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Australia 2014 - Day 21 - Morning Yellow Water Cruise and Maguk Waterfalls

After the wonderful Yellow Water Cruise yesterday evening I decided to do the cruise once again, but in the morning. I could imagine that the same cruise will be different. And otherwise the recepionist told me yesterday afternoon, if i have booked the evening cruise i could get the morning cruise for only 25$. So it wasn't a long decision.

So the same procedure like last evening the tour started at the car park where the shuttle picked us up for the short drive to the landing stage of the cruising boats only with other passengers and in the morning of course. I had to get up very early for the cruise. Whether i am a long sleeper, it was it worth again.

The morning mood on the landing stage was wonderful. These silence was overwhelming.

Landing stage of the cruising boats on Yellow WaterYellow Water Billabong, Kakadu's most famous wetland, is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. The river system, which is the largest in Kakadu, contains extensive wetlands that include river channels, floodplains and backwater swamps.

The river was covered with thick waft of mist, which were disappearing very quickly through the power of the rising sun.

After all passengers of the tour has found their seat we were starting again. Afterwards we have let the landing stage behind us the morning sun was welcoming us with a warm glooming light over the horizon.

Glooming sunrise at the Yellow Water

And whilst we were going slowly over the peaceful river the birdlife showed itself on the riverside of the Yellow Water again.

There were a Australian Darter drying his wings again on one side. It seems to that it hasn't change its place very much.

Australian Darter drying his wingsThe Australasian darter or Australian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) is a species of bird in the darter family, Anhingidae. It is found in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. Typical habitat is freshwater or brackish wetlands more than 0.5 m deep with fallen trees or logs and vegetated banks; less commonly, darters are found in sheltered saltwater or estuarine environments.

On the other side a sweet still life of a white heron and ducks which had their heads all in the water looking for booty.

White heron with geeseThe great egret is a large heron with all-white plumage. Standing up to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, this species can measure 80 to 104 cm (31 to 41 in) in length and have a wingspan of 131 to 170 cm (52 to 67 in).

Colorful parrots like a green parrots was flying through the air,

Outbounding green parrot

whilst a really large saltwater crocodile was observing every movement of any other animal in its neighborhood with Argus-eyed.

Bushwhacking saltwater crocodileThe teeth are also long, with the largest teeth (the fourth tooth from the front on the lower jaw) having been measured to 9 cm (3.5 in) in length.I f detached from the body, the head of a very large male crocodile can reportedly weigh over 200 kg (440 lb) alone.

The tourguide was explaining to us that this crocodile was the largest one in this area and it was the alpha leader of the population in this river.

Saltwater crocodile bathing in the morning sun In northern Australia (which includes the northernmost parts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and Queensland), the saltwater crocodile is thriving, particularly in the multiple river systems near Darwin (such as the Adelaide, Mary, and Daly Rivers, along with their adjacent billabongs and estuaries), where large individuals of more than 5 m (16 ft) in length are not uncommon.

No other male crocodile was allowed to copulate with the female crocodiles in this river. The criteria for the alpha leader by crocodiles is only the size or light of them. So the only chance for the other male crocodiles to become an alpha leader here is to eat more fish.

Bushwhacking saltwater crocodileYoung saltwater crocodiles are pale yellow in colour with black stripes and spots on their bodies and tails. This colouration lasts for several years until the crocodiles mature into adults.

After we had passed the crocodiles we touched in a side arm of the South Alligator River which was bordered with beautiful carpets of water lilies. The tourguide explained the every part of this plant can be eaten.

Carpet of water lilly on the Yellow WaterWater-lilies are aquatic rhizomatous perennial herbs, sometimes with stolons, as well. The leaves grow from the rhizome on long petioles.

And the aboriginal people who has lived here, did it over thousand of years.

Water lilly on the riversideWater-lilies are not only decorative, but provide useful shade which helps reduce the growth of algae in ponds and lakes. Many of the water-lilies familiar in water gardening are hybrids and cultivars.

After another river curve

River system in the Yellow Water

we could watch a not so common bird in the Kakadu National Park. The The black-necked stork in Australia called Jabiru, although that name refers to a stork species found in the Americas, is the tallest flying bird, often standing nearly the same height as the flightless and thus much heavier American rhea. The black-necked stork is a large bird, 129–150 cm (51–60 inches) tall having a 230-cm (91-inch) wingspan. The average weight is around 4,100 grams. The plumage patterns are conspicuous with younger birds differing from adults.

