The Pioneer Valley, to the west of my childhood home, is quintessential Queensland. It’s full of to sugar cane farms, Brahman cattle munching on lush green grass and sleepy communities. Life always seems simpler there and I instantly feel relaxed whenever I return. At the top of the valley is the gem in the crown – the Eungella National Park.
It’s a magical place, atop a mountain range. A haven for ferns, waterfalls and platypus, and over the years I’ve spent hours and hours bushwalking, rock hopping and exploring there.
It’s always been a special place for my family, so we made sure we visited when our English visitors were in Australia…
Last time Adam and I ‘went up the valley’, it was just before we ready to leave the country for England. Our first stop on our return visit, was one of our favourite haunts, Finch Hatton Gorge.
We followed the track up the gorge, stopping every few minutes to admire the natural beauty around us.
Adam and I left both sets of parents at the lower of two waterfalls in the gorge, making the trek up to the higher and ‘Wheel of Fire’ fall. There was a creek crossing, an encounter and lots of steps – but it was worth it.
The next stop was Broken River – which in my opinion – is one of the best places in Australia to see a platypus. We found a spot underneath the old wooden bridge that traverses the river and within minutes one had emerged from the water below (check out this picture Adam managed to snap!)
We saw at least four more platypuses at a couple of other favourite locations along the river. I never get sick of watching them swim about. There’s something so wonderfully fulfilling about standing in hushed reverence waiting for bubbles to appear on the surface of the water (that’s how you know where a platypus is going to pop up), following them as they skim along, and then watching them duck back down into the murky depths below. It’s natural beauty at its very best.
It was late afternoon by the time we ready to leave and the low-slung sun in the sky was glorious, finding its way through the rainforest canopy and casting a warm glow over everything.
It was one of those days where I felt ‘full’ at the end. Full of happiness for the special time shared, full of wonder at the world around me, and full of peace for getting out and ‘switching off’ for the day.
Have a wonderful week. x