Hello Everyone, sorry we have been out of touch, but things have been happening…….
We towed our van back to Cania Gorge for 4 nights to relax a bit after our disaster.
Meanwhile, my sister (Denise) and her hubby Mark had bought a bus which they picked up from the Sunshine Coast the same day we went in for repairs.
We decided to all meet up at the Gorge which was fantastic as they also had a hectic time leaving the coast in torrential rain and having a few glitches with the bus on the way…..
They were also very keen to just relax a bit in a beautiful quiet place.
Mark also has a big lens camera, so the competition was on as to who could get the best photo.
It was great fun and we also did a lot of hiking around the Gorge and as you can see by the photos and video it certainly is a magical spot.
We are now in Rockhampton, where we hired a small storage space and offloaded as much weight as we could. We will have to pick everything up again of course on the way back but it will be a bit of piece of mind knowing we are around 200 kg lighter.
Yes it’s hard to believe we carry around so much stuff but most of it is for work, plus our canoe, lawnmower (yes you read right “lawnmower”), hundreds of DVD’s etc etc 🙄🙄
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It’s nice and warm here but there’s rain looming.
Tomorrow will be the worst and this park is booked out so we will have to move on, it’s a different noisy world in these big places that’s for sure, give me the small country places any day.
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.
Well the last few days have been interesting…..we are battling headaches most days as we can’t find espresso coffee anywhere and their semi percolated watered down glimpse of coffee with UHT milk is literally killing us. All of a sudden Thailand seems like heaven on earth and Borneo is losing flavour real fast.
Mount Kinabalu Park was amazing, we loved it there, after we arrived at our new digs (Hovel Central ) as I called it and when you see the video you will see why, and no the bed was very hard and the shower just warm and we had to wear flip flops to go to the loo after we had showers…… I won’t go on about it because I’m probably exaggerating, being so crabby without my usual caffeine fixes.
Anyway we hightailed it to park as we got there quite early about 1pm, drove around a bit, saw a few birds, visited the restaurant for lunch there , the weather was great and we were really excited about visiting the next day.
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After a horrible sleep at Hovel Central we got back to the park, blue sky just beautiful, all the birds were chirping and so many sounds we couldn’t recognise, but we decided to have breakfast first before we started on one of the many hikes there, and as we were having our omelettes the wind really picked up and then shock horror we saw very low clouds scooting in at speed and within minutes it was just bucketing down. We just sat there stunned , we sat there for quite some time praying for it to clear and really didn’t like our only option of going back to the hovel which by the way didn’t have power and water when we woke up that morning. But we couldn’t stay there and sadly drove back, at least the power and water was back on and it wasn’t raining there at all as it was down and away from the mountain. We sat there for a while and decided to give the park another go as it hadn’t rained and the sky was overcast but looked a bit lighter. We are so glad we did, it didn’t rain after that and we just drove around on the bitumen with our windows down and stopped when we heard birds and Anthony got some fantastic photos, check out the eyelashes on the green magpie….what a beautiful bird and so noisy, you certainly know when they are around. You may also notice the bands on all the birds little legs?????? We have no idea what that is about, and how on earth did they manage to capture and band nearly every bird we saw….. very disturbing🙁🙁
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We had lunch again and spent all afternoon driving and looking and spotting, it really turned into a fantastic day.
A short Video of our Kinabalu experience
So now we come to TODAY
It was our last day there and we were pretty much going to do the same thing as yesterday except we woke up to rain…….Decided to go into the park anyway and wait for it to clear and we do like the omelettes at the restaurant . So there we sat…..rain rain and more rain and not much wind so guess it wasn’t going to clear real soon, we had to make an executive decision to forgo our last nights stay at the hovel and
just hit the road as it was going to be about a 4 hour drive across Borneo to the Sandakan / Sepilok area. Anthony tried to book a day earlier into the accomodation we had booked there but it was full, so we decided to just get to a hotel close to there for the night.
Anthony couldn’t believe how quickly I packed, usually he’s waiting for me doing all the bathroom stuff but I was pretty keen to leave Hovel Central as a bad memory and move onto better experiences.
Soon as we got away from the mountain and down in altitude it stopped raining which was nice. The road conditions are dangerous to put it nicely, they have these red signs just everywhere with ‘AWAS’ written on them, I guess it must mean Beware or Danger. Also Borneans must be up there with the most dangerous and risk taking drivers in the world, really hairy driving here. We stopped about halfway at a KFC, because we really felt like chips……Oh my god the smells coming out of the drains in that town were horrendous, all the towns so far have been very dirty, rubbish just everywhere, it’s quite depressing really.
