Saturday, 18 November 2017

Lower Ballanjui Falls, Binna Burra

Wednesday 15 November

Seven weeks ago, spring had passed straight into summer, with high temperatures, wind and drought-like conditions. The forecast for rainfall was looking grim. I'm pleased to report that the initial rainfalls in early October have continued with regular falls and we are again delighting in lush green vistas. What is even more wonderful, is that during the past 3 weeks, the temperatures have become spring like again. Rarely above 26 C, with cool nights. Bliss, especially when choosing when and where to hike.

This week the Hungry Hikers drove up to the Binna Burra rainforest, electing to hike the Lower Ballanjui Falls, 14 km return trail. It isn't one of the popular trails on the mountain and had never been on my 'to do' list, but that was to my loss.

We discovered it to be the hike of a towering waterfall, ancient towering brush box, red cedar and tallowwoods and vast vistas. The gradient as we dropped low down into the Nerang Valley, beneath towering cliffs was impressive, with very few steps. Retracing our steps back up was not difficult at all.

On arrival, we quickly decided that we definitely preferred our start to the day.  These girls were on a boot camp and had been up at 4am!





Vistas


Cliff - looking up.

Cliff - looking down.


Some of us were braver than others on this cliff ledge.

There were numerous dry creek crossings filled with boulders of all sizes.


Fruit of the blue quandong tree.

Vines of all different thicknesses hung across the path.

Much of what is now national park had been heavily felled in the late 1800's / early 1900's. On previous hikes in this area I have been spellbound by the sight of a scattering of ageless trees, but today I was overwhelmed by their numbers. They were just everywhere surrounded by the lovely piccabeen palms. One tree is estimated to be 1200 years old. I can only imagine that so many of the others were close to similar in age.





The 150 m drop of the Ballangui Falls.



Earlier in the year one of our hikes had taken us to its top. I had no idea that it dropped so far.

The dark clouds had been hovering and halfway back to the top rain began to fall. The thick forest canopy kept us reasonably dry, but did bring out the leeches. One thought my blood quite juicy and hitched a ride back down the mountain. I now have one very itchy foot.

Views lost.


Thursday - Gaiter Girls

An early morning drive took us to the Mt Gravatt Hill / Toohey Forest trail of 15 km. The initial climb from the carpark to the hilltop, brought this wonderful view of Brisbane City.

It is always an enjoyable hike and a scattering of wildflowers added to our pleasure.

                                                



                                                                      



Just loving this weather. What a difference rain and cool temperatures make.

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Moggill Conservation Park

Wednesday, 8 November

Our plan for the day had been to return to the rainforest of Binna Burra. I have a friend who lives in this mountain area. By chance, we had exchanged early morning texts and she commented about the high winds, they were experiencing. Having seen the number of blown down trees over these past weeks, I quickly reorganised our destination.

Moggill Conservation Park had been on our 'to do' list for several years. Situated on the western side of Brisbane, on steep ridges, with open, dry eucalypt forest [very typical Aussie bush], it had been ignored for more picturesque hikes. With our temperatures having returned to the enjoyable mid-twenties and the recent good rainfall, I decided it was time to explore this park.

The obligatory coffee and cake to energise.

  

A gentle incline, before the steep ascent.



Having achieved the ridgeline, the walking was relaxed.


Views to the distant city.

Views to the hinterland - Scenic Rim.

The descent was equally steep and on the gravel path, great care was required to prevent a fall.

View down

View looking back.
There was the occasional splash of wildflower gold.


The descent completed, the trail followed the unfortunately named, Ugly Creek.




Two hundred metres from trail end, we were thrown an unexpected and nasty incline.

Flora and fauna highlights.

Midway through the hike, the soothing sounds of a variety of birds singing, was suddenly replaced by the raucous, angry cry of a sulphur-crested cockatoo, as he swooped low to the ground and then up into the trees, moving constantly. Joc spied movement on the ground and after a few minutes, the action crossed the road. A goanna was the target of the cockatoo's wrath. We assume he had eaten its eggs. We watched the drama unfold for a good ten minutes. reinforcements arrived adding to the cacophony of noise.

Spot the reinforcements. 

This drama unfolded on a short section of trail where we had to retrace our steps, after visiting the viewpoint west.
Comfort was being given, as we returned.


Jocelyn loves her photography. Today she had brought with her, a crystal ball to experiment with. We all had fun.

My efforts.

Rotated upside down.

Dark clouds had been hovering all morning. On completing the hike we drove several kilometres back to Colleges Crossing parklands, on a beautiful arm of the Brisbane River. We had only just sat down under cover, when the heavens opened.


A flock of pelicans entertained while we ate lunch.

Moggill Conservation park had certainly delivered us yet another fabulous day, in our great outdoors.

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