Road trip to the jungle

Category: Ships Log
 

January 23rd - February 1st

Becoming mobile and exploring the subtropical rainforests of Lamington National Park.


It's been a while since our last blog post, and it's mostly because we haven't been doing anything terribly exciting. However, we recently made a new acquisition that should change things. Up until now, we've been dependent on public transport if we want to get away from the boat. This is fine during the week because Chris is at work and I mostly hang out on the boat looking for work, or writing. But if we want to go somewhere on the weekend, it takes a bit of planning to figure out the public transport. And for many places, such as trailheads in national parks, there is no public transport. We started thinking it would be nice to have a car so we could be more spontaneous on weekends and explore places outside of Brisbane. A couple days later I caught Chris looking at used cars on the internet – though we both agreed we should wait a couple months to save money before seriously considering a car. However, as sometimes happens when an idea is planted in your head, opportunities arise. About a week later we were chatting with our neighbor Ian and he mentioned he was trying to sell a car. Ian brought the car down for us to look at, and one of our other neighbors, Gavin, who happens to be a car mechanic, checked it out with us and went on a test drive. Gavin declared the engine sound and Ian offered us a deal on the car we couldn't refuse. So a bit sooner than anticipated, we are now car owners! Funny how that happens. :)

 

Anyway, the car is a 2003 Kia Rio with about 100K on it. It isn't exactly our dream car, but it has low kilometers, is fuel efficient and should be great for transporting us plus visiting friends and family (hint hint) and even camping gear. This is all we need for the next couple years.

 

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Our "new" used car - we are now mobile!

 

After practicing our left-sided driving by doing a short trip to the seaside town of Manly (about 30 min away) we decided it was time for a real trip. We set our weekend sights on Lamington National Park, about 2 hours southeast of Brisbane, in what Aussies call the "Hinterland." The car did great, and by 11am Saturday morning we were on the trail. Lamington National Park is renowned for its subtropical rainforest and is listed as a World Heritage Site. The park did not disappoint. We chose an 18K loop trail through the rainforest that follows the Coomera River for a portion and passes by no less than 14 waterfalls! Because this is the rainy season, the waterfalls were running high and just beautiful. If I ignored the fact that all the glowing green foliage consisted of fern trees, palms, and large trees with buttressed roots, I could have almost imagined I was back hiking in the Columbia Gorge or Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.

 

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The back trunk has plenty of space for all our gear!

 

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At the trailhead.

 

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Looking down on the Coomera gorge and Coomera falls.

 

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The subtropical rainforest is beautiful.

 

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A skink who thinks he's hiding in the leaf litter.

 

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One of the many waterfalls along the trail.

 

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A blue spiny crayfish hanging out in the pool below the waterfall.

 

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Epiphytic ferns were all over the place. They really know how to exploit a tree trunk!

 

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Once we climbed out of the riverbed and onto the ridgetop, we were walking in a cloud forest.

 

Because we knew we would be finishing our hike late, we decided to stay overnight and try a local Airbnb host that lived about 20 minutes from the trailhead. We drove to a lovely house surrounded by forest and views of rolling green hills. As we stepped out of the car, a pair of wallabies hopped through the grass and into the brush about 50 yards from us! We couldn't believe it. Though they soon hopped away when they saw us (it seems wild wallabies aren't as tame as the ones at Lone Pine :)). We were soon met by our hosts Jan and Terry, who spend much of their time remodeling their house and re-establishing native rainforest on their land when they aren't out traveling the world. We enjoyed a wonderful evening getting to know each other and chatting about our travels. The next morning, after taking us on a tour of their land and showing us where the wallabies hang out, Jan and Terry took us on a hike to their local waterfalls and swimming hole just 20 minutes from their doorstep. And these weren't small waterfalls; these were as large as any we saw in the national park. One of the waterfalls was short and wide with a large plunge pool beneath it, forming the perfect swimming hole. We all enjoyed a morning of swimming and relaxing on the sunbaked rocks. Some of the local boys also entertained us by practicing acrobatic dives off the top of the waterfall into the pool. It was so neat to be introduced to such a beautiful place, and to get to know Jan and Terry. Anyway, by early afternoon we reluctantly departed and made our way back to Brisbane via the coast.

 

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A wallaby we spotted on our tour of Jan and Terry's property.

 

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One of the waterfalls just a 20 min walk from Jan and Terry's doorstep.

 

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Chris, Terry, and Jan at the swimming hole.

 

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Enjoying the nice cool water in the hot weather. And yes, there are people abseiling down the waterfall cliff behind me.

 

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Driving through the Nerang valley on our way back to Brisbane. The pointy mountain in the far back is Mt. Warning.

 

Our weekend didn't end there though. When we returned to the 90 degree heat of Brisbane in the evening, we made it back in time for an ice-cream dock party with our neighbors. This wouldn't have been anything special had we been living in a house, but our boat isn't large enough to house a freezer and neither are the boats of most of the residents on our dock. So when one of our powerboat neighbors went away for the week and told us to feel free to use his freezer, we all jumped at the chance to be able to store ice cream. We had quite the selection from pistachio to cookies n' cream to vanilla to several kinds of ice cream bars. It was the perfect way to end an already great weekend!

 

 

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Comments  

+1 #2 Alena and Chris 2015-02-25 23:09
Hi Suzie and Julius! It's great to hear from you two and we're so happy you made it to Hawaii safely. We think of you everytime I make knedliky! :-) Enjoy the rest of your time in Hawaii and have a safe trip to Canada!
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0 #1 Suzie and Julius 2015-02-10 06:28
Hi you two!
Great to read your blog and to know you made it to Australia. Sounds like all is well with you both.
We are in Hawaii for the winter and then on to Canada in June. Take care, Suzie and Julius
S/V Emerald Steel
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