Yesterday morning I walked for about one hour along the rainbow beach into easterly direction. There were no clouds, but that also meant, there was no shade at all. And even as you’re using sunscreen it gets pretty exhausting after a while. After one hour, at the signs of the national park entry, I found something like shade under some dead bushes. I recovered for about an hour and took some swim in the shallow water, as the current wasn’t that bad at this position, before I walked back for another hour. The most beautiful section of the rainbow beach starts about 2 km after the start. There you can see different patters of sand, from yellow, to red, over grey to white. And the sand is continously trickling from the top to the bottom. Each section is unique and has in itself some beauty.
Rainbow beach is itself a tourist town, full of camper vans (mostly rented), as almost all tourists start their Fraser island “adventure” from here, mostly from guided tours. Everything is organised. They fell out of their buses infront of the hostels. Then they get a short introduction to 4WD driving on sand. The tour guide asked, who has experience in sand driving…none, of the 32 people (I would have, but I’m not part of that game, I only smiled, while I was sitting around and observing this scene). So for 500$ they’re getting a three day/two nights organised “adventure”, where they have to squeeze 8 people in one car. I also asked how much the rent of a Landcruiser would cost, and just for two days I would end up at about 600 $. These people need to have an air conditioning 16° celsius, otherwise they can’t sleep because it’s too hot, a shower twice a day, and getting drunk each day, because that’s lot’s of “fun”…well, that’s not my definition of adventure, once I crossed the Simpson Desert on my own, without A/C, no shower, but for sure one beer after work under the black sky full of stars. So, in essence I’m pretty sure, that I wouldn’t had enjoyed that kind of “adventure” at Fraser island, even if it is the largest sand island of the world.
Wednesday morning after having a breakfast at the visitor centre in Glass House Mountains I walked over to the train station and took the only train to Gympie. Actually it was the same train, which I departed exactly 24 hours earlier. The next two hours the train rode through green, hilly hinterland of the sunshine coast, which consists of either bushland or farmland. Most of the people alighted until Nambour, as there’re more regular trains per day. After Glass House Mountains the track was mainly a single track, only at the stations there were sidings to dodge for trains riding in the opposite direction. The railway station in Gympie is nowadays about 5 km out of town, since the electrification of the track, and I couldn’t find any information for some kind of public transport into town, but luckily there’s always a shuttle bus to and from the railway station to the town centre for each train. That’s definitely convenient. Hence, I got dropped off at the same bus station, as the only bus per day which is heading to Rainbow beach would stop just 20 min later. Until Tin Can Bay the bus was pretty fast, but then it drove through the whole community to drop off passengers and even picked up pupils later on, which also needed to be dropped off more or less infront of their houses. I was in the end the second last passenger to get off the bus after two hours, directly in Rainbow beach next to my hostel. After getting checked in I walked to the beach to have a look to Fraser island, and then walked up to the Big Carlo sanddune to enjoy the sunset. There I got into a bit strange conversation. It started harmless, but after he said that Australia doesn’t have a long history, and I replied a white history (because people living here since more than 50,000 years, and not just since more than 200 years), it turned after a few minutes pretty strange, so I felt I needed to leave the scene. And due to this monologue from the bloke, I almost missed the sunset.
