The following morning, we decide not to spend the whole day in the Jacuzzi. We therefore put our shoes on, get some Powerade in the bag together with some granola bars and before we go, we check on Garmin Connect different trails that hikers have done in the park before us and decide to go for the so called “Waterfall Box Circuit”. We meet a bus load of tourist on the first few hundred meters and are terrified. Will it be like this all along? Is the trail so easy that these “shaped” people can do it in their flip flops? Well…no…the first crossing says to box circuit “left”, to botanic garden “right”. No one is taking a left.
The walk becomes more and more scenic, the forest become pristine, higher trees and at last rainforest. What we did not expect (mostly because we stand at the opposite side of a wild life expert) was all these encounters with animals we had never seen before and no clue what they could be. First we stumble on a 70cm big blue lizard (we learn later that it is a snake killer and understand better why he was not afraid of us at all…). We then stop of what literally looks like a mini T-Rex. It moves on its posterior legs like a T-Rex, it is not afraid like a T-Rex. Although it was quite small, I did not dare to go to near. Past this mini-dino, we walk a few hundred elevation meters down to the river and its waterfalls. Breathtaking beauty and we soon come to our next specimen: a blue sweet water langoustine surrealistically walking sideways through the forest (we learned later that we were quite lucky to see one of those crossing from one creek to another). After 2 hours of hiking, we arrive at the highest waterfalls. A few pictures later we make our way up back to O’Reilly. After 4 hours, we are back from our 2nd hike together since Bali.
The remaining of the week-end is spend to taste O’Reilly food (average) and O’Reilly wines (excellent) before driving back to the Sunshine Coast.
As New Year gift, our host, Rita, offered us to spend a long weekendwithout our daughters. We first thought about a romantic place on one of the Whitsunday Islands or a City trip to Sydney. But after a few minutes, we realised that we wanted cool, fresh, crispy air, escape from the heat that has surrounded us in Hong-Kong, in Bali and in Australia. What we also realised was how much the Southern Region of Queensland has to offer. Just 250km away from white sand beaches of the Sunshine Cost lays a 1000m high plateau in the middle of the Lamington National Park: the O’Reilly Plateau. It is named after Bernard O’Reilly, who settled in the region with his brother and became famous by saving 2 survivors of a plane crash in the Lamington Mountains: The Stinson Rescue in February 1937.
Anyway, we find the O’Reilly mountain resort very attractive and think it is a very good response to our needs. Let’s also say straight away that O’Reilly is way beyond our daily budget, but we thought; what the heck, it is our first week-end without our children in 12 months. So, I call and yes there is still a lodge available from the 1st to the 4th of January.
The packing is done in just minutes, the tank of Rita’s Chrysler Grand Voyager is filled up to the brim and there we are, kissing goodbye to our two little blondes. The kids reacted surprisingly well, as if they were as happy to let us go for three days as we were 🙂 .
The first highlight was the last 20km drive on the Green Mountain section of the Lamington National Park. A windy narrow roads amidst, or I should better say, under the big rainforest trees. Windy because the road respected big old trees and instead of bulldozing a highway the National Park Authorities decided to go for more elegant and environmental friendly way.
The second and biggest highlight is the O’Reilly resort. We could only book a “Rainforest Villa” (meaning that you have big trees and vines in front of your window without a vie really. But we got super lucky and we were checked-in a Valley View villa.
Part II of the week-end in Lamington National Park Coming Soon…