The Bunya Mountains and environs – SE Queensland

The Bunya Mountains and environs – SE Queensland

The Bunya Pine is an ancient tree, a living fossil from the age of the dinosaurs

These magnificent trees are very rare and found in only a couple areas of Queensland.

The Bunya Mountains lay west of Brisbane, the capital city Queensland

In an area called the Scenic Rim

The road to the Bunya Mountains takes you through the Somerset Region

An area with an interesting history and some great riding roads.

The historic town of Marburg has some very beautifully restore light timber framed buildings typical of Queenland early construction

The hotel is beautiful, well restored good food and a cold beer.

There is the old seminary which is now a winery, reception centre and accommodation is another insight into the early days of local European settlement

The Bunya Pine in the seminary grounds a reminder that this is the right track to the Bunya mountains

Coomba Waterhole is virtually at the base of Bunya Mountain a nice stop off .

The area had recently been burnt in bushfires and the fire tolerant Balga Grass Trees were flourishing as part of the regeneration.

The Bunya Mountain was declared a National Park in 1901 and there are beautiful walks through the forest

The Bunya pines grow higher than the forest canopy, which is mainly eucalypts. These eucalypts grow to about 45 metres high buy Bunya Pines of over 60 metres have been recorded

When you look across to the forest from the mountain lookout. You can see the Bunya Pines sticking their prehistoric heads out above the forest canopy.

Bunya Mountain is a rare and beautiful place to visit

The Motorcycle as Art

The Motorcycle as Art

The motorcycle has been used as a symbol in many ways;

the rebel,

the outlaw

the philosopher

The revolutionary

the freedom seeeker

the speed freak racer

the dare devil

and many more archetypes

The book Sons of Thunder in its anthology of writing covers many of these

To a rider their bike is a work of art

But as a public artform curated in an Art Gallery

This was special

The beautiful old Moto Guzzis took my eye

as the the Norton Commando and Laverda Joto-bikes I once owned

There were bikes so stylish

And bikes record breakingly fast

There were the off road bikes

And the electric bikes of the future

And my favourite – amazing hand built Britten

Still amongst the most innovative and eye catching bikes ever built

So if you love the image of motorbikes, the art of motorbikes and you are in Australia, head to the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

whoops I nearly forgot the helmets

and if you go don’t forget to buy a tshirt!

Into Queensland

Into Queensland

The Pacific Highway is the most direct route from Yamba up into Queensland.

But motorways are busy and with the weather predicted to hit 40c to hot and exposed on a motorbike

So I chose a route inland which took me through the cool of the mountains

Along some twisty byways

I started early to miss the heat

At Lawrence the ferry was waiting

In the morning light

to take me across the Clarence river.

Soon I was on the Summerland Way

Through Casino and Kyogle and on the Lions Road that leads into the Border Ranges

The Border Loop lookout providing the perfect stop for a coffee stop and a mid morning snack in the cool of a bit of altitude.

It was a hot ride onto my destination west of Brisbane so I hustled along into Queensland

Springbrook National Park – nature’s beautiful garden

Springbrook National Park – nature’s beautiful garden

A fellow adventurer

From Germany

told me

Wenn Engel verreisen, scheint die Sonne

When angels travel the sun shines.

So walking in the sub tropic rain forest

An angel must have been with me

Walking as if in nature’s hand

Trees as old as Gondwanaland 

Thick green forest

Waterfalls

Sparkling like diamonds in the sun

Walking in nature’s garden

When angels travel the sky is definitely smiling

Springbrook is a place for angels to travel.

Cape York – On the trail of our indigenous culture and James Cook

Cape York – On the trail of our indigenous culture and James Cook

On the banks of the Endeavour River, in Cooktown, there is an interpretive plaque that says the James Cook and the local aborigines reconciled in 1770.

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Was it a reconciliation of convenience? Cook had a damaged ship that needed repair. Or was he open to a deeper understanding.

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The rock art on Cape York is evidence of a complex culture many thousands of years old. Some of the carvings in the walls of the Split Rock are estimated to be 13000 years old.

I’m a great admirer of James Cook, – three circumnavigations of the world before his death at 51 in Hawaii.

And know I can learn much from our indigenous culture, it’s spirituality and understanding of place and the land.

In Cape York the two came together.

I know I’m in the tropics…

I know I’m in the tropics…

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It’s the smell
The warm moist fertile smell
Like any thing could grow here
Through central Queensland the smell was dry and dusty
Now it’s moist and you can smell and taste it

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The tropical forests bring there interesting dangers
Even the plants

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And of course there is the sugar cane. Been with me since the sub tropics.
It’s harvest time and sometimes the air is sickly sweet with the smell of sugar syrup especially near a mill grinding the cane

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The tropics and sugar cane are synonymous for me.
Be it tropical Queensland,  Mauritius,  the Mekong Delta, the moist highlands of Ethiopia near the source of the Nile or South Pacific Islands, sugar cane was always there.

Being on a motorbike I’m in the moment, part of the environment, and experiencing the smells is part of it.

Roads less travelled

Roads less travelled

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I seek the roads less travelled

Long flat ribbons of road narrow and rutted
Covering flat planes and sparse dry land

Curvy narrow tight roads through mountains and forests
A precipice at every turn

Hours alone

Past forests
Gorges
Rivers flowing
Rivers almost dry

Past mines
Pasture
Canefields

The little cane train rattling along its narrow rails
Huge bulls almost lost in the long grass
Move over for the massive mining machinery inching along

Then it’s the A1
Funnelled into a tourist town
Peace lost

Missing the quiet of the roads less travelled
The natural beauty along the way.

NSW /QLD border near Springbrook NP

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Natural Bridge NP
image giant staghorn fern clings to the cliff in Cania Gorge

I’m sitting at Airlie Beach, a popular tourist town and thinking of the roads less travelled and the beautiful places I’ve passed on those back roads; Mundubbera, the mandarin capital, Dingo, with an Argentinian barmaid, and the offer of a couple of days work as a bouncer in Biloela.

The beauty of the Natural Bridge and Cania Gorge NPS.

It’s warm though and riding in just a Tshirt under my leather jacket is a pleasure.

But the tropics still call and Cooktown is another 950 kilometres north.