Mt. Lindsey in morning mist

Even though we all know Australia is a vast, under-populated continent, total pop. around 23 million,  I think Americans tend to think of Australia as being all hot and dusty outback; and sort of barren.  Well, there’s plenty of that for sure. But there’s also a vast and sprawling ranch and beef raising aspect to Australian life, especially in Queensland, beginning just 10-20 miles off the palm-fringed coasts of the Coral Sea.  Tonight’s post is a glimpse into the Queensland country lifestyle, in a landscape very reminiscent of the Texas or Oklahoma hill country.  Of course, this being Australia it has to be a bit weirder than that, so the hill country has a backdrop of 3,000 ft rainforested peaks, that are the remnants of ancient volcanos. And there are stands of eucalypts with koalas instead of black jack oaks and opposums. But they do have real cowboys, and even cowgirls…but they’re called jackeroos, and jilleroos. So, something quite familiar to most Americans , yet somehow strange, and intriguing…

Prickly pear cactus with Mt. Barney

Cattle Country
There’s a vast region west and south of Brisbane called the Scenic Rim, which is a rural ranching area  that backs up to the volcanic northern slopes of a series of National Parks that run over100 miles west, including the world heritage-listed Lamington National Park. The steep ridges are forest-clad, but the valleys were cleared by settlers over a century ago, leaving a landscape reminiscent of the Mission Range of western Montana…complete with cattle…lots and lots of cattle. 
Mt. Barney ridge
A heritage building

As Queensland alone is five times the size of Texas (!) with a population of only 4 million, this area is very rural, even though it’s technically in very southeastern Queensland, on the periphery of greater Brisbane. You can drive 12 hours north and still be in central Queensland!  And it’s a 2000 + km, 4-5 day drive to the top end at Torres Strait. This is a BIG country…
Aussie backroad
…and the road goes on forever…almost, it seems.

This is an area of horseback riding, bushwalking and swimming in clear mountain streams, having campfires under the strange southern stars..So vastly different than the coastal surf-scene, only 90 minutes away. It feels like another continent!
Aidan and I recently played hookey for a few days of camping and hiking in the Mt. Barney area. It was mid-week and dead.. We caught some fish, saw platapus and other cool birds and wildlife and just had an awesome adventure spending time mano y mano…
The fishing pro…

Who you lookin’ at….?

Cold mountain water, flowing from Mt Barney

Feels like….Vermont!

Yellow-faced Whip Snake, only mildly venomous

Aidan Hangin’ with the Grass Trees…

Black-faced Wallaby, a threatened species
Big Spider…really big….

The Scenic Rim,  indeed

Still another odd Australian road sign…I think they’re serious…

A roadside companion

Packing up

But, as we know, all good things have to come to an end…It was so much fun exploring the Scenic Rim that we booked a farmstay weekend over Easter for the whole Nolan clan, and invited our friends, who also are kooky enough to have five kids, along for the second night. Easter, farmstay, 10 kids…Outrageous….and the subject of my upcoming DDU, “Son of Scenic Rim”, part 2, or something…….with 10 kids..!  Stay tuned , it was a hoot…   Best to all friends and fans, near and not so very far away, ’til then….DDU and Big A…

Mountains, clouds and……palm trees….Unexpected, but that’s Queensland….!

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