I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published August 30th 2017
Get into rainforest close to Brisbane
I was interested in a weekend activity on the Brisbane Bushwalker's list of future walks. This one was a weekend camping trip with a difference. It involved educational sessions on photography, nature journalling and sketching, as well as yoga and some bushwalking. I was mainly interested in the photography because I wanted to learn how to take better photos.
It was still winter so I knew it was going to be cold, so I packed all my warm clothes and an extra doona as well as my sleeping bag. I drove up to Mount Glorious on Friday afternoon via Samford to avoid traffic. There is another route along Waterworks Road, out through The Gap, past Walkabout Creek and onto the Mount Nebo Road.
Our campsite was private, but there are public campsites in the area, and lots of beautiful day walking areas. There is a picnic ground approximately one kilometre north of the Mt Glorious Township along Mt Glorious Road.
Mount Glorious is about 30 kilometres north west of Brisbane. It is part of the D'Aguilar Range, and the small village is surrounded by subtropical rain forest and wet sclerophyll forest. The peak is approximately 599 m above sea level.
Five blocks on the mountain were made available early in the 20th century. The first block was bought by James O'Hara in 1903. In the early 1900s, people began riding up to Mt Glorious from eastern valleys below and began growing bananas and other crops.
The area around Maiala was the first national park declared on the D'Aguilar Range. It was originally cleared for a timber mill. There are toilets, picnic tables, wood barbecues and water which needs to be treated before drinking. This area is located just past the Mount Glorious Township, about a 45min drive from Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre
Saturday was a busy day. We walked through the sub tropical rainforest in the morning for a couple of hours, along the Western Windows track. The track starts from the top of Maiala day-use area on the south side of Mount Glorious Road. It runs along the escarpment to the Western Window, where there are fantastic views out over the valleys and ranges. There are beautiful sunset views from this spot. You can reach it from the side of the road, and there is even a viewing seat.
We returned to camp for morning tea and the first workshop, which was nature journalling and sketching with Paula Peeters. Paula is a very talented writer, artist and ecologist. She used to work in the Threatened Species area of the Environment Department before getting into her own nature journalling business using her combined knowledge and expertise of science and art.
She helped us tune into the right side of our brains. The aim of the workshop was to heighten our awareness and appreciation of the outdoor environment. Paula runs Nature Journalling sessions for organisations and groups. She told us nature journalling is the practice of drawing or writing in response to observations of nature. This practice results in the creation of your own unique nature journal. She gave us all a copy of her beautiful little book "Make a Date with Nature: an introduction to nature journaling", and shared her own nature journal books with us. Her book is available from her website
The workshop was very interesting and a lot of fun. I think we all learnt a lot and will put the ideas and techniques into practice. I was impressed with the drawing ability of some of our group. Paula told us nature journalling is a great, relaxing way to spend time out in nature. It helps us to observe more, and learn more about our surroundings. In one of the activities we had to sketch a leaf, and then match everyone's sketch to their leaf, which we managed to do. We surprised ourselves with our creativity.
Later after lunch, we had our first yoga session. I remembered why I gave up yoga years ago. I used to have trouble getting into the poses. I'm still not very flexible. I also wobbled a lot when trying to balance on one leg. We were lucky to have one of our fellow bushwalkers, Ilse Broekaert, who is a Registered Level 2 yoga teacher take the session. Ilse came to Queensland from Belgium. She said people come to yoga for many reasons. They come for flexibility, strength, health, inner bliss and wisdom. She helps people find "their true fit". Ilse runs yoga classes around the Lota area where she lives.
Stephen Simpson, another bushwalker ran the photography session in the afternoon. Stephen is an excellent photographer and has won the last two Brisbane Bushwalking photographic competitions. I used to have a small Canon Sure Shot camera which my son gave me for Christmas a few years ago, but I took it kayaking, and it got wet and stopped working. I recently bought a Sony camera using my Westpac Visa points. I'm still getting used to it and mostly just put it on intelligent automatic, press the button and hope for the best. Stephen presented a lot of really useful information. I need to digest it and practice the things he taught us.
On Sunday we were planning to do the Greenes Falls Track walk, which is 4.3 kms return, but decided instead to just walk down along Joyners Ridge Road, and practice our nature sketching and newfound photography skills.
We walked very slowly and stopped often to do our nature sketching and take photographs. There was a lot to see and hear, beautiful and interesting fungi, lichen, moss, leaves and insects. We also saw bird's nests, snail shells, orchids, staghorn, strangler figs, buttressed trees, stinging trees and large rainforest trees such as white booyong. We found Blue Quondong fruit along the track. During the weekend we heard lots of different birdcalls, including green catbirds that sound like crying babies, whip birds, bellbirds and many others.
I was a bit wary of sitting down in the bush, because I still have memories of going on a writer's retreat into the North Queensland rainforest at Mt Spec near Townsville one weekend many years ago. We all sat around in the bush writing and I picked up a tick. I didn't find it until three days later after it had burrowed into my head. My whole face swelled up and my eyes were just two slits. My GP laughed when I took my sunglasses off. I had to have an anti histamine injection, and I'm worried what will happen if I ever get another tick bite.
We found some beautiful green feathers on Saturday and some brown and black ones on Sunday. There was only a pile of feathers left which looked like a cat or some other predator had killed the birds. I tried to find out what type of bird the green feathers belonged to and posted a photo on an Internet bird site. The possibilities mentioned included, Green Catbird, King Parrot, Woompoo Fruit Pigeon and Emerald Dove. Maybe some readers could identify them, and the brown and black ones.
After our walk, we had another yoga session. We had a bit of drama during this session. One of the women felt something on her neck and pulled at it. It was a tick and she had pulled the body of it out, but the head was still burrowed into her neck. Tom used his army first aid knowledge to remove the tick's head. We even found the body of the tick still walking around on her shirt without its head. At least none of the spiders came out of their holes during the session. There were holes all around in the grass we were lying on.
I have heard the Maiala Rainforest Teahouse and Restaurant at 1850 Mt Glorious Rd has a number of bird feeders and water in the garden behind the coffee shop that attracts many birds into their garden. I need to go there next time I visit.
It was a great weekend and we all left relaxed and enthusiastic to have other similar weekends on the bushwalker's program in the future. I was keen to check my wildlife trap camera when I got home to see if I had captured anything interesting. I had put it in the bush for two nights. I was hoping to capture a spotted-tail quoll (Dasyurus maculates). These carnivorous marsupials used to be common in the D'Aguilar Range, but haven't been seen for many years. I only managed to capture a photo of a yellow robin, and a rat or mouse.