Jaburi standing in the wetlandsOne of the most famous Australian birds, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus is the largest Australian wetland bird. It is the only species of Australian storks and it is also called black-necked stork. It is 1.4m tall, mainly thanks to its long legs, and has a wing-span longer than two metres. It has got a heavy, 30cm-long black bill, a black-and-white body, and its head and neck are greeny-blue.

And on the other side a pelican was standing a little bit bored.

Reaxing PelicanPelicans frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface.

But maybe it was only watching on the other riverside where a sea-eagle was engulfing a big fish.

Sea-eagle feeding its bootyResident from India and Sri Lanka through Southeast Asia to Australia on coasts and major waterways, the white-bellied sea eagle breeds and hunts near water, and fish form around half of its diet.

An Australian Darter were making strange noises o the other side while we were approaching to it, and it seems that it wanted to say to us this is my reich here.

Australian DarterThe Australian pied cormorant, Phalacrocorax varius, also known as the pied cormorant or pied shag, is a medium-sized member of the cormorant family. It is found around the coasts of Australasia.

But it sounds very harmless to me. But not what should happen as the next.

Whilst all the other passenger were watching at the Australian Darter, which were very lose to the boat and making photos with their small pocket cameras, I was directing my Canon 70-200mm objective at a water buffalo which was swimming in the distance.

Water buffalo swimming in the riverThe water buffalo or domestic Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is a large bovid found on the Indian subcontinent to Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia, in Sri Lanka, in the Philippines, and in Borneo.

At the time it was recognizing our boat the buffalo wasn't pleased anymore.

Observing water buffaloThe wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) native to Southeast Asia is considered a different species but most likely represents the ancestor of the domestic water buffalo.

You could really see and feel how it was getting angry very much and fast, while we were approaching it. It seems to me that the buffalo didn't like it very much that we were disturbing its morning bath in its river at this time.

Water buffalo getting angryThe origins of the domestic water buffalo types are debated, although results of a phylogenetic study indicate that the swamp type may have originated in China and domesticated about 4,000 years ago, while the river type may have originated from India and was domesticated about 5,000 years ago.

After another angry eye to our boat, while it was stumbling out of the water,

Mistrustful looking water buffaloRiver buffaloes prefer deep water. Swamp buffaloes prefer to wallow in mudholes which they make with their horns.

the buffalo was running its head with its horns in the morass at a full power.

Angry water buffaloBetween 1824 and 1849, water buffalos were introduced into the Northern Territory from Timor, Kisar and probably other islands in the Indonesian archipelago. In 1886, a few milking types were brought from India to Darwin.

Afterwards it was hurling the whole mass of morass with more enormous velocity in the air, I think to show us, where the king is here.

Very angry water buffaloDuring the 1950s, buffalo were hunted for their skins and meat, which was exported and used in the local trade. In the late 1970s, live exports were made to Cuba and continued later into other countries.

It was a really spectacle to watch this in the free wilderness and showed us the strength of this wild living creature.

Really angry water buffaloBuffalo are now crossed with riverine buffalo in artificial breeding (AI) programs, and may be found in many areas of Australia. Some of these crossbreds are used for milk production.

After this performance of the nature our boat turned around and went back to the landing stage.

Pasture landscape in the Yewllo Water

Because of that day was very young, the sunrise tour on the Yellow Water started before sunrise and took only 2 hours, I decided to make another trip until the afternoon when the temperature should reach 38 degrees again. I wanted tu sue the late afternoon when it should become very hot for a rest at the pool.

So the next goal for this day should become the Maguk Gorge which was only around 50 km from the lodge far away.

After a half hour drive over sealed and 18 km unsealed road along terms hills beside the road,

Termite hill on the dirty roadTermites mostly feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung, and about 10% of the estimated 4,000 species (about 3,106 taxonomically known) are economically significant as pests that can cause serious structural damage to buildings, crops or plantation forests.

I reached the visitor information site of the Maguk Gorge in the late morning. Because I had recognized that it was really hot at 11 o'clock I took 1,5 liter water with me wheter the gorge should be only a 2 km walk far away. But after this walk I had to learn that I can't extrapolate the amount of water which i need for walk only with the distance and the temperature I will expect. And i learned what dehydration can mean.

The first part of the walk directed me through a beautiful monsoon forrest with butterflies in the air.

Monsoon on the way to MagukMaguk is one of the only waterfalls in Kakadu that flows while there is no rain. Towards the end of the dry season however, the flow is much weaker than in the peak of the wet season.

The high trees, which were surrounding small billabongs, were spending still enough shadows so that the increasing heat was tolerable to me.

