The bush around Cashmere in Queensland Australia has many “hidden” walking tracks although they haven’t been used by walkers only. On my early morning walks I’ve seen a horseman and people on their mountain bike. Even off road motorbikes although these are not permitted. Part of the bushland is Conservation park. I have plotted the paths with my GPS and this morning I spoke to a lady who lived in the area for 12 years and didn’t know about these tracks. So, here is the map with the tracks I’ve walked. Some parts are walked on paved roads. I start normally from the crossing Peppermint Dv/Correa Ct and from there many circuits can be walked with durations from 1/2hr to 2hr depending on your speed. Some tracks have steep sections, so some fitness and good footwear is required.
Fraser Island Great Walk. (1)2013
If you like walking through bush, along fabulous lakesides, wide open beaches or under huge Tallowood and Satinay trees, feel the fresh air and see wildlife, Fraser Island has it all. Last year the track was closed during storm damage and bushfires. To make sure we could go this year I rang the info centre and was told that all the tracks North of and including Central Station were open as were the camping sites. The Southern lakes and walking tracks were still inundated. Our plan was to take the barge from River Heads (Hervey Bay) and start at Wanggoolba Creek. That was our plan in total. The rest was wait and see what happens.
Yasmine had planned all the supplies needed for a ten-day hike and the backpacks were filled to the brim and some of it was hanging on the packs. (thanks for carabiners). We drove up to River Heads, a suburb of Hervey Bay, and went to the boat ramp from where the barge would depart.
While there, we bought the tickets for our transport but had a strange experience with the girl at the desk. As walkers, you don’t have to book ahead and we asked for two return tickets. Fifty dollars each and I paid the money (cash) and waited for the tickets. “You will get the tickets when you return about half an hour before departure time” the girl said. “Ok, can we have a receipt for our payment”? Yasmine asked. “I’ll recoqnise you when you return”, was the answer. She looked surprised when we insisted on having a receipt, but she eventually got us one.
We had to leave the car in River Heads and a couple of days earlier I had arranged secure parking with Shane, a Real Estate agent who also runs a security parking business. It gave us a nice comfy feeling having not to think about leaving the car on the site of the road being subject to break-ins etc. Shane also drove us to the barge where we arrived a bit early. The timetable for the barge left us little choice and taking the 4pm barge to Wanggoolba was a bit late but 10.15am was too early. No departures in between like the barges leaving from Inskip point to Hook Point that run continuously.
Travelling friends told us that you can get a lift from the barge to Central Station or Happy Valley (if you’re lucky) but having seen the few cars on the barge with no space for hitch hikers, our hope was quickly dashed and we decided to walk to Central Station. Besides, we came here to walk. We walked over the 4WD tracks and the sand was very soft.
The last hour and a bit we walked in the dark with a headlight mounted on my head. At an intersection which lead on one way to the dayrecreation area and the other way to the camping two boys were trying to get their car out of the sand. They were there bogged for two hours. We couldn’t do anything to free them but our encouraging words must have helped because they drove past us 50 mtr further down the track and offered us a lift. Something we would have accepted earlier coming from the barge but now gracefully declined since we were almost at our destination. We saw all these lights on the left hand side coming from the campsite but, the entrance was still about 600 mtr further down the track. A sign at the entrance told us that we again had to go back past two general campsites before we arrived at the walkers camp. About 600 mtr back. Finally we found a nice spot to pitch our tent, had soup and chocolate and went to sleep. We walked about 11km through the soft sand and were a bit tired.
Up the next day, we found a cage where you can store food to keep it away from dingo’s but I think bush rats etc. can still get to it so we’ve kept in our tent. Opposite the toilet block was a wonderful kitchen sink with water. Oh well, things you miss when you arrive in the dark.
We fastened our backpacks and planned to walk to Lake Wabby.
