After leaving the town of Kingaroy, we would stop at the Bunya National Park and the Wivenhoe Dam, before returning to a new section of the Queensland coastline. Finally, after all this time in AU, we made it to the famous Gold Coast. Our first stop was at Surfers Paradise, but we also stopped at several of the other beach towns. I picked Currumbin as one of my favorite stops.
Bunya National Park
Bunya NP was created in 1908, and it is the second oldest park in QLD. It is known for it's large number of Bunya pines.
The Bunya pines that grow here were of particular significance to Aboriginal people. When the nuts from the Bunya trees were in abundance, they would have special gatherings that would go on for days.
The Bunya National Park in QLD.
The kernels of the Bunya pine cone are on display here; on top of each kernel is a story about the Aboriginal connection to this area. In the background, the tall conical trees are Bunya pines.
The trunks of the older Bunya pine have two toe holes at vertical intervals. The Aboriginal men used vines and also these toe holes to scale the trees. They would knock loose the Bunya cones that didn't fall down on their own.
This is a picture (of a picture) of a Bunya cone. It has 50-100 edible kernels inside. Luckily the cones had fallen before we arrived, so we only saw pictures. The cones can weigh over 13 lbs, but the norm is usually quite a bit less. At any rate, they are large enough to cause a serious head injury.
The crown of a Bunya pine.
When you come to a gap in the forest and see leaves shaped like this, look out! At Bunya NP, there are signs warning about the dreaded nettle tree before you enter the forest. The nettle leaves have hairs that break off under your skin and release a poison. There is no treatment, and evidently the pain can go on for days.
This is a strangler fig tree; it is over 400 hundred years old. It began it's life high on a tree and it's vines gradually killed the host tree. Greg is standing in the hollowed out part; this is where the original host tree was before it died.
Bright yellow fungi on a tree at Bunya NP.
The Wivenhoe Dam was completed in 1985 and serves all kinds of purposes: water supply for Brisbane and Ipswich regions, hydroelectricity, flood mitigation, and recreation. The Brisbane River was impounded to create the reservoir called Lake Wivenhoe.
We made a late afternoon visit to Lake Wivenhoe.
At Lake Wivenhoe, I finally got to see a termite nest in a tree.
The Gold Coast City is composed of several beach towns that run from south of Brisbane, all the way to the New South Wales border. It has over half a million people, and it is AU's sixth largest city. It is the number one tourist spot in QLD.
It is also known as the location of the infamous Schoolies. Traditionally high school seniors graduate in November, and they go to the Gold Coast to party. The party lasts for a week, and as you can imagine, there is usually controversy!
Our first stop at the Gold Coast was at Surfer's Paradise. It lives up to it's reputation of having lots of tall buildings. It is home to Q1 which was once the tallest residential building in the world. It was built in 2005, and now there are several taller residential buildings.
The countdown for the 2018 Commonwealth Games has begun. The Commonwealth Games will be held at the Gold Coast.
These tall buildings are at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
The sign for Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
The Koala Cat Woman at Surfers Paradise.
The Surfers Paradise Memorial Stone.
A little fun in the sun at Surfers Paradise.
Currumbin, is a small beach community on the Gold Coast that we really liked. It seems more protected from development than some of the other Gold Coast communities. I think this is because of the steep mountains nearby, and also the presence of a longstanding wildlife sanctuary.
The beach has the Elephant Rock at one end and the Currumbin Alley/Rocks at the other end.
The Elephant Rock is located at the southern end of the Currumbin Beach. The Viking Surf Life Saving Club was built by it's side, and it has a lookout on it's top.
The Currumbin Alley is formed by the bar of the Currumbin Creek as it enters the ocean. The water is shallow, and the surfers can almost walk out to the waves.
Greg is standing on the Currumbin Rocks, and he is looking at the tall skyline of Surfer's Paradise.
This view is looking down the Currumbin Beach, toward the Currumbin Rocks and Alley.