The Tramping Tree Huggers and Twitchers (Day 130)
The Gold Coast isn't only about golden beaches and the surf, it has a lot more to offer, especially for the tramping tree huggers and twitchers amongst us!
After a lovely chat with our eldest and his girlfriend, Tim picked up the hire car, we got ourselves ready and off we went. As our Airbnb host said, most people focus on visiting the golden beaches when they come to this region, however there is also the hinterlands just an hour’s drive away and that’s where we were heading. We were in for a treat.
Passing Reedy Creek – what a great name – we eventually came across the Advancetown Lake, with its very wiggly shoreline. This is a reservoir which now stores 310,730 million litres of water, enough for most of the citizens of the Gold Coast.
What struck me was that beyond the lush green trees that edged the lake, there were many dead trees in the water. They looked so sad. Imagine the other trees seeing their comrades being drowned by the flooding of the area to provide water for humans, then seeing them slowly die and decay, leaving skeletal white remains. My heart goes out to these trees that took decades to grow and then left to rot. Oh, perhaps I’m becoming a bit of a tree hugger (like Tim – he does love trees).
The road started to wind and get steeper, we found an information hut, so stopped to find out about some tracks to walk. There was Peter Handy, an Aussie whose family originated from UK. We had such a lovely chat about all manner of things, including mind-set, families, the tracks… it’s so lovely meeting people and having a good ol’ chat.
We had come to the Springbrook, formed from a massive volcanic eruption approx. 23 million years ago and has rare remnants of the ancient Gondwana Forest which used to cover much of Australia when it was joined to Antarctica. In fact Antarctic Beech tree fossils have been found beneath the ice caps in Antarctic and here in Springbrook they are alive and well and amazing trees they are. This is a World Heritage Area due to the exceptional ecological importance and natural beauty that it brings. More than 200 rare or threatened plants and animals including the Albert’s Lyrebird thrive here and we were lucky enough to see one of these birds as well as some of the incredible Antarctic Beech trees.
Our tramping led us down through this ancient land amongst eucalyptus trees with their distinctive smell, massive vines that tangle in trees and across the paths, ferns and moss over huge boulders. The sound of so many birds and the waterfalls tumbling down the vertical rock face into the deep canyon was resounding and as we descended, we came across rock creeks and pools. We did see one couple bravely take a dip in the freezing water – ah – we forgot our swimming gear though!
As well as the Lyrebird that was strutting along the path, we also saw little Yellow Robins. They look like a cross between a blue tit and a robin. Also two Australian Logrunners (It’s taken me ages to find out the name of them – I hope you are grateful for my research!). The female has an orangey red throat and the male a white one. They were so busy flicking their feet through the leafy floor looking for grubs they seemed oblivious to us crouching down taking photos of them. We definitely are becoming a couple of twitchers.
After a good few hours walking down this sub-tropical rain forest to Purling Brook Falls and Warringa Pool and back, we drove to “Best of all Lookout”. What a name! On the way up we saw about six Red Necked Pademelon, small forest-dwelling marsupials just grazing by the roadside. A couple even jumped across the road in front of us. We walked the 350m to the lookout to find the most amazing view… of pure white cloud! Apparently on a good day, you can even see the Pacific Ocean! Hey-ho, we can’t win them all.