A few 4WD’s were heading the same way as us. No wonder, it’s the highway to Rainbow beach, a favorite spot for 4wd adventurers to spend the weekend and camp on the beach. We however didn’t go that far. Our destination was EQUATHON for our adventure on a horseback. I have never rode on a horse’s back but after we got a Redballoon gift voucher from my son and his partner, I no longer could say: “I do it when the opportunity is there”. So we booked and last week we got the email that the booking was confirmed. Equathon’s location is close to the Noosa North Shore in Queensland. To get there we had to cross the Noosa river and luckily enough there is a ferry ($6.00). We were early and had our coffee next to the site were a carwash is located. Great place for the 4WD’s that come from the beach to get rid of steel munching salt, because there is a sort of bidet for cars which nicely takes care of the cleaning of the underbody. We registered at the Equathon office and after filling out the necessities for the insurance etc. there was a small problem because our names were not on the list but after some discussion the problem was easily solved and we headed to the shed to be handed a helmet that would protect our precious heads in case the art of balancing on a horseback was too much of a challenge and we would fall off. There were 8 adventurers in the group.
My confidence wasn’t high on the confidence scale but I was the last to be called to mount a horse and the others didn’t seem to have a problem so I stepped up and put my left foot in a sort of metal loop which they call a stirrup and swung my right leg over the horse’s back and landed in the saddle where I sat with white knuckles holding the steering wheel waiting for the animal to make a move, letting me know who’s boss or telling me he didn’t like to go for a ride and throw me off.
NOTHING. Great start. I got some basic instructions as to how to steer Mack (the horses name) with the rein (steering wheel) and after CC (our leader) told us in which order we had to follow her, we wend. The first twenty minutes or so walking through nice bush land and I got more confident with riding this wonderful animal. They are very well trained and used to new riders I imagine. CC stopped and asked if we were ready to go for a bit of a trot. Why not. Wow, that is hard on the back if you haven’t done this before. You have to come in the same rhythm as the horse but, I managed to hold on. It was only a short run and we got back into a walk again. Moments later we arrived at the beach.
It’s a wonderful feeling. Sitting on a horseback, seeing the waves roll on to the beach and have a nice fresh breeze in your face. Not so nice was it when a bit later the weather decided that it has been a bit dry and a short shower damped the temperature but not our fun. Photo’s were taken. We rode a bit further over the beach and then returned to the stables. After dismounting from the horses we felt some very stiff legs but thanks to CC and the other instructors who guided us, we had a great experience.
After Two hours horseback riding, we felt our tummies rumbling and we headed for Boreen Point. The Apollonian hotel here had a great menu which suited our idea of having a great lunch and when the kitchen opened at twelve midday we ordered the dishes we liked. It is a wonderful hotel in a nice setting and we enjoyed our meals on the veranda with the sound of live music coming from a corner where three musicians took care of the entertainment.
Thanks to:The Apollonian Hotel
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The pleasures of hiking.
Whenever or wherever I go and whether it be for a half-day, a full-day or a multi-day hike, I enjoy being out there. The destination does not play a great role in a choice to go for a walk. There are so many different things to see and experience that there is always something I haven’t seen before. Being out in the bush means, no phones ringing, no traffic jams, just the smell of the bush, listening to the different bird whistles, hear the sound of water flowing through a creek or watching that water coming down in a waterfall. Of course there are negatives like ticks or leeches but they have never dampened the joy of being out there.
In the beautiful Lamington National Park
The forecast was a light shower or two so, after our morning walk in bright sunshine and an almost cloudless sky, we decided to mount our bikes on the bike rack and drive to one of the many bikeways the Brisbane Council has developed.
Before we left, I printed some maps so we wouldn’t get lost. There are 13 maps which can be found on the Brisbane/Queensland Government web site Brisbane Bikeways.
Although you can start from Keperra, for this ride we decided to start at Arana Hills at the MsKell Oval because there is a nice parking area to unload the bikes and leave the car, while the bike path runs next to it.
With our weapons (helmet, backpack, water bottles and camera) safely placed, we jumped on our bikes and drove the wrong way (as you do) around a sports field but picked up the regular route on the other site of the field. This route follows the Kedron Brook which zig zagged its way through Brisbane until it reaches Moreton Bay via the Boondal wetlands. Just after we rejoined, the path crosses the Brook and a mum with kids were feeding the ducks from the bridge. Riding on these pathways, the council and government did great work to keep the riders away from heavy traffic bearing roads. Only a few smaller streets are included but mostly we were riding at the back along private properties next to the Brook.
