19 June 2008


water * Lily *

morning tea @ Termite mound

Yummy 'red-claw'

Great Egret

a river that 'flows'

steam from Innot Hot-Springs

Lake just west of 'middle-of-no-where'

National Trail


.. savannah !

another great word is Banana.

hmmm yes, anyhoo ...

The travels thus far have taken me along the Great Dividing Ranges, with desert country to the west and coastal lushness to the East. The general route I've taken to get up into Far-North Queensland is known as 'The Inland Way'.

SoooOoo, alas ... Since we last met I was on a mission to reach Innot Hot-Springs by the 20th of June (for the Winter Solstice Gathering). I worked out I needed to ride an average of 116.7 km per day to make it in 'time'.

From Rolleston, I set off with loads of food donated by my good friend 'Neil' (who adopted me for the night).

I rode 138km over the range into Emerald. How buggered I was ... a big ride, oh yeh.

I set off the next morning for Clermont and another Flat Tyre in town slowed the pace right up, which is were I met Tara and her dad Shawn, two very friendly people.

They offered to give me a lift into Clermont, and I smiled and said yay (the 'yay' was code for 'I Love You', as it often is) where they lived with Shawns wife Michelle and two other daughters (Angie and Em, if I remember correctly).

I could write a short story on just this 24hours, So won't give it all away now ... haha basically the nicest and most warmest queenslanders I've ever met in my life, who have indeed faced there fair share of 'Dukkha', and through these challenges have indeed been humbled by the grace of compassion.

Amazing characters, lots of laughter and sharing of our Journeys, very very open human beings.

In the morning I set off for Charters Towers, more then 300km north, along an infamous stretch of dry, barren, Road-train country... In hindsite I didn't have half enough water!

So I'm just about to cycle out of Clermont, with a massive smile on my face after being blessed with the presence of some incredibly kind and giving people ..

and shawn drives past.... "mate, do you wanna lift to Charter Towers"

hahahha, I just laughed.

god bless fossil fuel ! (I feel very justified in saying this)

So we loaded my rig up and Shawn drove me 4 hours up into "Charlies Trowsers" as they call it.

we talked and connected more, and before I knew it .. I was only a few hundred Kilometres from Innot-HotSprings, the gateway to the Far-north Tropical Tablelands.

the smile was deep and birthed from a pure inner-space of gratitude.

I rode another 40km and made it to a free-camp spot on a most a beautiful river, where many travelers had been for months, much like the scene from "Into the Wild", an out-skirt Caravan village, away from the hussle and bussle of the coastal mania.

everyone was friendly, like a big extended family.

I found myself a lovely little camp site right on the river and my neighbours made me a cuppa and we chatted about 'this and that'.

After some tucker I went to sleep thinking "am I hullicinating? am I gonna wake up on the side of some lifeless highway dying of thirst, is this a dream"

no way, (or yes way, depending on which way you look at it) ... In the morning my indigenous brother Carl, whom I was chatting with the night before, came over with a big bucket of 'Red Claws', yummmy bushtucker in my tummmy ... taste just like Prawns but better!

So I set off for the next stop, Bluesprings roadhouse... where I had a strong feeling to go off-road riding, as the 'National Trail' turn-off was not far from here, and this route would save me over 100km!

I stocked up on food and water and asked for guidance and protection on this risky side-adventure...
Deep Aussie Accent ... 'Farrrrk, mate ... I Love Australia'

(but I'm not a fan of nationalism/seperatism/ecterism)

The National Trail is basically 'back-country', from Cooktown in the North to way down Victoria way, it takes you along 'the road less travelled'.

Ahhh, wow ... the only people I saw were the bush post-man (who stopped and gave me some fruit and a bun) and another traveller, 70 year old jack, who was heading south for a year with his two horses, leaving 'the misses' at home to look after the station.

after 3 days of off-road touring, travelling along some of the best and worst of dirt-gravel-bulldust-sandy-rockroad, I was just about out of food !