Tuesday morning I took the train to Glass House Mountains. The mountains were named after the Glass House furnaces, which were in place in the 18th century. In the visitor centre the two lovely woman gave me a lot of local advise and even offered me to keep my heavy backpack during the day. So, in the end I was a bit late and started my hiking just at about 11:15 o’clock. My first destination was Mount Ngungun, which was an easy track leading up the summit. From there you’ve a nice circumferential view, but also 1000’s of flying objects around your head. So, not a very nice place to stay. As that was a bit too easy for the day, I opted to walk out to Mount Beerwah. I hoped to get a lift, but unfortunately only for 200m this turned out :). Contrary to Mount Ngungun, which is a decent tourist attraction, I was alone at Mount Beerwah, that’s probably attributed to the fact, that the start section is a decent rock climb. Even with the artifical steps they made, I would rate it as 3- (UIAA). And the first about 150 m altitude, is just a continuously scrambling over rocks in the grade 2. That would have been even more fun, if it wouldn’t start to rain in the middle of the section, as some rocks (especially the white ones) can get very slippery then. But the other patches are still fine. After the first start, an easier way through the bush until the rock wall follows, then you’re crossing to the North-West ridge, and all the way up to the summit along this. I was completely wet from sweat and rain, when I reached it, after about 70 min, much faster than I expected for about 400 m. I enjoyed the view, before I climbed back all the way, which took in essence longer as the ascent. But after 90 min I was safely back at the start. But this wasn’t the finish, I still had to get back to the town. The first 5 km took me about an hour, and only two cars came by, but none wanted to give me a lift. After I reached the larger road, one car stopped and James gave me lift for the remaining 5 km back to the town glass house mountains. He even offered me some rolls for dinner, after I recovered my backpack from a hiding near the visitor centre. After dinner I looked for a place to stay in my tent, but that wasn’t so easy. After I decided for one, the linkage of the tent broke, when I wanted to pith it up. So it took me about 30 min to figure out a quick fix, when I was surrounded by mosquitoes. Yes, I know that there are always mosquitoes around creeks, but once you’re in the tent, they can’t bother you anymore. Anyway, much later than expected I could lay down, and relax after this pretty long walk.
Monday morning I started my City tour by walking across the river to the South Bank. It’s basically just a small park, and nowadays the main outdoor attraction might be the large public city beach. Afterwards I headed to the West End suburb, which has quite a different atmosphere. Most shops were closed, as it was public holiday, due to the Australia day the day before. Once I found a coffee shop, as even the ones which were open closed at noon, they charged me a 15% surcharge because of Australia Day public holiday 🤨. Seriously, you’re charging me extra, because I cause you to work…and make revenue for your business! Then I crossed the Brisbane river again and went over to the Old Government House, which was probably the first stone house built in Brisbane in the 1860’s. It’s a nice representative house, and a cool place to stay in for a while. Afterwards I headed north to King George square, passed all the open shops at public holiday…would be interesting to know, if they also charge a surcharge at a public holiday, and the town hall. Then I walked along Ann Street to the east, passed the interesting sculpture of “The Guardian” until I arrived at Saint Johns Cathedral, before I walked to the Eagle Street Pier. From here I could catch a free CityHopper ferry to New Farm park. On the way we passed the large Story bridge. In New Farm park has some rose gardens, but somehow not as large or impressive as I expected. Nevertheless, it’s a nice place to relax, if not constantly attacked by mosquitoes. I took then the ferry to Teneriffe and buy some groceries in the only shop, which was still open after 18 o’clock due to…again…public holidays. Typically it’s not an issue to buy some groceries late in the evening at each day in Australia, especially not in a state capital, but this was different. But in the end I got a transfer ticket, as I tapped in again to the ferry in less than 60 minutes, and had a night cruise of almost one hour along the Brisbane river back to the CBD.
Yesterday morning I returned to Brisbane CBD. First I took the bus back from Point Lookout to Dunwich, then the ferry to Cleveland, connection bus to the railway station, and with the commuter train back to the CBD. I put my luggage to the hostel and went in the afternoon to the 9degrees boulder gym in Brisbane. When I went back to the railway station, I just missed my train. So in essence it took me another hour to get there. But luckily it’s just next to the Enoggera railway station, and straight behind the bowling club (yeah, might be confusing…bowling and bouldering…sounds similar, but totally different 😉). The boulder gym wasn’t that busy, just a few people around. In the end I stayed three hours. I talked to the owner, or better she started talking to me, as I wore my Mandala T-Shirt. She told me that she was just recently bouldering there, on her way from Frankfurt to Berlin, she seemed to stop at almost every boulder gym 😄. I could even send a red one (V4/V5), which made me pretty proud, as some of the guys, which climb the hard rooftop routes easily, struggled at that one. When I returned I wanted to buy some groceries. Typically that’s not a big issue on a Sunday early evening in a state capital, but as it was Australian Day (they celebrate the British invasion into Australia, not that indigenous people already living here since about 50,000 years or something like that, just that you get the point right) all grocery stores were already closed. So I needed to walk back again to the city in order to get some food.