JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Grey Nomad Chapter Four

Day Four - Moss Garden, Carnarvon Gorge.

The only thing that we didn't get to visit on our first day at the gorge was the Moss Garden so we set off early and once again made our way into the gorge.  It is a 4.5km walk (one way) to the track into the Moss Gardens and then another 2km (one way) into the site.  Let me tell you it was worth every aching bone in my body to walk the distance.  It was magnificent and deserves the title of the most popular site.  It was quite a warm day once again but as we made our way into the Moss Garden we could feel the temperature slowly drop.  It was so lovely after the hot sun to be entering this cool area.
The moss garden is aptly named.  Moisture seeps through the sandstone walls of the gorge and with this moisture comes the moss.  It really is a lovely spot. We noticed that the railings along the walk into the gorge had a layer of sandstone dust.  This could only mean that the sandstone gorge is slowly shedding!
 The guides told us that the gorge is forever changing.  Each wet season, with heavy rain, a new gorge is carved out and some of the old sandstone walls simply let go and tumble into the gorge below.  I don't think I would like to be walking about in the wet season.

One of the giants of the forest

The knots on this tree were incredible

Our first glimpse of the Moss Garden.  The rails here had a sandstone dust layer.

The moss hangs off the sandstone walls 

A most beautiful tranquil spot.....Moss Garden

Taken along the path into the Moss Garden

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Grey Nomad Chapter Three

Day 3 - Bandana Station Sunset - Carnarvon Gorge

From the suggestion of WikiCamp users, we all booked in to visit Bandana Station Sunset.  We were meant to arrive at 3.00pm for billy tea and damper but as we didn't get back from our walk until 3.30pm we didn't actually arrive until 4.30pm......just in time for wine and nibbles.  Good timing I say!
Olivia and Bruce (father and daughter duo) give a wonderful insight into station life and Bruce is a great story teller and we were enthralled with his yarns.  As Robyn and Tony and ourselves are all from the land we probably "got" his yarns a bit more than the city folks but nevertheless the thirty odd people who gathered around all had a good chuckle.  Bruce talked a little about the soldier settlement blocks that were given away by ballot around the Carnarvon area after the war.  We shook our heads in disbelief at the criteria of the settlement blocks that the farms should either be a dairy or cotton farm.  No wonder they all went broke....... or became bushrangers!

Bruce had a great voice and played a mean guitar

How lucky are they to have this beautiful view

Olivia preparing the snacks

The sun lights up the gorge as it slowly sinks

We missed out on the billy tea and damper but it sure looked and smelt good!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Grey Nomad Chapter Two

Day 2 and 3 - Carnarvon Gorge.

We awoke this morning to the news that we have a new Prime Minister. All I can say on the subject is that it will be a nice change to have a PM who can string more than three words together without saying "Ah"......
We had a leisurely breakfast before packing down the camper to make the trip from Cape River to Carnarvon.  We stayed on the highway, with our only stop being at Clermont for lunch, and arrived at Takarakka Bush Resort around 4pm.  We were told that there was to be an information session at 4.30pm on the deck so we sat down and waited for that.
Imagine our utter surprise when, after the talk, we turned around to find our very good friends from Julia Creek walking up to us.  How amazing that we had all booked into Carnarvon for the same period of time.  I used to do some bookkeeping for Robyn and Tony when they owned the BP service station in Julia Creek and we became firm friends.  Philip has known them practically all his life.
We hadn't yet unpacked the camper so we quickly did that and made our way over to Robyn and Tony for "sundowners".  They have been travelling around for about a month with the highlight of their trip being the Birdsville Races.  They purchased a brand spanking new caravan to travel and I must say if I was to tow a van, this would be the one.  It was incredible with full size everything!
We talked for hours and made plans to meet the next morning to start our hike around the gorge.
The next morning the sun was shining on us as we entered the Carnarvon Gorge National Park.  At our information talk the previous day it was suggested that you walk as far into the gorge as you want and then make you way back into each of the highlight spots.  The Art Gallery was the furtherest away at 14km (one way) so that is where we headed.  The walk is easy enough and we criss crossed Carnarvon Creek several times.  This was made easy with stepping stones.

Beautiful Reflections

Wards Canyon
 There are a few steps that we found quite easy on the way in.  Coming back was a bit harder.  We trekked into the Art Gallery, Wards Canyon, and Amphitheatre on the first day.  All up we covered about 30 kms that took us about 7 hours.  We did it leisurely with stops for smoko and lunch but I must say I really struggled for the last couple of kilometres on the home stretch.  The calves in my legs were really burning!  Big thanks to Robyn, who kept talking to me all the way home.

Our first glimpse of the soaring sandstone gorge

The path was well marked and signposted

Robyn at one of the creek crossings

Beautiful peaceful spot

The soaring Art Gallery where hundreds of Aboriginal paintings are along the walls of the canyon
Shooting the breeze over smoko

Wards Canyon - magnificent and our favourite

The Amphitheatre. Philip pointed out this crack in the sandstone that reached from the top all the way to the bottom.  Scary.

I had to balance myself agains the wall to look up to take this photo otherwise I would have fallen over from giddiness

Taking in the awesomeness of the Ampitheatre.  That tiny opening is where we entered.

The very narrow entrance to the Amphitheatre

The ladders we had to climb to enter the Ampitheatre.  These kids made a mockery of our extremely slow climb and galloped up the ladder.  Oh to be a kid again!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Grey Nomad Mode

We have just returned from a blissfully relaxing mini holiday.  We had a wedding to attend in Roma so we decided it was a perfect opportunity to explore the Carnarvon region.  We had passed the turnoff to Carnarvon Gorge many times when we had family living in the Injune area, and always said we would like to spend some time there.
Now, as I have many many photos to share I thought I would break this blog up into small chunks for your enjoyment.