Trail to the Maguk WaterfallThe first part of the walk leads through monsoonal forest. Still damp air, and lush thick vegetation. The cool shade is welcome on a hot day, there are interesting plants to investigate, and birds and lizards to watch.

After maybe 20 minutes the forrest cleared and I had to walk through a greek over stocks and stones than cross the river.

Crossing the greek on the way to MagukThe track crosses back and forth across the creek, no bridges here, just pick your rocks or get wet feet. In a few places the creek widens to a small pool. (Great for a quick dip on a hot day!)

The heat was increasing in the more tighten getting gorge because there wasn't protecting trees and the stones were reflecting the warmth from the ground. But I continued walking than i wanted to see the Maguk Gorge with the hopefully beautiful waterfall.

But the stressful walk was it worth. At first I could take a bath in the cool water of the waterhole. And at the second I took a beautiful capture of this beautiful surrounded waterfall at noon.

Maguk waterfall with a waterholeWalk through monsoon forest and along a sandy and rocky creek to a small waterfall and clear plunge pool.

But so nice it was here so hot was it too.

While I was making my captures on different places here, I was sweating like when you are poring your plants with a watering can. When i was recognizing that i couldn't drink as much I was sweating I decided to go back to the car park.

And I noticed too that i didn't have much water in my bottle. But I thought there are only 2 km to walk. what should happen.

So I started to go back, but couldn't find the right way in the middle of the walk because i didn't see the last walk sign. Luckily I noticed my mistake and went back and could the sigh for the right way. Because it was so hot, I decided to drink my last water in the hope that the carpark isn't so far away and because I had reached the monsoon forest already. But the last part of the way extended so much that I was getting in panic a little bit. And I didn't know if it was a beginning dehydration or was it only the panic itself. I think it was a little bit both of it. Because i noticed a little bit headache and small changes of my consciousness. And I was feeling only the heat which was surrounding me.

But then I could see the car park in a distance and my car of course.And I knew there is a lot of water in it and an air-condition. At first i was taking a bottle of water which I was pouring out on my head. You can't imagine how relieved I was. I drunk at least a half of a bottle of a 1,5 liter at once.

After this small exercise of dehydration I took on my next walks sooner one bottle more in my bag whether the bag became a little bit more heavier. But it can happen so fast. And I understood the warning sign more clearly

After a deserved rest on the pool in the lodge in the afternoon I went to the landing stage of the Yellow Water again at first to make this beautiful moody photo and for the second to say good bye to this wonderful place on earth.

Evening mood on the Yellow Water BillabongThe Yellow Water Billabong is part of the South Alligator River system, but there are no alligators in Australia (an early explorer misidentified crocs for alligators and the name has stuck ever since). This is a salt-water croc, much bigger and more aggressive than the fresh-water crocs found in other parts of Kakadu National Park.

I hope you will enjoy it too.

Australia 2014 - Day 22 - From Kakadu to the Litchfield National Park

This day was the day of changing of the national parks. The goal was a caravan park, where i had booked a campsite yesterday which was located close to the Litchfield National Park. The park was 285 km far away from the Gagadju Lodge in Cooinda, so it shoulld be a plenty of time to reach the goal stressless.

So I packed my luggage in my car, turned my bluetooth loudspeaker on and started my daily trip in the early afternoon. When I turned on the main street and looked along the endless street which disappeared in the horizon something happened inside myself. I recognized that I was the only car on the street only bordered from the rain forrest on both side. No car before and behind me, only myself in this tropical landscape. I felt like in a road movie, start to sing, was so happy and felt the freedom in my heart.

On the way to the Litchfield Park the Gunlom Falls were located on the left side of the street. I reached the turn-off after on hour driving. I didn't plan to visit them, but it was early in the morning, I decided to visit the falls too. The falls were around 29 km from the main street away, but the way lead over bumpy dirty roads. So it was really fun togo there again.

The drive to the falls took more time than i thought because the last 6 km were very rough and I have to drive very carefully. At the end i was a little bit disappointed from the waterfall. The fall itself was higher what have seen before, but the fall didn't have much water. But the receptionist of the Gagadje Lodge was telling me this in the morning. But I can't change the nature. It is how its. The reason for the less water was that we were on the end of the dry season. And it hasn't rained since month here. It will be changed in around 2 months when in the Kakadu National Park the wet seasons with large thunderstorm will start and change the landscape here completely.

After a short break on the falls I continued my trip and made a stop after 2 h drive in Pine Greek. Pine Greek was typical small Australian village withe wide streets, with a fuel station,

a pub with one drunken guest, an old train station from the 19th century which was already a museum

and some other funny buildings.