I made it to Mt Garnet in time to 'not-die' and pushed on another few clicks to 'Innot Hot-Springs' were natural artesean underground heating straight from the mother Earth creates hot water (without the use of fossil fuels, yay).

this water is strong in it's healing powers... I woke up this morning without any aches or pains, no kidding. and so today I've been soaking more of it up, and this arvo I'll head out to the Winter Solstice Gathering, just south of Innot

I need to wee so bad, you all know the feeling.

this morning I treated myself to what i thought was going to be a big bottle of Chocolate milk, it turned out to be Coffee !!! (ouch).

the hot-springs have helped south my heart-rate, but indeed, I'm on drugs! (legal/illegal, its an interesting and somewhat distorted line-in-the-mind?)

so next week I'll get into some WWOOFing and experience the life of 'Conscious Sustainable Transitioning' (Living simpler, so others may simply LIVE!)

take care brother and sister monkey-beings, and spare a thought for the Orangutan, a species that shares 97% of our DNA structure, and they will go extinct within the decade if the world doesn't wake up and remember what really matters.

can we have economic development without the wholesale destruction of our living bio-sphere

absolutely, if we choose so.

I like to call this a time of 'priority awakening' ~

anyway, ava-good-one !

the map below is roughly the route I've been on, except I went further west out to Carnarvon (via Roma)

View Larger Map

13 June 2008

Carnarvon Gorge & Central QLD Highlands

hi there.

the internet is rediculously expensive in Central Queensland, plus no image editing means it takes ages to upload raw files!
soOooOo, i'm just gonna put a few up for now and share an 'adapted extract' from an email I sent my family, it pretty much sums up what's been happening.

the last week has been quite an 'experience'

I've hit rock bottom indeed, and dead centre 'the space within and around the thoughts'
When I woke up in Miles, after packing up my gear .... I couldn't find my wallet ... I looked everywhere for it, getting quite upset with myself (thinking I'd 'misplaced' it, as you know I do sometimes) ...

so after a long and tedious search that lasted well over an hour, I went to the toilet and saw it sitting on top of a washing machine... someone had found it on the ground !!!! ahhh what a good feeling...

then I found they had taken the money out of it, oh well it was only 50 dollars or so, atleast they returned the wallet ~ but still left a bitter after-taste in my mind

and THEN, i could't fit the trailer on the bike, it just wouldn't fit... the quick-release attachment had bent a tiny fraction.... so frustrating and just made me really angry..

the more I struggled the worse it became !

ahhh, the frustration.

and eventually i stopped, took a deeeeeep breath and sat down ... and just observed all these negative thoughts and emtions stirring in my mind.... who is this watching this happen ??

big deep breath.....snnnnNnNnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

observer and the observed .... mmmmm

after a breif 5 minute calming-abiding meditation .. i tried again, and of course the trailer fitted straight away...

the power of meditation to create 'gaps' in consciousness is just incredible.

so i hit the road eventually and made my way halfway to roma, camped out in the state forest... just beautiful ... I lit a fire and made a big yummy vegie and rice meal

oh the stars. shivers.

the next day I made it to roma and contacted 'Bloss' in the Arcadia Valley, she was heading to Brisbane for the next week, so alas it wasn't meant to be just yet ... I also received an email from both my wwoof contacts in Mackay... and they are BOTH out of town ~

the feeling was that after Carnavon I will just head all the way up north, via the inland route (which is quite nice and that would mean I'd be up there !~ very soooon, in time for the Winter Solstice Gathering)

so a couple of days later and I'm not far from the Carnarvon Gorge turn-off... feeling fresh and alive ... my legs are pumping along without any effort.

by Sunday Morning there was virtually no trucks or even cars on the Road, it's a bizarre feeling after the past few days of big triple trailer road trains wizzing past

out of no-where the loudest "BANG" scares the living daylights out of me!!!!~

my tyre blew-up !!!!!! shit ... fuck

I didn't expect that to happen !

my mind races through all the possibilities ... what'll i do ... it's the weekend ?

and the closest bike shop is hundreds of kilometres away ... and it won't open until tuesday!

