Returning to Queensland

Nearly 6 months after surgery, to plate the broken fibula and correct the dislocated tibia, i left my parent’s home in Bonny Hills and travelled north with a stopover at my brother Steve’s home in Pearce’s Creek.

It is a beautiful part of the world and i have spent a lot of time in Northern Rivers over the years. Steve’s family allowed me to use their place as a Basecamp between adventures and employment.

They know the places to go for a real local community feel like Bexhill woodfired pizza night at the community hall.

Steve drove me up to Springbrook on Saturday 3rd March where we were tourists for a couple of hours before we met the first responding Volunteer Ambulance Officer Guy Livermore.

Then i began the remaining walk to Newcastle starting with the section of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk i missed when i broke my ankle.

A quick recap, last year i had planned to finish the walk with a section from Gladstone to Newcastle, off road and via lots of National Parks. This was going well until a steep slippery section of track below Binna Burra. A rock under my foot cracked as i shifted weight onto it and then i fell onto my ankle cracking it too. Guy came over from Springbrook with the 4WD ambulance and brought 2 paramedics up to rescue me.

Rather than trying to walk that piece of track again i came down from the opposite direction. It was still steep but with 900 steps i had more confidence and control descending.

The first night i camped in the hammock at the Arts Hall. While i waited for darkness i picked up all the litter spread from the rubbish drum by crows and wind and placed some rock on top. I have always made it a habit to leave my camps better than when i arrived.

The next day was wonderful, a bit hot, a local said it was about 36C and humid but i stopped for a refreshing swim in the cold river. Numinbah Valley is spectacular. The ancient plateaus and monoliths covered in Gondwana rainforest are really something special to walk through up close and between through the valley.

For most of this trip i have not planned far ahead, many days not knowing where i will camp that night. It has been relaxing walking without a daily itinerary.

On Sunday i walked into the Log Cabin Camp near Natural Arch and asked about a place to hang the hammock. The caretakers, Joy and Eric, let me use the little 3 bunk Pademelon Cottage for just $5 more than a campsite. This was good because the rain came in heavy all night. They invited me to join them for dinner and again the next day for lunch. It was a lovely time.

On Monday morning Queensland Ambulance Service, Gold Coast Bulletin and myself arranged a meeting with my rescuers at Natural Arch.

I wanted to say thank you, acknowledge the work of volunteers and paramedics and raise awareness about bushwalking safety and training. Here are the links to the Gold Coast Bulletin’s video story

and Queensland Ambulance Service’s facebook post

If you have a Bullie subscription you can search Terra Roam for the feature story. I haven’t seen it yet!

Thank you Guy Livermore, Drew Ross and Andrew McClelland for being there, on August 28th, when i needed you.

Later that afternoon, as the rain came in again, i crossed the border from Queensland to New South Wales.