giraween 2017

I spent yesterday exploring Giraween National Park which sits on the Queensland side of the New South Wales border about 3 hours south west of Brisbane.

The area is known for its large granite formations of around 220 million years ago.

Giraween offers some amazing hiking: I managed to do 29km in a day which included climbing to the top of The Pyramid and Castle Rock, as well as exploring some creeks and seeing some rock formations like the Granite Arch.

The weather was rather spectacular with temperatures around 28 degrees Celsius and clear sunny skies.

I’d like to head back at some point and try to climb the second pyramid, but I need some company to do that safely.

mount cooroora

During our recent long weekend in Noosa I took the opportunity to hike up Mount Cooroora which has been on my mountain bucket list for some time now. Each July, the nearby township of Pomona hosts a 4.2km “King of the Mountain” race up and back down from the local pub, with the record being held by Neil Labinsky, 4th year consecutive winner, with a recorded a time of 22 minutes 43 seconds.

I loved the 360 degree views at the top and had the full length of the summit to myself.

Distance: 3km return
Time up: 25min
Time down: 25min
Elevation: 439m
Elevation Gain: 300m

 

camels!

Last Sunday we went on an afternoon drive to the scenic rim to visit Lake Moogerah for a picnic. On the way Kitty spotted a sign for a Camel Farm and Diary so we stopped on the way home, of course. Summer Land Camel Farm only opens Sundays from 9:30 to 4 and has a cafe and an area where you can get up close and feed the camels – we all loved it so much!

 

 

mount mitchell (main range national park)

Mount Mitchell sits on the southern side of Cunningham’s Gap in the Main Range National Park. There are some excellent views of Mount Cordeau to the north whilst walking to the peak and the peak itself is a cosy rocky little area covered in grass trees with fantastic views East, South and West. I loved sitting up here and reading a book in the sun and having a cup of tea all to myself. A great walk with an awesome summit so would do it again 😊

Distance: 10.5km return
Time up: 1h:13m
Time down: 53m
Elevation: 1174m
Elevation Gain: 381m

petrichor

petrichor - 1

It hasn’t rained in Brisbane for a long time. This evening I was coming home and smelt petrichor and smiled: our new house is much closer to a large bushland reserve and the petrichor is more pungent.

What is petrichor you ask?

(pretrichor is) used to describe the distinct scent of rain in the air. Or, to be more precise, it’s the name of an oil that’s released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall.

The word was invented by the CSIRO in Australia.

the only exercise…

“Many people – and not a few companies – like to think that they can somehow stretch the cognitive limits of their minds, that doings lots of Sudoku or using programs like Brain Trainer will somehow enlarge their capacity. They’re out of luck. The only exercise that seems to nurture, or at least protect our brains is aerobic exercise. Yoga, toning and stretching may make you feel good but, in fMRI scans, only aerobic exercise seemed to have a visibly positive impact on the brain.”

~ Margaret Heffernan – Wilful Blindness

mount greville

Five of us went up Mount Greville yesterday. We ascended via the South East Ridge and came down via the Waterfall Gorge. Stunning views, particularly from about halfway down the Waterfall Gorge path where there were open rock faces you can walk on top of and stare out at Lake Moogerah. It took us about 4 hours with plenty of stops. The views from the actual summit were so so but everything else made up for it. I will be back to try Palm Gorge next time (up) and probably South East Ridge down for those views.

mount cordeaux / bare rock

A mate and I headed out of the city first thing this morning to Cunningham’s Gap: a break in the Great Dividing Range of the East Coast of Australia where there’s a few trails to some of the peaks.

Today we tackled Mount Cordeaux and then Bare Rock which is an extension to the same trail.

It was sunny when we got to Mount Cordeaux but as we arrived to Bare Rock fog had crept up and over the mountain which gave us some great contrasting landscapes.

There was another little trail off the main track called Morgan’s Walk which was short but overgrown and not really worth it.

The walk was very graded and there weren’t any tough parts which was a little disappointing but the views, particularly from Cordeaux made the trip worthwhile.

Distance: 14.3km return
Altitude Gain: 610m
Time: 2:19 up 1:36 down (with breaks)

 

a perfect brisbane-toowoomba day trip

Toowoomba is a pretty sweet little city. Despite having a relatively small population (~100,000) it has the vibe of a bigger city.

Another good thing about Toowoomba is its proximity to Brisbane. You can get up there fairly easily in 90 mins on a weekend, which makes it a perfect day trip destination if you set off early.

I set off early yesterday as the sun was rising and began my road trip. I couldn’t help but stop at the abandoned Servo Plus service station at Plainland (cool suburb name) for a few quick snaps.


