Road Trippin’: The Sunshine Coast Hinterlands

Yet again it has been a little while since I have had a chance to get tapping away on my keys again. Life on the road living out of a a car and a tent does not offer the same luxuries that normal housebound life provides… such as power, for example. Nevermind, I’ve found a public library can provide such things!

So, where was I, aah yes the Australian road trip… After leaving the towns of 1770 and Agnes Water where it appears nobody really grows up, we continued south along the Bruce Highway (another fantastically long Australian road) down the East Coast. Our next port of call was to be the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands (an area of highlands made up of a range of National Parks and mountain settlements) and then onwards to Noosa.

Before we could reach the Hinterlands we decided we would set up camp close to a small coastal town called Tin Can Bay. At 8:30am every morning there is the opportunity to hand feed wild dolphins (for a nominal fee of $10 per person, of course, this is Australia after all!) as they cruise into the harbour area of the town. Under the impression this would be a natural spectacle with lots of dolphins frolicking in the water and maybe some local mateys selling some fish or something, we were a bit disappointed to find just a handful of dolphins (only 5) each with a keeper (or somebody in charge of the feeding), and then a line of keen-beans waiting in single file for their opportunity to feed the dolphins. All this was going on while some lady spiels some bullshit about how this behaviour is completely natural for the dophins and they do not rely on this encounter for food, as they are truly wild. Pah, my ass, this is purely a tourist attraction. We didn’t feed, but we did sit around and take some lovely photos! All was going swimmingly until Soph dropped and smashed her brand new phone. What a dick.

 

From Tin Can Bay we took a trip round to Rainbow Beach to visit Inskip Point for a great view of Fraser Island, and also to the lesser-known Carlo Sandblow – a large sandpatch in the tropical rainforest just a few kilometres south of Rainbow Beach town centre – a nice spot for epic sea views from the cliffs above the beach, which is the main entry into the Great Sandy National Park and Cooloola Reserve. We had a bit of a distance to drive (part and parcel of travelling in Australia is that everything is fucking miles from everything else!), so we did not hang around in Rainbow Beach particularly long and continued on the road towards the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands…

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Arriving in the evening, we made camp in the fairly remote area called Obi Obi Creek where there is a free campground with a brilliant backdrop of rolling hills dotted with grazing cattle and patches of woodland – a fine place for a few too many glasses of wine and some drunken Jenga.

The following morning, a little on the slow side thanks to too much of the red stuff, we made our way up the winding mountain pass from Obi Obi into the Hinterlands proper, driving through the cute little matchbox towns of Mapleton and Monteville, the latter of which really does need to be seen to be believed – no town should ever be this pristine and quite this quaint – I would say it even tops those pretentious “Village of the Year” villages of merry old England!

Even with the remnants of a hangover lurking, our mssion in the Hinterlands was to walk. So to the bush we went and started with a 14km return walk to Gherulla Falls (well, actually barely a falls, more of a trickle, but at least the walk was nice!), followed by the much less challenging stroll to the Mapleton Falls viewpoint. The Hinterlands is quite a large area with plenty to keep outdoorsy people busy, so we took a second day to explore the area, stomping around Kondalilla National Park to visit the impressive 80m Kondalilla Falls and to take on a few more shorter walks to explore the area further, all the while listening to the weird and wonderful noises of the Australian bush, such as the Eastern Whipbird which sounds like something out of Star Wars.

 

Not finished with our bush walking escapades for one day, we left the area early in the afternoon and continued further south into the intriguing Glass House Mountains, where we climbed Mount Ngungen for some emphatic views of the surrounding areas.

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The Glass House Mountains are a collection of 11 ancient volcanic plugs that rise dramatically out of the ground in an area about 70km north of Brisbane. The largest of which, Mount Beerwah, which stands at 556m casts a fairly large shadow over the low-lying area. We decided we would attempt to climb Beerwah, only to be swiftly shut down in the car park as we realised that most of the route was near vertical loose rock face. Fuck that for a laugh, I value my life! It was on the unsealed, corrugated road on the way out of the Beerwah car park, where the unforgiving terrain got the better of the car’s suspension, creating a rather irritating a persistent rattle. Shit… doubly shit! So, scuppered in our Beerwah ascent plans, instead we decided we would keep things more casual and enjoy the leisurely Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Tibberoowuccum (mouthful, I know!) circuit tracks.

Sufficiently fucked from around 70km of walking in 4-5 days, we decided it was time to call it a day and make our way to Noosa for some much needed down time!

 

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