Just before a crossing at the Sparkes Hill reservoirs park, a loud noise grabbed our attention.A big colony of bats were hanging out. To prevent us from getting withdrawal symptoms, we derailed our trip to pay the Stafford City shopping centre a visit where we indulged ourselves in coffee with cake.
It is amazing how many parks and green strokes there are. Many of them are well equipped with BBQ’s and undercover area’s. There is a lot of roadwork going on around the Gympie Rd./Stafford Rd. and Sandgate Rd. area’s but here, new paths were created to go around and not having to go on the big busy roads. After crossing under the Sandgate Rd.
You leave the city behind and follow the path to the Boondall wetlands. Riding along this stretch is a wonderful experience. No sound of traffic here although, every now and then, a plane can be heard departing or landing at the Brisbane airport in the distance. We dismounted from our bikes along the Kedron Brook Floodway to enjoy viewing wading birds through the shallow water. To prevent the wetland from any damage, the bikeway is elevated.
The path follows the Brook were it runs behind the Nudgee Golf Course. We stopped and returned the same way we came in. Coming back at our car we’ve done 50 kilometres. A little bit of a sore bum but next time, maybe Cadell Evans can give some advice as what to wear to make the saddle feel a bit more comfy. A great day working on our fitness, our tan, our vitamin D level and our general good feeling.
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Green Mountains 12-02-2012
A bit over an hour and a half South of Brisbane, Green Mountains (part of Lamington National Park) is home to a lot of wonderful walking tracks, most of them originate from O’Reilly’s restaurant and guesthouse, where a rangers office is built as well. We, John and wife Yasmine choose this day to walk a combined track. Starting at the Border walk we headed South over a wide hard surface which changed after a while in just a nice bush path and sometimes to a very small bushpath. 2 km on the track and it split up into two tracks. You have to make a choice whether to follow the Tooloona Creek circuit or continue over the Border track. We followed the Tooloona track. At a small open spot a group of photographers had a shoot with a big tree as a beautiful backdrop. The path got smaller and zigzagging down, we came at Picnic Rock.
At Picnic Rock
While we hadn’t a big picnic basket with us, we made the best of it and filled our cups with coffee and had a nice snack. The photographers came a bit later and made some pictures (I don’t think they had an image of us in mind) but the hardest thing for them was to cross the right branch of Canungra Creek without their equipment getting soaked. Most of them were successful but one in particular slid off a very slippery boulder and ended up very wet but was able to keep his camera dry.
We spotted a couple of Blue Crayfish. These Crayfish can only be seen in the Lamington NP. Our picnic was over and we continued our way towards Elabana Falls. After about 350 metres, a side track leads to the Falls. The group was already there and the leaders had made a rope between some big boulders to get easier to a good vantage point to make a nice image of the Elabana falls. I spoke with a lady of the group and it turned out that Ken Duncan was having a workshop about waterfall photography. Just the right time, because the weather we had recently was favourable to see the best of the waterfalls.
At Elabana Falls
We were invited to come across but since I had left my good camera at home (not intentional), I made a few pictures from where I was standing with my GPS and followed Tooloona Creek circuit. The path was rather small and winding through the forest. On a few occasions, we had to cross the Toolona Creek which, at times, was not easy.
From Elabana to the Wanungara lookout is a further 4.8 km. More waterfalls on the way and at one we stopped to have lunch. While we were sitting and happily munching on our packed lunch, a Blue Crayfish suddenly appeared and wanted us to unblock his way up the creek. The lookout has beautiful views over the valley and even Mt Warning can be seen from here.
From the Wanungara lookout
We followed the path to Bithongabel, going past Tooloona lookout (1160 m). From Bithongabel, the track makes a sharp turn to the North and continues to meet up with the Border track. 1km from Bithongabel a sign reads WATER. We had a look a couple of metres down from the path and saw some very clear water steaming. Could be a spring but am not sure about that. A bit further up the track crosses with the Albert River circuit but we left that one for now and headed for the end of the track at O’Reilly’s. To end our day we did the tree top walk. A wonderful tasting milkshake was enjoyed at O’Reilly’s before we commenced our trip home. This walk in Lamington National parks was 19 km including the tree top walk and some side trips to see the waterfalls and was very enjoyable.
