by Anna Campbell
April was visitor month chez Campbell - not counting the Easter Bunny!
It was fun to break out into social outings and it was special fun to host an English couple I've been friends with for many years who have never been to my corner of the world before. Which meant we got to play tourist - and I got to play tour guide in places I hadn't visited for ages.
Anyway, I thought you might appreciate some of the photos we took. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It's on the east coast, about an hour north of Brisbane the state capital and about 600 miles north of Sydney. It's a resort area and we get lots of retirees because the climate is so benign (except for this year when it's generally done a good impression of a rainy bog). The coastal plain is a little like Florida - tropical vegetation and beautiful beaches and a lot of housing estates reclaimed from swamp.
It's the kind of landscape and lifestyle you don't get in England. So my friends used to love to come home in the evenings and drink gin and tonics watching the day fade over the lake at the bottom of my back garden and listening to the sea pounding in the distance. We also have an amazing selection of birdlife here and that was another thrill for my visitors.
Only about half an hour away, it's a completely different universe. Lush, rugged mountains with areas of remnant rainforest mixed in with beautiful green valleys and breathtaking views east across the coast or west across yet more mountains.
The first two photographs are of the Glasshouse Mountains, named by Captain Cook when he sailed past this coast in 1770. They're so primeval, I find them a bit creepy. But they're certainly spectacular.
The first photo of Mount Coonowrin (Crook Neck - you can read the Aboriginal legend behind these names here) was taken from a really cool cafe on the winding road up to a wonderful lookout where you can see all the mountains spread out before you like a magnificent canvas. The second photo is of Mount Beerwah and was taken on the road away from the lookout.
The Lookout Cafe has wonderful home-made desserts and great coffee and a view to die for across a field of mango trees to this volcanic plug like something from Jurassic Park. Perhaps even cooler, it had KANGAROOS! Yup, if you look carefully in the centre of this photo just above, you'll see some wallabies popping out to check on the visitors from far away!
And while we were there watching the wallabies, this cheeky butcher bird swung by to inspect us at even closer quarters. Butcher birds have the most beautiful song and are afraid of no man! I've had one sitting on my rubbish bin when I've been cutting back the garden a couple of feet away. He quite calmly watched me throw the cuttings into the bin without ruffling a feather!
Another wonderful place we visited was Mary Cairncross Park. This magnificent remnant of the original rainforest was donated to the public by two visionary sisters and named in honor of their mother, who was an early conservationist and suffragette when neither cause was fashionable in Australia.
This is a photo of the lush palm grove on the rainforest walk. It's a wonderful, hauntingly beautiful place to visit, full of breathtakingly tall trees and home to wildlife like small kangaroos called pademelons and many species of birds and reptiles.
For someone from England, this kind of subtropical rainforest is completely exotic and my friends were awed by the wonderful greenery and the sense of timelessness. Not only that, but you get a wonderful view of our old friends the Glasshouse Mountains from the entrance to the park!
So do you ever play tourist in your own home area and what do you show visitors when you do? If I was coming to see you, what would you take me to see to showcase the best of where you live?