But the coffee in the pub was good and i had to fuel my car.

After another hour over endless streets I reached my goal the Litchfield Caravan Park.

Australia 2014 - Day 23 - Litchfield National Park

I had a geed sleep in my container this night. So I woke up very good relaxed in the morning and was ready for new adventures in the Litchfield National Park. After I to off my container I recognized that it was really hot for this early time. I could imagine this will become a hot day. And it should up to 38 degrees.

I took a small breakfast in the caravan park which was ok. And I noticed that there wasn't so much guest which were staying overnight here. Yes it wasn't the main season.

So I started my car and went on the Litchfield Park Road and headed out to the first attraction of the Park the Magnetic Termite Mounds.

Magnetic termit mounds in the Litchfield National ParkThese termite mounds are built by thousands of termites with a north-south orientation to control the temperature inside the mounds.

The magnetic termite mounds rise to as much as three meters in height, look relatively flat and they all face the same direction with their thinner edges facing the north and south like the needle of a compass. The currently accepted hypothesis is that the precise alignment allows the termites to keep their homes comfortable. Northern Australia gets extremely hot during the day and cool at night, and researchers believe termites have somehow harnessed the power of the earth’s magnetism to strategically climate-control their homes.

The next stop on my route through the Litchfield National Park should be the Florence Falls.

Florence Falls from aboveThe Florence Falls (Aboriginal: Karrimurra) is a segmented waterfall on the Florence Creek located within the Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The Florence Falls is a spectacular double waterfall set amid the monsoon forest which cascades into a swimming hole. The lookout from the top proves a panoramic view. Open all year round, there is a 160 step staircase down to the swimming area. There is also a viewing platform at the top of the falls if you do not wish to swim. Shady Creek Walk (from Florence Falls) is an easy 1km walk one way (30mins duration).

The Wangi Falls The waterfall descends from an elevation of 84 metres (276 ft) above sea level via a series of segmented tiers that range in height between 41–52 metres (135–171 ft).

There are a lot of sights in the Litchfield National Park, but I decided for myself not to do so much because of the high temperature of this day.

So the next stay should be the popular Wangi Falls.

The Wangi Falls in the Litchfield National ParkThe Wangi Falls is a segmented waterfall on the Wangi Creek located within the Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Wangi Falls is one of Litchfield’s most popular and easily accessible attractions. It is open all year round; however swimming is not always possible due to water levels. This place is simply magic in the Wet Season! The Wangi Falls Walk (start at the Wangi Plunge Pool) is approx 1.6km return, 1 hr in duration, level (moderate, however steep in sections). This walk is to the top of the falls and offers a great opportunity for photography.

Flying foxBats of the genus Pteropus, belonging to the megabat suborder, Megachiroptera, are the largest bats in the world.

I stayed the whole afternoon with swimming and taken photos there because it was a relaxing atmosphere and it was to hot to do something else. I met a few people there with whom I talked. A german speaking guy was asking me what kind of lens I use. I responded in german and he was wondering a little bit. So we talked at least one hour in the water whilst i was going my photos. He had finished his study months aga and was traveling with a group of other young people through Australia. and we were talking another german was jumping in the pool. It was a little bit crazy to meet so many germans here, but funny too. The other guy has just arrived in Australia and was on the way from Darwin to Perth. It is a long distance and i I had a lot of respect that he did it alone in 4 weeks. Bit I like such people. who  open for such an adventure.

So we were talking and talking in between I made a break on the kiosk not far away and was walking a trail which leads through the surrounding monsoon forrest. Whilst i was walking I heard strange noises from the tree tops. And after i was looking in the tree tops I saw hundreds of flying foxes hanging in the branches, which were fanning with their wings. It seems to me that they had problems with the hot temperatures too.

Wangi Falls in the late afternoon

While I was observing the flying foxes, I  didn't recognized how fast the time was running away. So I did my last capture  of the waterfalls in the late afternoon and decided to go back to the caravan park.

Lookout close to the Tolmer Falls

I made a stop close to the Tolmer Falls on my way back to make this beautiful photo of the sunset in the Litchfield National Park.

Australia 2014 - Day 24 - 27 - Australia 2014 - Brisbane

After a good sleep in my luxury B&B in Darwin it was time to pack my luggage and to prepare myself for the flight to Brisbane.

B&B in Darwin, NT

I asked my host, who was an elder woman maybe in the 60ties, if i could stay in their house until the taxi will pick up me. She wasn't really amused, because she wanted to go to the golf course with her husband. I was wondering a little bit how a human being could go to a golf course an make a game there by 38 degrees and a humidity of 70% but don't have understand everything. After I asserted her that I will lock every door of her house she was willing in that i could stay here.

