Sunday, April 26, 2009
Highs and Lows
Click on picture to enlarge
We had a 15-kilometre walk by the sea on the Redcliffe Peninsula in Queensland again this morning. We started before 7 a.m. - fortunately, because it turned out to be a very hot day. I thought this could possibly be acclimatising us for the weather back home – where we should be within two weeks – until I saw today's weather forecast for Quillan, one of our local market towns. The maximum temperature for today is predicted to be 8 degrees. Here it is over 30 degrees.
Still, one of today's activities should be preparing us for normality at home. At the furthest point of our walk we had breakfast in a cafe overlooking a market, which is our usual Sunday morning custom.
For the past two days our walking has been done well away from this seashore. In fact we have been at 3000 feet, or about 1000 metres above sea level, at O'Reilly's Mountain Rainforest Retreat. It was much cooler up there, more like today's temperature at home.
This is their website:
In 1911, eight O'Reilly “boys” from the Blue Mountains near Sydney bought a large chunk each of land which was going very cheap on the top of the mountains in South Queensland. All this land was in very difficult terrain, not only high and far away from civilisation, but uncleared subtropical rainforest. They proceeded with the arduous task of clearing enough land to start a dairy farm. In the meantime the government declared that the land for miles around was now the Lamington National Park.
Isolated but undaunted, the five O'Reilly brothers and their three O'Reilly cousins decided to add holiday accommodation for people who would welcome the experience of kidding themselves that they were living the pioneer life in such a quiet spot, surrounded by a terrain they would experience nowhere else, and witnessing animal and plant life not found at home.
In the meantime, a Stinson passenger aircraft was lost on a flight between Brisbane and Sydney. Nobody had any idea where it was, despite extensive aerial searches. Bernard O'Reilly had a feeling it could be somewhere on the O'Reilly mountain top. He set off into the jungle, basically just following his nose. He found the aircraft and saved and succoured the survivors.
The publicity from Bernard's exploit was immense and is credited with being a major factor in the subsequent growth of the O'Reilly Retreat set-up.
We had a very enjoyable time up there with John and Gail. The accommodation is now well out of the primitive bracket. The walks are extremely interesting and information provided by the guides, about the flora and fauna, is fascinating. It was amazing to see possums being almost venerated, especially when we have spent so much time in New Zealand, where they are loathed and despised because there they are in plague numbers (estimates very from 70 million to 100 million) and they destroy 20,000 tons of vegetation or plant life every night, killing thousands of trees in the process.
Highly recommended (O'Reilly's, that is, not the New Zealand possums).
That's a picture of Gay - birthday girl for tomorrow, with a yellow booyong tree.