Cania Gorge – a Kaleidoscope of Colour

Where have I been? Walking in circles for weeks lost in the Australian outback or lying paralysed in a hospital bed after falling off a cliff whilst taking a photograph of an ant?  Maybe I’ve been spending my $70 million lotto winnings or perhaps working undercover for ASIO?

Unfortunately for you dear readers, the real reasons are far from exciting and rather than waste time with a boring and complicated explanation I’ll jump straight back in the saddle and share a completely new destination with you. Thank you to the kind folk who sent me supportive emails in my absence. I appreciated your concern.

Each year I spend time visiting relatives in the Burnett region of Queensland, about 500 km north west of Brisbane. This year, I decided to spend a couple of days exploring Cania Gorge National Park on my own before returning home. It was a vague plan and I wondered if I was being foolish walking solo in mid-summer without phone reception. I am mildly extreme though and sometimes a good adventure is the best antidote for a struggling mind.

Cania Gorge National Park has towering, vividly coloured sandstone ridges and a variety of vegetation including dry rainforest and eucalypt woodland.  The vibrant colours on this walk reminded me of looking through toy kaleidoscopes as a child and I’d have to agree with others who’ve described it as a hidden gem.

The first surprise of my journey came a couple of hours after leaving home. At a road-side rest area between Esk and Yarraman I noticed a group of people staring up at a tree and my koala alert beeped. Closer inspection revealed a healthy looking specimen snoozing in the fork of a broad-leaved apple, Angophora subvelutina. Can you see it?

Koala

I was thankful for the eagle-eyed travellers as I doubted I would have spotted it. I was also thankful for my Canon Powershot SX60 zoom which enabled me to be able to share these close-ups with you.

Koala

Koala

koala

Some of my overseas readers may not think this is an unusual find but contrary to media representations of my country, seeing a wild koala is a rare event for many Australians. It depends where you live. This was only my third sighting.

Upon researching the tree species, I made a surprising discovery. Koalas, at least some of them, do eat foods other than gum tree leaves. Koalas have been observed eating termites, bark and the leaves of other tree species. In captivity, koalas will even eat fruit and vegetables. To see photos and a video of  koalas eating alternatives to gum tree leaves please check the Koala Tracker site, article We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know.

I was to see more iconic Australian wildlife on my trip including hungry cockatoos and galahs feasting on a sorghum crop near Monto and these kangaroos lazing about behind a motel.

cockatoos on crop

Cockatoo and galah on crop

Cockatoos on crop and cattle

Kangaroos

Eventually, I found myself gearing up to begin one of the many short walks which start  at the Cania Gorge picnic grounds. After applying copious amounts of sunscreen and insect repellent, loading my backpack with water, a medical kit and other essentials and hanging my camera on my chest for maximum access, I set off on the Dripping Rock and Overhang 3.2 km walk first.

The sky had been overcast all day and so of course  the heavens opened as soon as I took my first steps.  Off came the backpack and out came the waterproof cover and I packed away the camera in a waterproof zip lock bag. Five minutes later it stopped and the sun came but I’ve been fooled before so I waited.

Finally I pulled the camera out again and of course it started to shower immediately. Regular hikers/photographers will know the drill. I played the pack-unpack game for a while and eventually gave up after the first rumblings of thunder. I headed back to the car unwilling to be squashed by large tree limbs during a storm.

An hour later after a thermos of tea and eating snacks meant for my hike, I set off again. This time when another storm came over I sheltered in a vividly coloured sandstone overhang and enjoyed the peace and isolation of being totally alone without any phone contact . Actually, that’s not completely true. Plenty of mosquitoes kept me company as by this stage I’d sweated off my insect repellent in the heat and humidity.

Sandstone Caves - Cania Gorge

Sandstone Cave - Cania Gorge

Sandstone Cave - Cania Gorge

Sheltering in a sandstone overhang

A female rock wallaby with a joey in her pouch bounded in and attempted to seek refuge with me.  I’m not sure which of us was more shocked but I managed to get a blurry photo of her as she moved off.   It made me ponder what other shelter-seeking creature  I may encounter suddenly.  Are there hiker-eating dingoes at Cania Gorge?  At least I don’t have to consider bears or wolves unlike my northern counterparts.

Rock Wallaby - Cania Gorge

After the mosquitoes had finished draining my blood, the storm dissipated and I headed off to the official “Overhang.” The rain had disturbed hundreds of insects which brought skinks up to a foot long out to feast. I spent a long while enjoying their behaviour and marvelling at the glowing patterns on gum trees after rain.

rainbow skin with water droplets

Tree Bark - Cania Gorge

 

Tree bark - Cania Gorge

The startling colours of  sandstone were brightened by the downpour also.

Sandstone - Cania Gorge

Cania Gorge sandstone

Sandstone rocks and cave - Cania gorge

sandstone colours and paints

Dripping Rock - Cania Gorge

A few insects caught my attention, especially robber flies which appeared in high numbers.

Robber fly

Robber fly - Cania Gorge 2

Native Kurrajong shrub (Brachychiton bidwilli) flowers, decorated by glistening water drops halted my plodding.

Kurranjong flower with droplets

Kurrajong flowers

A grazing swamp wallaby distracted me as well.

wallaby - Cania Gorge

After completing the other short walks,  it was late afternoon and time to find accommodation and phone reception. At the caravan/camping ground in Monto I was reminded how far I was from home when this little critter eyeballed me from a toilet seat.  A fat green frog gobbled insects under an outside light while I ate my dinner.

