The cloud forest viewed from the “Sky Window” walking path at Eungella National park
Day 4 was another big driving day but I made sure to stop by Eungella National Park for some hiking. After a long winding and foggy drive up the mountain, I was rewarded with seeing platypuses and turtles in their natural habit at Broken River. Further, the cloud forests reminded me a lot of Colombia. This was perhaps my favorite place I visited on this road trip.
I then made my way to Mackay for dinner, where I saw some cool Alice in Wonderland themed street art. All in all, a great day, and no parking tickets!
Hanging out at Poona Lake at the Great Sandy National Park
From the Sunshine Coast I headed up to Great Sandy National Park to do some hiking. I intended to get to Fraser Island, but realized too late that I would need a 4WD and I didn’t want to pay such high ferry costs. I feel satisfied with Great Sandy though, as I believe the scenery was similar and it was less crowded and – best of all – free!
I did some hiking around the Bymien picnic area to Poona Lake, a freshwater perched lake that is stained a rusty red because of the nearby tea trees. As usual I took tons of photos of mushrooms, trees, and logs.
Then I headed further down the road to Rainbow Beach where there are lovely red cliffs called the Colored Sands.
The iconic Flinders Street train station in Melbourne’s CBD
I have spent the past month in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria. I wanted to begin my year in Australia here because I had heard so many amazing things about the city – how it embraces culture and the arts, the booming street art scene, great food, lots of neighborhoods to explore, a young demographic because of all the universities. I certainly haven’t been disappointed.
One of the best things to do in Melbourne is to visit museums. Nearly all the museums in town have free admittance to their permanent exhibitions: the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Center for Moving Images, the Grainger Museum, the State Library of Victoria. You could fill days and days just museum hopping and not spend a penny!
Another highlight of Melbourne is all of the gardens – acres and acres of well tended trees and flowers to explore. There are free tours in both the Fitzroy Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens, or you can just wander on your own. There are also free walking tours with I’m Free, which is a great way to get introduced to the history of the city and its layout.
There are still so many things left to do in Melbourne – visit the Victoria Market, explore Footscray and other outlying suburbs, go hiking out at the Dandenongs. I could definitely see myself living here for several more months, and perhaps after I get some travel out of my system I’ll come back!
Standing in front of Prydden Brook Falls
I didn’t get to attend as many Meetup hikes with WCOA as I would have liked, but I did manage to join a Thursday evening hike in Newtown to the Prydden Brook Falls. It was the day after an epic rainstorm, so the falls were churning and the river was high. There were some beautiful flowers along the trail and the view of Lake Zoar was stunning. The Meetup group was pretty small – only 4 hikers and 2 dogs – but it was lovely company and the pace was exactly right.
All-in-all it was a wonderful, crisp day.
An old piece of farming equipment sits in front of Lake Mohegan
Lake Mohegan in Fairfield, CT is a popular swimming hole in the summer time and a nice hiking spot throughout the year. The trails are well developed and there are sturdy bridges for river crossings. In April there was a lot of colorful skunk weed and some buds beginning to open. I went with my friend Paul and we had a fun time taking photos and taking in the smells of early spring. As usual, my camera was drawn to uprooted tree trunks, intricate roots, and decaying logs.