Recovery day trips

17 August 2019, Bribie Island

20 August 2019, White Horse Mountain, Caloundra and Mooloolaba

23 August 2019, D’Aguilar National Park

24 August 2019, Victoria Point

After a good few days of lying around in Brisbane feeling sorry for ourselves we had started to emerge back into the world and feel well enough to get out and about a bit. This coinciding with the weekend meant that for our first outing we could share it with Ranny, Andy and Bella so together we drove north again to Bribie Island.

Only this time we got a permit to drive into the national park and onto the beach. This was to be our first off road experience and it was an exceptionally bumpy one until we got onto the hard sand on the waters edge. We are used to having a sea view from our other home on Pintail but I wasn’t quite expecting us to get this close in the Land Cruiser! It was an odd experience driving down the beach dodging others fishing or playing on the sand.

We found a shady spot and just parked up. It was good to feel the warmth of the sun although the sea was still a bit chilly.

Bella tried on everyone else’s hats for size

and Stefan felt well enough for a game of football. The lure of the sea proved too much for Bella and she crawled all the way into the water, necessitating a change of clothes!

A little further along the each we found reminders of Australia’s own role in WWII – great concrete defences along the beach to defend from Japanese invasion. After 70 years they were close to toppling over.

On our drive back off the beach we found a kangaroo emerging early for dusk. Hopping out of the car with my camera I got close enough to realise that this roo was not going to be as tame as the ones at Lone Pine and I backed off to a safer distance!

Another day, when we were coughing less Stefan and I headed again up to the Sunshine Coast. On the way we stopped at White Horse Mountain to climb up to the lookout at the top. It was a very steep climb and proved a bit much for our still recovering lungs but the delicate yellow and white blossoms gave us something to look at as we wheezed our way up.

Our reward was another view across to the Glass House Mountains with their strange peaks bursting out of the forest floor. It is a really surreal sight.

We continued up the coast stopping at Wellington Point for coffee on the pier. From Caloundra you can almost touch the tip of Bribie Island where only a shallow channel separates it from the mainland. In Maloolaba we treated ourselves to fish and chips on the sea front. It seems such a British dish but one that Australia has taken as its own.

When we were really feeling we had turned a corner in getting rid of the flu we took a drive to the D’Aguilar National Park. Just on the outskirts of Brisbane, not far from Mount Coot-tha, we found ourselves in a completely different world. Stopping first at the Information Centre we armed ourselves with a map of the many walking trails and also checked out the wildlife centre to get acquainted with some of the creatures we might come across

including the duck-billed platypus, a creature so agile in the water it is very difficult to photograph.

Outside we found wallabies and emus and a kangaroo in serious need of a manicure!

Heading deeper and higher into the park we found lookouts with views down to the plateau and to the sea. It was good to fill our lungs with fresh air

and be amongst the trees. We decided we were fit enough to tackle one of the parks shorter walks, taking us from the dry eucalypt forest

to the rain forest full of snaking vines

and towering fig trees. This really felt like being in the jungle. Information boards warned of trap door spiders and funnel web spiders. Are they dangerous? I asked, hoping not. Later research confirmed a bite can be fatal but there hasn’t been a death in Australia from a spider bite for a long time. I still trode carefully just in case.

Further into the park we got views inland towards the Great Dividing Range and some incredible rocks growing out of the forest.

After making our way down again into the Samford Valley we stopped for a picnic at a shady recreation area. No sooner had we unpacked our sandwiches than we were joined by some very tame kookaburras. They probably weren’t used to being thrown carrot sticks but seemed happy enough with their treats, gulping them down whole.

Once we had finished they retreated to nearby branches and kept a careful eye on us, just in case we had anything else in our bag to share.

On our last morning in Brisbane we took a drive out to Victoria Point one of many similar points that look out from the mainland to the islands of Moreton Bay and its many islands. We walked along the beach looking out to the boats anchored in the Bay and pondering the draft of the sailboats, wondering if Pintail might fit. These waters are very shallow for navigating. As we walked Stefan said “I hope you get to see the soldier crabs“.

And just as he said it the beach ahead started moving and we heard a strange, faint, rustling noise – thousands of blue and white soldier crabs sweeping in unison across the sand. When we got too close they simply dug themselves into the sand and hid!

After these few days out, some short but getting longer walks and with the coughs subsiding we declared ourselves fit enough to finally leave Brisbane. We realised however, that we had underestimated the outback winter temperatures and decided that instead of heading west immediately we would test our fortitude for camping by staying close to sea level and the warmer temperatures and instead head south for a while before turning right…

Post script

A very big THANK YOU to Ranny, Andy and Bella for taking us back in to help us recover and for all the warmth and love. We miss our early morning visits from the sleep thief!

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