The next morning I was treated to another surprise – an amazing misty sunrise. The rays caught the crops and trees at just the right angle to make them glow.

Mist at Monto

Mist at Monto

Mist in gumtrees

The 5.6 km Giant’s Chair  – Fern Tree Pool  circuit and the 1.3 km Two-Storey Cave circuit were in my plans for day two before I set off on the six  hour drive home. I decided to leave the hot and exposed 22km Castle Mountain  walk for another trip when my daughter could accompany me.

The GC-FTP circuit begins by meandering through eucalyptus woodland and dry rainforest. There are a number of creek crossings which were all bone dry on my visit.

Giants Chair walk trees - Cania Gorge

Dry Creek bed - Cania Gorge

Dry Rainforest

Tree bark shedding on path 2

Mossy log - Cania Gorge

Tree trunk - cellulite

Reaching Fern Tree Pool was a relief as the day was heating up fast.  Continuing on towards the lookout wasn’t appealing so I spent an hour enjoying the moving reflections of ripples on the overhang and of trees in the tannin-stained  pool.

Fern Tree Pool - Cania Gorge

Fern Tree Pool - Cania Gorge 7

Fern Tree Pool reflections 3 - Cania Gorge

Fern Tree Pool Reflection - Cania Gorge

Eventually I dragged myself away from this  oasis and headed up to Giant’s Chair Lookout.  More colourful tree trunks took my mind off the heat and  snake-like branches across the path kept me alert. I did wonder from time to time how long it would take for someone to find me if I had an accident or been bitten by a snake as I had no phone reception.

Tree trunk and sap - Cania Gorge

Tree bark - Cania Gorge

Tree truck pattern - Cania Gorge 2

Yellow flowers - Cania Gorge 3

Giants Chair Track - Cania Gorge

Tree truck patterns - Cania Gorge 2

Moss - Giants Chair Walk - Cania Gorge

Close inspection of a Kurrajong bush yielded exciting entomological discoveries – a native bee, a case moth and a beetle.  Enough thrills to get any critter enthusiast’s heart all a flutter – well,  mine anyway.

Kurrajong - bee - Cania Gorge

Kurrajong- larvae - Cania Gorge 1

Kurrajong - beetle - Cania Gorge

Insects are always a good excuse to take a breather and create a puddle of sweat.

butterfly on red bark

Bug on tree

wasps

Grass trees  were a familiar sight  but I didn’t spy any large old specimens.  Fires had been through offering an interesting contrast between blackened stumps and fluorescent green regrowth.

Giants Walk grass tree - Cania Gorge

Giants Chair Walk - grass tree forest

Giants Chair - grass trees and stump - Cania Gorge

Giants Walk grass tree trunk - cania Gorge 7

After the hot climb the lookout view was a little disappointing . A blue sky would have made for prettier pictures but I was glad to be there on my own enjoying the space and the quiet. The last part of the circuit down to the carpark was extremely steep and rocky and I would probably call it a class 4 rather than the class 3 walk it’s been labelled. I’ve been on many class 4 walks that were easier than this section.

Giants Chair Lookout 2 - Cania Gorge

Giants Chair Lookout - Cania Gorge 1

Next I was eager to see the insectivorous bats on the Two Storey Cave walk. It’s only a short circuit near the picnic area carpark but it’s hot and exposed and a little steep to begin with. There were plenty of interesting geological features on this short walk to keep the camera out.

Two Storey Cave Track Honeycomb Rock - Cania Gorge

Two Storey Cave Track Rocks - Cania Gorge

Two Storey Cave Track Rock Formation - Cania Gorge

Two Storey Cave Track - Rainbow Rock Wall - Cania Gorge

Two Storey Cave Track - Arch - Cania Gorge

Two Storey Cave Track - Rock Walls 3 - Cania Gorge

Rock patterns - Cania Gorge

I spent a few minutes resting in King Orchid Cleft and was joined by curious skinks who wanted to share my water bottle.

Two Storey Cave Track Cleft - Cania Gorge

Two Storey Cave Track - King Orchid Cleft - Cania Gorge 2 1

Two Storey Cave Track - King Orchids Cleft - Cania Gorge 1

King Orchid Cleft - Cania Gorge

Rainbow skink - Cania Gorge 4

Rainbow skink - Cania Gorge 2

I may not have been able to see the bats at Two Storey Cave as they were too high up in the second storey area, but I could hear their movements and definitely smell them.

Two Storey Cave Bats - Cania Gorge

Red flower - Cania Gorge 2

Two Storey Cave Rock Walls 5 - Cania Gorge 2

My walk finished with a another iconic Australian creature, a couple of laughing kookaburras in the carpark. They must be polite specimens because they remained quiet. They should have been cackling at me considering my bright red sweaty face,  burnt because the sunscreen had sweated off and I had taken too many photos staring up into trees and ridges. A minor price to pay though for the exceptional couple of walking days I’d experienced.

Kookaburra at Cania Gorge

Due to time constraints I missed  visiting Cania Lake further along. Apparently, it is one of the most scenic lakes in Queensland and popular for boating and fishing enthusiasts.