I decided to hitch with my gear, hoping that someone will give me a lift to the Carnarvon Turn-off ... within 20 minutes a really nice man picks me up (who is working on a gas-field near rolleston)

he drops me off at the Carnarvon Turn-off ~ I get my backpack and load it up with all I'll need for the next few days up in the Gorge.... i'll deal with the tyre in a few days !!!

so after hiding my bike, panniers and trailer in the bushes .... I stick my thumb out and await one of the many 'grey nomads' to give me a lift 40km into the Gorge ~

and along comes Laurie, a most unusual character, super friendly ... he is in his mid 50's ... a little overweight... a bit like a wombat really ... very slow to express what he wants to say ... but warm-hearted and quite a thoughtful man.

so it happens that Laurie has a mountain bike in the back of his car... along with 3 fishing rods and a thousand one other items that just were never going to be of any use up in the Gorge~@!

WOW, synchronicity indeed... what are the chances of a mountain biker picking me up ?

So we get to the gorge and it's 18 dollars a night to camp at rip-off-takaraka camping !! or just $4.50 to camp at "Big Bend" ! the catch being a 10km walk in the gorge ~

big bend it is !~

I organize to meet Laurie on Tuesday afternoon, when he'll give me a lift back to my bicycle and sell me one of his Tyres (really good one too! michellyn?) his bike is worth 7 grand !! eek

..... so alas the gorge was absolutely beautiful, I had it all to myself ! with probably 30 to 50 grey nomads camped back at Takaraka.

I can't put the gorge into words ... it's absolutely Gorge-ous !!!! (hehehe aren't i punny !)

I'll try and get some photo's up .... massive old-growth Cycads (Macrozamia mooreii) and the Carnarvon Cabbage Palm (Livistonia nitilida)

it's one big long gorge for 30 km... but most of the lush rainforsty bits are in side gorges ... all with different names and features.... one gorge has the only remaining "King Ferns" left in central queensland ... just 17 specimens ... huge big ferns .. awww so juicy.

and one of the side canyons is really just a massive split... where you can touch both sides.. covered in moss ...

absolutely beautiful beyond words... and the birdlife. ... ahh so much spriteful energy.

but on my first morning .. exploring the upper gorge section ... I realized there was an overwhelming sound of nothing ?

no birds ... not even water running .... no wind .... nothing .....

just my thoughts commenting the sound of nothing ... with a few gaps of litterally just presence ??!!!!


I took a big deep breath.



so i spent the next couple of days exploring and taking photo's and got to meet "Jack Conway" an Indigenous man of the area.. who did a walk and talk through the gorge. . such a wise old man... very funny and very loving ...not at all jaded about his people being taken from their beloved land .... he just wants people to learn about indigenous culture and learn about the need to live in harmony with the mother earth ...

so on tuesday afternoon laurie took me to the turn-off and we fixed the bike up ... he took off and I packed up my things ...

BUT, alas ... i couldn't find the quick-release connection that connects the trailer to the bike ?

i looked all over the ground .... it was no-where ?

I quickly sunk into a living hell.... I just wanted to get back on the road and find a nice camp spot away from the highway...

every negative emotion and thought came bubbling to the surface ?

i cursed myself ... i cursed the great spirit ... i cursed every-thing ~

after walking over 50km in Carnarvon Gorge .. i was well and truly buggered, so my tired body and mind didn't think to stop and meditate ... to calm down ... to tune into the inner-tuition (intuition)

i looked everywhere .. in the bushes where the bike was... all around the side of the road .

until eventually i just gave up ... i lay on the ground and gave up ... fuck it ... the crows can eat me ... i was so hungry but didn't have the energy nor the will to cook some food.

eventually I realized i'd have to set up the tent and deal with this delemna in the morning

... one tiny little bolt ... that's all i could think ... where the FUCK is it ? hahahah

I slept well...

