Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, November 30, 2013


 On our last day at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat we went for a walk in the rainforest. It is like visiting another world. We were sneaking along the boardwalk quietly to try and see some of the exotic birds that live in this forest. We could hear all the different calls especially the whistle and crack of the Whip Bird which does just sound like a whip cracking. Unfortunately, none of my bird shots are worth publishing. It was so dark in the forest and I used a zoom lens without a tripod so the result was a blurry mess. So instead of birds you'll get trees. They tend to stand still.
TOH and George lead the way

Some of the trees have huge buttress roots like the one on the left. Other trees have been strangled to death by the Strangler Fig like the one on the right. When the host tree dies and decays the Strangler vine is strong enough to support itself. You can get inside this tree see below.

 Chris is standing in front of a gap where you can look inside.

A small person  like me can get in there and look up inside the tree
Further in the jungle there is a tree top walk. The first one ever built in Australia. Hopefully it is still safe. It swings, bounces and squeaks as you walk amongst the treetops metres from the ground.

George even climbed further up a giant tree on a ladder inside a cage to a platform built even higher up. Looking down can make you feel dizzy.

 Even though we were high some tree tops were even higher with a huge green canopy. Many trees have elkhorn and staghorn ferns  growing on them.

 It was reassuring to be back on the forest floor and treading on the spongy leaf litter on our way back to the Retreat where we boarded a 4 wheel drive bus for another excursion.

 This time we visited Luke O'Reilly's Farm. He was the original owner and it has been occupied by the O'Reilly's ever since. Unfortunately none of the children today want to continue on living and working here. I believe they want to sell. The farm house is rented out for holidays. What a view to wake up to.

We continued through the eucalyptus forest to yet another beautiful lookout and morning tea of pumpkin damper, honey and billy tea in the quiet serene forest. Soon it was time to check out and wind our way back down the mountain to the rush of traffic and city life.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Our Birthday Bear group spent a few days at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. It is in the Green Mountains, which are part of the McPherson Ranges on the border of NSW and QLD. The resort and O'Reilly's land are surrounded by Lamington National Park.

In 1912 eight men of the O'Reilly family cut a track into these mountains cleared some land and started farming. In 1915 the Lamington National Park was established around their land. In 1926 they built a guest house as farming wasn't that successful. Guests used to be transported by horse and wagon along the precipitous mountain tracks. Today there is a narrow winding road, many rooms, suites and self contained villas. There is a variety of activities but the main attractions are 160k of walking tracks, many waterfalls and an abundance of wild life..

In 1937the family became famous because Bernard O'Reilly, against all odds cut through the jungle for two days in search of a Stinson airliner, which crashed on its way from Brisbane to Sydney. He found two survivors after they had been there for 5 days. Bernard returned through the jungle to organise a rescue party and then he lead them back again. It was an amazing feat of strength, bushcraft and heroism. 

After our early morning bird watching session we waited for the 4wheel drive bus to pick us up for an excursion through the forest to some lookouts.(Unfortunately some of us are not able to walk long distances so this is a welcome activity, which we all could enjoy)

 We went through rain forest and then into Eucalyptus forest.
Shepherd Lookout
Kerry lookout
Boiling the billy

 The boys

 The girls

We returned to the retreat for lunch and a bird of prey display before going to dinner with Birthday Bear. All this time Birthday Bear had been relaxing in Mary's room because she dressed Bear for Ann's birthday.
 Bear was waiting for us in the dining Room. She was dressed as a holiday maker for Ann because Ann is always organising holidays for us.

 She had a calendar to block in holiday times. She also had a camera and a travel bag full of maps and activity books. There is a money box to save for future trips. With her travel wallet, sun hat and new sneakers she is ready to roll.

We had a lovely round table for 9 of us and a picture window (left) where birds and night animals came to feed.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


We were up with the birds on our second day at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. We joined a bird ramble around the resort. The birds are plentyful as they know there is seed given to them. They land on all parts of your body to look for seeds.

These are male Regent Bower Birds, they are beautiful. It is also the emblem for the resort.

A little Swedish tourist enjoyed feeding the birds.

This male Australian King Parrot tried to eat George's hearing aide.

The Crimson Rosella joined us for lunch on the deck. It had its eye on the crusty bread.
Top left: Lewin's Honeyeater, right:Wonga Pigeon
Bottom left: Pied Currawong, right: Eastern Yellow Robin

Female and male Regent Bower Bird.