I could rave about this place but I think the photographs show what I thought about it. The colours and the wildlife offer a very special, uniquely Australian experience.  It was just what I needed after a mentally and physically draining couple of months. Please check the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife site for more details as there is no point in me trying to duplicate their excellent site.

Thanks for reading and  belated New Years best wishes to you all.  I hope 2016 brings you many special moments, good health and fulfillment.

Hay barn

134 thoughts on “Cania Gorge – a Kaleidoscope of Colour

    • Hi Michael,
      It was a great time to visit the gorge. Rainfall brightened up the colours and many trees had just finished exfoliating their bark after growth. I’ll certainly visit again. Thanks for the lovely comments. 🙂

  1. Sorry you have been having such a hard time recently, lots of sympathy and hope that 2016 does better for you. Your photographs are outstanding and your commentary so interesting. I scrolled through very slowly taking in all the bright colours, the gorgeous patterns and all the wildlife you saw. It is great to have you back.

    • Hi Susan,
      Thanks for your kind words. It’s not been too bad. I just had a run of bad health combined with a few other things. I’ve not been reading any blogs for a few weeks so I do apologise for missing your posts. I just needed to take some time out to sort out other issues. The Cania Gorge trip was just what I needed. I used to live in that region for about 10 years as a child but we never visited the gorge. I’ve been meaning to explore the place for years. I’m glad I did despite the heat and will be returning with my daughter one day. Thanks for the lovely comments. I’m so glad you enjoyed the pictures although it is much better in real life. 🙂

  2. Welcome back Jane 😊. Great story and wonderful pictures, as always. I hope you are feeling better, and wish you strength and peace to deal with whatever troubles you need to face.

    • Hi Paula,
      Thanks for those lovely words. Very kind of you. Nothing too bad has been happening. Just a combination of factors had me needing to limit my online time and focus on other areas of my life. Thanks for reading and commenting, Paula. I hope 2016 is a wonderful year for you. 🙂

    • Thank you very much. We have so many wonderful places to explore here. The beautiful scenery makes it easy to take photographs. I lived in that region as a child and never visited the gorge. I’m glad I finally did. 🙂

  3. Jane,you really capture Australiana so well. The colours of th Aussie bush are just so gorgeous, and your photos do them justice! All the best for 2016!

    • Thanks, Anna! Sometimes the Australian bush can be a little dull but other times the colours are amazing. It depends on the season, weather and type of vegetation, doesn’t it? I love the variety of our Australian tree bark and how it changes with plant growth. The colours of the sandstone ridges at Cania Gorge are spectacular after rain. I love that place. Best wishes to you as well! 🙂

  4. Hi Jane, It’s great to have you posting again- and what a post. The photographs are superb. I have my favourites – the birds feeding on the sorghum, the vividly coloured bark (I have never seen blues, reds, yellows and greens like this on bark) and the skinks.
    I think it was a wise move to leave the longer 22k walk until another trip when you could have a companion with you. However, I can appreciate the attraction of a solitary walk.

    • Hi Margaret,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the colours of the tree bark too. The rain really intensified the colours on the trunks. Many of the trees were so bright because they had just exfoliated their bark after recent growth from rain. They would not be as bright at other times of the year I expect. That’s what I’m assuming anyway. I think I was lucky to be there at a good time. The colour of the sorghum against the blue sky was quite intense. I stopped a few times to admire farms. I spent a long time enjoying the lizard movements. Once again I was lucky there as the fresh rain brought all the insects out for them. It certainly was a most enjoyable trip and I look forward to returning. Thanks for your lovely comments. 🙂

    • Thank you. 🙂 I wasn’t planning to write a blog post for some time but it was such a wonderful trip I felt like sharing the pictures with others. It certainly gave me the excitement and quiet time away that I needed to feel refreshed again. I’m glad you enjoyed it too. Best wishes. 🙂

  5. Jane – wow, and wow!! Fantastic! You have absolutely excelled yourself here. What a mesmerising series of images. It’s been over a decade since I did those walks and this brought back many memories. To see the place with the sandstone soaked by water was a treat, what magic colours. Your eye for fascinating details, patterns and compositions is superb.

    I have a few photos of the wonderful Two-story Cave bats which I’ll send. I did the walk up to Castle Rock on my own before there was a track years ago and got lost in a huge storm, a memorable walk, I was out there for the entire day. Ah, good memories, great place. Thanks for sharing, really enjoyed this read.

    All the best, Rob

    • Thanks very much, Rob. I saw some of your great Cania Gorge photos on a couple of sites when researching my trip. I was lucky to see the place after rain freshened it up. I can imagine how lovely it is when the creeks are flowing too.

      Thanks for sending those pics by email. I would have loved to have seen the bats in the cave, but they were keeping high up. The smell was enough to tell me they were there though!

      I’ll be doing the Castle Rock walk in more comfortable conditions that’s for sure, although I have been known to get lost even on good trails… I’m glad my post brought back some good memories. Thanks again and best wishes. 🙂

  6. What a beautiful, exotic and – to me, at least – almost alien place! I loved every picture, and that prompted me to spend half an hour browsing different corners of Australia on Google maps. What a nice continent you live in!

