Desert gives way to Rainforest in the Bunya Mountains

Desert gives way to Rainforest in the Bunya Mountains

The Bunya Mountains are west of Brisbane in Australia’s Great Dividing Range and house the world’s largest Bunya Pine forest.

The Bunya Pine is one of the few plants surviving from the Jurassic period -200 million years ago these magnificent trees developed and the Bunya Mountains is the place on the planet where they are still prolific.

What a place to camp for my last nights before reaching my destination.

I love the Bunya’s droopy branches and leaves.

To me they resemble giant rastas with their shaggy dreadlocks towering above the forest.

Walking in this beautiful cool rainforest wa such a contrast to the hot dry heat of the central Australia.

Walking amongst the trees

Walking through the trees.

Gardens on the ground

And in the trees in the shape of ferns and moss on the trees.

The gentle wallabies are in the camp grounds and on the trails.

At the northern end of the range at Mt Kiangarow, the forest is drier and grass trees prolific.

The view from Mt Kiangarow magnificent

By day

And at sunset.

That is just over 10,000km completed since I left Melbourne on 1 March 2021

What a ride:

Along the Great Ocean Road

Through the Coorong

Into the Flinders Ranges

Up the Oodnadatta Track

Immersed in the Red Centre

Across outback the Northern Territory and Queensland

Climb into the Bunya Mountains.

And now it’s the wedding on Saturday and I made it on time.

Central Australia Adventure 10 – West MacDonnell Ranges/Tjoritja

Central Australia Adventure 10 – West MacDonnell Ranges/Tjoritja

To ride through the West MacDonnell Ranges is to travel in a landscape created before time began

Mountains and rivers formed over 300 million years ago.

What an experience to camp beside and swim in the oldest river in the world.

The Finke or Larapinta River.

Ormiston Gorge at sunrise is a spectacular site from the Ghost Gum Lookout

The colours changing on the red rocks as the sun rose

The recent rains had filled the gorge with flowing water

So much water that on the Ormiston Gorge Pound Walk at one crossing it was strip off and carry packs high across the creek

But from this small inconvenience was worth it as the views from the walk were just beautiful

Ocre is prized by Aboriginal Australians for a range of purposes but primarily rock and body painting.

The Ocre pits here have provided this precious colouring for millennia

Gaps and chasms fill the length of the ranges.

Some of the creeks that run through then provide big swimming holes.

Like the Ellery Creek Big Hole

Or are a trickle that over the millennia have carved a chasm.

Tjoritja is vast and I visited only half of its amazing gorges. Maybe another visit is required

Central Australia Adventure 4 – Wilpena Pound

Central Australia Adventure 4 – Wilpena Pound

Wilpena Pound National Park lays at the centre of the Flinders Ranges.

In many ways an oasis on the edge of the outback

To climb one of the lookouts or scale a peak is to gain a breathtaking vista like the view from Wangara Lookout below

Though the tracks can be a little testing, especially if a bit of light rain makes them damp.

Inside the Pound the forest is cool with towering River Gums and shady Native Conifers

And of course there is the Wilpena Homestead

I’m.many ways a simple pioneers building but a symbol of devestation in many ways for aboriginal Australians.

But that is a story for another blog.

The beautiful campground offers a shady rest for the adventurer.

Aerial view of Wilpena Pound sourced from the internet
Central Australian Adventure 3 – walks around Willow Springs

Central Australian Adventure 3 – walks around Willow Springs

Only 5 weeks or so back there had been flash flooding around the station as 85mm of rain fell inn30 minutes.

This had closed a number of trails and left other badly rutted challenging for walking.

But the view from Yacca lookout was worth the walk. Named after the Yacca grass trees that are endemic to Australia and can be seen in the middle photo above

The walk was very steep in places and the foothold very loose.

Further along the trail there are petroglyphs – aboriginal engravings.

These are thousands of years old.

I had read the last time I was here back in 2014 that there engraving were often sign posts. Showing where water or food can be found.

The circle symbol meant a permanent water source and the arrows the direction to find it

So I followed the dry creek bed in the direction of the arrows

After a kilometer or so there seeping from a rock, life giving water

Enough to make a string of little water holes on the creek bed

Its been a beautiful couple on nights camped here

Sitting by the camp fire

Walking the amazing gorges amongst the gum trees and native conifers

Next stop is the Wilpena Pound National Park before heading north toward the Oodnadatta Track.

Time to test and set up the new bike – 2

Time to test and set up the new bike – 2

A mob of sheep being hearded along the road side to confirm you are in rural Austratralia

That you are in the mid west of NSW

I waited till it was clear to skirt around the outside of the mob and the sheep dogs and farmer skilfully hearded the sheep into the selected paddock

You also know you are in mid west NSW when you set up tent in the back of the Premer Hotel and enjoy the hospitality and a few Schooners of Old.

