A walk in Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park, Queensland

Springbrook National Park  is located in the Gold Coast hinterland, 45 minutes from the coast and not far from the border dividing Queensland from New South Wales. It is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and declared by UNESCO. The earliest humans to live in this area were the Yugambeh people, now acknowledged as the traditional owners. Throughout the park you will see signs written in English and in Yugambeh language.

Saturday was the perfect day for a walk in the Springbrook National Park, my friend and I choosing the Class 3 Purling Brook Falls circuit  which is 4 kilometres long and takes the average person 2-3 hours to complete. Add another 45 minutes if you want to visit Warringa Pools. If you’re keen on taking photographs, want to stop for a bite to eat or have a swim then add a bit longer. There are shorter and longer walking circuits plus a couple of lookouts if you just want to admire the view.

Temperatures can be cooler in the park, we wore long pants and a long sleeve shirt and felt comfortable for most of the walk although we did see plenty of people wearing gym gear but they were moving at a much faster pace than us. Wearing long sleeves and long trousers helps avoid ticks and leeches. I also recommend taking a bottle of water and a snack or two plus sunblock and insect repellant, you can still get sunburned walking through the forest and the mosquitoes can be vicious. There are a few locations that are fenced off from visitors, including the top of the Purling Brook Falls and the pool at the bottom for safety reasons and possibly to protect the immediate environment.

Springbrook provides the visitor the opportunity of seeing and hearing a variety of wildlife, we frequently heard the call of the Eastern Whipbird and Bush Turkeys are extremely common. When walking along one section of the park we heard the rustling of leaves as something moved slowly through the undergrowth. Patiently we waited and were rewarded with a glimpse of a goanna, eventually he decided that it was safe to come out of hiding so we watched him as he crossed the path and ventured up the hill and undercover. Lorikeets, kookaburras, wrens and robins are also common, but some of them are so small and move so quick that I didn’t stand a chance when it came to taking a photo. Seeing a pademelon flee from the verge and into the bush as we drove back from the ‘best of all’ lookout was a special treat, it is not often that we get to see this type of wallaby.

Having packed enough nut bars to feed a small school group, we grazed throughout the walk and rewarded our efforts at the end with a visit to The Fudge Shop. The coffee smelled too good to resist and we bought a chunk of lemon meringue and creme brûlée fudge for an extreme sugar hit. If fudge is not your thing they do serve ice cream and there is a small selection of local produce including arts and crafts for sale.

I imagine that Springbrook National Park is really popular in the warmer months, and that the creeks and waterholes fill up with day trippers and families camping nearby. At the Natural Bridge section of Springbrook you can see glow-worms after sunset, their environment is particularly sensitive so there are rules around visiting this location. The Natural Bridge is easily accessed and the walk through subtropical rainforest to see the naturally formed arch over the creek is well worth the effort.

Having been on the Gold Coast for 17 years, I cannot believe that I have not spent more time exploring such a spectacular part of Queensland. It definitely won’t be that long before I return to Springbrook, there are more walks to do and it is a wonderful way to get some exercise and experience nature.

Wordless Wednesday: Tuscan goodness

Garlic, salami and prosciutto for sale in Greve, Chianti region of Tuscany
Garlic, salami and prosciutto for sale in Greve, Chianti region of Tuscany

…and then there was one

Our dog Maxi.
Our girl Maxi. February 28, 2001 to September 26, 2016

One week ago today we said goodbye to our dear old Maxi girl, she was almost 16 and it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. We have had Maxi since she was a tiny pup with huge ears and a dangerously happy tail. As a pup she loved to pull washing off the line and dig up plants, destroying garden beds and leaving unseen holes in the lawn. We called her the ‘Diggingest Dog’ after one of my favourite childhood books. As an adult Maxi loved going to the beach and bouncing through the waves, she still loved digging holes, we have several still to prove it. She had a phobia of storms and refused to walk through doors or gates if she thought there was any chance of them touching her. Her snoring was loud and so was her bark, she kept many a salesperson and religious door knocker from our yard. I loved her soft fur and her friendly, happy face, she was a beautiful, sweet natured girl.

Maxi had been struggling with arthritis for a few years yet still loved her walks and always had did a happy dance at dinner time. The memory of her goofy smile and dancing feet as she impatiently waited for dinner always brings a smile to my face. Recently her struggle intensified, her evening walks reduced in number and distance until she was restricted to sniffing around in the park next door. She loved that park. Hubby and I were preparing ourselves for the inevitable however it happened sooner than we thought and it makes me sad that we did not even get a chance to take her to the beach or let her eat all of her favourite foods.

I was not ready but I don’t think you can ever be ready to make a decision that will end the life of someone you love. Maxi was in pain, she was distressed after falling and not being able to get up again, it was heartbreaking and it was time. The vet came to our house and we took Maxi outside to her favourite spot in the yard, the spot where she can see everyone coming and going. It was a beautiful day, she had some roast beef and with her head resting on my lap I said goodbye as the tears rolled down my face. I kissed her forehead and closed her eyes, it was peaceful and quiet. Maxi was gone, she was no longer in pain. I sobbed for hours.

One week later and I still can’t believe she is gone, her absence all too real when I enter the house and see her empty bed. Maxi had been with me for a good chunk of my adult life, she was with me through many ups and downs, sensing sadness and knowing just when to rest her head in sympathy on my lap. Such a beautiful, sweet natured dog, everyone who met her fell in love and she loved everyone. Bundy still looks for Maxi, he is not anxious but will seek her out and he occasionally sniffs her bed and checks for leftovers in her bowl. I do not have the heart to put her things away, it makes our house feel empty and I’m still not ready to say goodbye.

Swell Festival 2016 – part 2

On my last post I shared some of the sculptures featured in the Swell 2016 Sculpture Festival. As promised, here is a part two of my selection of images.

Swell Festival 2016 – part 1

Up before the sun and with a hit of caffeine, Hubby, Bundy and I were ready to head south to Currumbin, host to the 2016 Swell Sculpture Festival. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to experience the festival, fewer crowds and better light for taking photos. Bundy loves the festival, it is his chance to run around on the sand and meet a few new faces (or sniff new butts to put it in dog terms). Alphy the turtle is the big hit this year, as are the huge deck chairs but I really love the dog walker sculpture and the timber freight boxes lying on the sand. With so many sculptures I have decided to break up the photos and share them in two lots, you will see more of the dog walker and other wonderful works of art sometime next week.

Which one is your favourite?

Wordless Wednesday: Castle rock

Edinburgh castle
Edinburgh Castle, historic fortress built on volcanic rock