    • Hi Fabrizio,
      Yes, we are lucky to live in a country with such diverse landscapes that include tropical rainforests, woodlands, deserts, wetlands, wilderness coast and alpine regions. I’ve barely explored my own state, let alone the whole country. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and it encouraged you to explore Australia further online. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  7. Jane, you must be feeling well if you could take on these strenuous hikes. I rejoice to see you back! And oh, my friend, your photos fill me with awe and wonder. What an amazing place, and your photos are works of art. Thank you for sharing them.

    • Hi Melissa,
      I am feeling much better but I did do the hikes very slowly. I certainly didn’t break any speed records. 🙂 I’ve probably made the walks seem more strenuous than they are. Most of the short tracks are comfortable really apart from some rocky steps/ascents. The heat makes them a little bit more challenging in mid-summer though. I’m very glad you enjoyed the photos. It was a pleasure to share the images with you. Thanks for the lovely comments. Best wishes. 🙂

  8. Hi Jane, So glad you were able to immerse yourself in such rich colors and natural beauty. Hope it was healing for you. Been thinking of you, as I’ve been out walking my usual road and trails. Really appreciate the photos and your lively descriptions.

    • Thanks for the lovely comments, Jan. It certainly was the perfect place for healing. Being surrounded by the nature and forcibly cut off from the electronic world was just what I needed. I had no expectations for the trip really and was delighted by the experience. Thank you for thinking about me. How kind of you. I hope 2016 brings you much peace and fulfillment. 🙂

  9. Welcome back Jane! You really outdid yourself with the photos in this post. They are absolutely exquisite. I especially enjoyed the bark and insects (no ticks, I see)–so exotic to this northerner. I hope you are feeling better and sorting out your concerns. Best wishes for this new year and cheers to many more amazing hikes.

    • Thanks very much. I find taking photos very calming and pleasurable – it’s somewhat like meditation in a way. It’s also a great excuse to take a rest. 😉 My little legs and aging joints appreciate frequent stops! I’ve never seen the bark colours that startling before so it was a great treat. I did get some ticks on my body from the rest area where I saw the koala but decided I had shared enough about those creepy crawlies for a while. I’m very glad you enjoyed the post. Best wishes. 🙂

  10. Jane, you really outdid yourself on this post! What a fascinating hike! These photographs are outstanding! Such vivid colors and interesting textures. And how amazing is it that insect and wildlife presented themselves at every turn? I still get tickled when you tell about some faux pas or uncanny happening along the way. I guess it’s my weird sense of humor. 😀 I am happy you decided to make this trek and write about it. Often, time alone with the camera is the best medicine for anything that ails me. I wish you an exciting, adventurous, and healthy 2016.

    • Hi Lori,
      I was of thinking of you and your walks with Daisy as I came across various wildlife. I feel sure you would have loved these trails. I hope one day we’re able to share a walk together, wherever that may be. 🙂 Yes, it was quite amazing to have so much wildlife present itself to me without having to go searching for it. There was surprise after surprise and it certainly lifted my spirits and left me full of motivation again. At one point after visiting relatives I was going to can the whole idea. I’m glad I didn’t! Cameras and I have become very good friends over the years. As you say, being alone with them can be the best medicine. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement, Lori. 😀

  11. Welcome back Jane and what a return with this fantastic post. I had to scroll through twice to take it all in. My daughter spent a semester studying in Sydney and wants to go back for a visit one day with me in tow. She loved Brisbane and ran out of time and wasn’t able to get to Queensland. I’ll be sharing this post with her as I know she’ll love the photos of the Koala and Wallaby. Your photos and narrative felt like I was there. Thanks for taking me along 🙂

    • Hi Ingrid,
      Thanks for the lovely feedback. I do hope you get to come to Australia. There is such diversity in our country. I’ve barely explored my own state. If you are planning to visit my region, let me know and I’d be pleased to suggest a list of places. I may even be able to give you a bit of a tour around my area. It would be lovely to meet for a cuppa too. The koala was a special treat for me. I was pleased it was such a healthy specimen as there are a few diseases that are devastating some koala populations here. Best wishes. 🙂

      • You will be the first to know should my daughter and I visit your stunning country. So sad to hear about the diseases affecting the koala’s.
        Are you happy with your Canon? Your photos look lovely. My FZ200 bridge camera is acting up and I may need to purchase a new one. The reviews on the SX60 were somewhat mixed. Ah, what to believe?

        • I’m not the best person to give a review of a camera as I’m not a technically minded person. I bought the SX60 for the zoom feature as I didn’t want to have to buy a DSLR and then buy a lens as well. I wanted something in between. I’d heard great things about the previous model SX50 and wanted to buy it but they are now out of stock. I think I was influenced by the SX50 reviews. There are quite a few great bridging cameras on the market now with a amazing zoom . I’ve also read that some people are disappointed with their SX60s and they’ve had bridging cameras before. I don’t know enough really to make any comparisons and to recommend it. I have barely gone into the manual and explored the features yet. Mixed reviews are frustrating! That’s why it took me so long to upgrade to this one. In the end if I’m honest, I was influenced by the Canon brand. Friends have given high praise for their Lumix bridging cameras. Wish I could help more! I was just thrilled to be able to finally take shots of critters from a distance. 🙂

          • Thank you for your honest opinion. I was just at the store today and almost pulled the trigger on the SX60 but it seemed the largest Aperture is F4. I love my F2.8 aperture for food photos thus that was a deal breaker. I think if my Lumix stops focusing, I may just get a duplicate….. but that zoom on the SX60 is sooo tempting 🙂

