“ National Park in Queensland, Australia „
Spingbrook National Park, Queensland
"Meenyahgu Yugambeh dagun--welcome to Yugambeh country"
I'm a Celebrity:
When we were staying on the Gold Coast in Queensland in October 2010 we thought we would go and explore the Springbrook National Park which was close by. This is the 'Jungle' from the TV series 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' but I'm afraid we didn't get to see the famous camp sites! The Forest is about 100km south of Brisbane but not so far from the Gold Coast going inland from the coast. That is how they get those celebrities out of the jungle into the posh hotel so quickly.
This National Park covers 6197 ha and is split into four main sections--Springbrook plateau, Mount Cougal to the east and Natural Bridge and Numinbah to the west. The area we visited was the Natural Bridge area and the Springbrook Plateau. Unfortunately the views are often obstructed by the large forest trees so all you see is green. The other problem for us was that it rained most of the time we were there so we saw it all through a damp haze and got soaked every time we ventured out of the car to walk any distance. I did sympathise with the 2010 " I'm a Celebrity" group as they has horrible wet weather all the time too but at least we went back to a nice dry bed and a hot bath.
Rules and Sensible Advice:
If you plan on visiting then please take note that no domestic animals are permitted in Springbrook National Park. You can camp in the park if you book and there is a fee which you can do on the website. There are simple and sensible rules which must be obeyed in order for the park to be preserved.
All plants and animals in the park are protected and should be left undisturbed.
DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE
Use toilets or dispose of all produce by burying at least 15cm deep.
Take ALL your rubbish home.
Keep to the tracks and keep away from cliff edges.
Best of All Look Out:
The first place we made our way to was 'The Best of All Lookout'. We loved the name and thought it was so Australian; call it as you see it, not original or romantic in any way. The lookout gave a wonderful outlook but as I mentioned before it was raining so our view was very hazy. There were about 6 parking spaces and three of these were for disabled people. From the car park the walk is along a class 2 track and the walk is about half an hour along marked tracks through an ancient Antarctic Beech forest. You got a great view out towards Mt Warning but it was hard to make out much on our damp day sadly. Mt Warning is actually a lava plug centre of the extinct Tweed shield volcano.
The track to this lookout was a class 2 track and the walk to the look out and back to the carpark took about half an hour. It was quite a good track which took you through an ancient Antarctic beech forest which is a reminder of a past cooler climate .This small area of Antarctic beech forest is a link with the ancient forests of Gondwana. These forest at one time were widespread across Australia and provided a habitat for many now long extinct animals . If you want to know more about Gondwana and the ancient continents then I suggest a look at Wikpedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gondwana.
Walking in the park:
Throughout the park there are many labeled walking tracks and they are all graded into one of three difficulty levels. Class 1 track which means it is suitable for Wheelchair-accessible track with handrails at lookout. Class 2 track means an Easy level track, suitable for all fitness levels and all junctions are signposted and may include interpretive signs. The class 3 tracks have marked tracks but may be rough with some exposed roots and rocks and may vary in width and have muddy sections, steep grades and steps. A reasonable level of fitness is needed and ankle-supporting footwear is recommended. The final class may be challenging and a moderate of fitness and bushwalking experience as well as ankle-supporting footwear is recommended.
On to the Natural Bridge Walk:
This walk is about 1km in length and is a class 2 track. It was very wet in parts but when we got to the Natural Bridge it was worth the walk. At night you can see lots of glow worms but during the day they are not as obvious but we did see them in the darker parts of the inner cave under the bridge.
The water was so clear and the sound of the water falling into the stream echoing through the cave area was tremendously loud. We really struggled to talk to each other while we were there. It was very damp in this arched cave but as it was raining outside we didn't get a lot wetter as the waterfall tumbled down from above us.
The walk to the Bridge and back took about an hour and we followed the suggested easier circuit by going in a clockwise direction which meant less arduous climbs in the wet as the slopes can be slippery. As we walked we were dwarfed by huge Hoop Pines within the thick greenery of the rainforest. These huge trees are left over from the Jurassic Age, about 180 million years ago so they are 'living dinosaurs' and some of the most primitive of conifers.
Wildlife in the Park:
Everywhere we visit we try to see local wildlife in the wild rather than in zoos or safari parks. Just outside Brisbane is a lovely animal park with lots of local animals called the 'Lone Pine Sanctuary' and if we had come with young children then we would have made our way there but my husband was determined to see the wildlife in the wild so we went hunting to see what we could find.
Within this park we should have been able to see koalas, wallabies, lyre birds, lace monitor lizards many different birds, various frogs and in one area near Nimbin there is a river where platypus are regularly seen.
What did we see? We saw a few bush turkeys who have to be one of the stupidest birds invented and certainly not the prettiest. We saw many beautiful lorikeets and cockatoos and a small rather speedy tiny wallaby called a pademelon but not one koala. The animals of the Australian bush are obviously very good at hiding.
Coffee with the birds:
After doing a couple more short walks to lookouts we decided we needed a cup of coffee and made out way to Springbrook where we found a lovely café called the 'Gourmet Galah'. We sat on the balcony and watched while the lorikeets, crimson rosellas, king parrots and budgerigars came down to eat just beside us. They started to get quite cheeky and were very happy to eat off your hand. After we had finished our coffee we spent some time enjoying feeding these birds with the food provided.
We drove all the way to Nimbin in NSW to this river where my son has stayed on the farm there. He popped in to ask if we could go down to the river and look for the platypus but even with this very private invite we failed to see any. It was very wet so a perfect sort of weather for them to be playing around at the edges but no luck.
So, despite the fact that these rainforests in southern Queensland and Northern NSW are said to be home to more frog, snake, bird and marsupial species than anywhere else in Australia. These areas are home for many rare and threatened plants and animals and ancient life forms but they are so well hidden that the casual walker like we were are very unlikely to see any of these rare and wonderful creatures.
The Aboriginal owners of this land:
The native people of the area are the Yugambeh and one major positive for me is that despite the bad treatment of the Aboriginal people by the European settlers and all the legislative control over their lives in the past I am really happy to know that the Yugambeh people continue to live on their traditional lands, caring for the rainforest and its wildlife.
What do I think?
We had a lovely day exploring the park and driving around within the park to find the different places we wanted to see. If you are into hiking and camping then this would be paradise. Permits for camping have to be bought but the chances are you would enjoy some amazing flora and if you were very lucky you might even see some of the wildlife at night.
It is always cooler in the park than down at sea level so you need to take extra layers. The day we went it was raining; in fact it rained most of the time we were in Queensland, so the paths were a bit slippery. Some tracks are wheel chair friendly but on a wet day you would have to be extra careful. Throughout the park on the tracks there are information labels to tell you about the trees and vegetation.
The Australian people are very proud about the fact that UNESCO designated these forest areas of Springbrook and Lamington national Parks to be World Heritage sites in December 1994 recognising how valuable these areas are. They should be preserved as one of the world's places of natural beauty and should be conserved for future generations.
If you are staying in the Gold Coast area or even in Brisbane or Northern NSW then do make a trip to see this lovely, relatively unspoilt part of this area which has so much development on the coast that is it nice to escape into nature for a while.
If you are after shining lights and lots of organized activity then don't bother. This is National Park is a place of peace and quiet, stunning huge trees and very well hidden wildlife. Just remember though leave this place as you found it. Take nothing natural out and leave nothing unnatural behind.
Thanks for reading. Hope this has been of some interest to you and will give you a little insight into the area that the 'Happy Campers' spend their time while in 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'.
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