Popular Posts

KONDALILLA FALLS, SUNSHINE COAST. AUSTRALIA



video

Stunning views are always a rewarding part of hiking but views plus a refreshing swim under a cascading waterfall in a rock pool surrounded by rainforest is an even bigger incentive to lace up your walking shoes and head to Kondalilla National Park. For us it’s only 1-½ hours rive north of Brisbane near the picturesque village of Montville on the scenic Blackall Range.



From the car park at the end of Kondalilla Falls Road you head down a 50m downhill walk, with multiple stairs, that leads to the large grassy picnic area and the start of the walking tracks. With its lush surroundings, shade trees, barbecues, picnic tables and toilet facilities, the picnic area is a beautiful spot to refuel before or after your walk.




There are several walking tracks you can choice including a section of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. The shortest walk is the Picnic Creek circuit at 1.7km.  It’s a relatively easy walk suitable for children and takes around 45 minutes to complete. The track however is not wheelchair or pram accessible and there are many steps so smaller children will need to walk or be carried. The circuit crosses Picnic Creek with its little cascades and passes through tall open eucalypt forest with an interesting mix of rainforest species in the wetter areas. Along the journey children can search for elves and fairies in tree roots or try and spot faces in the tree trunks. There are beautiful views over the valley from the lookout point and bench seats are scattered along pathway so you can stop to rest and listen to the birds chatter and sing in the canopies above. If you are not continuing down to the falls but want to swim, you can take a small detour down the escarpment to the rock pool.





We love the Kondalilla Falls circuit which is 4.7 km and will take between 2-3 hours to complete. This walk includes more than 100 steps so it’s quite strenuous, particularly on the way back up! From the Picnic Creek circuit you follow the signs down the escarpment and continue past the rock pool onto the lookout with first views of Kondalilla Falls. From here you will walk through lush subtropical rainforest to the base of the waterfall and then continue back up the ridge to complete the loop. Another dip in the rock pool on the way back plus the cool breeze through the rainforest will help cool you down after climbing up the stairs!





Kondalilla National Park has an abundance of wildlife including over 100 species of birds, as well as a variety of reptiles and frogs with some species rare and close to extinction like the pouched frog and the bopple nut. With this in mind, it is important to protect our National Parks so be sure to take all your rubbish with you, keep the creeks clean and leave your pets at home. Insect repellent is a must as is taking your own drinking water and food. The best time to visit the falls is during the wet season, January – March, although the water still flows in the dry months and the park is open during daylight hours year round.


SCENIC DRIVE: BOONAH TO KILLARNEY. SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA




There are several great scenic drives in South East Queensland, and one of our favorite and purest scenic drives has to be the road from Boonah to Killarney via The Head. This is a lovely winding road that has numerous scenic spots to stop at on the way, two very different cafes, a few short walks and of course the whole drive is book-ended by the two lovely towns of Boonah and Killarney.





The Drive starts on Carneys Creek Road just outside of Boonah, which then becomes The Head Road and then becomes Spring Creek Road which takes you to Killarney. Most of the major scenic spots are well sign posted, while minor ones can usually be identified by a place to stop on the side of the road.




The road itself is mostly a single lane but all of the traffic here are people specifically doing the scenic drive plus a few locals. No matter what Google Maps tells you, this is not the fastest route as the twisting narrow road will slow you down. If you are visitng Killarney from Brisbane, it is better to go over Main Range via Cunninghams Gap and go through Warwick. As a result, The Head road is one of the most pleasant roads to drive or ride. Everyone slows down and gives each a little wave as they pass on the narrow road. Yes, even people in big four wheel drives do this. In fact, because the road is so narrow our fellow 4wder’s are the most grateful on this road. 

Our first stop up the mountain is the Teviot Falls Lookout. This lookout is not that well signposted and many people fail to see the falls itself, as they focus on the view of the mountains down Teviot Gap




.Moving on from the lookout our first major stop is Carrs Lookout and Spring Creek Mountain Cafe & Cottages. Both provide similar views of the mountains with the lookout being free and Spring Creek Mountain Cafe serving delicious coffee, cake and meals made from the freshest local ingredients. For lunch on weekends, it is recommended that you book ahead.



There are numerous other little spots to stop along the way, including patches of farmland. Once we hit rainforest country, we would wind down the windows to enjoy the fresh mountain air and also to better hear the bellbirds (which we could hear with the windows wound up).



Once over the head we arrive at Queen Mary Falls. This is one of the best spots to linger. There is a beautiful picnic area with both electric and wood fired barbecues, toilets and the falls itself. It is only a short easy stroll to the two lookouts above the falls and a 2 km walk down to the base of the falls and back up (lots of stairs but well worth the effort).





Directly across the road from The Queen Mary Falls Picnic Area is the Queen Mary Falls Caravan and Tourist Park which includes The Falls Cafe. If you started early then the Picnic Area or The Falls Cafe are great places to have lunch. You can just have a break here with coffee and cake while sitting on the deck at the front watching the rosellas and king parrots which are attracted to the bird feeders.



We then move onto the Daggs Falls. Just stop, walk 10 metres to the lookout, take some photos, and keep on driving. The spectacular waterfall is worth the quick stop.




