Cania Gorge, Queensland – pt.1

Greetings from Cania Gorge National Park . What an amazingly beautiful peaceful place this is. We are camped right at the entrance to the hiking tracks, at Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat . We have been here a few times before when there was no communication reception. Recently the owners of the Retreat have splashed out and got themselves a Telstra tower installed so Halleluja, we now have phone and internet which is great.

The trip here from Pomona was very lacklustre. Typical Queensland inland roads, very bumpy, even jarring in places, of course we can’t go real fast as we don’t like bouncing all our nice things around in our (house on wheels). It was a very long day, with a lunch stop in Gayndah and catching up with some friends. We didn’t arrive here at the Gorge till round 4.30 pm.

Here’s where this story turns nasty…….

Last Light : Laughing Kookaburra at Cania
Glasswing Butterfly bedding down for the night, looks so comfy …. not
Rainbow Lorikeets enjoying a morning bath

When we unhitched the van, it made some really horrible creaking noises and actually seemed to be sitting way to low on the back of the truck.

We did manage to unhitch and started to look around the King Pin Box (hitch) with a torch and to our absolute horror, saw two very big cracks in the framework behind the hitch. We also noticed that the hitch had hit underneath the front of the van, as there was a chunk of fibreglass missing……which means that it was flexing a hell of a lot to do that.

After setting up we googled to see who on earth around here could possibly help us.

 

Cania Gorge Dam

 

Some more pics from Cania

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We are 26 kms from the nearest town, (Monto) and luckily found a large engineering firm there, we rang them and they are coming out tomorrow for a look and fingers crossed, can help us out of our predicament.

Oh that’s not all, it gets even worse……we really wanted to see if there were cracks anywhere else, so we had to cut the lining away and take a lot of the trim off, take out the insulation etc to even be able to see the main beam and framework that the hitch is attached to and guess what????? We found 7 cracks, the biggest is over 3 inches in the main beam.

 

Wow, I was so lucky to grab this Great Egret Flyby
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Then it landed and stood tall and proud for me to capture this shot.
We spent a good hour or so being mesmerised by this Azure Kingfisher fishing at very close range.

 


So now we are wondering how on earth we managed to get here without losing our van on the highway, talk about an absolute ship stopper, we ain’t going anywhere for a while till all this is fixed somehow. Our house is broken and unable to be towed. Of course we are devastated but after doing some massive googling find that this does happen a lot over time with 5 th wheelers and we have been travelling in ours now for 11 years.

We will certainly be keeping a close eye on this area once fixed.

 

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This stunning male Striated Pardalote put on quite a display.

 


 

Blue-faced Honeyeater

This family of Blue-faced Honeyeaters just kept on following us around, they’re so funny to watch

 


 

Adult Pied Butcherbird
Adult Pied Butcherbird

 

 

Stephanie ready for immediate action

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Cania Gorge Video

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Cania Dam Video

In between all this happening we have been out and about, so don’t worry…..it’s not all doom and gloom. We have been walking our socks off, seen lots of birds.

We drove to the reservoir today and Anthony got some really wow photos as you will see.

Since we will be stuck here for a while we may have to blog Cania Gorge in a series form so hang on to your hats….there’s plenty more photos and video coming, plus keep you all posted on our repair progress.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

One of the 7 (ship stopping) cracks in the frame supporting the king pin box (hitch)

Mulu National Park – Sarawak

Mulu National Park
The picturesque Mulu National Park

 

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Some Images of Mulu National Park

 

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Some snippets of our time in Mulu NP.

 

Well Hello Everyone……we have been in isolation for the last 4 days. Mulu is a beautiful spot, not really even a village, only 1 little mini mart type shop with nothing in it. We did buy some chocolates there but couldn’t eat them, I think they had been melted over and over in the tropical heat and were pretty disgusting. Thank god the resort had a little very expensive shop that at least had some picnic and crunchie bars.

