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Chasing Lichens and Snow in Queensland

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SNOW IN QUEENSLAND? You may be thinking to yourself no way!! It’s the state whose slogan is “It’s Beautiful One Day and Perfect the Next.” Well according to this its kinda far fetched that it would snow in the sunny state but literally once in a blue moon a white blanket of fluffy POW POW covers small pockets of beautiful landscape in the inner South East Corner of Queensland around the granite belt region.

Experiencing this rare phenomenon has been on my bucket list for many years, and even though the region is only a short 3 hour drive from my house, life has gotten in the way and i’ve never had the chance to go and see for myself if it really does snow in Queensland.

Well my luck changed this year, my good friend Mark (escapadian) and I had planned a weekend camping trip to Bald Rock National Park, one of my favorite “hot spots” for a quick get away from the Gold Coast as the campgrounds are right at the bottom of the massive Granite outcrop, so once you’re there it’s just the case of doing everything at your own leisure.

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Bald Rock is a massive Granite Dome  500 metres wide and 750 metres in length, and at close to 1300 metres above sea level, the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Its nestled within the Granite belt region and huge Granite outcrops dot the landscape hiding fantastic wineries and fruit farms, small boutique B & Bs’ and restaurants, it’s a great area worth exploring. Anyway enough info on the area, let’s get back to the journey and finding answers does Queensland have snow?

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After a fun filled afternoon driving through some amazing countryside, we arrived at the campground just before sunset. Rather than the process of setting up camp straight away i wanted to take full advantage of the remaining light and get to the summit for sunset. So with our cameras some goblets and a bottle of port, we were off. There are 2 paths to the summit a 2.4km easy incline track that snakes its way through the forest and piles of granite boulders or the more direct and incredibly steep 1.2km gruelling climb straight up the face of the rock. Ha needless to say which way we chose!! Arriving through the trees to the base of the Granite dome of Bald Rock, its daunting to take in the magnitude of just how big in size this rock really is, it is intimidating!! Only 100 meters into the climb your calf muscles are on fire, but stopping for a quick rest you are greeted with the start of some amazing views across the landscape. It was Mark’s first visit and he was frothing by this point, in between breaths “wow” was the only sounds parting his lips.

We hit the top of the first climbing section where the trail hits the savanna forest, it was getting pretty dark by this point as twilight had definitely set in, “Oi did you bring a torch?”, Ha looking down there was no way i’m climbing back down that to get one! The trail has white painted circles marking the path which in the middle of the day are easy to see, night time poses other problems. By this point we are both Giggling like school children, trying desperately to find the next marker and our pathway. Mark is finding markers everywhere, perfectly white Lichens are dotted all over the place, “There’s one”, “nah bro, thats a lichen!” “There’s One”, “Nup :)”, “man we are Chasing Lichens.” Hahaha my abs were hurting by this point, a good 5 minutes trail took us just under an hour, but we got there in the end.

Exploring the summit is a kids dream, there are massive boulders balanced on the side of the cliffs, nooks and crannies waiting to be explored, we had a ball laughing and talking trying our best to get ourselves lost. Time to head down, here we go again “Chasing Lichens” again, wow my abs were hurting after this little adventure.

 

Where’s the SNOW, you may be asking?? This region is exceptionally cold, in fact i’ve had the coldest night camping here ever in Australia, i was prepared. For some reason the cold snap that was making its way up from Antarctica, missed this small pocket of Australia on its journey, i woke up wondering if any snow had fallen.

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I did find some but it wasn’t the picture of my imagination!!!

Its a pity i didn’t look further afield as only 20 minutes away as a crow flies, the ranges were blanketed in snow, next time i keep telling myself, NEXT TIME!!

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