Hong Kong Australia and New Zealand Fall 2017 travel blog

View from our condo

Interior of condo-1

Interior of condo-2

A morning visitor to the back porch of our condo

Triplane on the front lawn at O'Reilly's

Rosellas were everywhere

Rosellas looking for breakfast

O'Reilly's breakfast room

Rosellas liked my hat

Another view of the triplane

Assembling for tour

Trees and birds--a theme on this trip

A look down the valley from our starting place

Starting at the old shack

Lanterns look still usable

Wallabies grazing near the old shack

I was chasing wallabies--looking down on our tour group and buses

Howard and a python--we saw a couple of pythons on this tour

Marty and an incredible valley view

Susan tries to capture the beauty

Framed with the valley

Cant get over these vistas

Moran Falls

At Moran Falls

From the top of the original O'Reilly homestead

Looking down into the valley

Beautiful sunset from the condo

Cane frog

from O'Reilly original homestead

Selfie from the top

Wallabies on the hill

Big tree at the start of the tour

at the top

Frogmouth on top of hill

Our tour guide

Statue commemorating rescue

Another valley view

Closer look at python

Rosella closeup

Good shot of Shari

October 19, 2017- O’Reilly’s offered a tour that took most of the day. The tour went to various features that were part of o’Reilly’s and others that were part of the Lamington National Forest. We learned a lot. For example, we learned that Lamington named a dessert after himself (marshmellow covered in chocolate with coconut sprinkles.). We learned about the hardship of starting a dairy farm on top of this mountain with narrow, windy roads up and down it. So much so that they soon turned it into a tourist location since 1926. We took a trail that took us up to some fantastic overlooks into deep valleys that seemed to go on for miles (or kilometers as they say here). We saw a dramatic waterfall (Moran Falls) and several birds and python snakes. We went to the top of the mountain where the original farm started and looked over the edge. One thing about Australia, you have to look out for yourself. No sissy handrails or barricades here. You could easily step off a cliff and drop 300 feet without realizing how close you were.

O’Reilly’s also doesn’t pamper you that much. The condos are about ½ to ¾ km from the dining room, and they only rarely sent vans to pick us up. Susan and I got to know the back channel walkway to our condo by walking it several times.

By the name you would know that this was a rainforest. And it is, but it is high in the mountains so it lacks the jungle-like feel I imagined most rainforests to have. In fact, except for the coast, most of the rainforest in the Queensland was pines and fig trees and oaks, something I associate more with the Northwest USA. The rainforests here also boast incredibly tall trees—200-300 feet high with few branches near the ground. Some are almost all trunk until they reach the canopy, then they spread to get the light.

O’Reilly’s has very colorful birds (rosellas and royal thrushes) that hang out near the dining room/front desk and beg to be fed. They will sit on your shoulders or your hat to get food. Susan even had one steal a popsicle stick out of her hand at the little café that they ran.

O’Reilly’s also features a replica of a triplane and a statue depicting a rescue that the triplane is featured in. Apparently in the 1930s a triplane went down in the mountains near O’Reilly’s. This was before the era of radar and helicopter search parties. One of the boys at O’Reilly’s had a notion on where the plane may have gone down, so he hiked over about 40 km of mountain and found the crash site. He rescued 2 survivors of the crash (a third survivor had gotten killed going over a cliff as he tried to walk out and get help for the more badly wounded 2). In addition to the plane replica, there is a statute of the boy offering water to the two survivors. O’Reilly’s is rightly proud of this history and offers books, videos, and photographs that commemorate the rescue.

O’Reilly’s includes dining in its program of condo rental, or at least Adventure Caravans paid for breakfast and dinner in the dining room. It was good fare too—they had the obligatory items for a buffet breakfast—scrambled eggs, cereal, toast, pancakes, potatoes, baked tomatoes (this is an English-influenced country) but you could also ordered poached eggs, fried eggs, eggs benedict and others. The orders just took a little longer. One of the O’Reilly’s manned the toaster. He was an tall, thin, balding elderly gentleman is his late eighties but still hearty. He would toast your bread and make you feel at home with questions about where you were from, what you daone that day, and what you were planning for tomorrow.

Dinner was a set menu but at least three options each for soups and salads, entrees (we would call them appetizers), mains, and desserts. It was always a question what Susan was going to get and what I would get so we would not duplicate.

And nobody could stay awake after dinner.

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