Our last falls are the smallest but has the most interesting walk. Be aware that it is a rough and muddy track along and across a beautiful creek to Browns Falls. While it is not difficult for most people, you might rethink the walk if you are wearing clothes or shoes that you don't want to get dirty.
From Browns Falls, the land opens up into beautiful farmland. 



This is Killarney where the black soil is two feet deep. They grow a little bit of everything but the steep hills means that most of the area is cattle country. If you have timed your trip properly your mind will be turning to steaks for lunch or dinner at the Killarney Pub.



Vegetable lovers need not despair. As you approach the town you will see a few roadside vegetable stalls. Simply stop, grab the vegetables that you want and put money in the tin. We picked some lovely pumpkins for $1 and $2 each. A lot of people have never heard of Killarney and even fewer have visited it. It is not on any major routes, so if you arrive here you are either lost or meant to be here, rather than passing through. While it is a sleepy country town, it is not a bad destination with a number of attractions.
Along with country cooking from several cafes and the pub, it is also worth visiting the Heritage Centre or shop at one of several shops selling local handcrafts and products such as the Willow Gallery. These places are usually run on a co-op basis with several local people taking turns at running the shop, while part of the sales goes to the rent and upkeep of the shop.

The quickest way back to Brisbane is via Warwick and the Cunnighams Gap. Longer scenic routes suitable for multi-day trips included heading north through Toowoomba or south through Stanthorpe and Tenterfield, before heading back towards the coast or Brisbane.



OUR FAVORITE DOG WALKS IN BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND. AUSTRALIA





Unlike people we once hanged out with, we have more interests than Low Ranging the same area week after week. We enjoy company with our pup and don’t need to be the center of everyone’s attention. We are also lucky to associate ourselves with a variety of people in our lives. Some of our favorite people we catch up with is our dog walking group. It’s great to catch up with life mined people for a nice walk and a breakfast chat. We have listed a few walks we enjoy.


Walk - Newstead House to New Farm (and back)
Newstead House is the oldest surviving residence in Brisbane, dating from 1846, and occupied by Patrick Leslie at that time. Also here is the charmingly named Breakfast Creek. Apparently this is where early explorer John Oxley paused for…well, for breakfast. This walk is stunning, and one of our favorites.




If you don't have time or if the house is not open, then walk in its gardens to get a view from the hill and head back along the path you came.  There are some lovely Poinciana trees in Newstead Park, along with a whole lot of other plants and flowers. People also spend a good deal of time here fishing. Leaving from Newstead House, we then headed down to the waterfront, past the rather expensive-looking apartments in Teneriffe. This is an old warehouse section, and remains of docks and port facilities remain. There are still a lot of warehouses (wool mostly) along here but they have been converted into apartment blocks, retaining the outer facade and interior wooden beams. Also along the river are displays of a series of plaques and submarine shaped benches that tell the story of submarine events during WW1 to WW2 and to the current day. We kept going until we hit the Watt Restaurant/Cafe under the Powerhouse. 



We stopped to have breakfast.  The walk is flat at 3.6kms or 45mins each way, it’s a great walk for the active people and dogs. As you head back there’s a great dog park about three quarters of the way where you can stop to let the dogs off the leash.



Walk in Minnippi Parklands

This is one of the best walks in Brisbane, almost totally flat through very large, well-maintained parklands. It's a popular place but loads of empty space to take a deep breath.  At the end is a great dog park, divided into two, for small and larger dogs.



One of Brisbane’s most charming walks is buried in Eastern suburbia that is largely known for its shopping complex rather than its nature. Following Bulimba Creek all the way from the depths of suburban cul-de-sacs via the back of Carindale Shopping Centre and on to the lush Minnippi Parklands is about 9km return of well maintained tracks.

With the odd gentle slope, the wide concrete path winds through wooded glades, meadows, over little wooden bridges and has an excellent playground as either a starting point for the less experienced/younger riders or a halfway point for others. Bulimba Creek itself is home to turtles that congregate near the picnic shelters in expectation of food scraps as well as a range of water birds. The closest cafe is The Coffee Club about 1km down the road - let's see what everyone wants to do on the day.



But the piece de resistance of this journey is Minnippi Parklands, an oasis like expanse of rolling green with a tranquil lagoon (one of the last original lagoons in the eastern suburbs – others have been subject to infill), plenty of picnic tables and shelters, hills with views to the Mc Donnell ranges and an aerodrome themed playground. On the hill near the playground is a fenced off dilapidated farm building with rusted vintage machinery that could be a remnant of Holmwood, the family farm of the Stanton family who were the first settlers in the area.



Brekkie @ Brown Dog Cafe, Wooloongabba

One of our favourite Cafes to visit would be Brown Dog CafĂ©. With a sunny corner outlook and simple facade, Brown Dog Cafe is an unassuming, hole-in-the-wall style cafe. Popular with cyclists, dog walkers and nonchalant wanderers, the cafe offers a footpath dining area and for pooches and their walkers to relax. Red-hued high-school lockers, pop art and colourful stools add a splash of colour to the interior, while the glowing cake cabinet is full of fresh takeaway options for breakfast and lunch  on the run. On that note, one of the standout dishes happens to be the Dog breakfast – scrambled eggs, haloumi, avocado, roma tomato and spinach.






