My daughter arrived from New Zealand and amazingly it stopped raining, so we decided it would be the perfect time to drive up to the hinterland, (the green behind the gold). After weeks of rain the waterfalls will be in full flow. As we left home the sun tentatively peeped out from behind it’s mask of clouds. So with thermos filled and camera primed we headed for the hills. It is only a 30 minute drive up a steep and winding road to reach the mysterious, green-shrouded world of the rainforest that is Springbrook National Park. The sun flits in and out of the clouds as we drive along. Stopping at the lookouts we gaze across the treetops to the distant, tiny, misty shapes of the Goldcoast nestled along the ocean.
Looking across the Lamington Range.
This is the water catchment area for the Hinze Dam that supplies the Goldcoast and surrounding areas with water for domestic use.
Can you see the Goldcoast shrouded in mist?
As a heavy shower sweeps through we stop at the general store and café in the small Springbrook settlement. Six English tourists are just finishing their lunch and the café owner tells us it has rained for 38 days and this is the most customers she has had call in for lunch since the rain started.
We ate the last 3 pies she had in the pie warmer…
Many of the tracks are closed, but the lookouts are open. The rain has stopped again and the sun struggles out as we stop at the Purling Brook falls lookout.
Purling Brook falls
Normally you can walk down to the base of these falls, approximately a 4 kilometre circuit, but if you look carefully you will see the track at the base of the waterfall has been washed away. We will have to come back again when the track is repaired. It is still a spectacular view as it thundered over the escarpment. This is the next stop. A light drizzle is falling and the trees are dripping with moisture, but we came prepared with our umbrellas. It is a magical walk through the rainforest. The undergrowth is thick with ferns and vines hang from the branches. The green is so vivid and the leaves shine.
Strings of palm seeds
The track to the Best of all lookout
Track to “best of all look-out”
The rain is now beating down and a cold wind whistles through the trees, the temperature drops and I feel I am a thousand miles away from the tropical glitz and glamour of the Goldcoast. Then I turn a corner and I stop dead in my tracks and gaze in awe at these ancient giants of the forest. I have never seen such majestic trees. They just ooze character and command your respect and attention. Covered in moss and lichen they have stood here for hundreds of years. This is one of the few places on earth that they still survive.
Knobbly moss covered trunk of Antarctic Beech
Roots of the Antarctic Beech
One more lookout but it is now raining steadily. We drive to the Canyon Lookout. Time to break out the thermos for a cuppa and biscuit. Give the rain time to pass. Suddenly there is a slight break in the rain, so it is over to the lookout, a quick photo and then back into the car and head for home.
Again the track to the base of the falls has been washed away. The walk down is quite spectacular as at one point you pass behind the twin falls. Definitely “I will be back” (now where have I heard that before?) As we drive down from the mountain the rain once more clears and we decide on one more interesting stop…
(to be continued)…..