This country (Australia) has so many surprising faces.
I mentioned the beaches a few days ago. And there are the cities, the pastoral land, and the arid outback. And then there are the surprise packages. The “Scenic Rim” is a lovely steeply wooded area that straddles the border between Queensland and New South Wales.
We drove South from Brisbane to Nerang, and then inland to Canungra, a pretty town amongst the trees where we paused for refreshments and a little souvenir purchasing. Among the interesting features of the restaurant we paused at were the misters which put a fine cooling water spray into the covered area. I had to protect my camera lens. From there, the road got serious.
After a brief stretch of some very affluent looking farms (stations?), it got very narrow and began to twist and climb into the Lamington National Park. Australia has few serious mountains but it can still do “steep”. This was one of those roads that miraculously clung to the side of a very steep hill and gained height by way of frequent turns so sharp you almost saw your own tail lights. Soon we were in the National park with its beautiful forest canopy and exotic bird life.
Our destination was the “tree top walkway” near O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Near the car park, there is a feeding station where tourists can feed the flocks of vividly coloured Australian king parrots (Alisterus scapularis) with purchased birdseed. These are wild birds that have learned where there is free food, so they are numerous and apparently fearless.
To be honest the walkway itself was fair enough, but for me the special joy was the forest itself, especially in the beautiful stretches that lead up to the suspended path. There is a huge variety of bird and animal life in this forest though I suspect that the best would be seen away from the trails and the noisy chattering tourists. This Eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis) was among the wide variety of birds seen as we walked. I was a bit mortified at how much more quickly David and Isaac detected new specimens than I could. Though recent tests indicate I have good eyesight, their visual acuity is so much sharper than mine.
In the dark areas of the undergrowth, I found it especially difficult to see, but Isaac was quick to spot this oddity. We misidentified it as a Blue tongued lizard, but a passing guide set us straight … it is a Land mullet (Egernia major) … it is not especially pretty, but interesting and timid. It was quite a big one at around 40cm long.
The long trip home down the steep road and then up the M1 took us through Brisbane’s notorious rush hour, and eventually we got back to Bald hills where we paused to allow me to catch this panorama looking West towards the State Forest near Clear Mountain.
Last half day here tomorrow before heading home.