Manly - Boardwalk

This leisurely scenic seafront walk of around 10km return packs a lot of variety into its length, from the pristine waters of Oyster Point at the start to the new and old fashioned water park at Wynnum, to the vast marina of yachts that defines Manly. In Wynnum's main street is dog-friendly Frenchies cafe which makes a good starting or end point. On the 1st and 3rd Saturday mornings of the month Jan Powers Manly Market makes a top spot for brunch with dog in tow.




We started the walk at the crescent of Waterloo Esplanade facing Oyster Point, where a breakwater with a sole bench juts out into the sea.  From here it’s about 500m to the charming little white sand Pandanus Beach, jetty, 1930’s tidal wading pool and whale aquativity sculptures that constitute Wynnum Water Park. The excitement level drops a bit after this as the path faithfully sticks by the sea all the way to Manly via a series of picnic shelters, a playground and band stand.





Upon reaching Manly, there are plenty of refreshment options, prime location is Tide Wine Bar (and cafe) right on the jetty yachting enthusiasts may talk their way into the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for a halfway meal or snack at the Boardwalk Cafe overlooking the water while another option is Cafe La Mer, tucked away inconspicuously on a boardwalk in the adjacent East Coast Marina. Or take a detour up to Cambridge Parade for a bite to eat and coffee in Manly's only laneway cafe, Cambridge Lane Espresso.



Brisbane Riverwalk

The Brisbane Riverwalk is one of Brisbane’s absolute must do’s, a water highway for pedestrians and cyclists jutting out along the most scenic tract of Brisbane river between New Farm to the Howard St Wharves and on to the Brisbane CBD.
This permanent fixture was built to replace Brisbane's first floating riverwalk, a visionary yet doomed project that was all but swept away in the 2011 floods, when it was shown to be no match for the might of a swollen raging Brisbane river.
The 870m long Riverwalk is happily segregated into dedicated roadways for cyclists and pedestrians so neither can intrude on other’s turf, with cyclists enjoying a 3.5m path and a comfortable 2.5m one for pedestrians.




We took the entry from the New Farm end is at Riverview Court (river end tip of Merthyr Rd) and the Riverwalk ends at the historic Howard Smith Wharves to connect with the riverside boardwalk to Brisbane’s CBD.





Right on the Brisbane River, Riverbar & Kitchen is a one-of-a-kind waterfront destination. With spectacular views, delectable food and an extensive array of drinks, Riverbar & Kitchen has the best beer garden in Brisbane and is ideal for any time of the day, and a get drink stop before heading back to New Farm.




MITCHELL, QUEENSLAND. AUSTRALIA





Mitchell was one of our stops in our adventure in Outback Queensland.
Soaking in the soothing mineral springs at Mitchell is just one of the surprises that awaits you in this quaint town on the edge of the outback.






Just 87 kilometres west of Roma via the Warrego Highway, Mitchell sits peacefully on the banks of the Maranoa River. It lies in the westerly-most reaches of Southern Queensland Country and services the adjoining communities of Amby, Muckadilla and Mungallala.






We pulled up out our first stop where many a sun-scorched traveller has found bliss floating in the thermal mineralised waters of the Great Artesian Spa. It's relaxing for the body and therapeutic for the soul, and a precious natural resource that the locals proudly share. Located in Mitchell's aquatic centre, the Spa offers two large pools, one warm and one cool, of natural artesian water. It has been designed for easy access, with a hydro chair for those with restricted mobility.

Another exciting venture can be to explore is the magnificent sandstone formations and pristine native ecosystems and take in magnificent panoramic vistas at numerous sites throughout the area. Accessing the Mt Moffatt section of Carnarvon National Park is easy from Mitchell. Nature lovers will be impressed with the abundance of wildlife including over 250 bird species living in and visiting the area. We didn’t venture the 6 hour drive north because we were heading to Charleville next.

Mitchell's active community is keen to preserve the treasures and lessons from the past and have created a range of heritage and cultural displays covering its local indigenous cultural heritage, early explorers and pioneers, bushranging past and social history. So our next stop was making our way to the Heritage Museum, which was packed full of local history.



Before camp we dropped into Major Mitchell's Campsite, established in 1846 on his fourth expedition to map an overland route from Sydney to Darwin.

For a taste of the town's chequered past take in the history make sure you check out Kenniff Court House, which is the original courthouse where local bushrangers, the Kenniff Brothers, were committed to stand trial in 1902.





Just outside of town is the Neil Turner Weir, a free campsite beside the river with fresh water available, toilets and apparently, good fishing. We also had some internet access. There were a number of other free campers at the site, not as many or as close together as the previous spot and quiet and peaceful.





There is something wonderful about sitting in a spot beside the water, watching the sun go down with nothing else to do BUT watch the sun go down. It’s also wonderful to watch Kim enjoying herslf fishing (not catching mind you). We settled in for the night and the next day we took a quick trip up the road to Morven for another overnighter.