Old Brothers, still exploring together

We finally had our first visitor to Australia, my brother John (‘Uncle JJ”), from Cooperstown, NY. We tried to fit as much variety into nine days as possible, and John says we well and truly succeeded. Revisited a few favorite haunts, as well as some brand new experiences.

Nolan family– ceremonial welcome dance


Stephanie, the lady of the house
Fresh grilled snapper and shrimp
Welcome to Australia Uncle JJ!! Also, Claire’s 12th Birthday.

To get John adjusted after the long flights, first we went into Brisbane for a cool urban experience…Hip city!!


Brisbane pedestrian bridge


City Cat ferries
Southbank pools
Southbank Brisbane
Chinese lanterns and the Brisbane Eye


 Next it was off on a 4 day boys camping, hiking and exploring road trip. We went S, up 3000 ft onto the Lamington Plateau at Binna Burra, through the Numimbah Gap into NSW and climbed Mt Warning. It’s the remnant cinder cone of one of the largest volcano calderas on earth, that blew out around 20 million years ago. All of the mountain ridges you see are in fact the rim of the ancient caldera, stretching some 70 miles in diameter…


Heritage cabin, c 1930s, Binna Burra

Economy digs, but dry… 

On the trail, Lamington NP
Luke in a Volcanic Cave

Chillin, and Grillin’, I love camping…!
Natural Bridge cave
Mt. Warning, a NSW landmark for miles

Roots devour rock, given time enough…

The trail up Mt Warning was amazing, climbing around 2000 ft. Starting in a dense palm forest, through massive, virgin tropical hardwoods and up into sub-alpine Antarctic Beech..The final half mile is a steep ridge up the terminal cinder cone, culminating in a tiny summit with lookout towers in all four directions. As we ascended, the weather cleared, and we were rewarded with stunning views E towards the Gold Coast and Byron Head, W over the wild, remote, Border Ranges between NSW and QLD and N towards the Lamington and Springbrook plateaus we’d come from…Even though the old knees were feeling their age on the 5 hour hike, the trail was well maintained and we got back to the carpark at dusk feeling exhilirated..

Antarctic Beech, high on Mt Warning


The final ascent

Summit scene, looking East

Gold Coast high rises over the ridge


#1 Son Luke
Palm flower stalks

Next am, it was SE down the coast to Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay, two favorite haunts for some sun, surf and sand….


Aidan, the camp cook

Easternmost point return


Beach Bums, Byron Bay
Gold Coast High Rise Bling….

Finally, it was back to Cleveland, to pick up Stephanie and the younger kids. One night layover, followed by the Big Red Cat ferry out to Straddie for a two night beach house adventure in the  Green House at Point Lookout, on Stradbroke Island…..It only gets better and better….!

Big Red Cat…literally


Young lovers on Straddie…

Straddie is an offshore barrier island of great beauty and diversity right off Cleveland. It has over 230 species of birds, none of which you’ve ever seen before; kangaroos, bats, whales, dolphins, mantas and sea turtles. It feels as if you are 1000’s of miles away, after only a 45 minute ferry ride.. Sublime, and exciting……
Eastern grey mother and joey

The North Gorge

Petting a wild Kook at the Green House, Not kidding…

The Green House, there’s also a Blue one next door…

We spent three days boogie boarding, grilling, lazing about…even had soft acoustic guitar music to go with the wine….Life doesn’t get any better for me…


Flying fox bat colony, right across the street


Koalas too….!
Hello from the Nolan kids!!

Beach Beauties…

We took a trip up to Brown Lake, so named because of the tannin stained, but pristine waters.. Very brown indeed, like a rootbeer. As I was wading out in the bush I had a sudden surprise when a large, black, very toxic looking snake swam right by me in knee-deep water…I snapped a few quick shots and moved back, as he was only 4-6 ft from me….Turned out to be a Red-bellied Black snake…Not lethal on the nuclear scale of a Taipan or Brown snake, but quite venomous indeed…around 10 times as venomous as an Eastern Diamondback…Another reminder, that whenever you are out and about in this splendidly beautiful country, real danger lurks very close under foot…..Steady….

Nolan beach-boogie dance party…F-U-N….

Wading flooded Malalueca, (caution Dr Nolan…!)

Big, black and mean..I will ruin your day…
See that evil eye…cut off his nose, sorry I was in a bit of a hurry….

Bush Clown….

So, having survived yet another close snake encounter, we retreated back to the safety of our home in Raby Bay to have a send off dinner for our beloved Uncle JJ… Safe travels, God speed, return to us another day.. Meanwhile, I resolve to be a bit more careful as to where I place my feet while wandering the bush of Australia…It’s a dangerous thing, leaving your house for an adventure…..Best and safest travels to all family and friends, near and far…Until next time!  DDU

Uncle JJ’s sendoff party. Fish n Chips…yummm…


Old mates with the next generation, coming up….

1 thought on “Honeymoon with my Brother….

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