There’s also a really cool red elephant statue on the same side of the road at Plainland (right near Wet Dreams Aquatics 😳) which is worth checking out as you drive by.

My first destination in Toowoomba was Table Top Mountain. This is a mountain just East of the main range which has a large grassy plateau on top which you can walk around on checking out the views of the surrounding pristine Lockyer Valley. I wanted to get here early before it got too hot, and also to see the rising sun to the East. The climb isn’t for the unfit or faint-hearted but the views are definitely worthwhile.


After admiring the views I made my way into the city to check out some of the Toowoomba street art. There’s a long weekend festival in Toowoomba each year called First Coat where street arts cover buildings around the city in murals. It’s been running since 2014 so there’s already plenty of murals to check out. Any lane in the city is pretty much guaranteed to have a few different murals.


One of the benefits of exploring the laneways in the city is you come across places to eat you wouldn’t otherwise discover. One such place was called Skewers which is an Indonesian street food style restaurant serving skewers grilled over hot coals, and slow cooked rendangs 😍


After wandering the streets and eating some lovely food I decided to start making my way back home.

I’m a huge fan of roadside produce stalls and doing some Googling I discovered that the Lockyer Valley sitting just East of the Great Diving Range has lots of farms, and lots of roadside produce stalls. So I descended from Toowoomba into Flagstone as Flagstone Creek Road has heaps of the roadside stalls. My favourite stall was at Winwill, and during the drive back I managed to pick up two dozen fresh eggs, two pumpkins, spinach, potatoes, a watermelon, two punnets of tomatoes, and three stems of broccoli.  All so fresh and delicious! The fringe benefit of this ‘produce run’ is that the views driving through the valley are top-notch:


It’s been a long but fun day so I make my way home to unload the produce and edit all the photos I’ve taken. Good times. 

 

table top mountain, toowoomba

I started my day in Toowoomba by climbing to the plateau of Table Top Mountain.

I can’t believe I hadn’t been up here before: it’s amazing.

The climb up and back down was much quicker, but much harder, than I was expecting. Once you’re at the top there’s a huge grassy plateau to walk around and admire the gorgeous views of the pristine Lockyer Valley around you 😍

There were a number of large prickly pear cacti growing around various parts of the mountain covered in fruit.

I definitely would do this again if I was in the Toowoomba area.

Elevation: 596m (206m gain)
Time up: 19m
Time down: 18m

mt edwards

I woke up before 5am on Saturday morning and drove (1h:10m) to Mt Edwards which is part of Moogerah Peaks National Park (next to Lake Moogerah) to hike to the summit. The hike up wasn’t all that interesting (besides walking over the dam wall at the start) or challenging (just a constant 3km ascent) but the views at the top were 💯 as you are right at the top of a very steep cliff-face.

Elevation: 634m (520m gain)
Time up: 1h:04m
Time down: 54m

 

goolman lookout / rocky knoll

With a slightly cool change in weather this morning I decided to take an early hike to Goolman Lookout. This hike is part of the same conservation estate as Flinders Peak but leaves from a different picnic area known as Hardings Paddock.

The hike to Goolman Lookout was pleasant and not at all difficult. The trail was wide and accessible, with some steep sections but no climbing or scrambling required.

I walked back via the ‘Rocky Knoll’ Lookout which, true to its name, was a rocky knoll which you can only access by climbing over a barbed-wire fence 😳

flinder’s peak take two

I took my mate Mike up to Flinder’s Peak this morning to kick-start 2017. Even though we began the ascent before 7am it was still really hot by the time we reached the top and we were lucky to make a quick descent before it got crazy hot. We both carried about 2.5 litres of water which was just enough for the temperature which reached about 36 degrees Celsius.

It was great to have some company (I usually hike alone) and I hope I have piqued his interest in climbing some more mountains (perhaps when it cools down a bit).

mount ngungun

I did a quick hike up Mount Ngungun, one of the Glasshouse Mountains, early this morning (after a failed attempt at climbing Mount Tibrogargan 😞).

I really enjoyed the walk up and the view at the top. It wasn’t at all challenging compared with other hikes I’ve been doing, but that didn’t make the view any less special.

There are great views of the surrounding mountains. I’m planning to take the boys up here when it cools down a bit: I’m sure they’ll love it.

nathanael johnson quote

“There’s a reason adult humans learn to put our blinders on when it comes to nature. We need to get through life and pay the bills. We can’t stay so fascinated by the ants on the sidewalk that we forget to catch the bus to work. We forget how to see the world with a childlike wonder. Remember that we can take those adult blinders off every once in a while. Life gets a lot richer when we do.”

~ Nathanael Johnson provides a gentle reminder of the wonder of nature – via The Smith Journal