There are over 500 waterfalls in Lamington National Park; we covered three in half a day. If we are falling short of our #100waterfallschallenge goal near the end of the year, we'll hang in the park for a month and cover them all.
This area is oozing with history, and the kids and I soaked it all up on our short 8km adventure along the Main Border Track. Here's what you need to know:
- The 20,600 hectares Lamington National Park is known for its natural beauty, rainforests, birdlife, ancient trees, waterfalls, walking tracks and mountain views;
- There are 500 waterfalls;
- David Attenborough visited and filmed the park while making the 1979 television series Life on Earth in which beech trees and bowerbirds were featured;
- Lamington National Park is home to one of the most diverse areas of vegetation in the country, including one of the largest upland subtropical rainforest remnants in the world;
- The roots of the oldest Antarctic beech trees in the park are over 5,000 years old;
- The park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (inscribed in 1986) and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007;
- The plateaus and cliffs in the park are the northern and north western remnants of the huge 23-million-year-old Tweed Volcano, centered around Mount Warning;
- The mountains in the park are moving. You may not feel it when you are walking through, but evidence is in the valley before you - it is still deepening and widening. It began when the high peak of the extinct volcano attracted heavy rains. Slowly and steadily the trickle of water formed rivulets, and eventually rivers all radiating from the volcano's peak. Valleys were eroded, some deepening to expose cliff-lined gorges between broad plateaus and eroded narrow ridges. Soil creep, landslides and creek erosion still continues today;
- Elevation in the some areas of the park (south) reaches 1,000m;
- The Nerang River, Albert River and Coomera River all have their source in Lamington National Park;
- Aboriginal occupation within the park is suggested to go back some 10,000 years;
- Soon after European explorers Captain Patrick Logan and Allan Cunningham discovered the area, the timber industry followed including the Lahey family who owned one of Queensland's largest timber mills at the time (1800s);
- Robert Collins campaigned heavily to protect the forests from logging in the 1890s, but he died before the McPherson Range was protected. Later, Romeo Lahey recognised the value of preserving the forests, and campaigned to make it one of the first protected areas in Queensland;
- The O'Reillys built their guesthouse in the park in 1926, 'OReilly's Rainforest Retreat', which serves as the starting point for many of the walks within the park;
And the coolest fun fact of all, according to the kids:
- Marsupial Megafuna (Diprotrodon): weighing in at around 3 tonnes and standing 2m tall at the shoulder, this large, wombat-like marsupial, was widespread across Australia from about 5.3 million years ago, and co-existed with Aboriginal people for thousands of years before becoming extinct. It's believed that a drier climate, longer droughts and changing vegetation, along with being hunted by Aboriginal people, caused the Diprotrodon to die out.
The Elabana Falls were the highlight of half-day adventure, and by far the coldest waters I have encountered on our Australian trekking missions this year. When the kids poked their toes in and refused to swim, I knew it was a tad cool. As part of my Wim Hof Method training, I was going in. I lasted around five minutes and felt extreme tightness around my chest and neck; still a rookie in the WHM training but I love observing my body heat up internally as I focus on the inner flame within.
The falls were completely deserted from other humans; tucked deep within the rain forest this is truly a potent spiritual hot spot and my mind imagined early Aboriginals inhabiting these very swimming holes.
Once home the kids were shattered, and jumping into bed that night they exclaimed: "We can't wait to go to school tomorrow! It's such a good rest at school from all the trekking, we just sit around and do nothing."
This got me thinking about my ongoing love/hate relationship with the Australian education system. On the global scheme of things it would seem criminal to complain about the qualities of the Aussie system, but when we don't challenge a system to be the best it can be, aren't we doing an injustice to our kids and future generations?
For us, I'll be continuing to pull my kids out of school for chunks of time, months, each year, taking them traveling around the world to immerse in different landscapes and cultures, ensuring they are exposed to a mix of academic and 'life' education, the latter something I believe is not being taught in our national schools.