After my arrival on the airport which wasnt far away from my last B&B I had a little bit trouble on the checkin because I had bought an additional piece of baggage because of my baggage has got overweight for domestic flights. I knew that it isn't the same after I had asked an employee of Quantas for another flight before. But this was Virgin. But the checkin assistance was obliging and checked in my luggage wit jour charging an extra fee.

The flight to Brisbane took 4 hours and I was flying across the large continent once again. I wrote Duncan an ameil beef my start when I will have arrived in Brisbane and asked him how I could get to his B&B which i have book before in Germany. He responded that i could choose the Airtrain or a taxi.

After the landing of my plane with an amazing view on the colorful illuminated CBD of Brisbane at around 7 o'clock pm I chose the Airtrain to get to the Roma Station because it was much more cheaper than a taxi and it was a good connection.

My host gave me a warm welcome in their lovely house. It was pretty beautiful cottage in a suburb called Petri Terrace.

QCottage in BrisbaneQcottage is a heritage listed, Queenslander period cottage, located on the fringe of Brisbane’s CBD in sunny Queensland, Australia, offering generous B&B accommodation

After I dropped of my luggage I went to the Caxton Street which were close by my accommodation to have something for dinner. Duncan was recommending me to go there. I decided to go the the Brewski Bar with a large offer of different beers and ordered a pizza there.

Later in Germany I recognized that our chancellor Angela Merkel stepped in this pub too to welcome their guest and to make selfies with them. She stayed in a Hotel opposite the pub during the G20 3 weeks later.

On the next day I was planning to make a sightseeing tour through the CBD of Brisbane.

Brisbane Central Business DistrictThe Brisbane CBD is an area of densely concentrated skyscrapers and other buildings, interspersed by several parks such as Roma Street Parklands, City Botanic Gardens and Wickham Park.

But I reached only the Southbank on the Brisbane River. I felt the efforts of the last twenty days in the Red Center and in the Kakadu National Park in my body and my limbs. I was really exhausted traveling so much. So I decided to stay the whole afternoon on the riverside. After relaxing for 3 hours I did a little walk through the CBD but was happy to arrive my accommodation later.  

Goodwill Bridge in BrisbaneThe Goodwill Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge which spans the Brisbane River in Brisbane, Australia. The bridge connects the South Bank Parklands in South Brisbane to Gardens Point in the Brisbane CBD.

On the next day I picked up my camper from the rental station on the early afternoon ans was relaxing the rest of the day too. 

On Sunday I started a trip to the North Stradbroke Island which is located before the coast. I went there by car which takes around 40 km to Cleveland where you have to take a ferry to get to the island. Then it took another half of an hour to get there. Unfortunality we missed the bus, which should bring us to the other side of the island, because the ferry was 10 minutes to late. 

But an australian couple was so kind and offered us to give me and two chilean musicians a lift to the other side of the island. 

The other side of the island at Point Look Out was really beautiful. 

Lookout on North Stradbroke IslandNorth Stradbroke Island is just off the coast of Brisbane in Moreton Bay. It is a one hour drive from the Gold Coast or Brisbane international and domestic airports and 50 minutes from Brisbane city to vehicle and passenger ferries at Toondah Harbour, Cleveland.

After we have arrived there there weather was getting a little bit worse. But I couldnt stop walking on the coast line and went to amain lookout where the surge was crashing against the beach. 

Beach of North Stradbroke Island by stormy weatherStradbroke Island, also known as Minjerribah, was a large sand island that formed much of the eastern side of Moreton Bay near Brisbane, Queensland until the late 19th century. Today the island is split into two by the Jumpinpin Channel.

So I couldn't resist to unpack my photo equipement and take some longtime explore captures. While i was walking back to the bus station I came along a gras where a few kangaroos were sitting feeding gras. 

Kangaroo on North Stradebroke Island

The bus brought me back to the landing stage of the ferry in the late afternoon. Shortly before our arrival of the ferry in Cleveland the setting sund was performing a beautiful red colored painting in the sky. 

With the ferry back to Cleveland, QLD

My car wasn't standing far away from on a car park. But When i was starting my car I got a rude awakening. The car won't to start. Immediately I recognized that the battery was out of power. I didnt know why, because I only used the air condition wich i didn't turn off and didn't use the light before. But this want the question now. So I asked a man who was collecting his family on the car park. He was supporting me and told me that i need a jumper lead to start the engine of my car. But I didn't have such a device. I was getting a little bit nervous. But Then he asked another man on the same carpark for a jumper lead. And Thank God he had such a device and he had the same problem like me. So he helped me to start here engine so that I could ge back to my accommodation happily.

