This past weekend we visited both Springbrook and Lamington National Parks in the Gold Coast Hinterland. We immersed ourselves in the mountain air and surrounded ourselves in forests of green. Water, stone, wood, mud, moss, leaves – all of these wonders merging to form a wild temple, a place for us to lose our city selves in what is real, to shake free of these urban illusions.
We hadn’t been to Springbrook in a few years and we were keen to revisit some of our favourite spots up there. It was as beautiful and lush as ever and the drizzling rain only added to the peacefulness of the mountains. I love walking through rainforest when it is drizzly and water droplets cling from hanging ‘old man’s beard’(a type of lichen). We visited one of our favourite lookouts that gives sweeping views over dense forested valleys towards the coast, but when we got there the view was completely lost, covered in a thick grey haze of cloud. But we didn’t mind one bit because there is something so magical about walking through the clouds on a dreary day in the mountains!
Of course we visited Perling Brook falls and frolicked in the mountain streams, because that is what one must do on these kind of adventures! I photographed all of the fungi I found on the forest floor during our walks – because of the rain there were so many varieties popping up from the earth to say hello.
Originally we had planned to stay at Springbrook all weekend but on arriving there we discovered that all of the campsites were booked out and we were left with nowhere to stay. So we did a bit of ringing around and found a campsite in Binna Burra, about a half hour drive away.
Now, I have to admit something kind of embarrassing, for all of the years we lived in Brisbane (over 20) we thought that Binna Burra and O’Reilly’s were the same place! Like, we actually thought that O’Reilly’s was Binna Burra and we had no idea that Binna Burra was its own actual separate location. NO IDEA!!! So, you can imagine our surprise when we followed the GPS up to Binna Burra and ended up at a place that was not familiar to either of us. Yeah, it was something like a revelation! Folks, just in case you don’t know, O’Reilly’s and Binna Burra are two completely different locations. They are both in Lamington National Park, but they are about 9 kilometres away from each other. Who knew? I know what you’re thinking – ‘everybody!!!’ Haha.
Anyway, now that I’ve confessed our ignorance, I would like to say that Binna Burra is just amazing! Oh me, oh my, what a wonderful surprise. We were both kind of chuffed to have discovered that this whole separate wonderland exists. For me, it was love at first sight. Rainforest, mountaintops, sweeping views, lush green foliage and mighty waterfalls. It is everything I love!
We walked our little hearts out, exploring as much as we could in a morning and half an afternoon and we both agreed that we would come back soon to tackle some of the more challenging hikes. I'm so excited to delve deeper into the forests here - the elevation and wildness lends it a distinct atmosphere. I said to Ben that it reminded me very much of Yosemite - not in terms of landscape, but in its sense of grandeur and scale. There are some unexpected surprises in the forest too - I'll leave you with a little poem I wrote about a stand of Antarctic Beech trees that are thought to be around 2000 years old:
They stand amongst stones
Sentinels, gnarled and ancient
Limbs leaning against invisible shoulders
The heaviness of all those years
The weight of gravity
Forcing oneness with earth
Wisdom in wood
Concealed beneath moss and bark
The wind speaks through these leaves
Blowing secrets from the west
Small pieces lift and disperse in clouds
To one day gently fall
Somewhere in these mountains