Archive for September, 2011

Queensland way

Fond memories of our last stay 10 years ago made us choose Tenterfield as our next destination. This charming little town lies on the New England plateau – about 900m above sea level – just south of the Queensland border, surrounded by mountains, deep gorges and numerous rivers, which are home to the elusive Murray cod. Being hard core cod country, Tenterfield was and still is home to well known lure makers like the late Peter Newell and Trevor McFeeter. They both played an important part in the amazingly rich and creative Australian lure maker scene.

During our stay, Jack Frost had the region in his grip and the nights were frosty and the  days cold. But even in winter one has to appreciate the beauty of the area and we enjoyed several of the countless walks in some of the National Parks nearby. We saw a lot of kangaroos, wallabies and many different birds. The Tawny Frogmouth, probably one of the less well known birds, surprised us with its outstanding mimicry. During the day the nocturnal Frogmouth was resting in trees adjacent to the caravan park and was very difficult to spot. With its mottled feathers and its head turned up it resembled a branch perfectly.

Bald Rock, 750m long, 500m wide and 260m high, is the largest exposed granite dome in the southern hemisphere and sits in the dense, surrounding forest like a giant whale floating in the sea. Several walks to the top lead through very different types of vegetation and the diverse plant life includes magnificent orchids. Despite its steep sides, it is possible to almost vertically walk up the rock due to a rough surface. On a clear day the view from the summit across a boulder strewn sea of trees is spectacular. Thick cloud cover and the occasional shower on the day of our visit could not spoil the fun; the wet rock became pretty slippery though and made our climb a bit tricky. On the summit the wind got up the gale force and we had to seek shelter between boulders for a while.

Boonoo Boonoo National Park with Boonoo Boonoo Falls proofed to be a great experience
as well. The weather kept being very wet and taking a decent picture was impossible, continuing rain made the rivers run high on the other hand and the waterfalls looked

Looking forward to fishing some of the many Queensland dams, famous for their big fish from Murray Cod and Australian Bass in the south to Barramundi and Sooty Grunter further north, we got ourselves a book about the topic. In southern Queensland already, a mere hour’s drive from Tenterfield, the book showed many dams with promising fishing. The fact that it was still pretty cold and the fish not very active, could not stop us and we left New South Wales with high hopes.

Lake Leslie Tourist Park, just 10 Minutes west of Warwick, was our base for the next 3 weeks. Lake Leslie and several lakes and rivers nearby provide great opportunities for fishing, especially for Yellow Belly, Australian Bass and Murray Cod. But despite our best efforts out on Lake Leslie and along other lakes and rivers, we did not manage to get one single fish to take our lures. Not even the very friendly and generous advice of the local tackle shop cracks made a difference and we started to feel slightly embarrassed. Many thanks again to John and Wayne and to Jason for your help and tight lines! We hope to be back when the water is warmer. There are some magic places waiting out there!

While out on the lake, we noticed that our Mercury outboarder was still not going well; it would run very rough with strong vibrations and every now and then the engine would stall completely. Our previous Mercurys had always been a pleasure to operate, but this 40hp 2-stroke didn’t make us happy at all. We were lucky though and Shane, the engine wizard in town, got the thing finally going. After adjusting everything properly – something the factory was obviously not able to do – and removing a tiny particle of dirt from one of the carburetors, our still brand new Mercury behaved and has been going strong ever since.

We remembered that there is more to life than fishing and explored some of the other highlights Warwick has to offer. And there is no shortage of natural beauty and interesting places indeed. Subtropical and tropical rainforests have always fascinated us and we enjoyed the walks at Cunningham’s Gap east of town very much. The vegetation changed remarkably on the way up the mountains and after walking through dense and lush green rain forest with many different species of trees, some of them true forest giants, the plants got smaller and the forests became more open. The views from the summits were breathtaking and, thanks to the great weather, we were able to see the skyline of Brisbane out east.

Another day saw us heading to Killarney, 40 minutes to the south east. The area features many scenic waterfalls and we spotted Echidnas, skinks and frogs.

Warwick is a charming small country town with very friendly people. During our stay the “Jumpers & Jazz” festival was on with Jazz being played in the streets and the leaf less trees being decorated with jumpers made by creative souls.

Out at Lake Leslie our cottage was home away from home. Sometimes “Colour”, our
hosts cute pet Galah, a native parrot, would pay us a visit and get his cuddles. We loved the place and the sunsets over the lake will be remembered for a very long time.