            • Sounds like you made a wise move. You’ve reminded me to say that I don’t think I’d buy the SX60 if you love to take macro shots. Insect photographers I know are disappointed with it. I knew it wasn’t going to be as good for insect shots as some others but the zoom for birds was what I really wanted. I wouldn’t have been able to get the koala shots with my old one. I’ll be doing a post in the future with lots of birds that shows how great the zoom on the SX60 is. The people who really seem to love it are the Youtube crowd as it takes excellent videos! 🙂

  12. It is hard to believe the strange animals colours and landscape you show us in your posts, Jane. It’s good to have you back online ❤
    The limestone is truly amazing!!!
    Something tells me I have to travel a little bit more when I read your great stories.
    All the best from Denmark,
    Hanna

    • Thanks, Hanna! This trip certainly gave me a renewed appreciation for what my own country has to offer. There is so much I have yet to explore. I’ve only travelled in two of our states and that has not been very extensive really. Yes, the colourful rocks, brightened by rain were definitely one of the highlights. I was lucky to be there during the storms. You beautiful pictures of Denmark have inspired me to travel also. I hope we are able to visit each other’s countries one day. In the meantime I can enjoy your blog! Best wishes. 🙂

  13. Thank you, Jane. Another post with evocative text and beautiful photos. Some of your photos echo these words from a recent Clive James poem, Japanese Maple: “When did you ever see
    so much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls on that small tree”.
    The poem is actually about Clive’s impending “passing” and I like his approach to it.
    When published in a September 2014 issue of The New Yorker it created favourable commentary (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/15/japanese-maple), and a few weeks later Clive read it in a BBC interview (http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-29680507).
    Keep up the walking and posting as balm for us all. 🙂
    Tony (Townsville)

    • Hi Tony,
      Thanks very much for your lovely feedback and also the link to the Clive James poem. I actually read that as well (I follow the New Yorker on Twitter) and was also struck by the beautiful imagery and thoughts. I’m pleased some of my pictures reminded you of his words. I don’t like to use the word surreal, but in some ways that is how the experience felt. I never expected to see such colours or the wildlife. I had surprise after surprise and it did feel dreamlike at the time. Thank you for reading and for the encouragement. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Thank you, Jane. BTW, have you had a chance to walk the Tarcoola Rainforest track at the bottom of the St Lucia Golf Course along the Brisbane River? It starts at the intersection of Tarcoola St & The Esplanade. 🙂

        • No, I haven’t had a chance to do this walk just yet. I live in the SW region of Brisbane and it’s been university holidays so I haven’t been back there for a while. I will try to co-ordinate a walk soon with my son who is working at UQ though. He’s doing a PhD at the moment and life is rather hectic at present. I’m looking forward to it though. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

          • Thanks Jane. We can imagine the “hecticness” of life. Two of our daughters are at UQ St Lucia and similarly time-challenged. 🙂

    • Thanks, Manu! When I came across the insects on the kurrajong bush I thought of you and our native pollinators. I only wish I could have got a better look at the bee or perhaps it was something else? The Burnett region can be very dry and desolate looking in winter but good rain really transforms the countryside. All the sandstone national parks in central Queensland are interesting apparently. I’ve only made a brief visit to Carnarvon Gorge near Roma but it’s definitely worth a long visit. 🙂

  14. Welcome back and what a zinger of a post this is to mark your return. The colours in the rocks are just fantastic. The the amount of pleasure I got from reading this post made your insect bites and sunburn well worth the pain…..for me anyway. Thank you.

    • Thanks very much, Tom! I hope you and your family are well. I’ve not caught up on the Tootlepedal news yet. I’m guessing you aren’t having hot, sunny days though! “A zinger” – it’s been a long time since I’ve heard that description and it made me smile. You are too kind. It was a wonderful trip for me with many highlights so I’m very pleased you enjoyed it too. I think I will feel the benefits of the trip for a good while to come. It was just what I needed. Thanks and best wishes to all. 🙂

  15. Welcome back! A few interesting encounters there, especially with the wallaby. Didn’t realise koalas are so rare, nor that they could eat food other than eucalyptus leaves! A much better thing for them!

    I hope you have a good year in 2016 🙂

    • Thanks Rob! Yes, the trip was full of surprises. The memories will stay with me for a long time. There are parts of Australia where koalas are more common but being able to spot them in a tree can be a problem. As you can see from my long distance shot, this one would have been easy to miss. I am grateful to the people who were staying there overnight and spotted it. It was certainly a surprise to me to see a koala eating an apple in the video! I expect you’re having vastly different weather to me in the UK. I hope you manage some great hikes/camping trips in 2016. No injuries this year and some kind weather for you I hope. Best wishes. 🙂

