After Byron Bay, we spent two nights in Paul's place, and took off again, loaded with heaps of camping gear, canned Chili and our mountain bikes in the boot of the Jeep. Again, dark clouds over the ocean, and bright or blue sky in mountains the West. That's where we are heading for. First stop is O Reilly's Station in the Lamington National Park, another subsection of the Godwana World Nature Heritage. We walk a short 2hrs circuit trail down to the bottom of the narrow valley, to the waterfall and its pool. Giant Brush Box trees with red trunks and mighty Yellow Hollywoods stand on the side of the small trail, and tall old Strangler Figs hug their host trees, or their remains. Shrubs, Liana and Tree ferns in between render anywhere aside the trail impenetrable. Once again I breath the rainforest rather than the fags.
We depart O Reilly's on a true 4WD road, heading down West. A place called Lost World Valley appears under thick black clouds in the remaining daylight. We move on, further West. Eventually, we find an empty picnic area nearby Rathdowney, put up the tent and enjoy the Chili at the campfire. A bright moon renders the lean trunks of the tall Eucalyptus trees around us with silver glow in that night.
Next station on our tour is the Mount Barney National Park, somewhat known for a stunning gorge called Lower Portal. We arrive early, have the entrance to the gorge for ourselves after a good hike. We are out of the rainforests, Eucalyptus trees, grass trees and shrubs dominate the scene. A quick swim upstream the cold creek through the pools formed into the rocky creek bed, and I see the full scale of the gorge. The beauty of the place is unreal, impossible to describe the spirit with words or camera pictures. As well the knowledge of Paul, my mate who is kind enough to show me sacred places like this. If I wanted to do something like that back home in Germany, I'd have to think very hard where to go...
We move on to the Girraween National Park, an area of rather dry Eucalyptus forests and numerous more or less giant granite rock formations in Northern Queensland Tableland, a hilly plain more than 1000 meters above sea level. The campground is fairly occupied due to the upcoming Easter weekend, mainly by Australian campers. 6$ per night per person, including hot shower facilities – great offer! Never mind the lack of electricity. Nearby the campground, just a few kilometers away, are giant granite rock formations to hike and climb, great lookouts and meditation places for sunrise and sunset, when there are hardly any other people up there. The Eucalyptus woods are full of round shaped granite boulders – this must be heaven for climbers, yet none are to see. Behind the campground, the Bold Rock River runs in his solid granite bed, with little gorges being cut into the stone in tens of thousands of years time. A magic white glow emits from the riverbed at nighttime under the full moon shining on it. It is easy to imagine what we did there for the next 4 days – hiking, swimming, breathing. One day we take the pushbikes for a descent ride around Tenterfield, where the open farmlands expose much more of the impressive granite hills, and have a look at the nearby Boonoo Boonoo Waterfalls and the Bold Rock National Park, home of the largest solitary rock in the Southern Hemisphere. Reaching the summit of Bold Rock, we are on our own again, spoiled with a stunning view and a marvelous sunset. Wet clouds surround us from behind, seemingly being soaked into the red glowing sky in the West.