In the rainforest

 

There was land right outside our window this morning as we opened our curtains.

 

DSC02850

 

In no time at all we were making one of those remarkable turns on a sixpence in the middle of the Brisbane river and thought it was time we went and gathered our things, because we were off early on a 4WD jaunt today.

 

DSC02852

 

The weather didn’t look too promising and in fact, as we left the ship,we felt the first drops of rain.

 

DSC02859

 

We were headed for Mount Tamborine and the Hinterland, an area of densely forested hills and a variety of experiences during the day which we very much looked forward to.

 

DSC02861

 

Our driver Darren had a lovely turn of phrase, was a true professional who knew his customers and who took every opportunity to inform and entertain.  No sooner had we taken the turning for the mountain than we were stopping to view first this Kookaburra sitting on a wire, but then gum trees, nut bushes and anything else he felt we should take a closer look at.

 

DSC02863

 

His ability to spot things was marvellous –”look to your right” said he, there’s a small wallaby there in the grass.

Is there?

 

DSC02864

 

Well, yes, there is!  Of course, we’d all been on the lookout for kangaroos and koalas and hadn’t seen a thing, but he seemed to have the eye for such creatures and time and again, we were happy to have them pointed out to us.

The ride up the mountain was bumpy and on an unfinished road, so rather fun.  But we never feared for our safety and loved Darren’s banter with his father, who was driving the vehicle behind ours.

 

DSC02871

 

When we reached the top of the mountain it was time for morning tea – with home baked scones still warm from the oven and oodles of jam and cream.  Yum!

 

DSC02875

 

A short way further and it was time to leave the vehicle and take Shank’s Pony through the trees on a pathway to the waterfall.  By this time it was pouring with rain and though Darren had said that we’d be sheltered from most of the rain by the canopy of trees, in fact he was wrong – it was raining just as heavily in the forest as it had been in the car park.

 

DSC02879

 

We didn’t mind, really.  Most of us had come prepared with raincoats and kagoules, umbrellas and suchlike and we didn’t mind getting wet.  Darren stopped from time to time to point out things of interest and we were a fairly jolly crowd throughout, although by the time we reached the falls we were absolutely soaked through.

 

DSC02890

 

He shared his knowledge readily – here pointing out a spider’s lair under what looked like a small tree stump.  As he lifted the top, he asked the young woman by my side if she’d like to see the spider.  For sure, yes, she would – though when he then asked for her finger, she soon changed her mind!

I could upload endless pictures of our bushwalk through the forest, of the waterfalls and the beautiful trees and ferns which lined our pathway.  But there’s just one picture which will stay in my memory

 

DSC02901

 

Wet feet.

Yes, they did come clean later, as did my shoes, but oh my goodness, it didn’t make for comfortable (or elegant) walking!

 

DSC02903

 

A short stop in Canungra offered some touristy shopping opportunities and having taken a brief look inside just one, we chose to take Darren’s recommendation and head for the Heritage Vineyard shop, where Michael was doing a spot of wine tasting.

 

DSC02906

 

Much more fun, especially when we reached the “Moonshine” stage!

 

DSC02910

 

From there it was on to lunch in the and a little more kangaroo spotting on the way.

 

DSC02915

 

These chaps were happy to stand watching and before long we were getting quite blase about “another kangaroo”.

 

DSC02917

 

Lunch was a fine Aussie barbecue, washed down with wine or beer and followed by a couple of opportunities.

 

DSC02920

 

Who wants to learn to crack a whip?

 

DSC02924

 

Throw a boomerang?

Several did, and most did very well indeed!

 

DSC02928

 

But more popular still was the next stop, “real” wine tasting at the O’Reilly vineyard down the road, which had suffered considerably in the floods a couple of years ago.  A beautiful Queenslander homestead set in a lovely valley, it was hard to imagine the place under water.

Having tasted and savoured, Darren headed for home…with one last stop up his sleeve.  Just down the road, he knew of one further place which would interest us; a place where we could see something we were unlikely to see anywhere else.

 

DSC02935

 

A colony of 15 – 20,000 fruit bats hanging in the trees!  Amazing and rather horrible all at the same time (and rather smelly as well!)

Leaving them there, we headed back to the ship.

 

DSC02938

 

In the rain.

What an evening!

A day at sea