  16. I am so pleased you’re feeling a little better and that you decided to write this post. Your photos are really good, as always, but the colours of the rocks and tree trunks you saw make this such a gorgeous treat! It amazes me how different all the countries and continents on this world are, and I love to be able to see all the variety of plants, trees, insects, animals and birds. Your wonderful posts have given me a picture of your part of Australia that I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. I hope your New Year is a healthier one as well as being a happy and contented one too. Best wishes, Clare xx 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Claire. I look forward to catching up on your activities again very soon. I also enjoy the pictures and information you share from a vastly different region to mine. Isn’t it wonderful how the Internet can help people from distant lands to share in each others’ lives like this? I wasn’t planning to blog again for quite some time but the trip helped change my mind. It was a wonderful experience and I wanted to show people a part of Queensland which has been rightly described as a hidden gem. It was certainly therapeutic in many ways for me. I also hope that 2016 brings you a healthier and less stressful time. Last year was certainly a very eventful and at times traumatic one for you. Kind wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Terry! The trip was an absolute pleasure for me so I’m glad the photos gave you some enjoyment as well. I’ve yet to catch up on blogs but I imagine the pictures you’re sharing at this time of year will be vastly different. Monochrome it may be, but I still find your mountainous landscapes incredibly beautiful in winter and hope to visit one day. Best wishes for 2016. 🙂

  17. It’s nice to see one of your posts, I’ve missed them! The bark of some of your trees is more colorful than some of our flowers here. Then, there’s all the birds and other wildlife, from the wallaby to the skinks. I loved the early morning landscapes and the geologic photos as well, very well done!

    • Thanks very much, Jerry. I’ve also missed enjoying the beautiful pictures in your posts. I just had to take some time away to focus on other areas over the Christmas and New Year period. It will be a while before I catch up. I’m pleased you enjoyed the photos. As you can tell, learning how to use the new camera is still very much a work in progress. It’s a slow journey but I’m getting there…I hope! I felt incredibly thankful to have so many wonderful experiences on that trip – the wildlife, the misty sunrise, the colours of the trees and sandstone – and I look forward to returning again this year. There are platypus near Lake Cania so perhaps I will manage a shot of another iconic Australian creature. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much. “Opalescent” – I should have used that word. How apt! Yes, I was very lucky to see the trees and sandstone after rain. It certainly made the colours glow. Best wishes. 🙂

  18. I’m very happy to see you posting, but I’m equally glad it came at a moment when I had time to stop and enjoy your lovely post. I was utterly awestruck at the lovely (strange to me) critters you had the pleasure of seeing and capturing. The vivid colors of your vegetation is mind-boggling. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy seeing your corner of the world.

    • Thanks for the kind comments as always. It’s so lovely to hear from you again and I look forward to catching up on your blog soon – when I get myself organised! This was one of the best trips I’ve made in my life and yet I nearly cancelled it for silly reasons. I’m pleased you enjoyed the collection of pics. The colours of the surroundings after rain blew me away. Sometimes our Australian bush can be a little dull and monotonous, especially during prolonged drought. At other times such as on this occasion, it comes alive with splashes of colour. Bushfires followed by good rain bring such vibrant green regowth which really contrasts against blackened trunks and ground. This trip gave me a renewed appreciation for what my own country has to offer. Best wishes for 2016! 🙂

  19. Thanks Jane, so glad you survived your adventure in Cania, you really are one intrepid woman! Yes, really beautiful and colourful photos make it all worthwhile. Love the tree bark colours, they are amazing.patterns and colours, and show the rich beauty of our natural heritage.

    • Thanks very much. It’s lovely to hear from you again. Some would argue I am a little foolish rather than intrepid but I’m glad you believe otherwise. 🙂 It was an amazing trip and I was thankful to have been able to bring back so many photos to share. I think you’d enjoy the birdlife there. I heard a few new calls but was unable to identify them. Apparently there are platypus near the dam so I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of them when I return one day. I hope you and your wife are well and life is running smoothly. Thanks for the support! Kind wishes.:)

      • Thanks Jane, we are preparing for our trip to Tas at the end of the month, We want to see some of the rare Tassie birds, but on previous trips have not seen many. Praying your health is proving. You are amazing in what you accomplish, and yes you always bring back amazing photos of places in our beautiful land many if us would never see or know existed if it were not for intrepid explorers like you. Have a great week my friend:-)

  20. Oh I didn’t know that seeing a wild koala was a rare event for many Australians… I thought it was a bit like kangaroo and that they were everywhere. Never too late to learn something !

    I really love your pictures, it’s always fascinating to discover a bit more about that part of the world. This was really well documented and I felt like a did a bit of walking with you today.

    I wish you the best for 2016 and also a good health.

    • Yes, with koalas, you have to been in the right area and they can be difficult to spot sleeping high up in trees. In the distant past they were killed for fur and certain diseases are still a problem. A major threat is removal of habitat trees with land clearing. There are parts of Australia where there are very healthy populations though and many groups are actively involved in their protection.
      Thanks for the lovely comments. It was a pleasure to share an enjoyable trip with you. I’m pleased you liked it.
      Best wishes to you also for a wonderful year. 🙂

    • Thanks, John! Lovely to hear from you as usual. I hope you have a wonderful week too and are well. I’m glad you enjoyed the pics. It was a wonderful treat for me to visit the Gorge and I was excited to share the place. 🙂

    • Thanks very much. It was a wonderful trip which I’ll remember for a long while. Yes, the photos of people holding koalas on brochures can give that impression, although I’m sure you were joking. 🙂 They are taken at koala sanctuaries of course and I think there are a quite a few Australians who have pictures of themselves as children holding a koala at one of these places. I have a picture of my two year old self holding one and I have a matching one when I took my two year old son to the same place. I might share them one day. The koala population was much bigger before colonisation. Land clearing, killing for fur and koala diseases have massively reduced the population. Best wishes. 🙂

