Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekend in Lamington National Park: Rainforest Hikes

We are sitting in the moss covered tree roots of a fallen tree.

I always seem to be a week or so behind with my blogs but eventually I get there.  This blog is about our trip to Lamington National Park (Oct. 9-10).  It is just under a two hour drive southwest from Brisbane, within 15 km of the state of New South Wales.  Lamington National Park is a World Heritage Site rainforest with several waterfalls, rivers, and a staggering number of  plants, animals and birds!  Serious bird watchers would be in Heaven here.

 On Saturday morning we planned to leave very early but we woke up to a torrential downpour.  We checked the weather and it was not to let up until afternoon.  So we slowly made our way to the park.  We arrived after lunch as the sun was coming out. 

We checked into our Chalet and the owner greeted us with a basket of homemade muffins - yum!

Our Chalet, about 20 min. outside of Lamington Nat. Park

We decided to do a short hike (2 hours) part of which included a Tree Top Walk at O'Rielly's  Rainforest Retreat. 

Tree top walk diagram

We popped into the visitor centre there to get some hiking maps and we had a great chat with a guide there.  He gave the kids a bird spotting booklet, and even left the visitor centre unattended to take us  a short way down a path to point out the nesting area of the Blue Bower bird.  The Blue Bower likes decorating his nest with blue trash like bottle tops and bread bag tabs - anything blue and therefore pretty. 

He showed us one other very cool thing - a HUGE snake skin.  It was at least 8ft long!  The park staff discovered the shed skin on the steps of their sleeping lodge one morning this spring. 

Check out the length of this snake skin unrolled on the counter.

The tree top walk was very fun.  We were up pretty high on connecting tree top bridges.

Jas, Serenna and zac on Tree Top Walk, taken from a lower walkway.

 There was also a spot where you could climb a ladder up a tall tree to a small viewing platform about 20 metres up.  The brave could then continue up yet another ladder and climb to 30 metres above ground for spectacular views.  Not for the vertically phobic.

At O'Rielly's Resort Shop, they sell bird feed so you can get up close and personal with the birds.  That is an understatement.  These birds were so overwhelming.  Five or six would swoop down and try and get the food from you.

 We had a couple on our head, another two or three on our arms.  Zac - who really loves birds - got freaked out and just dropped his food.  Serenna and I struggled to take some pictures while being swarmed.

This shot was taken, with two birds on my arm, one on my head, and one on the camera.

Then it was back to our chalet for some exploring around the property - a wallaby was spotted.  The views were fantastic.  Then Zac  and Jas went up the hill to BBQ our sausages.  They watched a storm roll in and narrowly escaped  a soaking.  We enjoyed the thunder and lightening while indoors by the fireplace playing a game of scrabble. 

The next morning, Zac, our own early bird, was up taking pictures of his mates on the balcony of our chalet.

On Sunday we wanted to do a longer hike of about 12 kms before driving back to Brisbane.  With all our stops for snacks, pictures, tree climbing, lunch, rock clambering, etc. it took about 5 hours! 

It was absolutely stunning though.  Nice and cool in the rainforest.  We saw some of the most enormous trees!
Jas, Serenna and Zac inside a tree.

 It was really jungle like, with twisting vines and tall tall trees. 

Check out the diameter of this tree trunk!

The whole inspiration for this weekend trip was a beautiful picture of a waterfall in our Australia guidebook.  So here  is a look at a couple of the waterfalls we saw on our hike.

Waterfalls at Lamington National Park

Next blog...  we need some Ocean time.  But until then here is one last look at these AMAZING trees.

This is one tree trunk we are clambering over!

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