AN OASIS ABOVE THE FLAT PLAINS OF CENTRAL QLD
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Duaringa to the National Park 100KMS
WEATHER: Warm and sunny to cloudy and misty
Because of the short distance we had to travel to the national park, we did not leave Duaringa until midday.
Must admit we had never heard of this park until we reached the area- seems Carnarvon Gorge gets most of the attention around here, but let me tell you this Blackdown Tableland national park is amazing.
It's a 20km drive south off the Capricorn Highway through cattle country and the bitumen road to the high point is narrow and winding- we were glad there was no oncoming traffic to negotiate; then there is another 8 kilometers of dirt road to the Munall camp ground.
Sheila did well, as usual getting us safely to camp site 10; we were happy that we had picked this site on a guess, as it was drive through and you did not have to risk doing too many manoeuvers on the ground, that might bog our heavy vehicle. The ground in the camping area was rough and a bit soft except for the sections covered by boards.
Queensland national parks have a book-on-line system which is fraught with curly questions and outcomes but no need to go into that can of worms here. $5.30 pp pn not a bad price for a cool wilderness paradise!
Our site was spacious and we found some firewood left behind by previous campers which was a real bonus; we relished the wonderful warmth and hypnotic ambience of the camp fire for both nights in the park. You could feel that you were alone in the world! Overnight temperatures were cool.
There were just 3 more sites of the 15 occupied and we chatted to the couple in one of them but otherwise everyone kept to themselves. We were lucky to enjoy the park after rain- the creeks and waterfalls were overflowing and quite spectacular. With spring about to spring, we came across banksias, flowering palms and some pretty wild flower that we cannot name.
Goon Goon Dina (Lightening Lizard) trail was dotted with notice boards describing the aboriginal presence before the white man came through with cattle and disrepect for land and indigenous people's way of life; you do feel sad when you are reminded of our heritage!
The loveliest trail was the "Mook Mook" (Owl). We crossed the Mimosa Creek several times and came upon this amazing area of rocks and smooth deep holes into which little falls of water were pouring. It was like spa heaven but alas a bit too cool to strip and dip.
We decided that his was one of the most gorgeous mini oases we had ever come across and gobsmacked could be a good word to describe our reaction! Lots of oohs and aahs and squeaks of glee.
The trail continues to a precipice that drops far below and is the edge of the tablelands. Views from here were impressive.
It is interesting to arrive in a place with no expectations of what experiences are to be had because mostly you hear hyperbole and descriptions before you arrive- but Blackdown Tablelands seems to be a secret!!!
I think that the name rings inappropriate- originally called this by William Yaldwin in 1869 after his family home in Scotland, Blackdown House. Really what an insult to the aboriginal Ghungalus and their Moonda Gudda (water of life) and how lacking in relevance today; it seems that the cattle that were dragged up here by those early settlers suffered badly with ricketts and other diseases because the local grass was inappropriate food.
All in all a sad history. We think Moonda Gudda, the Water of Life is a perfect description for this lovely watery area high above the flat, dry plains below- 875 metres! Let's rename it
The mornings were misty and cloudy but the afternoons shone sunny and clear; the black starry sky and absolute silence at night is a special treat. "Sounds of Silence" can be appreciated here.
Our time here was magic and we thought about staying a bit longer but with rain and storms forecasted we decided that the road out could be treacherous for our 2 wheel drive van. Warnings: slippery when wet made us wary.
Memories will have us travel back to Moonda Gudda!
We left the park around 8.30am and Sheila drove carefully out of the camping area, avoiding the soft bits- yes we had noticed all the other vehicles that accessed the park were 4 wheel drive!
We hit a few foggy patches and once again did not meet any oncoming traffic!
As we reached the flat dry plains we caught sight of "cattle on the road" sign and sure enough we came across a few- gorgeuos big beasts with dreamy staring eyes who were slow to move aside and we thought that was ok- some calves too.
Next stop Emerald on the Capricorn Highway and back to traffic and the business of life!