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Great Walk 2012 Carnarvon Gorge by John and Yasmine Vriesekolk.
For a wile we’ve been planning to go to Fraser Island to do he Great Walk. Bought a topographic map, food for 11 days on the track and planned where to start and finish. The Friday before our departure I rang the Ranger and he told me that there were closed parts of the Great Walk due to bushfires, flooding and other damages. We had to change our travel plans. Bye, bye Fraser Island, hello Carnarvon Gorge where a 87km, 6 days walk was waiting for us. I bought a topographic map of the walk at the same time as the Fraser one, for future references. From Brisbane we drove via Toowoomba, Roma and Injune to the beautiful Carnarvon Gorge. In Roma we had a lunch break at The Queens Arms hotel. Great tasting food although a bit heavy on oils (and stomach). When we left home, the weather didn’t look too bad but at Toowoomba the showers started to come down on us. Between Injune and Rolleston a road to the left leads to Carnarvon Gorge. The last 15 km is dirt road and because of the wet weather we had lately, the road was very slippery and mud started to decorate all sides of the car. Kangaroos, wallabies, cows and the odd Bustard (bird) were a bit of a worry but they slowly moved over to let us go past. Qld Government warned that the road can become impassable after heavy rain and recommends to use the road for conventional vehicles only in dry weather.
Takarakka Bush Resort
We parked the car at the Takarakka bush resort where we had booked an unpowered site for $ 35.00 a night. The attendant showed us where to set up our tent but we were back very quick because he directed us to a powered site which already was taken. Little mistake and after going to the right spot we set up camp at the correct site. A small group walked in. They had walked the Great Walk and did so in the rain for the last two days. Not very promising. I said to the attendant that I ordered sunshine when I booked the site and he said: “I’ll do my best”.
A large coach was parked on the resort and during our inspection round (which you do when arriving at a campnig) we discovered that it was from a company close to our suburb and had a lot of American students on board to tour Australia.
The first day hiking. 10km without side tracks.
At home, most of our needs on the track were already packed in our backpacks and after having the tent and sleeping bags added to the weight we parked the car nearby the visitors centre of the Gorge and went inside where a Ranger was very helpful in explaining what to expect on the track. A steep climb, showing us escape routes in case we run into some trouble and that it will be cold on the thirth and fourth campsite. Not being put off by this, we registered with the Ranger so he knows who’s on the track and when we expect to return. Camp sites have to be booked, which can be done online.
The Takarakka attendant had done his magic trick. The weather was great. Blue skies over our heads and full of energy we started to follow the signs.
The first challenge to overcome was a crossing over the Carnarvon Creek although, there are big rocks in the creek to step on and compared to what was coming, this was not a challenge at all. There are several side tracks like the Moss Garden, the Amphitheatre (temporary closed), Ward’s Canyon, the Art Gallery and Cathedral Cave. All of them well worth a visit.
To reach the Art gallery (the last side track) we had to cross the creek 18 times. After 15 crossings without getting our feet wet, at the 16th we were not so lucky. The water level was high and I slipped of a rock and landed with both feet in the water but, managed to stay upright, just. The in and outside of my hikers were completely drenched. Yasmine got one foot wet. To reach the Big Bend camp side we had to cross the creek two more times.
Big Bend is a nice flat camping area next to the Creek, with place for several tents and a picnic table. Water is available and there is a toilet a bit far from the tent site. Currawongs (the birds) are a nuisance. They are constantly around waiting for the right time to steal some food.
Day Two 14.8km.
A cool morning but blue skies again. Ideal weather for hiking. We had to retrace our steps (two creek crossings) and then turn right into Boowinda Gorge.
Lots of big pebbles but not too hard to walk over. To get out of the Gorge, after about 1 km, a very, very steep climb had to be overcome. In the bottom boulder some steps were made to get a start and from thereon I had to give Yasmine every now and than a push while she had to pull me up on my backpack to keep my balance. After this climb, the track kept going up and some manmade steel stairs were a good help to reach the top. On this part of the track beautiful views of the Gorge are unfolding.