But the purpose of the trip north was not to enjoy the mustering of sheep or the taste of a Tooheys old but to test the Steinbock’s comfort for long touring and to test its ability on some of my favourite riding roads. Also to test it on trails I had been reluctant on which to ride the mighty breva.

The Steinbock handled the beautiful roads of the Coffs Coast area of NSW with aplomb taking the beautiful Waterfall Way and its surrounding roads in its stride. AA full tick of approval indeed

But the real test was the Armidale to Kempsey back road that included 127 km of varying road surfaces through national parks and beautiful farming land. (see map above)

What a ride! I also became very aware of how tiring riding on trails iy is compares to road riding.

In the highlands south west of Kempsey are the beautiful Ellenborough Falls. The longest single drop falls in NSW

From to falls east there is there is the Flying Fox Refuge in Wingham on the Manning River

Not far from the coast and its beautiful beaches

The Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac is emblematic of the biker culture in this part Australia

And a travelling piecemeal adventurer can find like souls – lovers of bikes and boats

The test was complete and the ride back to Melbourne was direct and purposeful

As I write Melbourne and Victoria are in a circuit breaking lockdown.

Hopefully, these actions curtail the current outbreak of Covid 19 and I will soon be on my adventure to Central Australia via the Oodnadatta Track.

Stay tuned for updates!

Time to test and set up the new bike

Time to test and set up the new bike

I’ve christened the new bike The Steinbock

The name of a Bavarian Ibex

Im sure you can see the resemblance!

So the best place to test the Steinbock is in the trails of the mountains

Close to home on the trails of Otway ranges of Victoria

Where just of the Mount Sabine Trail is the beautiful Lake Elisabeth

But the real test for the Steinbock was on the high planes of the Mount Kosciusko National Park

Amongst the kangaroos and the wild horses

I was so glad to see that my favourite high country camp ground had been spared the 2019 bushfires

The Ghost Gully campsite is named by the stands of beautiful Ghost Gums that ring the campground

A couple of families with their horses were also sharing the campsite and we soon got to talking and sharing a cup of tea around the camp fire

Bushfires are such fickle things

While the Ghost Gully campground and the rest of the Long Plane were untouched by the fires

Just across the Snowy Mountains Highway the Yarrangobilly Caves reserve was badly burnt

But it was heartening to see the forest regeneration down at the thermal pool

And the caves totally spectacular

I was starting to feel the power and agility of the Steinbock both on the tarmac and on the loose and gravelly roads.

It’s a bike that asks to be ridden so I couldn’t stop here.

but that is for the next post!

A little walk in an old wild place

A little walk in an old wild place

There is something about escaping to an old growth forest

A wild place

On a hot summers day and the beaches are crowded

There is something special about the cool air of a mountain

and a shade walk in an old growth forest

The view from the look out at the summit Mount Donnna Buang is a panorama across the top of Melbourne’s Yarra Ranges.

The summit walks are amongst alpine forests

Ghost gums and snow gums well spaced with low ferns and scrub

Even the remnants of an old alpine hut can be found.

Half way down the mountain the transition from alpine forest to temperate rain forest is complete

Giant mountain ash dominate the forest, along with myrtle beech

Along the gullies and waterways the tree ferns spread the wing like fronds

Parks Victoria provide some fantastic interpretation in Victoria’s parks. These two pieces I particularly liked.

There is something about being all at sea

There is something about being all at sea

The phrase ‘all at sea’

Comes from a time past, where ship navigation was much less certain

No GPS or accurate weather forecasts

I learnt to sail in the pre GPS days

In days of dead reckoning, bearing compases, cocked hats, noon sights, star sights and sextant

And you best friend was a lighthouse

At the entrance to ports, like the Point Lonsdale Light at the entrance to Port Phillip

Or looming large over dangerous headlands

Like at Cape Liptrap

Or at Cape Schank

While at sea

Companions at sea are the sea birds, terns, shearwaters and gannets

And of course the playful dolphins

Then finding that safe harbour

Or the sheltered cove

Birds Rocks Anchorage, Waratah Bay, Victoria Australia

Its good to be all at sea again.

A new year and a time to revisit an old past time

A new year and a time to revisit an old past time

March last year the yacht Futura after 30 years ownership, past into anothers hands.

I thought my sailing days were over

But a chance to crew with friends means that the 2021 adventures start on the bright blue sea.

Sailing down the channels Port Phillip

Past ships waiting at anchor

Keeping a weather eye

Before entering into Queenscliff the beautiful small boat harbour near Port Phillip Heads.

After a beautiful seaside sunset it a day for some final checks then out into Bass Strait.

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