The Tarcoola Track – An Experiment

tree colours 2

When this twentieth century of ours became obsessed with a passion for mere size, what was lost sight of was the ancient wisdom that the emotions have their own standards of judgement and their own sense of scale. In the emotional world a small thing can touch the heart and the imagination every bit as much as something impressively gigantic; a fine phrase is as good as an epic, and a small brook in the quiet of a wood can have its say with a voice more profound than the thunder of any cataract.                                   – Henry  Beston, Northern Farm

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Castle Hill and the Dragon’s Revenge – Hiking at Blackstone

Have you ever wished you could foresee the future? I’ve decided I don’t want to know what lies ahead. Fear can be a powerful force and even if I knew about the happy events, perhaps the over-riding desire to avoid pain from other happenings would leave me mentally paralysed – unable to act? I wonder if the young Welshman, Lewis Thomas, would still have ventured to Australia if he’d known what the future would bring. Continue reading

Nerima Calling: A Partnership of Peace

 komorebi (Japanese) :  sunshine filtering through the leaves of a tree or trees.

I had a very different kind of story planned to share with you this week – a story about an Australian castle. A castle not inherited from royalty or a long line of wealthy ancestors but one built for the wife and child of a man who started his working life in a wool factory in Wales at the grand old age of nine years old. It’s the quintessential rags to riches story and like a good fairy tale, involves love, a long separation and an element of tragedy.

But since I haven’t yet received the copyright permission to share some of the pictures, I’ve pulled together a small collection of nature photographs from my weekend visit to Nerima Gardens in Ipswich, near Brisbane. Continue reading

A Platypus Quest: Six Mile Creek Discoveries

I have yet to see a platypus in the wild. I wonder how many Australians have. When I was told recently that a dead platypus had been found near Six Mile Creek in my local area, I had mixed feelings – excitement and surprise that they lived so close to me, and a little frustration and disappointment that a new supermarket complex and residential development being built right next to the creek may be responsible for their demise.

Since then I have headed down to the creek on a few occasions, hoping to catch sight of this unusual monotreme. I did come across some brown woolly animals and another rather hairy creature. The second species elicited a  screech  from me that was loud enough to bring the cricketers from the practice nets down to investigate. I was left a little red-faced by their concern. Not an uncommon occurrence for me, I can assure you. Continue reading

Pleasure and Pain – Mt Edwards, Moogerah Peaks

“Perhaps there’s no better act of simplification than climbing a mountain. For an afternoon, a day, or a week, it’s a way of reducing a complicated life into a simple goal. All you have to do is take one step at a time, place one foot in front of the other, and refuse to turn back until you’ve given everything you have.” -Ken Ilgunas

In my last post I was disappointed to miss out on attempting the Mt Maroon summit. What a difference a week can make to one’s mood. I’ve had the opportunity to de-stress with a mountain walk, make some nature discoveries on an old mining site and enjoy a sunrise walk at a new beach. I also had the pleasure of meeting  a Brisbane blogger I follow, who also enjoys photography and walking. So this week I am in the joyful position of having something fresh to write about… Continue reading

The Geese Have Gone and I Am Cheering: Sherwood Arboretum and Wetlands

Sherwood Arboretum Wetlands

Sherwood Arboretum Wetlands

Well, there has been some drama of late. A family member was struck by a car recently while cycling home from work. He was fortunate to survive the incident but now has injuries which will take about six months to heal.   The driver of the car was  at fault according to the police report and unfortunately this is not uncommon where I live. I’m quite disheartened by the car-centric culture in my country although there have been some improvements.

As Michael Reilly recently wrote in an article explaining 18 Reasons Why Registering Bicycles  is a Bad Idea, “Even among people who don’t ride for transport, a survey showed 60% would like to do so – but many say they are too scared.”  Yes, here in the Lucky Country, many of us are too scared to ride a bicycle. After a few close calls I have even curtailed my own cycling activity.

Now  let’s move onto something more cheerful… Continue reading

Cape Byron and the Jewel of the Tweed or the Case of the Unrestful Restroom

Byron-bay-lighthouse-clouds

When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused. – Rainer Maria Rilke

For me the most challenging places to write about are usually those that are particularly special to me. I fear I will not do them justice. It’s time I stopped procrastinating though and shared my album of Cape Byron in New South Wales, 165 km south of Brisbane.  Some of my childhood was lived in small coastal towns and I spent  many hours of precious solitude and freedom on their shores. I visited Byron Bay for the first time in October, 2013  and it brought back a flood of wonderful memories for me. I could have lingered all day at the lighthouse, taking in the intense blue panoramas. If it is possible to fall in love with a place, I did that day. Continue reading

Local Treasures – Wildlife Escapes in an Urban Environment

Water dragon

The most effective way to save the threatened and decimated natural world is to cause people to fall in love with it again, with its beauty and its reality. – Peter Scott

I remember what parks looked like when I was a child. Most were uninspiring patches of grass and prickles with one or two trees, a token swing set, a splintered wooden see-saw and a scarily tall slippery slide. I recall frying my rear end and upper legs on baking hot summer days as I zoomed down enormous shimmering  metal slides, often ending up   bruised and concussed  on a rock hard bed of concrete. While they seemed exhilarating at the time and we certainly learned to be physically tough, I do think the elaborate green spaces I see in cities today with their mini-forests, gardens, ponds and lakes are a vast improvement. They provide sanctuaries for wildlife  and much needed nature therapy for stressed residents. Continue reading

Slaughter Falls, Mt Coot-tha: A Matter of Perspective

sunrise

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. – Kent Nurburn

I pity the poor people who have to pay a small fortune to attend saunas. Here in sub-tropical Brisbane we get to live in one free for a few months of the year!   A few days ago, I spent the morning freestyling in my own perspiration in order to complete an album of pictures for this blog post. I’ve been to the Slaughter Falls area in Mt Coot-tha Forest a few times but I’ve never actually seen the falls flowing fast. After recent heavy rain, I was anticipating some breathtaking cascades. Was it worth it? I’ll let you decide… Continue reading