Australia 2014 - Day 28 - Arrival in the Lamington National Park

Monday morning in Brisbane. A cloudy sky. But the breakfast from Duncan, who was staying at home, because he told my that he works as a freelancer, was enough and tasty. We were talking about my plans to go to the Lamington National Park during my trip from Brissie to Sydney with my camper van. He was very helpful, gave me some hints, tips and some small maps for for the area around the guesthouse O'Reilly, which was located in the middle of the park.

The first goal should, how i have mentioned before the O' Reilly Rain Forrest Retreat in the Lamington National Park. I read in the travel guide that the most of the especcially german travellers are doing this, instead to go on the Pacific Highway directly to Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is a holiday paradise with endless white beaches. But it is also a hot spot of mass tourism with hotel skyscraper, a lot of theme parks like Movie world, Dream World and Sea World and so forth. I don't think that these attractions are the reason why germans are coming to Australia. And it wasn't my reason too.

It was very easy to get out of the city on the M1, which should bring me to Nerang. My next stop was Nerang approximately 70 km far away from Brisbane. I wanted to stop there to by some food for my breakfast for the next 7 days. After one hour driving I reached "Aldi Süd" has got shops in Australia too. Its very consequent from "Aldi Süd" to have shops on the most southern place of the world too.

After my shopping tour there I left the Pacific Highway and took the 90ies to the Lamington Nationa Park. It was an amazing drive. At first I was driving through breedy valleys passing vineyards and lot of cattle station. After one hour driving the mountains were getting higher and the road was coiling around the steep slopes. Often it was so steep there that there was only place for one lane and the cars had to wait when another car was on the lane. But anyway I was getting very comfortable with this conditions, but never forgetting the signs of the recommended velocity before the curves.

My first stop on this stage was the Mountview Alpaca farm. I didn't know that this farm is in my route, but it was a good chance to make a break after 1 1/2 hour windy streets, because I was getting a little bit tired from driving with a high concentration which you need on these roads.

I was wondering a little bit to see Alpacas here. Because I had expected Alpacas in the andes but not here in Australia. But on the other side there were adventive so much foreign animals and plants over time, so that  I wouldn't wonder if I would see elephants behind the next corner.

The Alpacas are cute animals, which were standing behind the fence and were looking at me all at the same time. 

Alpacas in the Mountview Alpaca farmMountview Alpaca Farm is situated in the heart of Lamington National Park, along the scenic winding road to O’Reilly’s Guesthouse.

I felt myself observed and didn't know why.  

Curious AlpacaAlpacas have been domesticated for thousands of years. The Moche people of northern Peru often used alpaca images in their art.

One Alpaca was jumping nervous outside of the enclosure. And I was wondering why. So I had a assumption, that the Alpaca was jumping over the fence before and couldn't get back. So I opened the Alpaca passed the gate and was jumping to its flock happily. And i was proud of myself to do a good action this day. 

Still Alpaca Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool.

On the fence was a sign, that it was allowed the feed the Alpacas when you buy a feed bag in the Alpaca shop, cafe and restaurant close by. So wasn't thinking too long and bought a bag. It was a pleasure to feed the Alpacas. And it seems to me that they were very hungry. 

Hungry alpacaAlpacas require much less food than most animals of their size. They generally eat hay or grasses, but can eat some other plants (e.g. some leaves), and will normally try to chew on almost anything (e.g. empty bottle).

One of them was spitting to me with the feed i gave them before. I became a little bit frightened, but I recognized that it wasn't for me but for  predator.

Hagen feeds the AlpacasAlpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber.

I asked some Japanese tourists who just arrived a few minutes ago to make some photos when i was feeding the Alpacas. I gave them some feed too and they had the some fun too.

After my break with a cappuccino my trip brought me to the Kamerun lookout, where I perceived that I have reached a high altitude, because I was freezzing in my shirt and short pants. 

View from the Kamerun lookout

Whether the sky was very cloudy I had an stunning view over the beautiful mountains of the National Park.

Kamerun lookout over the Lamington National Park

The lookout was the last break before the O'Reilly Rain Forrest Retreat which I arrived after a half of a hour. The road lead along windy streets and thick rain forrest with high thickly trees so that less sunshine reached the ground.

Lamington National Park Road

The O'Reilly Rain Forrest Retreat was located on the top of a mountain. There were a guesthouse with a pub and bar, a bistro, tourist information center a campground,  some other accommodations and a bird feeding area. I decided to go on the campground if it were possible. But it wasnt so easy because the tourist information wasn't open anymore. So I asked the sop assistant in the bistro how I could book a campsite. She called the responsible ranger, with I booked my campsite.

