"Look, Mum, I'm on the internet!" and Lamington National Park

My first actual blog post! Well, if I'm not counting those other now defunct blogs. But this one will be different, damn it. I'm writing it for myself, about things I love, with a no pressure approach. So, don't expect a fancy post schedule or anything because that's just not how I roll. Do expect somewhat sporadic posts about food, fashion, craft, travel, literature, academia, feminist issues and whatever the hell else I feel like posting. And general awesomeness.

Photo of the view from the Green Mountains.
So, on Sunday Matt and I went for a drive to Lamington National Park so that I could get some inspiration for a writing exercise I had due this week. I had to write 500 words describing a place and I was kind of stumped as to what to write about. Well, there was plenty of inspiration to be had up there and here's what I ended up submitting:

After winding around terrifyingly sharp bends for what felt like hours, the car finally reached the top of the mountain and entered Lamington National Park and the dry brown grass and tall eucalypts by the side of the road turned into lush green rainforest. It had taken a mere two hours to reach this paradise, but it felt as though the stresses of the city were a lifetime away. The air was cooler. Clearer. Lighter. The only thing that concerned us in that moment was the road ahead. Soon enough the rainforest cleared to reveal a picturesque view of the valleys and mountains in the distance. Like a watercolour painting, soft shades of grey and blue washed over the distant landscape. The sun shone high in the sky, the glare giving everything a soft glow.
Photo of alpacas in a grass paddock.
We stopped to visit a local alpaca farm and take in the calming yet invigorating scenery. The alpacas were nonchalant. Some lazed in the sun, others in the shade and some scratched themselves while others chewed at the thick grass covering the rolling hill that was their paddock. A pair of crias sat apart from the rest near a small tree. When still they looked like plush toy versions of themselves; their fur perfectly fluffy and their eyes deep and glassy. Until they came to life and moved about with springy youthfulness. All the while comforted by the soothing hums of the older animals. We sat on a large greying wooden deck at the back of the gift shop and ate pies. A waterhole glistened a little way down the hill. A golden retriever puppy chased hens in a paddock to our left. The alpacas hummed and honked to our right. The pies were delicious.

Photo of a cute puppy behind a wire fence.

After lunch we drove further up the mountain to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Like a little village in the sky, it was bustling with tourists and day-trippers all hurriedly trying to relax. We ventured away from the complex and along the Booyong boardwalk through the forest where it was quiet except for the sounds of birds foraging in the undergrowth, occasionally chirping their distinct and individual calls. The air smelled fresh and new. We spoke in whispers. Pointing out different plants and birds. The boardwalk turned into a tree top suspension bridge at the base of a giant strangler fig, children playing inside it’s sturdy trunk, birds twittering about in it’s branches. Apprehensively, we walked made our way along the bridge and it creaked and undulated beneath our feet. It felt as if we were a part of the forest. Any fear of heights I had faded away so that only awe was left.
Photo of Matt on the tree top suspension bridge.

Afterwards we headed back to O’Reilly’s to the cafe for an afternoon tea of scones with strawberry jam and whipped cream. As we sat eating on the balcony and taking in the breathtaking view one last time a flock of magpies cooed and warbled playfully in the trees below as if putting on a show for us. I was disappointed that they didn’t sell lamingtons at the cafe, but the scones were satisfying nonetheless.
Photo of scones with strawberry jam and whipped cream.
I think it's kind of wanky and there are parts I wish I could rewrite, but it's submitted now. I really did have a great time on Sunday though. Even if they didn't sell lamingtons at the cafe and I didn't get to hug an alpaca. I've decided that hugging an alpaca is my new ~life goal~. Alpacas are the coolest.

Photo of a white alpaca up close.
Lamington National Park is about 2 hours drive from Brisbane or 90 minutes from the Gold Coast.
Mountainview Alpaca Farm is totally awesome and has a giftshop with amazing alpaca wool products and cafe with great pies.
O'Reilly's is very touristy, but it's an excellent starting point for checking out the tree top walk and botanic gardens (which are both maintained by the Green Mountains Natural History Association thanks to volunteers and donations) and there's an information kiosk with walking/trekking maps and stuff too.

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