  21. Hi Jane, after a short sabbatical of my own, also of the uninteresting variety, I stuck my nose in WordPress today to find your latest post. What a lovely piece! I could have been walking through the bush with you, recognising all those iconic species and feeling the heat and tasting the smells. How fortunate to see the koala and always great to see the cockatoos and galahs, although I thing the frogs might be my favourites! You look pretty safe and cosy in that sandstone over-hang 🙂

    • Thanks very much, David. I must check out your site again this week. I am yet to catch up on all my reading. I’ve only been away from WordPress for a few weeks and it seems I have missed a lot! 🙂
      Yes, it was one of those trips where I seemed to come into contact with many iconic Australian creatures and other features. The recent rain really freshened up the usually dry surroundings so that was a treat too. Yes, the sandstone overhang was a very handy spot during the storm. If I’d brought a towel I would have had a sleep. The dirt was so clingy and fine that it stuck to any part of my damp body and clothes so after being in there I looked a little grubby. I’ll head back over to your blog soon. Thanks for your encouraging words! Best wishes. 🙂

  22. Lovely photos, I especially liked the Kurrajong. I had been planning to visit Cania Gorge, as I had a relative in Mackay, but the moved. I now know that I should head that way again anyway.

    If you are going walking in areas without cell coverage, I recommend a PLB. You can now get them under $300.

    • Hi Ken,
      Thanks very much. I hadn’t seen a kurrajong bush flowering before. They really stand out from the background scenery. I spent a lot of time enjoying them. Cania Gorge seems to be the sort of place that many people drive past on the way to somewhere else and they often think, “I must stop and check it out one day.” It was like that for me. It’s not as spectacular as other places like Carnarvon Gorge near Roma, but if you are in the area it is worth having a look. The picnic grounds are lovely and the lake further on is very popular. Yes, I’ve been meaning to buy or hire a PLB for a while now. I just wasn’t organised in time for this spontaneous trip. I’ve have to do it next time. Best wishes. 🙂

  23. Welcome back. I’ve never heard of Cania Gorge, but you’ve made me want to visit the place, especially with your great abstract views of tree bark and other patterned things. You’re off to a good start for 2016.

    • Hi Steve! It’s lovely to “hear” from you. Thanks for your encouraging words. Yes, I’m sure you would have enjoyed Cania Gorge. I was reminded of you when I took pics of rock patterns, tree bark and flowers. More specifically, “I bet Steve could take a better picture of this.” 🙂 I have hundreds of shots from this place and it was difficult to choose. I am still getting a handle on the settings but I hope I’m improving. I’ve missed so many of your posts which I will enjoy reading through on the weekend. The blogging world doesn’t stop while I take a break! 🙂

  24. I’ve had your post tucked into an open tab until I could give it the time it deserved, and I’m congratulating myself on how wise I was. Your adventure obviously was delightful–filled with treasures of every sort. I was particularly amused to see the cockatoos in their native habitat. I’ve only met one, and he took a hunk out of my right hand. I still bear the scar as a reminder of our meeting. I didn’t learn until after the event that he was a bit of a one person bird.

    I was surprised to know that koalas aren’t clambering all over, too. And the colors are just fabulous. I like the rainbow skink, particularly. It just thrills me to see parts of the world I know I’ll never get to. Your commentary adds so much to the photos, too. It was a pleasure to read.

    • Hi,
      Thank you for your extremely kind comments about my blog. The wonderful destination made it easy to take photos and write about it. Yes, cockatoos have very sharp, strong beaks. It’s not recommended to put your hand close by. I can imagine it was very painful. It must have been a big bite to still have the scar. Parrots in general can get quite attached to one owner sometimes. I’ve seen the damage they can do to the outside of houses and tree limbs – quite impressive! We have one or two that visit the house yard here and they can be very cheeky. 🙂
      Yes, koalas are definitely not in the high numbers that kangaroos are here. I’m always on the lookout for koalas but as I said, have only seen three that I remember. There are places in Australia where they are more common though.
      I loved watching those rainbow skinks. Their hunting movements were quite interesting and the colours of their skin pretty with water droplets on them after rain. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Best wishes. 🙂

  25. Happy New Year Jane, what a great post to start the year off with. I love sitting in those little overhangs and caves, looking out at a scene that has been gazed upon for 1000’s of years, I could spend hours in a place like that……..if I wasn’t getting eaten alive by mozzies:) A Rock Wallaby and a Koala sighting all on the one trip, nice. It’s amazing how a little rain freshens the countryside up so much and your photos certainly do the scene justice. Cheers Kevin.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Happy New Year to you too! I agree with you about caves and overhangs. I love those kind of places. I’m lucky that in my area is White Rock Reserve. It has a few little caves and rocky areas so when I am desperate for that kind of fix it is close by. However, these days it’s unlikely I will have the place to myself.
      Yes I was lucky to have the rain freshen up the place. It’s usually very dry out that way.
      I’ve had a quick look through all your posts from your recent outback trip – stunning scenery! I need to sit down and read through them more carefully though to get all the details. You are such a prolific blogger. For every one of mine you must do about 20! 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting again. Looking forward to reading more of your travels. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Hi Jane, yeah I put a few posts out but mine are more of the trashy tabloid kind, as opposed to your quality broadsheet work:) Cheers Kevin

        • Now, Kevin you know that’s not true. Your blog is a wonderful resource with fantastic photographs and commentary. I will tell Sam to give you a good talking too! 😉 Happy travelling!

