Oct 31, 2008

Been a While

Exubing but we've been busy what with one thing and another.

Mumsy has departed now for the snowy English climes, and things have settled down to a nice 25 degrees here.

She came back at some point - last Wednesday I think - after having been to Melbourne and Cairns and we just kind of did the daily grind thing of going to classes, falling asleep, walking the dogs.

But now it's back to the daily grind of going to classes, falling asleep, walking the dogs.

Although I've been commissioned for a photographic job, which I have completed half of, that being to photograph Angel from the Music School who has taken over operations there and requires new promotional material. So I took some portraits of her the other day and will be doing some kiddy shots, hopefully of kiddies being enthusiastic, for them to print up as posters and put on their walls.

They're offering me some exhibition space to so I will get some pictures printed up and framed over the next while to stick on their walls and who knows what might come of that.

The dogs are being a royal pain in the ass in the evenings at the moment, chasing around the garden and barking, and we have found out that it's because a couple of possums are using the shed as a hide-out. Not to mention that next-door seem to have acquired a big dog too. Happy days.

Oct 19, 2008

Back to Nudgee

Waverider Walking at Nudgee Beach without Eloise was a much more straightforward affair than we are used to.

We were able to walk for long distances without interruption or incident, and the tide being out and the sun warm, we were able to paddle and toddle our way along on the flats and through the warm water for a considerable distance before taking pity on our childminder and returning to fetch the fairy.

Free Plants

Free Plants We got a flyer the other day from the city council (or just "council" as they prefer to refer to themselves) advertising a local tree-planting effort to increase shade along the streets of Grange, and offering free plants to those who volunteered.

A few days later blue crosses mysteriously started to appear by the sides of the roads, and putting two and two together we figures that was where the trees would probably go.

And sure enough the other day one of those Caterpillar things with a big drill on was doing what you'd expect something with a big drill to do and drilling holes where the blue crosses were.

So we toddled along yesterday, late, to be greeted by our local councillor, one Fiona King, at Lanham Park where a full-scale kitchen was set up for the obligatory post-planting sausage sizzle and from where large parties of people were departing with spades in hand to plant the trees which had appeared that morning next to the holes which had been dug where the blue crosses were that we surmised were for the trees. Correctly.

And, having introduced ourselves and put ourselves down as volunteers, free plants for the procuring of, except not free of course as we expected to toil for our horticulture, we set off, escorted by Mrs King to meet up with our team leader, passing new trees all the way.

When in fact we did manage to catch up with the tree-planting spearhead, some several streets later, I helped some young whelp with the spade and we planted the tree. Eloise at the same time encountered her erstwhile Nursery buddy of last year, Hannah, and that was the rest of the day sewn up for her.

The sausages were reportedly very good. I retrieved the car to get our six plants wot we earned for our three trees planted (there were a lot of people, OK?) and after hanging around in the park for a while Eloise bagged a playtime offer and went off to Hannah's house while Nicole and I relaxed chez nous.

After a while the girls came back while Hannah's Mum went shopping and we played hide and seek with them. They weren't very good frankly either at hiding or at seeking.

Then Eloise went back to Hannah's house and we went to the beach for to walk the dogs.

When Eloise was picked up after that, it seems that Hannah had sparkoed on the couch leaving Eloise to fend for herself, and she had helped herself to Hannah's fairy dress. Perhaps on a permanent basis.

Oct 16, 2008

Homeward Bound

Boowinda Gorge Rocks The next day we hoofed it and made it to Rolleston just as we were about to run out of petrol, which was a relief.

Then we drove to Noosa, just a ten-hour drive... getting there after dark. We met up with Nicole the next day and they went to Eumundi Market while I walked the dogs at the beach then slept in the car park, totally knackered.

Then back to Brisbane and an early night.

When we dropped the camper off the next day we were quite glad we'd got the full insurance option as they merrily pointed out dent after dent. I don't know how - or frankly even if - we did half of them. In fact I only know how I did one of them.

And that was it, road trip over, back to normal.

Mum chipped off to Melbourne the other day to hang out with a chum of hers; it's cold down there she says. She'll come back sometime but she doesn't know when. She's gone up to Cairns now.

Oct 15, 2008

Boowinda Gorge

Stony Mossy Rocky At the top of Canarvon Gorge, just before the campsite you have to hike 10km to get to, is a side-gorge called Boowinda Gorge.

It's kilometres long in its own right - I assume - and the floor is covered in grey boulders which are somewhat trying to walk on. The walls alternate between rocky and mossy and not much light makes it to the floor. Sometimes around a corner a tree or small clump of bushes or ferns will grow, presumably where moisture collects.

I spent a little while here doing assignment stuff until the batteries ran out loading film and I was forced to retreat a tout vitesse to the bottom to catch the camper back to camp to get new ones.

Oct 13, 2008

Carnarvon Gorge

Carnarvon Gorge Here is a view from some stepping stones about half-way up the gorge.

The next day I had an assignment to do for college which involved telling the story of a day in my life, so mysteriously I elected to get up at 5am to watch sunrise then hitched a lift up to the Gorge and walked all the way up it and down it.

And yes, I hurt by the end of it.

Eloise and Mum had some quality time together playing in the creek and so on; we met up mid-afternoon and Mum took a walk while I entertained Eloise and got a new battery for my camera.

Oct 12, 2008

Carnarvon Gorge, Attempt One

Moss Garden In the evening, after a heart meal, we went to see a slideshow at the campsite given by a National Park Ranger which went into the history of Carnarvon Gorge and various bits and bobs about it.

