03.11.2015 - 09.11.2015
One place that remained close to my heart whilst travelling on was Toowoomba, and the close friends I'd made there.
Having travelled up to Noosa with Mark,
we went to visit Tami, just outside of Toowoomba where we saw this great piece of graffiti
who I had previously stayed with, and worked with her horse. PolyAnn was looking better than ever (with Peggy the goat for company)
and Penny also came over to say hello
but the best part was cuddles from my old bed mate Angel, a Rex cat
and of course the collection of small dogs, including Crystal and Sammy
As fireworks are illegal in Queensland, it was nice to still be able to celebrate Bonire Night with a small fire
and lots of fire twirling
with good friends,
and good food
whilst spotting shooting stars through the thunder and lightening storm!
We went to an old favourite spot, looking out over Tabletop Mountain
Mark drove us out to explore the Bunya Mountains, west of Toowoomba
and on the way we came across Goombungee's Jacaranda Day
Jacaranda mimosifolia is a sub-tropical tree native to south-central South America that has been widely planted elsewhere because of its beautiful and long-lasting blue flowers.
It is also known as jacaranda, blue jacaranda, black poui, or as the fern tree.
In scientific usage, the name "Jacaranda" refers to the genus Jacaranda, which has many other members, but in horticultural and everyday usage, it nearly always means the blue jacaranda.
Profuse flowering is regarded as magnificent by some and quite messy by others.
The unusually shaped, tough pods, which are 5.1 to 7.6 cm (2 to 3 in) across, are often gathered, cleaned and used to decorate Christmas trees and dried arrangements
Goombungee boasts a unique ironman at the southern entrance to the town which is reminiscent of the Rural Ironman and Ironwoman competition which was once held annually on Australia Day.
There is also an historic museum, an art gallery, a primary school and a police station.
Inside the museum were examples of machinery from the old farming days
an old shed that was home to one working family
old school suitcases
old school satchels
SINGER sewing machine - the machine they said could never be made
Moving on through the Darling Downs, the clouds were creating spectacular formations as the storm was brewing
Prior to colonisation, the bunya Mountains were the centre for large gatherings of Murri people for the 'boyne boyne' festival - a time of feasting, ceremony, law making, trading and the settling of disputes.
The last big festival was in the 1870s.
Arriving in the bunya Mountains, we stopped at Fishers Lookout
By the late 1840s all of the country around the Bunya Mountains was taken up by large sheep and cattle runs. Settlement and conflict has a huge impact on the traditional lifestyles of Aboriginal people.
and to look back down to Toowoomba
By the 1850s timber getters were drawn to the mountain by the valuable stands of red cedar,
Hoop pines and Bunya pines.
Up to 25 sawmills once operated on or around the Bunyas. The last sawmill on the mountain closed in 1950, ending nearly 100 years of logging.
arriving in Dandabah National Park
after a quick stop for a drink
we went for a walk to see the largest natural stand of bunya pines living in the world today.
Walking through these giants was interesting
But the most exciting tree, was an old Strangler Fig
it was pretty big!
So old that the tree inside had died, leaving a hollow lattice - perfect for climbing!!
The view down was pretty good
and look up and down the inside was interesting
Somewhere at the top is Mark
Moving on, we came across a pool and waterfall
teaming with huge tadpoles from the Great Barred Frog - a ground dwelling, burrowing frog that lives near creeks and streams.
which Mark set about trying to catch!
Tadpoles may take up to three years to grow land-legs depending on food, nutrient availability and other environmental factors.
Sunlight is necessary for the survival and growth of all plants.
But on the ground sunlight is scarce, so vines grow rapidly using their host tree as a climbing frame.
This huge vine made a great climbing frame
The bunya pine is considered a sacred tree by many Aboriginal people, with some viewing it as their mother spirit. Aboriginal people collected bunya nuts not only from the forest floor, but also by climbing the giant bunya pines. by cutting holes into the bark using stone axes
At the end of the walk was Pine Gorge Lookout
looking back across the Darling Downs
Heading home from our exploration,
we passed a historical aeroplane
RAAF Canberra Bomber
which flew form 1953 to 1982
based in Australia, Malaysia, New Guinea and were also used in bombing missions in the Vietnam conflict.
Out and about one day, we passed this biker - I thought I had a lot of luggage, but I've no idea how he picks it up off the side stand!