So I went to the campground with my car, was looking for my campsite and parked my camper there. Because it wasn't obvious clearly if it was the right number of the campsite, I asked a neighbor if it is the number one. And it was. Later it turned out the my neighbors were from Germany too and both were born in the same homeland in Germany too in Saxonia-Anhalt. A small world.

But at first I wanted to use the rest of the light of the day walked around a little bit. Of course always with my camera bag.

I was informing about the opportunities which I could do here and found an information panel, where all the walking tracks with additional informations were be displayed. A couple was informing themselves too and I noted that they were germans too so that I contacted them. We had a small talk about where we were from and where we wanted to go. So I decide to take the Box Forrest Circuit track tomorrow.  The track had a distance of 10,6 km and I thought that it is maybe too much with my camera bag, but otherwise I thought that I have walked su much during my trip so it  will be doable. And I didn't regret it.

Afterwards I was exploring a tree top walk, where the track leads to the top of the tree directly and I could experience the rain forrest at close range. It was quit interesting, but to dark to make photos.

So I decided to go back and to ask for a track map in the guesthouse. I noted that the guesthouse had a pub too and I took 2 beers there from its balcony. And it was a good decision again because I had a stunning view across the mountain. An whether I couldn't see the sunset because it was still very cloudy the sun was looking for a cloud gap and was sending that last red light to all the guests on the balcony whilst I was talking with the local ranger about his job and his passion to the landscape of the Lamington National Park.

Evening glowing from the O'Reillyes GuesthouseO'Reilly's is located on the western edge of World Heritage listed Lamington National Park, a scenic 90 minute drive west from the Gold Coast and just under 2 hours drive south west of Brisbane, nestled in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

After the 2 beers I went to my car and was preparing something for dinner. As I perceived that my neighbors were speaking german, I asked them something so that we were getting in a small talk about the area and so forth. Because  I hadn't finished my dinner I apologized myself  at first.

They prepared their dinner too but with more effort like me I have to say. It seems to me that they hat to be profits in camping.

Whilst I was eating my dinner which was only made from canned food, the woman of the couple invited me for a red vine after my dinner. This was very nice of them. So I brought a few beer and munchies to their table later.

We were talking about Australia of course. And I emphasized that the couple was a hardcore Australia fan. They told a lot of adventurous experience which they have made in the last years. Amazing. It was wonderful evening under high trees in the rain forrest in the Lamington National Park.



Australia 2014 - Day 29 - From Lamington to Byron Bay

The next day I woke up a little bit earlier as usual to have more time for my 10 km hike in the morning. Then I wanted to go to Byron Bay after my line on this day too.

My nice neighbors from yesterday evening had left the campsite in the very early morning already, because they wanted to drive a long distance today. As I recognized this I had a strange feeling in my stomach. I was thinking about the beautiful evening and the interesting chat we had together yesterday. And we didn't know each other before. But there was a willingness of them and myself to share a short time of their and my life, their experience they had in Australia for instance and to have a good time together.

I wished we could have more openness in our casual life together. We would profit of  it, I am sure.

With this warm feelings inside me, I started to prepare my breakfast as usual with a fruit salad with walnuts and yoghurt, a coffee and a slice of bread with peanut butter and jam. But somehow somebody has recognized it and wanted to take part in having breakfast. It was a beautiful red parrot. 

Crimson rosellaThe crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans) is a parrot native to eastern and south eastern Australia which has been introduced to New Zealand and Norfolk Island.

I knew that the Lamington National Park was famous for its bird life and I had seen some birds at the bird feeding area in the front of the guesthouse, but that they could guess where the next breakfast will happen, I didn't expect. So I feeded them with a few nuts. They were so trustful, so that one of the parrot was jumping on my hand, during i was feeding him.

Crimson rosellaThe Crimson rosella is commonly found in, but not restricted to, mountain forests and gardens. The species as it now stands has subsumed two former separate species, the yellow rosella and the Adelaide rosella.

After I have finished my breakfast it was time to start my hike along the Box Forrest Circuit Track. The track was the part of large track system in the Lamington National Park. There a few other tracks, one of them was closed, but I choose this one because it was manageable to do it in the morning.

So  I dressed my walking shoes and my green light jacket because it was a little bit cold and passed the entry to the park around half past eight.

Entry into the Lamington National Park to the Main Border TrackGreen Mountains, in the hinterland of the Gold Coast and part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, features lush rainforests, ancient trees and spectacular views.

