Not much sunshine on the Sunshine Coast for us - cloudy and rainy again today - but it was good to catch up with another old friend. Above - Lois McKee (left) who visited us in Canada with Kathy in 1993. On the right is her husband, Keith, who we'd not met before and who is Kathy's brother.
In the evening we enjoyed another delicious meal with Allana and Skilly, our hosts - this time sushi made by Skilly.
Today we went to visit Jenny's step-aunt, Janet Sutherland, who lives in Buderim. After tea at her house in a retirement village we went for lunch at the beach front at Mooloolaba - one of the more popular and upmarket areas of the coast. After that it had cleared enough for us to take a drive up to Point Cartwright and for a walk up to a view point by the modern light house. Below is the view looking down Buddina beach. To the left - out to sea - we saw a pod of whales swimming south for the summer -unfortunately too far out to get on a photo.
Yesterday we flew from Perth to Brisbane and are staying with Allana (daughter of Kathy and John Tosswill) and John Skillington at their beautiful home in Kiels Mountain on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane.
Today we went to Mudjimba beach just north of Maroochydore where we enjoyed some sun, beach and a picnic.
In many parts of the South West there are big tracts of Karri trees growing. The Karri tree is unique to this part of Australia and they can grow up to 90m tall - one of the tallest tress in the world. They only reach their top height in 100-125 years and can live to be 350 years or more.
Today we drove down to Pemberton and went to the Gloucester Tree which contains a fire look-out platform at the top - about 61m above the ground. (See more information below about these unique structures and the history behind this particular one.) Tim and Gordon climbed to the top on the metal-spike ladder/stairway - an amazing experience with photos below :
A view of the tree (with the bottom part cut off) the platform is just visible at the top
The start of the ladder/stairway
Gordon begins the climb
Trees ahoy - the view over the surrounding forest from the crows nest on top
Tim and Gordon relieved that they made it to the top
Gordon on the final descent
Excerpt from the WA Department of Environment and Conservation web site :
The Gloucester Tree, in Gloucester National Park, is probably Western Australia's most famous Karri tree. This 60-metre-high giant towers above the forest surrounding Pemberton. In the past, foresters maintained a regular fire lookout from its lofty crown. Today, visitors climb to the cabin in its upper branches for sensational views of the surrounding karri forest.
The Gloucester Tree was one of eight lookout trees built between 1937 and 1952 in the karri forest. The construction of fire lookout towers in the tallest trees of Western Australia's karri forest was the practical response to one of the most serious threats to forest communities in the South-West.
The Gloucester Tree lookout was built in 1947, in the highest of the tall karri trees near Pemberton. The floor of its cabin sits 58 metres above the ground. The tree was one of a group on a ridge overlooking the Eastbrook in an area that had not been logged when timber cutting operations of the Pemberton Sawmill passed through. Conveniently located just three kilometres from Pemberton, it gives a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.
The suitability of the tree as a lookout was verified by forester Jack Watson after an epic climb. Using climbing boots and a belt to scale the tree, it took him six hours to reach a height of 58 metres and return. The ascent was made more difficult by the massive girth of the tree, some 7.3 metres, and the fact that limbs had to be negotiated from 39.6 metres. This feat is claimed to be a record climb, and is widely recognised in forestry circles as one of the greatest efforts of courage and endurance in the Australian forest.
Pegging the ladder, and lopping of the branches, was carried out by another legendary south-western forester, George Reynolds. During this work, a branch which he had cut through twisted in its fall and snapped off a number of pegs. George remained aloft for several hours while his assistant Len Nicol repegged the damaged section from below.