“If you hurt them, the crab army will come and tear your eyeballs out with their sharp claws!”
I opened my eyes wide in mock horror and thanked the young lad for his sagely advice. It’s not often I drag my hermit-like self out to mingle with the crowds that flock to the coast on the weekend, but on this occasion I was being thoroughly entertained by a pair of young wildlife enthusiasts.
I know I promised a report on my chilly trip south in mountainous rainforest country, but this week I’ll be sharing a mini-post about a coastal spot north instead because my free WordPress data limit has almost been used up. I will need to make some decisions about how I upgrade before I’m able to share the longer post with you.
When international people think about Queensland, it’s often the Gold and Sunshine Coast that spring to mind. However, there are many other coastal destinations, including small suburbs of Brisbane, that have much to offer tourists and locals.
While it’s certainly not known for its surfing opportunities, Sandgate, about 16km north of the Brisbane central business district has a relaxed lifestyle that appeals to many. Wide concrete paths along the shore front are popular with dog walkers, cyclists, joggers and families.
It’s linked by a 35 minute train ride to the Brisbane central business district which means horrendous peak hour road traffic to inner Brisbane can be avoided. Even though I live in the southwest part of Brisbane, it’s only about an hour ride on the train, making it an easy car-free escape from the bushfire smoke and heat of summer. If it’s not peak hour time, I can also take my bike on the train with me. Nearby Redcliffe, Brighton and Shorncliffe also offer relaxed seaside living and Boondall Wetlands is a popular spot for bird watchers.
At low tide, depressions left by feeding stingrays offer temporary homes for juvenile prawns, fish, sea worms and other marine wildlife. They vary in width and depth but one stingray may leave many depressions.
It was these depressions as well as areas around the drainage outlet pipes that two little lads were exploring when I came upon the scene. After spotting my camera they were eager to help. I don’t share photos of the faces of other people’s children, but here’s one of a helpful little hand holding a hermit crab that apparently “may tear my eyeballs out” if I’m not careful.
I also received a lecture about the differences between snails and crabs but by this stage the snails were firmly hidden deep inside their shells so the photo opportunities were limited.
A little later their father arrived with ice-creams and they insisted I needed a photo for my blog. So in case you are reading, thanks kids for your help…
Regular readers will know I’m fond of seagulls and Sandgate offers plenty of interactions with these feathered critters. A one legged specimen caught my attention on one of my visits.
The wide smooth foreshore paths encourage wheels of many kinds.
After excess social interaction I like to head to one of the local parks for a little quiet time. Silence was not to be found on this day, however, as a flock of Little Corellas, Cacatua sanguinea, were busy with their obsessive compulsive chewing behaviour…on the reeds, on the tree trunks, on branches and even on each other.
I’m often surprised by the number of bird species that local parks support. I’ve lived in rural areas for most of my life but I’ve probably seen more species since living in urban areas, and many of these have been in my own back yard or in local parks.
Tall paperbarks were flowering as well as bottlebrushes. Many of our native shrubs and trees flower in winter which provide much appreciated splashes of colour in our sometimes drab, dry bushland.
A little side trip to the nearby Nundah historical cemetery gave me my history “fix” for the day. Nundah was one of the first areas where free European settlement occurred in Queensland. Many were Germans who established a local mission, “Zion.” The area became known as the German Station by local settlers.
The more I learn about the treatment of the first Australians, our Indigenous population, the less comfortable I feel reading about such settlements. Some of my heritage is German, and while I was interested to read about the strong German contingent, I am also aware that the land was never bought from Aboriginal Australians. It was stolen. It is fitting, therefore, that the name was eventually changed from German Station to Nundah which means “chains of waterholes” in the local Indigenous dialect. The area around Nundah was dominated by the Turrbal people before European settlement.
The cemetery lies next to a small forest of mainly swamp paperbarks. They range from young trees to some giant specimens.
While at the cemetery, I heard some shouting and bell ringing. I was hoping it wasn’t loud enough “to wake the dead” on this occasion! It turned out to be cyclo-cross racing and so I grabbed a couple of blurry action shots through the trees.
Despite not being a traditional hiking post I hope you enjoyed a few pictures from one of my Brisbane escapes. Even in suburbia there is plenty of wildlife or evidence of wildlife to be found…and often excited young children willing to offer important warnings.
Thanks for reading!