Excuses, excuses – and a trip to Straddie

I just noticed my last blog was on August 17! So much for my weekly post; I’ll have to lift my game.

So here come the excuses. I headed north for three weeks, initially to Brisbane, then on to Bundaberg. I like Brisbane, in fact I lived there for three years. Apart from a few sweaty days each summer, it has the best climate of Australia’s capital cities. Brisbane is sometimes called Bris-Vegas. You can guess where the Vegas comes from, but why? According to Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary, the name derives, in part, ‘as an ironic reference to Brisbane’s lack of showy opulence (for which Las Vegas is famous), and partly because Brisbane was the first Qld city to have a casino.’ So there you have it, we’ve both learned something new today!

During the years I lived here, I never managed to get to North Stradbroke Island (Straddie to the locals) in Morton Bay, and visit Blue Lake National Park. I found a Straddie Visitor Guide at the Queen Street Mall information centre, and was pleased to see that the park had grown. It also had a new name, now called Naree Budjong Djara, Quandamooka words meaning ‘My Mother Earth’ . The Quandamooka people are the Traditional Owners of Minjerribah (Straddie).

With my son Tristan, I caught the train to bayside Cleveland to catch the ferry. Unfortunately, we missed an earlier train by just 30 seconds, which meant we missed an early ferry connection that cost us two hours on the island.

We eventually boarded the 12.30 ferry, passing Peel Island, now called Teerk Roo Ra National Park. I could see visitors kicking a soccer ball on a sandy beach. Peel Island was a leper colony for 52 years from 1907. Visitors can now explore the old leper colony town,  part of which is currently being restored.

Meanwhile, we berthed at Dunwich on Straddie, and boarded a free bus to Point Lookout, passing through part of ‘My Mother Earth’ on the way. An excellent walk followed the cliff line around North Gorge, one of two, deep sea water incisions into the headland (the other being South Gorge). The walk – which included some well-constructed boardwalk sections – was several hundred metres long, and passed through pandanus, casuarina, eucalypt and banksia vegetation, and gave panoramic views up and down the island’s coastline. Watching waves rush into the gorge during high seas would be a treat!

We only spent a couple of hours on Straddie; a couple of days would have been better.


My second excuse for this tardy post is that I have been busy getting the book published. As this is my first one, I’m discovering there is lots to do to get ‘print-ready’. In particular, I want  to have the book available for the once-in-a-decade World Parks Congress being  held in Sydney from 12-19 November 2014, just 38 days away. I think I can do it.

I am really looking forward to the Congress. I plan to write some posts about it to share the experience with my readers.

Happy travelling



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