DAY ONE - Julatten to Cape River (between Charters Towers and the Belyando)
We purchased a couple of apps before we left on this trip, one being Wikicamps and the second being Hema Maps.  They were the best things we have ever purchased from the App Store and we spent a lot of time when we were away, looking at different tracks/roads.  We really wanted to travel the "roads less travelled".
The night before we left on our trip, we studied the maps and decided to take the Gunnawarra-Wairuna Road from Mount Garnet to Clarke River.  A section of this road forms part of the Bicentennial Trail that we will also, one day, traverse.
I am so glad that we did this drive.  As we turned off the highway south of Mount Garnet we were excited.  The country is mostly forest  and it was very interesting to see the ever so slightly difference in terrain and also the difference it can make between good cattle country and the not so good country. The bitumen road quickly ran out and we were on a very good gravel road.  The misty rain that had followed us across the Tablelands continued down the road we were on, and made it a dustless journey.  We came to a three way intersection were we could take the Cashmere-Kirrama Road or Wairuna Road.  We took the Wairuna Road.

The majority of the road was like this.  Very picturesque.
We passed by quite a few swamps and lakes that were dry.  2015 did not bring a good wet season to North Queensland so we were expecting the dryness.  We want to return to this area after the wet season because this is a renowned breeding area for the black swan.

"Wairuna" Station and a very dry Walters Plains Lake

We continued on past "Minnamoolka", "Princess Hills" turnoff and at "Wairuna" station we could see that there was a small amount of water in Walters Plains Lake.  This will also be fabulous after rain.  The next property we passed was "Lake Lucy" and then the turnoff to "Valley of Lagoons" - another place on the "to do" list.  Before long we passed "Rhonella Park" and at "Camel Creek" we stopped to talk to some people that were heading to "Valley of Lagoons".  They had come across from Ingham via Mount Fox and told us how much they enjoyed the journey. (Another on the bucket list!)

We took a closer look at this cavity and realised that cattle had been licking it.  Obviously a nutrient there that they were enjoying!
A closer look.

Close to Clark River we came across some wild deer.  Philip was very excited as he knew that they were in this country but had never seen them.
Not a great photo.  By the time I grabbed the camera the mob had almost disappeared.
We arrived at Clark River for a late lunch.  What a joy it is to have our "mobile home" on board!
After the wonderful scenery we had just enjoyed it was quite boring to be back on the highway heading to Charters Towers but on we plodded until we came to Cape River rest area.  We didn't want to travel in the dark so we pulled in here for the night.  There were five other travellers also scattered around the rest area.  It is a truck stop so we did have the trucks come and go throughout the night but  I didn't hear them. (The only time I'm glad that I'm hard of hearing!!)


Thursday, 10 September 2015

Bower Birds and Orchids

What do bower birds and orchids have in common?  Nothing probably except that they both can be found at Mt. Lewis National Park.  I've written about Mt. Lewis before.  It is just a stones throw from our front door and we make regular trips there.  On Sunday we went with our friend Joan.  We decided to go right to the top of Mt. Lewis and set off at 9.30am.  The day was rather bleak with low clouds on the mountain and intermittent showers but that didn't stop us at all.  Overcast skies are a photographers dream condition and as we are all photographers - including my husband now - we anticipated some good photos.
We slowly made our way up the windy road to the top of Mt. Lewis.  It didn't take us long to spot our first orchids, quite high up in a tree.  We tried to take a few photos but the orchids were just too high.  We set sail again and not more than another kilometre along the road we found the same orchid at a height that we could photograph.

Joan assisting Philip with his photography

Beautiful colour in this little orchid

We then continued on our upward journey to the top of Mt. Lewis.  The gravel road winds its way through lush rainforest and we cross numerous little creeks.  Some are so beautiful that they really take my breath away.  I love this place so much.  We eventually arrived at the hut at the top of Mt. Lewis and as it was lunchtime we quickly set up our table and chairs and settled back to enjoy a cup of tea and sandwich.  The rain came and went but it was never heavy, just misty light rain.  It did turn quite cold and I was grateful for the extra rain jacket that I had packed in the backpack.  Hubby had forgotten to pack his so as he told me later he really was quite cold!  After lunch and repacking everything back into the car we made our way along the track to the escarpment.  Joan wanted to check the bower birds nest and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was even bigger and decorated as well.  We could hear the bower bird intermittently but he never came close enough for us to photograph.  Joan told us that she came one other time and sat quietly on a rock close to the bower to see if the bird would come close.  After almost an hour she turned slightly to look over her shoulder and low and behold the bird was right behind her....just watching her!

The Bower Birds nest

Such a lot of work goes into making this Bower...all those little stick brought in one by one.  They are an amazing bird!

I didn't walk to this lovely area below.  My knee is still not full strength so I waited on a ledge on the escarpment while Philip and Joan went exploring. They were not disappointed with what they found. Lots of orchids and some beautifully picturesque creeks. 

This is the view I had from where I waited.  It is breathtaking.  The GPS on my phone said that we were over 1200 metres high and I believe it.  It feels like you are on top of the world!  Such a truly beautiful spot.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Happy Birthday!

It's the 5th September today.  Just an ordinary day.  A beautiful spring day.  Kurt would have been 36 today.  Yes, just an ordinary day.  Fifteen years seems like yesterday.  We miss you Kurt.  We love you Kurt. Such a beautiful person loved by everyone.  Happy birthday son.  No.....not an ordinary day at all.   Birthdays are special days.