And I can say now a beautiful adventure was waiting for me. At this point I have to mention that the Lamington National Park ist the largest subtropical primeval forrest of Australia. The Park has got over 500 waterfalls and a rich flora. 

Rotting tree beside the Box Forrest Circuit WalkThe track winds down through stands of Brush Box and Piccabeen Palms, to the lush sub-tropical rainforest along Canungra Creek.

The national park protects one of the most diverse areas of vegetation in the country. The park’s lush rainforests include one of the largest upland subtropical rainforest remnants in the world and the most northern Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforests in Australia. 

Massive tree in the subtropical rain forrest

The roots of the oldest Antarctic beech trees are over 5,000 years old. Around Mount Widgee numbers of Antarctic beech appear to be increasing. The park protects one of the country's largest remaining forests of hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) which are found on the drier slopes. 

Box forrest circuit trail Pepper Vines cling to tall trees that often support spectacular tree gardens.

Below 880 metres (2,890 ft) the white booyong and black booyong are commonly found. In higher elevations the yellow carabeen, red carabeen, pigeonberry ash, rosewood and soft corkwood trees predominate.

Who the fuck is Hagen?Box Forest circuit: This circuit branches from the Border Track (3.2 km from the trailhead) and leads directly to Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls. It leads you through rainforest, past impressive stands of smooth, pink-barked brush box Lophostemon confertus, before reaching the falls.

The park contains more than 500 waterfalls, including Elabana Falls and Running Creek Falls in the south of the park which falls into a box canyon. I stopped at the Darragumai Falls for at lest an hour  to make this beautiful capture.

Waterfall along the Box Forrest Walk in the Lamington National PThe track winds down through stands of Brush Box and Piccabeen Palms, to the lush sub-tropical rainforest along Canungra Creek. Pepper Vines cling to tall trees that often support spectacular tree gardens.

Yarrbilgong Falls and Coomera Falls both flow into Coomera Gorge. Morans Falls is another cascade that is passed on the 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) long Morans Falls Track. 

Darragumai Falls beside the Box Forrest WalkThe track winds down through stands of Brush Box and Piccabeen Palms, to the lush sub-tropical rainforest along Canungra Creek. Pepper Vines cling to tall trees that often support spectacular tree gardens.

Upper Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Stairway Falls and Nagarigoon Falls are also located in the national park.

Canunga Greek close to the Picnic Rock beside the Box Forrest Ciruit trackThe Box Forest Circuit is 11km long. It took about 3.5 hours to complete the track.

A number of well marked and varied walks connect with this Border Track creating a network which can be easily negotiated by relatively inexperienced bushwalkers. 

Solid roots from a tree i nthe rain forrest

These include the Box Forest Circuit, which is 10.9 kilometres (6.8 mi) or 4 hours return from O'Reilly's; Toolona Creek Circuit, which is 17.4 kilometres (10.8 mi) or 6 hours return, and the Albert River Circuit, which is 20.6 kilometres (12.8 mi) or 7 hours return to O'Reilly's—to name some of the best known. 

Rotting trees in the rain forrest

While the Border Track remains reasonably level for most of its length, many of the other tracks descend to lower elevations of 750 metres (2,460 ft) or less and provide access to some of the diverse variety of flora, fauna and geography to be found in the park.

Picknick rocks beside the Box forrest circuit

The small track winded  along steep slopes to the ground of the Canunga Greek , how you can see at the pictures above. In the greek i was walking along some water falls like the Darragumai Falls above and the Box Log Falls below.

Box Log FallsLocated along The Box Forest Track which leaves the Picnic Rock track 2.7 km from the entrance and is a most rewarding circuit walk.

Unfortunality my batteries were running out of power so that couldnt take nay photos of the Elabans falls.

But nevertheless the walks with my 14kg photo equipment on my back was an amazing experience in a subtropical rain forrest.

After my return to the guesthouse I made a stop at the bird feeding area, where i shot the following photo.

Feeding King Parrot

After I have prepared my camper for the next stage, I started to my next stage to Byron Bay. During my trip back to the coast I made a stop on a beautiful look out over the Lamington Park.

View over the Lamington National Park

And the last time in a beautiful valley where a wine yard was located.

On the O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyards I bought a bottle of a tasty wine for the beach in Byron Bay.

O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyards

After a 2 hour drive I reached Byron Bay in the late eveningh, where a eventful and beautiful day ended with a delicious wine from the Lamington National Park and a  gloomy sunrise on the beach of Byron Bay. 

Beach of Byron Bay