Male and female Satin Bower Bird

 The Bower Bird builds a nest in a tree for the eggs but the male builds a bower on the ground. He spends time and care weaving the bower from twigs and then he decorates around the bower with blue objects. Some of the things they find is amazing. I wonder what they did before plastic and humans came close to their habitat? When the bower is complete he does a mating dance near the entrance to the bower, hoping to attract a female to come into his boudoir where he hopes to mate with her.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I just returned from LA in time to join my friends for a get away in the mountains with Birthday Bear. We had booked for a few nights at "O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat" in the McPherson Ranges on the border of NSW and Queensland. It is only a two hour drive south east of Brisbane. We stopped on the way at the little town of Canungra, where we met the rest of our group and had coffee.
Left to right: Chris, Ann, me. Bob, Bill, George and Paul.
 Mary took the photo and Helen disappeared.
After coffee we decided to check out any places of interest. So we headed for Lahey's Tramway Tunnel.
It wasn't that exciting but it had an interesting history. It was built in 1901 by the Lahey family, who owned a timber mill. Hauling logs by bullock was timely so a private rail line was built into the rainforests where timber was being logged. Locomotives hauled logs up very steep mountains and at this spot through the mountain. Ironically it was one of the sons, Romeo Lahey, who became a conservationist and campaigned for this forest to become "Lamington National Park" in 1915. Logging stopped and locals used the train for transport into the National Park until the line was pulled up in 1935. During WWII the tunnel became an ammunition dump.

Then we moved onto something a lot more exciting, wine tasting at O'Reilly's winery where we also had lunch.

 There was a pretty picnic area behind the winery and a stream where the shy platypus can be seen sometimes.

We didn't see any platypus but we did see many turtles. It was getting close to check in time at the retreat so we headed up the mountain. It is a very steep, narrow and winding road but the scenery is breathtaking.

It had started to rain as it does most afternoons in the sub tropics but the view from our room was still stunning.

Soon the rain cleared and we were treated to a visit from some locals.

The Rozella Parrot came to our balcony and helped me eat an apple.

The sunset was pretty and told us it was time for dinner.

The steak was to die for and the dessert too much. Bill and I shared this mixed platter for 2. There was lemon meringue, apple dumpling, berry mess, and pumpkin pie reconstructed. (We couldn't eat it all).
We were looking forward to some more adventures the next day. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


That is just what you want to hear the Captain of the Jumbo Jet to say when you are sitting on the plane at midnight ready to take off to the other side of the world after waiting two hours in the airport lounge. This is what happened when I was excited to be going home to Brisbane, Australia after spending three weeks in LA helping out my daughter with the toddlers while she went to work.

We taxied back to the gate where the technicians established that the starter motor had blown up. We were told it would take about 2 hours to fix. So we were off loaded. It was a slow process as we had to show passports and boarding passes again. and we waited again in the lounge. We were supplied with snacks and water and kept up to date with proceedings. Luckily I had a good book to read and time passed fairly quickly. We were reassured by the captain that the plane was fixed and perfectly safe. He wouldn't be flying it if it wasn't 100% safe. I was too tired at 2:00am to really be worried, I just wanted to sleep.

I didn't think that I had been asleep long when I was woken to have dinner. I fell asleep again after dinner for a while but then I seemed to be wide awake so I watched movies and read my book for the rest of the 13 and a half hour flight. I was happy to be home soon.

After a five minute wander around the car park to find the car we were eventually on our way to the door of our house. It was great to be back with TOH and to have my own bed.

However, it won't be long before I am missing my little grandsons and their parents again.

 The boys have learnt that when visitors come , it usually means "special treats". Papa helps unpack "Monsters Inc"

 Fox playing monsters with Papa.

 Banjo is watching, listening and learning.

Mummy has time to read a story before she goes to work.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


When it is not quiet time it is full on active time with two little boys and one big boy. Bernie and I took the boys to the park not only for swinging, climbing and sliding but for riding and running too.
 Up the hill, Banjo in the car and Fox on is bike.

 Then down hill weee
Concentrating and travelling quite fast.

Speed demon.

Then it was playing chasings with Papa.

"Caught you Papa"

"Now where have they gone!"

"There they are!"

A nice moment with Papa.

"C'mon boys give me a nice photo together."

"Lets have a photo together."
" No way!" says Banjo, "I'm off."

"Okay then just Fox and me"

"Let's try again , Grandma and her grandsons."
"No I want Papa." says Banjo 

Oh well thats how it is trying to photograph kids.

Only one day left to have fun with these two dynamos. I leave for Australia tomorrow night.