This climbing took us a long time and we were running late. It was dark when we reached Gadd’s walkers camp. A nice campsite with a shelter, water and toilet. We could set up the tent under the shelter but were asked by the ranger not to use the pins for our tent to not disturb the soil or damaging the underlying water tanks.
Day Three 15.8km.
Still wet shoes and blisters were starting to form. The track was easy to follow. A lot of back burning had been done. At times the track was wet, muddy and slippery, other times nice and dry. Just before the West Branch walkers camp a hanging bridge helped us to cross the West Branch of the Maranoa river the easy way.
Hanging Bridge at West Branch Camping site
At this spot there is a walkers camp (we only saw a tap) and a large camping area. We walked to the campsite and pitched our tent on a nice spot. We heard a koala calling for a mate overnight and the night was cold, very cold.
Day Four 17.3km.
In the morning Yasmine had a hard time to open the zipper of the tent. It was frozen. Ice was on the tent. The ranger had told us that the third and fourth campsites were freezing cold. He was right about the third one. After a concert from the local bird band (lots of lorikeets) we packed up. We have a routine in the morning. Yasmine cooks breakfast, boils water to fill up the themosflask for morning tea and lunch (we eat our dried food midday as dinner) and I pack the sleeping bags etc. and break up the tent. We went back over the hanging bridge and then left to follow the track towards the Consuelo Camping zone. The views along the track were nice. The track went again up from about 800m to 1000m, evens out and then further rise to about 1200m. We still had nice weather.
The Consuelo camp had the same setup as Gadd’s walkers camp. A nice shelter to catch the rain water. Two water pumps, water but no toilet. We were having our dinner when two emu’s came from the woods to forage around the campsite. They didn’t seem to be too nervous about having two visitors in their area. The sunset coloured the clouds red and when we snuggled up in our sleeping bags it started to rain.
Day Five 13.8km.
It had rained overnight but it had stopped in the morning. We didn’t see a lot of the world around us after opening the tent. A thick fog was having a strong grip on the Gorge. We stayed a bit longer in our home away from home. Not a long walk today and a fairly flat one too so, time enough to get to our next destination.
Fog in the Morning
The mist had a nice effect although we didn’t have nice views because of that. The spots where we normally take a break (fallen trees or big rocks) were too wet and here too a lot of back burning had taken place and blackened everything. Some tree trunks still had smoke coming out of them. We decided to only have one coffee break and walking through to the next camp which was Cabbage Tree camping zone where we had lunch, a nice relaxed afternoon and dinner later on. Again a wonderful shelter so a nice dry place to set up our tent. Water but no toilet. The blisters were hurting a bit.
Day Six 15.3km.
Early up, we didn’t want to be too late back at Takarakka bush resort and we also would like to see the Ranger as well. Still a bit misty but dry. Since we did a lot of climbing, now on the last day it went down.
Where is the Track
Some parts of the track were overgrown and hard to find but the arrows on the trees showed us the way. From the track nice views towards The Devils Signpost (Mountain) and wide views over the landscape can be enjoyed. The Great Walk Track and a track towards Boolimba Bluff lookout come together. The last bit is marked with ladders and steep steps before joining the track that brought us back to the visitors centre. The Ranger was on patrol and we met a couple that were friendly enough to take a picture of the adventurers. Between the visitors centre and Takarakka is the Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge where we enjoyed a coffee and booked a table for the night at their restaurant. Lateron we heard that we were very, very lucky. The weather had been very bad and the tracks were closed for two days. We had only rain on one night and didn’t have to walk in the rain.
Some walkers notes:
Water should be treated before drinking.
No rubbish bins along the track. Take out what you take in.
Topographic map from Qld Gov online bookshop: https://www.bookshop.qld.gov.au/ProdSearch.aspx
Great Walk Campsites booking at: https://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/iaparks/gds/IAGDS450.jsp?newGWId=19
Takarakka Bush resort: http://www.takaru.com.au/takaru/splashpage.cfm
Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge: http://www.carnarvon-gorge.com/default.htm
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