. Well over an hour later this is what I decided on.

For the next 3-4 months I will be at home. It is too hot for me to travel and stay in Matilda. That will not stop me exploring, as this area of Australia is a tourist hot-spot. So I will venture out, camera in hand, and show you some of the beauty and interesting things in the South-east corner of Queensland.

The new header is the beach I call home, Burleigh Beach on the Goldcoast. In the distance is Burleigh Heads National Park.

Burleigh Heads National Park walking track

Burleigh Heads National Park walking track

In the coming days I will take you for a walk around this cool, shady and historical bush area in the very centre of Burleigh.

Categories: Australia, Burleigh, Burleigh Heads National Park, Ocean, photos, Queensland | Tags: , , , , | 29 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Reflections 2 (Mary River) Last day on the road…

When I woke next morning and stepped outside I gasped with pure pleasure. The Mary River gleamed crystal clear and the reflections were stunning.

What a perfect opportunity to capture some shots for this weeks photo challenge…

Crystal clear images

Crystal clear images

Mist skimmed over the top of the water giving an ethereal, wispy, mystical atmosphere. What a memorable final morning for this road trip.

The rising sun just catching the trunks

The rising sun just catching the trunks

The mist rising from the river as the sun slowly rises

The mist rising from the river as the sun slowly rises

It was a magic start to the day. I sat and watched the mist slowly rise and disappear as the sun rose. A promise (or a threat) of a warm/hot day.

I turned to go back to Matilda to pack up ready for the final leg and what a magic site she presented as she waited for me. Early morning photography is the best time of day to capture the light….

The beautiful elongated shadows of sunrise

The beautiful elongated shadows of sunrise

Matilda waiting in the mist

Matilda waiting in the mist

These photos were taken with the weekly photo challenge in mind, it was a coincidence that this week it was “reflections”

So packed up and ready to roll I now had to make a decision, which way would I go. Inland via the beautiful Sunshine hinterland, an artists mecca, an interesting journey through small villages full of boutiques, craft shops, cafes and restaurants.  Into the hills and a landscape of bush and rivers. Or via the coast road that winds past the golden beaches and brilliant blue ocean of the Sunshine coast.

Difficult decision….

I will continue the journey tomorrow….

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, reflections, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Blue skies smiling on me….

Road from Bundaberg

Road from Bundaberg

Another dream fulfilled so time to move on, but first I had one very important meeting.

My newest beautiful grandchild

My newest beautiful grandchild

My path was going to cross with son Jason and wife Vanessa and their family. They would be in Bundaberg today as Jason had organised a school camp in this area. Three weeks ago baby Aimee, their 5th child arrived and now I would get to see her and give her a big cuddle.

It was only a very brief but satisfying meeting. Now Matilda is home we will be together for Christmas.

Aimee is only a few hours old in this photo and they sent it to us via the e-mail.

The road from Bundaberg to the Bruce Highway passes through acres of sugar cane crops. What an amazing sky, it dominated the landscape and I had to stop and take a photo, actually I took lots of photos and I even used the tripod.

I turned onto the Bruce Highway and back into the never-ending road works. So turn up the music and crawl along with the windows down and enjoying the sight of that sky as I waited and waited at each stop sign…

2-30 came around and it was definitely coffee time but with the continual dusty road works finding a decent place to stop was becoming a real mission. Finally, an hour later I spotted a sign pointing down a side road, “Mary River, Tiaro Park”. Only one kilometre and I came to the perfect place for a coffee stop, shade trees, river views tables, even a BBQ if I’d needed it and toilets. Time to relax.

In fact I decided that I couldn’t go past this place, so I set up Matilda for the night. Only one other family camping a little further over, so peaceful. I love finding these free, out-of-the-way camping spots, they are dotted all over Australia but you need to search for the better ones. Many are on the side of the Highway and are noisy and dusty.

As the sun went down the camera came out again.

