Rainforest surrounds me as I set off on from Delicia Road (entrance M4) on the Gheerulla Valley section of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. I have two days off work so it’s the perfect opportunity to explore. Birds sing. Humidity shrouds me thanks largely to the dense forest blocking any breeze. Everything is lush and green despite the lack of rain.
At Ubajee Walkers Camp I take a break to admire the view. I can see the valley into which I will descend and the high range atop which my campsite is waiting for me. It always looks daunting to see mountains rising from deep narrow valleys when I know I need to climb them. But I also know that I just need to put one for in front of the other.
The descent into Gheerulla Creek is a steeps switch back path. Gheerulla Creek and falls are dry but for some small water holes. It must be spectacular after a good solid wet season. The climb out the valley is as long and arduous as I feared. Not many have come this way yet since last season and grass covers the trail with reckless abandon. Palm trees grow in the gully to my right while drier shrubs dominate to higher left side. I focus on getting up the mountain. Gheerulla Valley Viewpoint is magnificent; I can see out over the lands north where I will walk tomorrow. But I hear thunder rumbling on the western side of the ridge. Dark clouds have rolled in.
Thilba Thalba walkers camp sits at the edge of an escarpment looking north east. There’s a small viewpoint where I hope to watch the sunrise tomorrow. If I wake on time, that is. For I have no intention of setting an alarm. I pitch my tent and settle in with a good book, a cup of tea and patchy wifi service. A fresh breeze is blowing, birds are twittering, the dark clouds have stayed to the west of the ridge so far though I anticipate overnight rain.
I wake to the sound of birds and the wind through the trees above me. I’m happy to be eating my breakfast as the sun rises through the trees. Some cheeky birds are stalking my baked beans but I guard the food from them. My pack will be much lighter today given I’ve eaten most of my food and only have to carry water for one day. The views from Thilba Thalba Viewpoint 1.5km down the trail are spectacular. I can see where I walked from and where I’m headed. I walked from the top of a ridge on the left lit up by the sun. I walked down into the valley and then climbed up behind the spur in the mid-right of the photo before walking along the mountain on the right. Today I will descend again into the valley before walking up back up the mountain from which I began this delightful adventure.
From Gheerulla Bluff I take on the views north towards Kenilworth. I’ve never seen this view before. I have a new appreciation for the landscapes that Paul and I have been driving through these past few weeks on our outings. I never realised there were so many mountains up there. I drop down into Gheerulla Creek. Saying it like that makes it sound like an easy walk but it is steep with some slippery sections. Tall grass trees grow with their higgeldy piggeldy trunks poking out at all angles. It feels good to be in the bush at home. The creek is mostly dry with some pockets of water where the rocks are deepest. But it’s obvious that this can be a roaring watercourse after heavy rains. I wouldn’t like to be here when that happens, though it would be spectacular.
I retrace my steps the way I came yesterday. I walk beneath the tall trees and through the rainforest to my car.