Saturday, February 25, 2017
Springbrook and Tamborine Rain Forest, Brisbane Aussie Adventure Day 8
Brisbane QLD Australia
It's Sunday morning and we're in Brisbane. Someone pinch me. This is just too cool.
We're up early for our Mt. Tamborine tour today. Our room was very quiet but the bed is a little too hard for us. So we didn't sleep too well. But life goes on.
The breakfast buffet offered is substantial. Eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit and various cereals. We fuel up then walk to the Roma Street bus stop across from the Police Station to meet our van for our tour of Springbrook National Park and Mt. Tamborine.
We have another small van (which means small group-YES!) Harrison is our driver and guide for the day. He's a marine biologist who recently worked studying turtles at the Great Barrier Reef. He's been guiding for about two years.
Once in the van, he asks us all to tell a little bit about ourselves. We soon find out the a number of the young folks are here in Australia to learn English as a second language. Harrison jokes with them saying they've picked the wrong country to study in "we (Aussies) make a real mess of English."
We're heading south towards the Gold Coast and Hinterland. We'll be stopping at the Natural Bridge, doing a few bush walks, looking for wildlife, driving on to Tamborine Mountain, stopping for lunch, checking out a man-made glow worm cave, visiting a waterfall then driving back to Brisbane.
As we leave the M1, we turn onto 97 into the Numinbah Valley, the hills and Gondwana rain forest become more visible.
Our first stop is at Natural Bridge (see the photo above). A short bush walk in the rain forest to a place that is sacred to the aboriginal people. Along the way, Harrison point out may plants and and creatures we come across.
Natural Bridge was formed by water carving out the cave.
Harrison jokes with us and says "You've all heard about all the things in Australia that can kill ya. Well, nothing wants to kill ya, (they) just love you enough to put you in hospital." One of the deadliest critters is the Eastern Brown Snake but you don't find it in the rain forest, you're more likely to encounter it in the suburbs or scrub forest. Great! Watch where you step.
Our next stop is a lookout on our way to Cedar Creek Estate for lunch and a visit to their Glow worm cave. We're in the Tamborine Mountain area which was named for the fruit.
Lunch was yummy and a bit rushed but we all dealt with it just fine. We are scheduled to visit the caves at 12:30 so we had about 20 minutes to eat.
Jay and I visited Waitamo Glow Worm Caves while we were in New Zealand but the rest of our group have never seen these tiny creatures before. No photography or cell phones allowed as the bright light will disturb the larvae.
Back in the van and we're heading to Gallery Walk. The place is billed as a “shop-a-holics” paradise. To us it seems like a typical mountain tourist town. Harrison has arranged for some folks to do a wine tasting. Jay and I are Hunter Valley wine tasted out, so we opt for the beer tasting. Four of us head up the road to try some craft beers.
Fortitude Brewery who's motto is In Cerevisia Fortitudo – In Beer is Strength is an open air pub offering pizza, snacks and beer with a cheese factory across the mall.
Walking back to meet the van we spot Fudge Heaven and head inside to check out the fudge but are quickly turned to their ice cream case. Jay has a double chocolate and I go for the Hokey Pokey (a New Zealand flavor) cone.
We have one last stop before heading back to the city-Curtis Falls. We hike a little ways into the forest and soon hear guitars and water falling. On this HOT Sunday, folks have gathered for some music and to cool off in the falls.
The Sunday Afternoon Curtis Falls Jam Session.
Back in the van Harrison tells us about some of the problems they have with animals in Australia, like feral cat and pigs. And the rabbit population explosion. All these came about by humans introducing these non-native species to this island continent.
We talk some about 1080-a chemical we learned about in New Zealand being use to selectively poison non-native species. I look around the van and most people are snoozing. The walking, the heat and the wine/beer tasting has wiped most of us out.
After about an hour we're back in the city and saying goodbye to Red Beard-Harrison.
Come Monday we'll be taking a river cruise to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
More photos of our day spent around Mount Tamborine: Click here.