The Marriott Resort there is absolutely beautiful, the rooms are really nicely set out and furnished, very upper market fittings and the bed was like falling into some soft white fluffy clouds. We loved how it is all built off the ground with so many timber walkways. The pool wasn’t that nice though, just a rectangle with decking and umbrellas etc but it was always full of kiddies, I wish these big resorts could splash out and have a pool for kids and one for adults. We didn’t go in it but felt sorry for some of the adults trying to relax there. Of course everything there is expensive, drinks food even bottled water, which we were sneaky and bought it at the National Park for half price.
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
A Prize find for us – Scarlet-rumped Trogon
slim pickings for Bird pics at Mulu
Every morning we would jump on the shuttle bus and go to the park, only about 10 minutes drive, and when you finish at the park the security there rings the Marriott and they send the bus to pick you up again.
The park is beautiful too and really well set out with quite some kms of timber walkways, very easy to walk around. They had a huge bird tower where you had to get the key to open it which we did everyday. But if you wanted to go to the caves it was all tours, and expensive tours, and very regimented, we really didn’t care for that side of things. We could walk to one cave, the deer cave where more than 3 million bats fly out every evening, just beautiful watching them spiralling into the sky. We even saw an eagle take one out.
Tree Hugger Dragonfly - Tyriobapta torrida
Tree Hugger Dragonfly
Dragon & Damselflies galore at Mulu
We were a bit disappointed though as we really didn’t see a lot of birdlife, the jungle here is full of Tarzan vines we call them so it’s really hard to see through them, but we didn’t hear too many birds either and sat up in the bird tower for quite sometime looking too. We did see heaps of different dragonflies butterflies and some really amazing bugs and gorgeous squirrels so it really wasn’t too bad. The heat got to us though and we had to go back to the resort and sit out the hottest part of the day and then head back in to the park around 3 pm but then it was very quiet.
Butterflies of Mulu
There were a few Butterflies 
We didn’t think the people here were very friendly, we did meet some nice barmaids but generally most of them are very sullen and it seems they really can’t be bothered with us. Apparently the resort is only allowed to hire local people and if one gets upset over something they all do, and it seems they have no competition for their jobs so they don’t try to hard.
Bornean Pit Viper
Saw this Bornean Pit Viper on the way out of the Park on the last day.
Always nice to come across the odd Reptile or two

A Common Squirrel feasting
Squirrels are always fun to watch

Red Millipede (Trachelomegalus modestior)
Red Millipede of Mulu
No shortage of odd looking bugs
4 days there was well and truly enough and today we flew to Kuching. It seems very clean and a good road system getting out to our new digs, a big step down from the Marriott I’m afraid,no luxuries here but it’s clean and very close to the parks here. It was great to pick up a hire car again as we didn’t have one in Mulu. So now we are super busy as we have so many photos, a video and emails etc to catch up on. We didn’t have phone or wifi at the Marriott for 4 days, they say they have wifi but it doesn’t work. It looks quite scenic around here so hope to get into at least one of the parks tomorrow and also get some scenery photos.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Mount Kinabalu – Revisited

Mt Kinabalu, from our Hotel
The ever changing view of Mount Kinabalu

 

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Our Digs at Kundasang

 

Well we had a great start to the day, got to the park around 8 am and soon as we paid at the gate we wound our windows down and started listening for birds. After only about ten minutes we pulled over as we could hear some birds quite loud, we got out of the car and looked and looked but they were just behind a wall of trees so we couldn’t quite see them. I was looking through my binoculars and all of a sudden I realised I could see some talons on a tree branch and after manoeuvring a bit I could see it was an owl sitting there asleep and the birds were literally flying around his head and he wasn’t one bit bothered. Maybe he had one of them for breakfast and they obviously weren’t happy. We just couldn’t believe it, what a find, if I hadn’t been looking through binoculars we wouldn’t have seen him. Anthony had to put his extender on the camera to get a good photo as it was quite dark in amongst the trees and the owl was quite a distance away. He is a Barred eagle owl, just fantastic to see.

 

Barred Eagle-Owl

 

We then had breakfast at the restaurant in the park but when we came out all we could hear was noise. They are doing a lot of maintenance rebuilding some chalets, I know it’s necessary but when you are looking for birds the last thing you want to hear is a band saw going. Then we thought we would have a quick tour around the botanical gardens as we have seen a few birds there. But guess what…..they were using those very loud petrol blowers,  Grrrrrrr 😡😡😡 just our luck.
We went on a little hike along one of the tracks and eventually got away from the noise but I was thinking ……since I’ve been taking videos I have realised how noisy we are as humans. As you’ve probably noticed we don’t have many photos or videos with people in them or peoples noises, but it takes a lot of effort, pretty much if there are people around I don’t bother taking videos and for photos we always get up early or get somewhere early if we want photos of things besides wildlife.
I do wonder though what sort of HUM planet earth must be emitting and I’m sure if there’s alien life out there they must hear us loud and clear.
Little Pied Flycatcher
A gorgeous Little Pied Flycatcher
A few more birds of Kinabalu
Yellow breasted Warbler
A very pretty Yellow-breasted Warbler
Bornean Jezebel - Delias eumolpe eumolpe
A great find – the uncommon Bornean Jezabel
Anthony developed a really bad headache so after lunch we came back to the hotel. This Perkasa hotel was built in 1981 and sadly looks like it…..but it’s on a perk spot up on a hill and we only noticed today that they have a fantastic landing with a great view of the mountain here. This Kinabalu mountain is just amazing, every time you look at it the clouds have either totally covered it or there’s some type of picturesque cloud hovering around it, it really is a very majestic brooding mountain.
We are hoping to get some nice morning photos from the landing before we check out and  head back to Kota Kinabalu for our flight around lunch time to Mulu, which is another place in Borneo but in the Sarawak region.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Poring Hot Springs – Sabah

