Friday, 2 October 2009
Murwillumbah (place of many possums) to Brisbane
A lovely morning in Murwillumbah, but the day did not promise well: in Sydney the residents had awoken to an apocalyptic red sky and dust in the air so heavy that the harbour bridge was almost obscured. Freakish winds had scooped up red dust in the Simpson Desert far to the west and carried it from the centre of the continent to the eastern coast. According to radio reports, the dust was headed our way. Not that you would know at 10 am, when I took this shot of the view westwards from the hilltop perch of the local art gallery.
However, by the time we drove across the Tweed River an hour later on our way out of town, the view was already murky.
Soon everything was sepia-tinted like an old photograph.
Any plans to stop along the route to Brisbane were clearly, or rather obscurely, forgettable.
When we reached the city, the van was covered inside and out in fine dust.
We took refuge with my uncle and aunt in their riverside apartment, and spent a couple of days with them, enjoying the water views,
the flowering jacaranda on the bank below,
and catching up on the news.
We rode one of the catamaran ferries, known locally as Rivercats, into the city centre to visit the excellent art gallery on one day, and strolled through the University of Queensland precinct on another. Before his retirement my uncle Ross spent many years in the Agronomy department here, ending his career as the University's pro-vice chancellor. Here we are reflected in the glass wall of the UQ's art gallery:
As we left the grounds, Ross showed us a stone curlew nesting site. In our presence the birds certainly froze to stone-like stillness, blending effectively into their habitat.
Mid-afternoon on the 25th, we set off again to rendezvous with cousin Jeff and spend a few more days at his cottage at Boreen Point, on a lake just inland from the popular beach resort of Noosa Heads. It was a Friday smack in the middle of school holidays and traffic crawled out of Brisbane and up the coast, only thinning as we passed the first turn-off for the beaches.
Following Jeff's directions (which were great once we realised that 1 km by his reckoning translated into about 5 km by ours), we found the Appollonian Hotel, Boreen Point's great old pub, where Jeff soon joined us. Dinner on the wide verandah amongst a jolly, noisy crowd of holidaymakers was a treat.
A couple of days later I walked back to take a photo in daylight.
Jeff's little cottage doesn't present much of itself to the street,
but on the other side has a large deck with a view of the lake through a screen of trees.
Jeff is embarking on a plan to landscape this area with plants all native to the area. I tried unsuccessfully to put forward a case for retaining the flourishing poinsettia.