Sunday, June 24, 2012

Springbrook National Park and Fingal Head, Australia

When people think about Gold Coast, they often see Surfers Paradise, beaches, bikies, gambling, sky scrapers. Yes, it is all there, but for me Gold Coast is a magical, warm place where both civilisation and nature are within an hour's drive: libraries, universities, international airports, theatres, museums, amusement parks, botanical gardens, city beaches and wild beaches, national parks, mountains, lakes, forests, old volcanoes, colourful and loud parrots, kangaroos in my front yard.

The name "Gold Coast" was officially adopted only in 1958, and in my opinion it was a mistake. I wish it was still called South Coast. I can only come to terms with "gold" in the name when I think it refers to the colour of sand and sun, not the precious metal.

Our visit to Springbrook National Park in Gold Coast hinterland started with a look at a monument to bad planning:

Springbrook National Park has many lookouts, and to make life easier for tourists spoiled with choice, we proudly present "Best of All Lookout":

It is a truly great lookout, starting with Mt Warning to the south:

And ending with this view to the north:

After checking the lookouts, time to set up the tent. Red skies over Settlement camping area:

At night we went to Springbrook Glow Worms to see the "glowing worms", which turned out to be larvae of an ancient fly. While there, my suspicions about killer Australian leaves were confirmed:

Our guide, Garry Maguire, is a scientist. He discovered a number of glowing mushrooms in Springbrook:

While checking the forest floor for new kinds of glowing things 16 years ago, Garry was bitten by a funnel web spider. I thought that funnel web spiders were limited to Sydney. Another myth busted, they are in Queensland too!

The next day we checked out the Purling Brook Falls lookout:

And the Canyon lookout:

And then the Natural Bridge section, on our way out of Springbrook:

We left cool Springbrook and drove towards the coast. This is Fingal Head, just behind the border in NSW. Looking towards Queensland.

Nearly symmetrical stones of a Giant's Causeway. A brother of the Irish one.

Looking south. Mt Warning looming in the distance.

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