Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Waterfalls of Springbrook National Park

Last year on a weekend I went to Kaban (Springbrook) to study a bit of the rock formations and landforms from an ancient volcano. Kaban is in Springbrook National Park on the McPherson Range in the South East of Queensland. It forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests. Springbrook is for those who love nature. It has ancient forests, lookouts, walking trails, beautiful birds, various wildlife, rare plants, and much much more, like numerous waterfalls. Many of the waterfalls, lookouts and walking trails are easy to access for everyone to enjoy the rainforests on Springbrook Mountain. Geological processes formed the canyons, valleys and cliffs of hard lava where channels, brooks and streams have been carved out from. I was keen to check out the paler Rhyolite rock and the darker but softer coloured Basalt. These have eroded over millions of years due to the elements. Apparently too, the climate had changed and the canyon was getting deeper at a rate of about 3mm in a lifetime. I wanted to see - with my own eyes - this 3mm deepening of the canyon - in my lifetime. It sounded more exciting than mowing the lawn or watching the grass grow.

Nature, somehow, was not with me on this trip. The clouds were gathering from Saturday evening on, and rain commenced on Sunday. It rained steadily all day and very heavily all night. Springbrook was well and truly saturated in 125mm of rain in the deluge. I was undeterred and took to setting up camp for the night, up where it’s raining on the rock plateau, on a grassy patch overlooking the Gold Coast below – and watching the grass grow. It was 10 months ago, on a cold dark night. The deluge caused high water everywhere on the high mountain. 

The skies cleared on Sunday and I set forth to examine the rock slabs, the sheer cliffs and escarpments of Springbrook National Park. Nature set her traps overnight of course. The tempest felled trees and dropped branches in my path. The might of high floodwaters moved boulders and fallen tree trunks, and diverted the streams on to a new course. The raging waters created deep ruts, and exposed sharp rocks and gnarly roots along their way and mine.

Still I set foot on the places known only to the local Yugambe. They have given names to these places - names that roll off one’s tongue: bellaringa, bijungcoolahra, boojerooma, coooolahra, goomoolahra, gwongorella, poondahra, punyahra, talangagong, tallanbana, tamarramal, warrie and warringa.
They even have translations of many of these names for the benefit of those recent arrivals – translations to their strange unpronounceable language: big waterfall, blackfellow, circuit, dancing waters, deep place, little waterfall,  Purlingbrook, natural bridge, silver rain, out of the rushes, over the trees, rainbow, rushing, three falls, twin falls.
The Twin Falls is on the four-kilometre rainforest circuit from the Tallanbana picnic area or Canyon lookout going in the anti-clockwise direction. The Twin Falls are two rushing waterfalls that greet you as you descend down the narrow winding track where the falls cascade down into rock pools.

Blackfellow falls. Farther along past ancient brush box, strangler figs and piccabeen palms are the nearby Blackfellow Falls where you may get damp passing under.

Then there are the others: Rainbow falls, Kadjagooma, Goomoolahra, Ngarri-dhum. Many of these places drop from a height of some 200m - from the plateau to the base of the cliffs.

So anyway all the channels and dips on the rocks that I wanted to examine now had this liquid matter flowing over them. Disappointment is such a mild word to describe what I was feeling at not being able to check out the rocks. Getting frustrated, I ran around to all the high cliffs and deep gorges where the rocks have been gouged out. But the deluge was so heavy – every channel was flowing at maximum height.

Rainbow falls

I tried the 106m high cliff face of Purlingbrook, it too was covered under a great wall of water. The Purling Brook Falls is a horsetail waterfall situated within the central section of the National Park. After heavy rains the waterfalls become an incomparable spectacle. This is the best waterfall on the mountain and can be viewed from two lookouts on either side of the top of the waterfall. 

The base of the falls is also accessible from a walking trail circuit, going clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Defeated by water, I retreated.
And retraced my steps.

I thought of one last place to salvage something on my trip.
I heard of this glow-worm cave in a place of the Kombumerri, now called natural bridge.

I haven’t been up to speed with the news from here lately, like in the last couple of million years decades. 
But apparently Cave Creek which once flowed over, had now gouged out a hole through the roof of the cavern forming an arch or ‘natural bridge’. Naturally.

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