GIRRAWEEN -PLACE OF FLOWERS
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Girraween National Park (near Stanthorpe).
Mileage 4075 Fee $5 pppn
Very dry and very windy day with extreme fire danger alert in place. The country side looks so brown and dry; creeks have no water and you feel sad for the land. The van took a battering with the wind and we hated the dust that came with the wind.
We heard on the news that a young German tourist who had gone missing in the nearby Bald Rock NP and had been found dead the next day by emergency services; a reminder that the Australian bush can be a dangerous place.
The camp grounds at Girraween were quite busy for "van" spots and nearly empty for tents but we selected a good spot next to a group of 20 high school students, who with their teacher Brett and their adventure leader, Innes from Mt Barney Lodge were experiencing some lessons in survival and cooperation.
We enjoyed chatting to the guys and got some valuable information about places we were yet to go to. Brett enjoyed his job as a teacher and we were interested in hearing his positive stories about teenage boys. We had a good laugh about the TV program Summer Heights High and how real that show was with its student stereotypes.
Our neighbours Harry and Brooke were good company and left their contact details if we came by Terrigal on our travels. We met other interesting campers and spent time telling our story and listening to theirs; we had a tour of the sleek "Ultimate", an off road camper trailer designed by a boat builder and costing $50,000. Have to say it was pretty impressive! It's fun checking out motorhomes, vans etc.
An additional group of 60 Southern Cross Environmental Studies students arrived at the camp ground so the site was well and truly full. We were pleasantly surprised that the whole experience was a positive one and we will feel less inclined in future to seek out the isolated camp sites.
The days were cool and windy,and we hiked Turtle Rock, Granite Junction and the Arch tracks. Water levels in the creeks were much lower than on previous visits, and wild flowers making their last appearance before summer.
Girraween NP is a granite landscape with 17 kms of walking tracks. Girraween means place of flowers. The rock formations are spectacular and you marvel at the position of them.
Sheila found her own “koala” rock formation up amongst the landscape. Well spotted!
There is an abundance of the Eastern Grey kangaroos grazing the grasses, lots of baby joeys are a sign of an earlier good season,and cheeky "red wattle" birds trying to steal your food. There are 25 different gums in this area, with lots of new blue gum shoots in the park and stringy barks.
The Kambuwal aborigines were displaced long ago by settlers and farmers. The area was mined for tin and Blackbutt tree felling stripped the area and once again, you feel grateful that some wise people saw the potential of the area and pressed the government to preserve it.
So in summary, Girraween is a peaceful, beautiful spot to enjoy nature and hiking. It is very popular because toilets, hot showers and Park Information Centre is on site; water is on tap but must be boiled before drinking. We carry 125 litres of water so only used the park water for washing.
The day we left, the camp grounds emptied and the kangaroos were left to take charge again.