I dreamt that I was looking in the bushes where the bike was and that I found the bolt under some grass ...

it was so real... the dream ... i woke up and thought AHHH

maybe that is where the bolt is .. and ran over to the place in the dream !!

YAY !!!! i found it .... it was there. .. just like in the dream...

hahah, and then i woke up again....

i felt more settle and just accepted the flow of things ... i had another look but to no avail.

than i thought, hmmm ... maybe its back where the bike broke down in the first place.

yes, the feeling was strong... to hitch back to the spot (luckily next to a river that said "second crossing")

I got a lift within 20 minutes and there it was ... sitting there on the side of the road !!!

(that was this morning) .... ohhh god it felt so good

i sang and skipped and gave thanks to all that i cursed just 12 hours earlier ~

and so I rolled on to a town called 'Rolleston' where the universe took good care of me.

after asking some local where a good place to camp would be, they sent me to one of their 'other' houses across the paddock where there mate 'Neil' was camped too, he had 2 caravans set up and a hotshower, toilets.... 5-star living mate.

you wouldn't beleive how nice this character was, he made me a cupper and after I had a shower... he heated up a big meal (that his wife made)
he must have sense my hunger, so he cooked me up another one ..... and eventually another one ! and another 8 cuppaz' ~

we listened to the State of Origon on the Radio but mostly just talked about life in the Country.

Neil's the kind of man who you can sit with in silence and feel totally comfortable, just sipping tea and contemplating how nice it is to be sipping tea.

and So I've now worked out that if I travel 116.7 km average per day, I'll reach Innot Hot Springs where a 4 day Winter Solstice Gathering is being held... on the 20th of June (1050km north of Rolleston)
I got up early and Neil heated me up another one of this wifes delicious home cooked meal.... It felt soooOoO good to eat some meat!!!
I've decided I can't be a cycling vegatarian, I'd shrivel up and die. Though I beleive the average person eats twice as much protien per day as they need (not to mention sugar!!!) and the production of meet (especially beef) has a massive ecological footrprint ~
and so yeh, now I'm in Emerald and last night I met my first fellow cyclists

she's from Melbourne and is planning to cycle to Darwin eventually to teach in Aboriginal Community.
awesome connection, great to share our Journey and experiences.

more photo's up when I find a computer with image editing.

Peace, Blessings and Abundance to you all ...

4 June 2008

Bunya Mountains & Western Downs

"There are no strangers
only friends we haven't met yet"

Well well well, I've already lost track of the days

... according to the computer I'm on, it's January the 17th, 2004 ???

I'm in one of the most friendly towns on Earth, Chinchilla, a couple of days west of the Bunya Mountains. Were I've just had a 'Yarn' with a few locals who stocked me up with a big bag of SOL Food (Sustainable Organic Local).

yummy food in my tummy

The further off the beaten track I travel, the more friendly and open the people seem to be.

and, so alas, After leaving Toowoomba, a week or so ago, I rode towards the Bunya Mountains, averaging 38km an hour (with the help of a powerful tailwind).

3 flat tyres in a row meant I had no other choice but to sleep in the school grounds at Oakey, were a painting reminded me of a simple teaching the aboriginal elders up in Arnhem land give to the young ones.

They took the young to the highest mountain in all the land, right on sunrise, and pointed as far as the eye could see ...
"you see this ... this is all you need to know ... this is who you are"

It is just incredible that tribal groups from as far south as the Clarence River (in northern nsw) would Journey north to the Bunya Mountains, every 3 years, for a massive Bunya Nut feast, to celebrate the life-giving "Mothers Milk".

So it is with a great sense of achievement that I fulfill a goal I've had for a few years now, to cycle from home to the Bunya Mountains.

