Hiking Season

Category: Ships Log

May-June 2016

The weather has finally cooled down, making it the perfect temperature for hiking.


In late April, fall finally arrived to Queensland. Our nighttime temperatures plummeted to the teens and our daytime temps to the low twenties. It is a wonderful change being able to wear jeans again, use the oven, and cycle to work without arriving completely soaked in sweat. For a while there, it felt like summer would never end. Now that it is cooler out, we have been doing more hiking instead of hanging out at the beach on weekends.

However, we did slip in one more trip to the beach… in late April we made a road trip to Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach (about 3 hours north of Brisbane) to check out a houseboat for sale. We are cautiously hopeful there will be funding to keep us around UQ for a couple more years and have been thinking it would be nice to have a bit more space if we will be staying longer. We love living on the river though, so can’t really imagine living in an apartment (not to mention the rent is quite a bit higher on land). To that end, we have started looking at houseboats. And it is also a good excuse to do some sightseeing. Saturday morning we checked out the houseboat, which was moored in the river at the town of Rainbow Beach. Afterwards, we spent the rest of the weekend exploring the area. Rainbow Beach is a well-known town because of its multicolored sands, caused by iron oxides leaching into the sand from iron-laden sandstone cliffs towering above the beach. The beach itself is a long stretch of sand that arcs into a half moon shape; with the orange sandstone cliffs behind, it make a beautiful picture.


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A view of Rainbow beach from the top of the sandstone cliffs.


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The sandblow at Rainbow Beach - a large area of sand dunes. See Chris on the right for scale.


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Seary's Creek at Great Sandy National Park, near Rainbow Beach. The water is stained orange with tannins from tea-trees. 


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It is also a well-known swimming hole - locals say the tea-tree stained water is very good for your skin. Chris tested out the water.


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Some neat looking ferns growing by the water's edge.


In May, we ventured inland and got back into some more serious hiking. We visited Mt. Beerwah, the highest of the Glasshouse Mountains northwest of Brisbane, and with the help of a friendly local, summited the mountain. Although Mt. Beerwah is not that high in terms of elevation (it is only 556m or ~1800ft), it is incredibly steep. The majority of the trail is unmarked and consists of scrambling up rock faces. We hadn’t planned on summiting because we didn’t know the best route to take, but at the base of the first rock face we met Jim, who has been climbing Mt. Beerwah most every weekend since the 1990s (and is super fit). He had already summited once early that morning, but offered to go up again and show us the way. We readily agreed and enjoyed a fun day of rock scrambling and gorgeous views.


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The view of Mt.Beerwah from the trailhead.


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At the base of the first rock face watching earlier hikers struggle to find an easy way down.


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The trail. Basically you follow the little gully straight up the rock face.


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Almost there! A view of the Half Dome-like top of Mt. Beerwah.


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The view on our way up. The neat rows of trees are macadamia nut orchards. Fun fact: Macadamia nut trees are native to Queensland, not Hawaii!


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Some cool rock formations and caves near the summit of Mt. Beerwah.


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At the summit. Behind us is a view of the Glasshouse Mountains (those are the rocks poking up here and there).


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A lovely panorama Chris took with his camera.


Another weekend, we ventured to Lamington National Park which is southwest of Brisbane with some of our workmates; we walked the 21km (~13 miles) Ships Stern circuit. It was a lovely hike that took us from dry eucalyptus forests on the top of ridgelines with stunning views, down into the lush green rainforests on the valley floor. It hadn’t rained in a while, so unfortunately the waterfalls were merely a trickle, but it was still a beautiful hike.


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The rainforest consists of a lot of palms and ferns, interspersed with some giant eucalyptus trees, like this one.


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As we were walking in the forest, we spied a pademelon! Pademelons are small, forest dwelling marsupials that look like mini wallabies. Photo courtesy of David Wood.


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The ACE hiking group in front of one of the barely trickling waterfalls. From left: Chris, me, Nancy, David Wood, David Waite. Photo courtesy of David Wood.


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A goana, or monitor lizard, we found crawling up the side of a tree. Photo courtesy of David Wood.


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One of the views from the top of the ridge.


June we worked most weekends, but we did manage to get out once to Springbrook National Park, which is adjacent to Lamington National Park. On this trip we hiked the 17km (~10.5 miles) Warrie circuit – another beautiful loop starting at the top of a ridge and descending into a lush valley filled with flowing rivers and creeks and numerous waterfalls cascading off the canyon walls.  This time we waited until after we'd had some rain, so the waterfalls were flowing pretty good. This hike reminded me of a similar waterfall circuit in Oregon at Silver Falls State Park.


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The view across to the next ridge. The Warrie circuit descends into the forest and returns along the opposite canyon wall.


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At the top of one of the waterfalls.


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Chris trying to run and stay dry as he passes behind one of the waterfalls.


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A cool strangler fig on the side of the trail. The tree it originally grew around is completely gone leaving a hollow tube of branches/vines.


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Another beautiful waterfall.


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One of the creeks. Just love how lush and green it is!


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Another waterfall.


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And one more you get to walk behind. This is one of my favorite walks so far!



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