Mary River

Mary River

 

The setting sun slanted onto the river giving the trees a 3D effect and made the water sparkle like diamonds.

The sun highlights the trunks and creates beautiful reflections

The sun highlights the trunks and creates beautiful reflections

 

The proverbial silver lining

The proverbial silver lining

What a beautiful peaceful place. The sunset was a gentle dipping of the sun below the horizon, no great spectacular splash of colour, but that silver lining was very special.

Mary riversunset

Mary river sunset

 

A final glorious burst of sun rays then the full moon took over. It was a poetic evening, an owl hooting in the distance, the frogs croaking and a chorus of raucous laughter from a family of kookaburras the only noise disturbing the peace.

A memorable last night on the road. Tomorrow I will be home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

The People I Meet

For me one of the highlights of travel are the people I meet, over a glass of wine or cup of coffee, or just in the car parks or rest areas. They share their stories, pass on interesting places they have seen , comment about camp sites good and bad they have stayed at. This is the grapevine of the road. I love it.

After picking up Matilda the first 3 nights I stayed at “freebies”. Great for when you travel on a budget.I find the people who use these camp areas tend to be friendly and approachable, down to earth types, “battlers” is the term used in Australia.

They are living a dream, some have sold everything they possessed to buy a caravan or Winnebago RV vehicle and are constantly on the move, others just rent the family home. Some are retired, others are following work around the country. All are modern-day gypsies and have interesting stories to tell.

First night back on the road I stayed at Blue Water rest area (we stayed here before, click here if you want to check it out) Here I met Tony and his new English partner Babs. They had met in the Congo, Africa where they had both been on a mining contract. When it finished they decided to come to Australia and work in the mining industry here. They are both highly qualified, Babs is a geologist and Tony a mineral scientist and trainer. I was amazed when they told me they couldn’t find a job here after sending countless CV’s. They are now, reluctantly, taking up an offer from Malaysia. Many overseas countries will, gladly, employ them.

Now that is a worry, Australia is so dependant on the mining sector, even a slight downturn will affect the economy. They told me mining appears to be slowly going into decline. As workers leave they are not being replaced, the industry seems to be in limbo waiting for the election to see who will be the next government.

In the meantime Tony, who is an Australian, is proudly showing Babs his country before they leave for the gold mines of Malaysia in the new year. They say they will, hopefully, be back in 2 years when the Malaysian contract ends.

Next night I stayed at Toomulla Beach, the free rest area is right on the beach front, lovely sea breezes to cool us both down after the trip up to Paluma.

As I settled in, Paul, in the next caravan, came over “You on your own?” he asked “bring your seat over and meet Sue”. So with glass of wine in hand I joined them.

Newly retired they had rented their house in Mackay and with no set itinerary,they planned to wander around and see the country. They had a horror story about their first lot of tenants. 3 guys who did a runner and left the house in a terrible mess. They went back, cleaned it up using the bond money, now they hope the second tenants are better behaved.

They had a similar story, from a different perspective, of the mining industry. Mackay is a mining town but workers are moving on as jobs in the industry dwindle, therefore Paul thinks next year they may have to drop the rent as consequently the tenant numbers are dropping.

On the other side of me 3 free spirits were sleeping in swags under a tarpaulin thrown over a rope stretched between 2 trees. With tattoos, dreadlocks and hippie clothes Nat, Shannon and Josh had been to Cairns to witness the “awesome” (their description) solar eclipse. They busked their way around and had a great juggling and fire stick routine. I watched them as they practiced their art. Josh was teaching Nat who had only just started, but already was good at it..

“What next?” I asked. All 3 had various plans for travel over seas. I gathered they were just friends travelling together.

Josh, Nat, Shannon

Next stop was Home Hill. This is the town were I had that HUGE “Taste of the ocean” meal.