Although I keep in mind that the indigenous people sourced all their food and medicine from the land around them, not from an unsustainable food system that is reliant on ancient fossil fuels
(of which are A) running out and B) causing climate change)
to; fertalize, produce, package and transport an average 1600km from the Earth to the Belly
~ So in the spirit of eating directly from the Earth ... I munched on a common 'weed' in Queensland, the Prickley Pear

similar in texture to the Dragon Fruit

Bushtucker vitamin suppliment

This landscape is vastly different to what it would have been 200 years ago, it is now mostly farmland, with remnant woodland being spared along the roadside and relic 'Bottle Trees' (Brachychiton rupestris) in amongst the crops.
The Woodlands of the Western Darling Downs are now considered a regional Endangered Ecological Community, with many species that once thrived here becoming more and more rare.

This is the same situation back home, as the Rainforest has quite an exotic flavour, people forget other ecological communities, of which our own Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornus) Woodland is now very uncommon.

just 10km from the top of the Bunya Mountains, evidence of European land(mis)management

I was fortunate enough to pass some woodland remnant, and thus began to see a whole new spectrum of birdlife.

Different coloured lorikeets and parrots ... and budgerigars ... lots of Eagles and Kites ... and Herons ... and tiny little fairy birds that remind me of Petrie's family from 'The Land Before Time".

If I stopped to photograph all of them, I'd still be in the Darling Downs country !

So eventually I made it to the bottom of the Mountain, as the main climb was in the last 7km ...

with a very steep section that apparently isn't fit for trailers !

this just doesn't quite capture how intense a climb it is to get up into the mountains

The Bunya Mountains is truly an Island of Bio-diversity amonst a sea of ecological degradation

It really is another world up there, 1100 meters above sea level, In a mountain range that contains the worlds largest stand of Bunya Pines (Araucaria bidwilli).

Hoop Pine on the left Bunya Pine on the right

Araucaria cunninghamii ~ Araucaria bidwillii

These eco-systems are most similar to what the dinosaurs would have walked amongst...

Ferns trees and Conifers ... imagine a world before the evolution of flowers ~!

I spent 4 days up in the clouded mountains, with weather ranging from thick mist to heavy rain to intense gale force winds.

The National Park office is one of the best I've ever come across, with really friendly staff and loads of videos and books all freely avaible to learn from, which I did when the rain became heavy. (I almost spent a whole day in there) and would love to study ecology more in-depth.

the 'Noisy Pitta' ( Pitta versicolour) is a ground-dwelling bird that is found within the Rainforest understorey

typical of the Rainforest is the 'Strangler fig' (Ficus spp.)

The seed is dispersed by numerous birds, including fruit pigeons and the Coxen's fig-parrot that is believed to be regionally extinct within the Bunya Mountains. The seed germinates high in the canopy, eventually sending its roots down with the intent of slowly but surely strangling it's host.

we can identify this as 'Small-leaf Fig' (Ficus obliqua) due to the ... ahh ... small leaves (and fruit)

The un-mistakeable scales of the Red Cedar (Toona ciliata).

Red Cedar trees many times larger than this one would have been widespread in the Rainforests up and down the East Coast of Australia. But are now much less common

If a tree falls in the Rainforest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?

think about it.

Fungi is a major player in the Rainforest, being able to break down lignin (the substance in wood that makes it so strong and durable). most often we only see the fruiting body

~ so cute ... see the little baby wallaby poking its head out ... awww ~

A Male Bowerbird nest, with his collection of blue toys to lure the Female bowerbird

the Crimson Rosella, a common bird in the Bunya Mountains, and most Rainforest eco-systems.

so .. after a good few days up in the Mountains I now head west for the Arcadia valley & Carnavon Gorge, passing through towns that are inhabited by a most friendly people.

They call this land 'The Western Downs'. Home to one of my favourite trees, the 'Bottle' Tree!

A massive old-growth 'Bottle Tree' (Brachychiton Rupestris)

with a subspecies of Human (Homo sapien subs. greenii)

Until next time,

May the Peace be with You

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover"

- Mark Twain