Lost Worlds, Pademelons…. Rainforest Magic

Fantastic day today in the wonderful rainforests of the Queensland hinterland
We were up, packed and off by about 820- sorry to leave Noosa, but excited at what we would see today. Our first stop was a special request from Bob: The Ginger Factory at Yandina, about 30 minutes drive from Noosa. The factory and plantation itself has been in operation for decades but theyhave also established a lovely day visit around it. You can tour and taste the ginger factory, there is an associated honey operation that can also be toured and tasted, there is a fabulous tropical garden and rainforest that can be walked through, cafes, artisan shops, a children’s playground, an old sugar cane transport train journey….. We hardly scratched the surface of the place but if I had toddlers, this would definitely be a place I would have an annual pass for. We really only stopped for a coffee (fabulous as always in Australia) but we enjoyed the rainforest walk, the walk around the tropical gardens and the shops. A lovely first stop. Bob bought some ginger beer….. with spiced rum!!!!
On we went to the Wagga Falls and the NP around that. A lovely little stroll to the viewpoint over the staggering falls which just plummet down a massive cliff. As usual, the overwhelming impression is “green”!!!! The view was astonishing. We could see Noosa Heads and the Pacific in the distance, although by now the clouds were coming in and it wasn’t looking at all promising.
We toured on, using Tourist Route 23, a road linking wonderful mountain towns through the hinterland NPs. Some of them have gone a bit plastic touristy: Montville for example. Not to say it isn’t worth a trip: it is. Lots of art galleries, artwork shops, coffee shops, bakeries etc. Just not local particularly.
We went on, following Route 23. Staggering views all the way. Amazing woodlands. The Glasshouse Mountains beginning to reveal themselves despite the low cloud and slight drizzle. We arrived at the Mary Cairncross Nature Preserve at about midday. The drizzle had really set in by then, which affected the stunning view towards the Glasshouse Mountains from there…. Very atmospheric though. We set off nonetheless on the forest walk. This preserve is one of the oldest sections of natural rainforest in Queensland. So very glad we did it. The rain only enhanced the experience. Only some drops penetrated the dence canopy. We were on our own for the entire walk, about 45 minutes. It was totally magical.
The trees were so various: cedar; eucalyptus; walnut; heartwood…. So many other trees I’d never even heard of. Massively tall. Lush undergrowth. Many of the ancient trees were enveloped by strangler figs which added massively to their bulk and also gave a sort of sculptural complexity to the woods. The vines and roots wound their way around the trunks, across the walkways, across the ground in weird and wonderful shapes and twining patterns. Fabulous to see.
At one point, deep in the woods…. There was a noise…. And Bob called back to me… “It’s a pig…. Oooh… a hopping pig…….what???” I was just in time to see a small brown shape disappearing off into the undergrowth. We dcided it was a wallaby. Loved the concept of the hopping pig though…
On we went, eventually met two men coming the other way. “Have you seen the Pademelons?” they said…. Errr…. Have we???? Ah… they’re small hopping creatures…. So… YES! We have seen them. Not a hopping pig! A Pademelon! On we went….
Came to a spot where there was a complete racket going on up in the trees…. It was a collection of some sort of bat… on we went….. amazing trees… amazing roots… vines…. Fungi – yes… bright orange fungi! Then we came along a narrow path through the dense woods and there, all of a sudden, there were loads of hopping pigs…. Errrr… that would be Pademelons! Little delicate marsupials… tiny kangaroos. They moved quite fast and were hard to get pictures of but we managed.
Emerged from the trees and it was still raining. We head off down the mountain towards Glass Mountains NP. The roads are really good…. Even the country roads. We wended our way through the forests. The strange peaks of the park visible from time to time. It’s like the Land That Time Forgot. Weird peaks sticking up above the dense rainforest. Obviously relics of ancient volcanic times. Sheer rock on top of some of them. A climber’s dream. Sheer, sheer cliffs. A bit like El Capitano in Yosemite but sharper, not rounded. If a dinosaur poked its head out of the woods and roared at you, you wouldn’t be a bit surprised! That’s all I can say. The most extraordinary topography. My words cannot deliver it to you.
We parked up in the National Park and set off on the only hike appropriate to non climbers. After about 10 minutes, we reached some warning notices that thieves operate in the car park. As we had all our current worldly goods in the park, we decided to clamber on separately I went first. Bob told me if I wasn’t back from the viewpoint in 15 minutes, he would be coming after me. Off I went. Hell… it was all uphill, rather steep stepped climb. And by now the sun had come out… It was 30C…. I sweated on…. Got to the viewpoint…. Took two pictures and then headed back. Worth it.
We headed on south…. Lovely forests, lakes…… arrived at our base for the night Berry Nice Retreat, around 345. WOW. What a place! Deep in the hills and up a long drive… wonderful trees and views… a stunning house….. Our apartment is just fabulous. Massive. A lovely little lounge, bathroom and kitchen, leading to a stunning huge bedroom with massive balcony. Our host, Cliff, is an Englishman who has been here for 10 years. Can I just say, WOW, again….. The grounds are massive and they have goats and alpaca grazing around. The apartment has just about everything… coffee pod machine…. Fridge/freezer…. Four poster bed…. Massive tv. They have given us home made jam, bread, butter and eggs from their own chickens.
Everything is heavenly and so peaceful. The only quibble we have is that there is no proper oven… and Bob chose tonight to indulge his new passion: Aussie pies…… We have managed using a combination between the microwave and it’s integral grill. We’ve sunk a bottle of chardonnay and the remnants of some pinot grig….. the world is feeling right, that’s all I can say.
The wifi here is wonderful too! Wathcing Masterchef streaming via the Ipad to the tv…
Have totally enjoyed today. Mary Cairngross park was the best we have visited so far. This overnight is just lovely…. £80 including breakfast. Hopefully, we will sleep well tonight in this peaceful place