  26. Gorgeous photos as ever! Really enjoyed reading this, and have to admit (being English) I was one of those people who thought Koalas were a common sighting in Australia.. might be a silly question, but are wild Kangaroos as common as they’re made out to be in Australia?? Melissa 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Melissa. Certainly in many parts of Australia, wild kangaroos are extremely common. In fact, we can buy kangaroo mince, steak and sausages in our local supermarket and some property owners have permission to cull (shoot) a certain number per year to decrease grazing pressure when the numbers become very high. When driving outside of city areas we have to be careful at dawn, dusk and night not to hit them. This is more the case when the conditions are dry and the animals are attracted to green shoots on the side of the road where the soil is damper from shower run-off. YKangaroos have survived in greater numbers for a few reasons. They don’t depend on certain trees for survival as they are grazing animals. They are more mobile. They haven’t been hit by some of the diseases that seriously impact koalas. Having said this there are many species of kangaroos and wallabies and some are rare or endangered. The most common ones I see in my travels are red kangaroos and swamp wallabies. Even though I live in suburbia, I still see kangaroos on my local sports field as there is some bushland nearby for them to retreat to during the day. Seeing a dead kangaroo on the side of the road is not uncommon. So if you come to Australia and travel on country roads at the right time of day you are likely to see a kangaroo. If you were here for a short holiday you’d probably need to visit a sanctuary to be sure of seeing a koala. Hence, my excitement at seeing a healthy specimen in the wild. They are also more difficult to spot high up in trees so even if you are in a more highly populated koala spot, it can be hard to notice them. 🙂

      • Wow thanks Jane for your informative reply, very interesting! I had no idea Kangaroo’s were so common they can get culled in areas! Or their meat is sold in supermarkets.. They sound even more common than seeing Deer we get over here in the countryside, although they are good at hiding, but you quite often see them in fields and on the sides of roads too, so you have to look out for them! Glad you got the chance to get some amazing pictures of the Koala, the zoom on your camera is incredible…think I need to look into getting myself an upgrade!!

    • Those short walks took me hours as I paused so often to admire what the rain had done. I was thankful to be there even though the heat and humidity was a little taxing. I’ll return one day and attempt the much longer walk. Apparently there is a magnificent view as a reward. Yes, from reading English and Scottish blogs, I think you have more of a challenge with the rain-sun-rain situation. Thanks for reading and commenting, Freya. It’s so lovely to hear from you. Best wishes. 🙂

    • It certainly is a lovely spot to visit but probably best after rain when the vegetation has freshened up a little. The area is prone to dry conditions so I was very thankful to see it looking so good. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Lucy, for those kind words. It’s certainly a wonderful destination, particularly after rain in summer. Hot and humid but with gorgeous colours to see. Thanks very much for reading and commenting. Lovely to hear from you. 🙂

  27. Gorgeous photos Jane. The colours are quite amazing. I haven’t been to Cania Gorge so I enjoyed seeing it through your eyes, feet and wild friends. I hope you had a wonderful rest over the holidays. It’s great to read your adventures again.

    • Thanks, Gail. Cania Gorge is a lovely spot but best seen after rain as it can get very dry out that way. It’s the kind of place you should visit if you happen to be out that way anyway. Other similar places like Carnarvon Gorge near Roma have more walks and a little more diversity so if you were planning a 400-500km trip I’d probably choose Carnarvon as a destination over Cania Gorge. Cania is close to my relatives so it’s very convenient to me when I do travel around Christmas. It is a special place though and I was lucky to visit at a perfect time to see it at its best. The colours of the tree trunks and sandstone were startling. It’s lovely to hear from you. I look forward to following your excellent blog again this year, Gail! 🙂

  28. I am sure I forgot something lol
    I read this ages ago but was on my tablet which caused all sorts of problems when I commented. They were great comments too!!!
    great photos Jane x

    • Hi Brian, don’t worry about the lost comments. I’m sure they were great. 😉 I’m having issues with this old lap top at present – it’s very slow and will die any day now. It means I’m having trouble replying to comments and interacting online. I’m thinking about getting a tablet but not sure how easy it would be to blog with. Anyway, thanks for reading and encouraging me as always. Have a great day. 🙂

  29. I have seen the brightly colored gum bark in pictures around the internet and always assumed that they had been photo shopped to enhance the colors. Not so! What a lovely time I have had here today, Jane. Thank you for sharing the loveliness with us.

    Welcome back and Happy New Year!

    • In some of my pictures the bark doesn’t look as vibrant as it did in real life but in others, the fresh rain made them richer. It was magical to see how some of the rocks and trees glowed afterwards. That’s something special about about native trees here. While the foliage can look a little dull, the diversity of colour and texture of the bark and trunk is startling. There are also plenty of colourful gorges and other rock formations in Australia. Our red sandy deserts look amazing against a blue sky. Thanks, Lynda, and happy new year to you too! 🙂

    • Thanks very much! It was a wonderful walk and I was pleased to be able to share what I saw with you. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I probably won’t be as regular with my blogging and reading of other blogs this year due to work and personal issues but I will give it a go. Thanks for your support. I hope you have many wonderful walks with your furry pal this year. 🙂

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