Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lamington National Park

When I was a little girl, my Dad instilled in my sister and I a sense of outdoor adventure. We enjoyed many a camping trip in and around the South-East Queensland countryside, but one that stays fixed in my mind was spending a few nights at O'Reilly's situated in the beautiful Lamington National Park. Thoughts of colourful birds, tree-top walks amongst ancient figs, stunning waterfalls, blisters, card-playing, bacon & eggs, blow-up mattresses and my first attempt at a travel journal - all at the ripe age of approximately seven - was what made me suggest a weekend getaway with my gorgous boy, Dan.

This time around Dan and I chose the more luxurious option and spent the weekend lodging on the other side of the park about 22km (as the crow flys) from O'Reillys at Binna Burra. Although the weather was fairly dismal on our first day there, we decided to get some fresh air and headed off for a relaxing, yet wet stroll into the rainforest. Armed with our stylish $5 poncho's and two maps, we thought an easy 5km walk to a waterfall would be more then pleasant.

The walk seemed to be going for quite some time, however we put it down to the fact that we were only strolling along enjoying the scenary. Eventually we passed some fellow hikers (who actually looked the part, unlike us... Dan decided to go all out and wear his rugby socks and boardshorts with sneakers... apparently its the latest fashion!) who informed us of a large gum tree that had been up-rooted by the storm and was blocking the path ahead.

We decided to continue on our way despite the warning, and eventually came across the said tree. The problem wasn't the tree as much as the razor-sharp-devil-bush that encompassed the tree and surrounding area. Well, after some strategic manouvouring (and manly brut on Dan's behalf) we eventually beat the bush and clamboured across the tree.

Next up was loosing the path.

After more clambouring through a bit of rainforest and scrub we decided that no, this wasn't the track and back we went to find the nicely hidden 180 degree turn in the track. Ah, but postive thinking, its all part of the adventure!

Eventually we found the waterfall, and for a few minutes basked in all its splendid glory as it sprayed and spluttered water sparodically down across the rocks in front of us. At this stage we thought it was getting warm enough to remove our hoodies from beneath our ponchos, at it was at this time I looked down and adjusted my jeans around my sneakers.... only to find not one, but two leeches enjoying a feed from my innocent ankles!

If only for a camera, because the scene that followed was one of panic, laughter, insane hopping/jumping and flicking!

Our pace walking back was certainly much faster with periodic stops for extra flicking and checking. I even had one of the slimy creatures weaved into the fabric of my sneaker!

Needless to say, upon return to the lodge, Dan and I both stripped down, washed off the shoes, had hot showers and were very pleased to enjoy a cold beer back in our room.

The next day we visited O'Riellys and enjoyed a gorgeous champagne picnic lunch to celebrate our two year anniversary. It was a wonderful weekend all round. The food that Binna Burra put on was fantastic, the hiking was adventures to say the least, and when the sun finally came out the whole place really exhuberated a very relaxing, stunning weekend escape.