I'm back in Brisbane after a weekend spent south of the city. I was a bit at loose ends on my last night @ the lodge, so here's the blog post I wrote that I can post now that I actually have internet access again :)
I’m writing this to post later when I get back to Brisbane, where we have internet access at the apartment hotel we’re staying at. Right now, I’m sitting in my room at Binna Burra Mountain Lodge in Lamington National Park, looking out over the valley below. The forest is actually part of a World Heritage Site, so it's exciting to add a visit to another World Heritage Site on a whole new continent to the list of sites I've visited in the past..
My corner room has windows all along one wall and a sliding door and a semi-private deck along another wall. It’s a great view, but the weather is windy & chilly and my room doesn’t have central heating so it’s cold! I’m taking a break this afternoon after hiking yesterday and today with my friend Judith, who just headed back to Brisbane to work on her conference presentation.
Actually, on top of the no internet, the lodge also doesn’t have televisions (hooray!), alarm clocks (hooray!), or phones in the rooms (that means I can’t even talk to Tim, so no hooray for that one). The views from here are great, looking out over the forest.
Getting to Binna Burra was easy but also a bit harrowing. First, we took a train from the Brisbane Central station to Nerang. At the Nerang train station, a car picked us up for the 40 km drive to Binna Burra. I’m thankful we had an excellent driver because the road was constantly climbing and twisting. It took skill to make it a comfortable ride, and even though he was careful, both of us almost got carsick!
Once we arrived at the lodge, we dropped our stuff at our room, put on our hiking gear, and headed out on our first hike.
For yesterday’s hike, we went on the Caves Circuit, about a 5 km hike with a pretty major change in elevation. We started out at the lodge, walked down the curvy and windy road, and picked up the actual trail at the park information center. The hike took us through an open eucalypt forest, past Kweebani Cave, and through a dense rainforest.
Several other hotel guests reported seeing koalas in the eucalypt forest, but we didn’t see any – just several different types of birds, including several colorful parrots. Kweebani Cave was more of an overhang than a full cave, but the trail was wonderful overall except for a bunch of really difficult switchbacks to get uphill through the dense rainforest.
Last night for dinner, we ate at the communal table in the lodge restaurant, where we ran into someone from Germany, here for the same conference we’re going to. I’m eating at the communal table again tonight – should be interesting to see what kind of company I have. [ETA: Actually, it was just me & the lodge employee who is supposed to facilitate discussion at the table. It was still a nice dinner though.]
This morning, we got up early and went on an easier 5 km loop walk called the Tullawallal circuit.
The walk took us through a dense rainforest, where we saw tons of wallabies [ETA: More precisely, they were pademelons] just going about their business in the forest. They were shy fellows, impossible to get a picture of them, but it was fun to just watch them. It’s hard to imagine an animal that moves like a kangaroo getting around easily in a dense rainforest, but the wallabies were actually quite fast. The trek also took us to the top of Tullawallal, where there is a stand of Antarctic Beech trees, apparently very unusual in this area.
Judith’s car back to the train station was waiting for us when we got back from our hike, so Judith headed out and I headed back to the room to warm up a bit. I think it’s going to be cold out tonight! Tomorrow morning, I catch a bus back to the train station at 10 am and should be back in Brisbane by early afternoon. I’m not looking forward to taking a bus down to the train station – it was bad enough in a car! I’m sure I’ll be okay though.
Oh, and in case you didn’t think there was any knitting going on during this trip, here’s how far I am on my chevron scarf, started shortly before I got on the plane in Nashville. I’m sure Judith thought I was a real crazy lady taking my knitting along into the rainforest, but don’t the colors match the forest well???
I think I’m going to head up to the main lodge building now to knit for a while by the fire!