Jan 1, 2015

New Year's Day Bathing in High Mountain Springwater

We agonised long and hard over our New Year's Day's activities, wanting to search out new ocean-side rock pools to sit in and pore over, but for all the Queensland has to offer it seems that rocks are few and far between, failing ignominiously to interrupt the endless expanses of white-gold sand.

Nicole did find a rock-pool based water park type thing down at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, so for a change to the Cartwright Point experience, and hoping for a tidal sealife experience, we headed down there maybe to explore some rockpools, maybe to explore the beach, maybe who-knows-what.

After the usual navigational kerfuffle, obviously my fault, as always, we found ourselves paradoxically headed inland away from Currumbin Beach and towards Currumbin Valley. This experience was clearly to be river-based. Naturally Lyra had fallen asleep on the longish drive, and as we approached the Currumbin Rockpools it became clear from the swathes of parked cars that once again we were not the only ones with this idea; with the intention of letting sleeping babes lie, we continued up the road to the Mount Cougal section of the Springbrook National Park, opening our windows briefly just to let all the plans out.

We climbed up into the mountains and soon mobile phone coverage had disappeared, not that the GPS map would be of any use other than to tell us how far we might have to go. We soon knew that we had arrived when we encountered some small crowds of people, and, fording the stream, the first parked cars. We continued up to the car park, and after a couple of predatory circuits decided to be naughty and snag the only remaining minibus-only space, whereupon Lyra conveniently awoke.

After some small sustenance we began an exploratory reconnoitre up the path which ascended into rainforest, taking us further up the mountain with the creek meandering on our right. Soon we came to the first cascade, a noisy waterfall rushing semi-violently from a waterhole down a cliff probably five metres into a punchbowl before descending again to continue its descent. People - young people - were down there, trespassing no doubt, basking in the intermittent sunshine and looking like they were up to no good.

We continued past several likely-looking swimming spots. Eloise was becoming impatient to climb down but the creek-banks were high and treacherous-looking and not for us faint-hearts. After a while though we came to an easily accessible little rocky beach by a gently flowing section of the creek which took our fancy, and so I returned to the car to retrieve food, drink and dookers (or should I say togs, or trunks) to complete our fun-filled toolkit of high-octane white-water adventure.

I had a precariarse time changing on the beach (bank?) while the general public tried hard to look like they weren't looking but soon we were tentatively making our bare-foot way across the rock-strewn creek bed, the cool spring water rushing around our ankles. Eloise spied a vine swing and had a go.

Vaguely unsatisfied with the limited swimming opportunities afforded us by the ankle-deep water Eloise took matters in her hands and headed downstream. I was left with little choice but to follow, and we found ourselves on the edge of a deep pool with no apparent option but to swim across. Eloise was deeply reluctant to get in, and I masked my own deep reluctance by gently mocking her for her cowardice, but after a while she took the plunge, damn her, and so it became necessary for me, not to be outdone, to lower myself gently down the sloping face of a large slippery rock, the gasps coinciding with the sudden drops in temperature around my delicate tissues as the chilly water invaded my personal spaces. Nothing a prissily pressed pair of lips couldn't mask though: before long I was stroking the breast in the clear dark waters for the ten seconds or so it took to get to the other side.

Then down a cliff-face next to a gushing waterfall sluicing a curve across the rocky fall to a nice big waterhole where young people were misbehaving, as young people I'm told are wont to do, by climbing up the high rocky cliffs by the side of the creek and jumping in from a great height - men mostly, trying to impress young ladies. Or their mothers.

Eloise and I ambled down there for a while, getting out every now and then to warm up, the outside air warm and moist, before swimming to the underneath of the waterfall where we luxuriated, if that's the word, in the thrusting hydrodynamic force of the torrent.

When we returned to Nicole and Lyra, Eloise swung some more, we ate some more, then we decided to head for the beach for Fish'n'Chips.

Parking spaces once again hard to come by, but the beach was pleasant. There were some likely looking rocks, probably with rock pools, in the distance, but the distance was just a little far from our eventual parking spot, and time was ticking on.

Much warmer down at Currumbin Beach, the sound of the surf mingled with the jet engines of the clockwork departures from the airport which banked over the beach, through the clouds and out to sea. We paddled a little, then, hungry, decided to seek out a chip shop.

After getting to the head of the ten-minute queue the lady told us there was a fifty (five-oh) minute wait for chips, God knows why, and the queue melted away like a Mr Whippy on a car bonnet. We soon elected to head home, and after spending an hour in a traffic jam, a queue which took us past an unfortunate upturned jeep in the fast lane, we wended our way back, bringing the outboard part of the day to an end.

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