Poring Hot Springs
The individual Hot Spring Baths

 

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Accommodation at Poring

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Poring Hot Springs 

Well we had a nice morning in Poring Hot Springs, we walked back through the butterfly sanctuary and saw a few more different butterflies. We did walk up to the tropical gardens but apparently there’s not much flowering so we gave it a miss but did see this enormous Orb weaver spider had just caught himself a bug so we took some photos and a video of him, it’s always fantastic to see such a big spider at work. We really love seeing all types of critters in the wild, although once I did walk into a big web like that and had eye to eye contact with one of those big golden orb spiders, oh my god I was screaming like a girl, since then I always make sure I’m never walking through the bush first. Absolutely Terrifying.

 

Giant Orb-Weaver Feasting
Juvenile White-crowned Sharma
Juvenile White-crowned Sharma

 

Some Butterflies of Poring

 

Pink Skimmer - Orthetrum pruinosum
Pink Skimmer dragonfly

 

More Odonata of Poring 
walkway to the Hot Springs and Restaurant
Walkway to Hot Springs and Restaurant
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We did the big 45 minute drive to Kundasang, we are staying at the Perkasa Hotel which is ok, big room great bathroom and shower, ticks all the boxes though it has this old worldly smell, I guess it is a really old hotel with old carpet. We had lunch back at the Mount Kinabalu Park restaurant and managed to get a couple of hours of driving around listening out for birds. We did get great photos of 6 new birds in that time which was just fantastic to see. Sadly some of them have little bands on their legs, research so we are told. Some birds have 3 bands……must be 3 types of research?…You have to wonder if it helps the birds in any way, not much use having all this data if it doesn’t help them. Apparently they rig up big nets across the ridges somehow to catch them, I wonder how many times they have to go through that sort of stress.
Well anyway we love seeing them and they all look healthy, and we love seeing new birds.
We will put our new photos of them on tomorrow’s blog as we will have the whole day in the park so hopefully get more photos.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Orangutans of Sepilok

 

Bornean Orangutan - Wild and Free
Bornean Orangutan – Wild and Free

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Check out our Orangutan and friends footage here

 

Day 2 in Paradise certainly didn’t disappoint. We finally got to see Orangutans in the wild, it’s been something that was very high on our bucket list and we spotted them 4 times today. A huge highlight in our lives to see these amazing creatures just going about their daily business of swinging through the trees and eating jack fruit. We just hope they can hang on to these last remaining pockets of forest because as you all know…. in the end it’s all about money and when the big knobs want more land for palm oil I guess they will get it.

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Another fantastic day at Sepilok Rainforest and Gardens

We try really hard not to buy anything with Palm oil in it but I tell you what, it’s in everything, and half the time it’s not even listed as palm oil, very very sneaky horrible people.
Anthony had some problems with his camera today, it was over exposing all the photos so we had a few hours sitting in the airconditioned chalet and with the help of Dr  Camera Google managed to fix it, thank God.

 

Well we only have tomorrow morning left here so we will again go to the discovery centre, there’s a Pita walk, it’s a track goes for about 2 hours, we are hoping to see at least one Pita there. Surely it’s not much to ask for, hopefully the Pig tailed Macaques aren’t there as we had to quickly do a u turn today as the big male took a dislike to us and came rushing down a tree and cut us off on the path, we retreated and found another path to get back on, he is well known for being quite aggressive. We met another couple there who also had a run in with them where the macaques surrounded them and some were growling at them, they ran for it, scared the living daylights out of them as you can imagine.
Anyway enjoy the pics and video.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.