It seems like it's a watershed which feeds rivers which flow widely across Australia and is a canyon which stretches 10km up into the tablelands of the Great Dividing Range, with imposing sandstone cliffs and side gorges which, due to their particular locations and conditions are little microclimates containing pockets of rainforest.

There were floods a couple of years ago where a year-and-a-half's worth of rain fell in less than three months, and consequently the Gorge itself was pretty much gutted by the tumultuous flash floods which ripped through it, leaving trees scattered left right and probably centre too.

It was a centre of Indigenous ceremony and there are a couple of places up it where there are great examples of Aboriginal rock art.

So armed with this the next day in the afternoon we made our first attempt at getting up it, and a magnificent place it is too. The path runs up the creek which flows down it and crosses across may many times via stepping stones, which Eloise found to be most amusing.

However the first point of high interest, the Moss Garden, is a 5km hike from the bottom and it soon became clear that Eloise wasn't really up for that, so after 3km or so I forged ahead and climbed up a steep side-gorge to find a little waterfall in a rocky niche with damp mosses draped all round. Very peaceful.

I caught up with Eloise and Mum on the way down again, and we drove the Camper back down to the campsite, stopping off on the way to book a table at the local restaurant where we ate some nice food.

Oct 10, 2008

Driving Day Number Two

Looking Down From the Bunya Mountains In the morning we got up bright and early as it was driving day number two: destination Carnarvon Gorge.

The previous night had been heavily overcast but it seemed that the clouds were bubbling up over the Bunya Mountains because we were soon out from underneath the cloud cover and looking out West where the clear air allowed a view which stretched almost exactly as far as the eye could see.

Soon we were down on the plains and Mum and I shared the drive which took us through Dalby - brief stop at Coles for provisions - then Chinchilla, Miles, Roma, Injune and up the road to Carnarvon Gorge where after a bumpy ride down an unsealed gravel road for 20km or so we arrived at the camp site at around 5 o'clock.

So just the nine hours on the road then.

More Forest Walking

Ray of Sunshine And the next day we went for a second attempt at the circuit walk, at around 5km.

And Eloise spent a pretty good portion of it on my shoulders.

In the Fig Of It

In the Fig Of It On our morning walk the path ran right through the trunk of an enormous strangler fig tree.

Oct 8, 2008

Night Sky in the Bunya Mountains

Night Sky and Bunya Pine When the sun set and you looked into the sky it was pretty impressive...

Oct 7, 2008

Bright and Early

Big plants have little plants, and so ad infinitum Having gone to bed in an unfamiliar environment, sleep was intermittent, interrupted as it was by kicking legs (Eloise's) and snoring (Mother's) and buzzing (Van fridge) and the ubiquitous bird life.

When we woke up in the morning, fuzzy-eyed, we parted the curtains to see a beautifully green campsite surrounded by forest and staked out by lots of wallabies who were wandering around, some with little joeys poking their little heads out of pouches, munching away at the grass.

So excellent chasing material then.

Eloise was making friends pretty soon but with kids who were leaving so we ate our breakfast and trundled off into the woods.

The Bunya Mountains' claim to fame, other than being the second National Park instituted, it's the single largest colony - if that's the word - or stand - which is the word that all the books use - of Bunya Pine trees in the world, and there aren't many colonies left.

And the Bunya Pine trees are pretty cool, towering into the sky on statuesque trunks with elephants' feet wrinkles at the bottom and distinctive foliage up there above the rest of the rainforest. And they brew cones that weigh 10kg and drop down a hundred feet like rocks so tread carefully in the new year.

We didn't make it very far though, before Eloise's batteries ran out and we had to hoof it home (several hours later as it happened) for coffee and chips and a sleep.

Eloise made another friend in the afternoon who she knocked about with under Grandmotherly supervision whilst I wandered off into the forest and stomped around a circuit for 5km or so.

Did I mention that the day before Mum arrived I hurt my knee inexplicably by climbing up and down steep hills? Well this day my knee was hurting like hell and I wasn't very happy about that, but grinning and bearing it anyway.

Oct 6, 2008

Bunya Mountains

Sunset at Bunya Mountains We were climbing the steep mountain road as the sun set and night fell and had to find our camping space in the dark, and reconfigure the campervan into sleeping mode, brush our teeth, and cook our tea by the light of our campervan lights, and after driving for so long sleep wasn't that far behind.

Eloise was very excited about the whole camping thing and wanted to go out into the campsite to play with the children - all of whom had luminous toys - but all I wanted to do was conk out. So I did.

Road Trip

The Royal Conveyance Mum arrived on the morning of Thursday last, I think it was, and we merrily picked her up from the airport at some ungodly hour in the morning. We were late, and found her patiently waiting for us.

We got home and unpacked, then went to the beach where we messed around some. Mum had taken some homeopathic potion for jetlag and it seemed to do the trick as she made it through to the evening.

On Friday I had a little field trip booked with my photo friends so we all trooped up to Mount Glorious for a coffee then had a walk around in the rainforest before Mum, Nicole and Eloise trooped back down the mountain to have their fun while Nicole went to work and my little threesome went frolicking around stream beds and waterfalls inspecting the roots of the rainforest gums.

Saturday was the dig day and we picked up our little campervan at midday. The plan was to get to the Bunya Mountains before sundown, but this was not to be as packing took a little longer than anticipated and the Satnav we'd hired got us comprehensivley lost around the roadworks in the city.

But once out of the city we haded out past Ipswich then up into the mountains and through Toowoomba then back down the other side and several hours later up to the Bunya Mountains.