Home Hill really caters for the traveller. In the centre of town they have provided a comfort stop, not only toilets but spacious shower rooms with hot and cold water. After the cold outside shower, behind the toilet block at Blue Water and no shower at Toomulla, there I just had a lick and promise in a bucket inside Matilda. This shower had controllable pressure from gentle to invigorating needles. After a hot day on the road when the temperatures reached into the 30’s and the humidity is rising, it was shower heaven. They have also provided a stainless steel camp kitchen with BBQ plates and a sink for dish washing. they have thought of everything, there are even power outlets for all of todays electronic gadgetry. All these amenities and it is a free rest area. Oh I didn’t tell you the parking for the vehicles is along the back street with the Bruce Highway on one side and the train tracks on the other!!! But hey, it is free…

After my big meal at the pub I joined 4 male back packers clustered around the power point, all of us sharing the outlet with our computers. The 2 german guys watching movies, the dutch guy surfing the net and the Maltese fellow came across with a huge plate of sausages, about 20 of them, he had just BBQed and he devoured the lot with bread and smothered in tomatoe sauce, then checked his e-mails, as for me I did a post on my blog. We all sat in companionable silence.

Home Hill comfort stop

Spotlessly clean camp kitchen

This is the power point corner

Roomy shower cubicle, better than you get in some paid caravan parks

 

The temperatures soared on Thursday so I decided to go into a caravan park and onto a powered site so I could use the mini fan to cool the van down.

O’Connell River tourist park is a favourite we have stayed at several times. At $20 for a powered site it is good value and this time I found he also provides free WiFi. So under a tree in a shady spot, right on the river bank with a comforting breeze cooling me down I made the most of the free WiFi.

My new neighbour, Chris came over to say hello and we had a chat. They have a comfortable van and awning that is home and they travel around following work. At the moment her husband is working on the road works in this area. She said the works are extensive all over Queensland at the moment. I guess this is the ongoing clean up after all the natural disasters of 2010/2011. A number of travellers, that have been through them, have warned me about them. Oh well will just have to wait and see. I had considered going on the inland road, but at this time of the year it is hotter inland so I will take my chances with the coast road…

So this is just a small sample of the cross-section of interesting people I meet on the road. Every ones story is different but all are interesting. I find I am never lonely, even when travelling alone….

Categories: camping, freedom camping, travel | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Walking in the clouds

Matilda has her big test I took her almost 1000 metres into the clouds of Paluma Range. It will be 18 kilometres of steep, narrow, winding road, I hope her transplants can stand the pressure…

Ok Matilda you can do it…

It sure looks stormy

The destination is the small, historic village of Paluma, nestled at the top of the Paluma Range, in the lush, tropical rainforest of the wet tropics region. (click on link to learn more about this area)

The road twists and turns but is not as steep as I feared and good old Matilda takes it in her stride or should I say wheel turn and does it in style, top gear all the way.

On the way up I stop at Little Crystal Creek. A popular swimming hole and also famous for the heritage listed, masonry stone arched bridge built-in the depression years at the same time as the road was put through. All built with pick and shovel and manual labour.

Times were tough

Little Crystal Creek and the heritage bridge

Little Crystal Creek, caught in mid-flight

Three young German tourists were loving the water, but I watched horrified as they did back flips into the creek.

As we turn a corner, almost at the top, we suddenly come into low cloud shrouding the top of the range in wispy, mist-like strands that envelope us in another dimension. Carefully I negotiate the last few bends and when I see a sign pointing to McClellands lookout I pull into the car park and find a shady spot to leave Matilda to recuperate while I take a walk to the lookout. It is a total white-out. I am above the clouds.

We made it, almost 1000 metres

The 3 kilometre walk through the rainforest is a magical journey. Vines and strangler figs clutch and clamber around and through the rainforest trees as they fade into the mist. Standing still I can hear the drip of water and the rustle of leaves, bird song spirals through the air and the staccato call of the whip bird reverberates over-head.

Rainforest in the mist

Fallen giant

Another strangler fig

Strangler fig taking over

Paluma

The track has been badly eroded by recent rainfall and floods and I pass a group of 4 Aboriginal rangers repairing it. They had a sad story of this government putting off all the admin staff creating confusion among the workers with no one to coördinate them.

This shows the boggy track

Trailer load of sand for the track

Back in Matilda I stop in the sleepy little village of Paluma, population 20. I am lucky, today is the day volunteers open the community hall and display a historic collection of photos depicting the history of this interesting hamlet in the hills. From tin mining to logging then during world war 2 fifty American troops manned a secret radar post in the area.

Terry the volunteer manning the display advised me to drive further along the road to see the stand of eucalyptus grandis. It just capped off a perfect day of exploration in this unique world heritage listed rainforest.

Eucalyptus grandis

Eucalyptus grandis shrouded in mist

To stand among these towering giants, on your own, is an overwhelming feeling of appreciation of the pure breathtaking beauty of nature. The air is still and filled with the song of birds.

It is now time to head back down the mountain.

Hope he keeps to his side of the road

I feel like a rally driver. I could feel the tension in my shoulders and arms, the complete attention on the road as it swoops and swirls round bend after bend. An occasional glimpse from the corner of my eye at the descending landscape. A silent prayer that no approaching driver is inconsiderately driving too wide around the on coming corners.

Finally we pop out onto the Bruce Highway and into the slow-moving streams of traffic as they crawl through the road works.

After the peaceful, cool, relaxed atmosphere of the mountain I can feel the heat and humidity building, so decide to pull into Toomulla Beach, a free camp spot right on the beach front and away from the sound and smell of the highway.

My confidence in Matilda is fully restored so now we can head south for home….

Categories: australian travel, National Parks, Paluma Range, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

On the road again… Tra-La-Tr-La

OH DEAR…..

I have just done a post telling you all where we are and what we are doing BUT I pushed publish and some how lost it all…

We are now in a lovely, free camp area, but it does not have power, so the battery on the computer is now getting low, so I am not able to repeat the post, so I will be in touch again when we get to a power source…

Damn, it was such a good post, Lol….

Suffice to say we are back on the road with Matilda and life is good, and we are heading north….

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, gum trees, Townsville | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Travel Theme : Animals (3)

Cassowary comes visiting, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

This was one creature we had a very up close and personal view of. Look at Jack’s face, he is quite worried…

This encounter was at Boulders National Park near Innisfail when we visited there in July 2011. I have a video I took at the same camp ground to see it click on this link.. https://pommepal.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/cassowary-video

This is my third entry this week for Ailsas Travel Theme. You can see lots more by clicking on the link and visiting her site http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/10/05/travel-theme-animals/

Categories: animals, Australia, australian travel, cassowary, National Parks, travel, travel theme | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

Magnetic termite mounds, natures survivers

Magnetic termite mound

One last post about Litchfield National Park and this is to show you the amazing magnetic termite mounds. These are nature’s answer to surviving in this very hot tropical climate. Every termite mound in this area is built facing magnetic north and long and thin along the north/south axis. This is to minimise the exposure to the sun.

How amazing, they must have a built-in compass. Click on the link above for more photos and information.

Same magnetic termite mound

 

Magnetic termite mounds

 

When seen on mass the first thing that springs to mind is “they look like a graveyard”… The mounds in the park had a board walk past them and were fenced off, you could not get up close and personal. The ones I photographed with Jack alongside where on the dirt road before we entered the National Park area so we were pleased we had stopped for the photo-op when it presented itself.

Well that is our Top End odyssey. The temperatures are into the top 30’s and the build up is starting, it will soon be the wet, humid, cyclone season so time for us to head out. It has been a very interesting stay up here…

Categories: australian travel, Litchfield National Park, magnetic termite mounds, National Parks, Northern Territory, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

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