A little while later it started raining again and got torrential, I don’t know how our little Honda hire car managed to get here unscathed and no busted tyres as you really couldn’t see the road at all for water and we hit so many potholes and craters it certainly was a drive to remember. Anthony really had to concentrate, and also a lot of very slow trucks to overtake it certainly was a challenge.
We have to actually go back that way in a couple of weeks but trying not to think about that just yet.
So we are now relaxing in our nice hotel…nice clean shower, soft bed….we walked into the town just here in downtown Labuk, people were just staring at us, I guess they don’t get tourists here. We asked at a cafe with a big logo of a coffee cup on the front if they have espresso but oh no you can’t get it anywhere here.😢😢😢😢
So we went to the local supermarket, bought instant coffees and uht milk and will just have to suffer. Looks like the rain is easing so please cross your fingers so we can get out and about back to nature tomorrow.
Well we made it to Borneo ok, though we really don’t like the transition days, that extra dry air in the airports and planes really irritates my eyes and you can’t seem to get real food anywhere, even the more restaurant type eateries proclaim to have nice meals on their glossy boards out the front but they are all lying, we get really sick of eating plastic food but sometimes you just don’t have a choice. We had a horror flight for the last leg from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu with screaming babies and annoying hyped up children, maybe it’s all the plastic food they are eating but so many children now seem like they are just uncontainable 🤔🤔
We picked up the hire car at the airport, a new SIM card for Malaysia and some local money of course. Thank God our hotel was only 7 minutes from the airport which was great to be able to relax again. The hotel C’haya is ok, a bit run down but clean, the towels are extremely thin…..but it has a fantastic seafood restaurant next door so we have eaten there the last two nights. We walked around the little township here, I don’t think it has a name but it’s between the city and the airport, but not much here, also a bit run down and the standard rubbish that is littered along the sides of roads and waterways etc. After walking around and seeing some other shabby hotels we realised our hotel is probably the flashiest digs in town, so we better stop whining.
Some very relaxed Water Buffalo on our trip up the Range
Today we had a choice of two amazing places in nature to visit, quite a drive away and in two different directions. The place that had the most birdlife, The Rafflesia Centre was the first choice, we were worried maybe it wasn’t open being a Sunday…..Anthony read on the internet that it had been closed in March so we thought it was worth the risk to go out there and Bingo….it was closed, and looks like it has been closed for quite some time.
So then we drove to our second choice which was around 1 and a half hours drive away, so we stopped in the main town on the way Keningau actually went to the Pizza Hut….yes very strange for us I know but it was hot and all the other run down cafes were out door seating and we knew the Pizza Hut would be air conditioned.
Driving in the mountains here though is beautiful, the roads are fantastic, a lot of places with two lanes, lots of crazy drivers too of course all out for a Sunday race I think, it gets a bit hairy sometimes. But Anthony loves driving like that too.😬😬
The Crocker Range Nature Centre was open, hooray, and we had it to ourselves, no one in sight, unbelievable. We did a 3 km hike through the jungle, yes with a few leeches but made sure we saturated our socks with repellent this time so no probs. Saw a few birds, the broadbill was amazing and sitting right out in the open. We couldn’t dilly dally too long though as we had a 2 hour drive to get back too so if we had of known the other place was closed we would have just gone to this place and spent more time there.
A pretty flower
The 3km Jungle trek was simply breathtaking
You can never rush birdwatching, it really takes time and you have to be scanning the trees all the time. The drive back down the mountain was amazing, so steep in places but like I said… a great road, some stretches were 16 % and even a couple of 19% very steep descents that went on for ever but finally we hit the coast with its bumper to bumper traffic, both ways just crazy, put a bit of a damper on the day having to battle traffic after being in such beautiful nature has got knobs on it.
So tomorrow we are off to the big mountain… Mount Kinabalu, we can see it from here in the distance, it’s around 4,000 mtrs high, massive, we aren’t climbing it as you have to book it way in advance and that would just be way too iffy with the weather. It’s also a huge national park with heaps of trails so hopefully we will get to see amazing birds there.
A few of the birds and butterflies spotted on the Trek
By the way, the big Atlas moth I picked up outside some shops in the mountains, he wasn’t in the best condition, I think he must of been hit by a car so I put him in some bushes and hope he recovered, he just seemed a bit dazed, what a beautiful creature.
Well if you’ve been wondering what we have been up to the last few days, we have been very busy stalking hornbills in Khao Yai. If you have ever been there you would know that they are not that easy to see let alone get good photos off even though they are such an enormous bird they can still be very hard to spot as they are normally near the tops of the trees where the best fruit is and the trees are very very tall.
Anthony managed to capture them just beautifully with some fantastic in flight shots from the lookout, I wasn’t so lucky with the video but did manage to get a few snippets here and there but would have liked more of their honking sounds, they truly are something to see and the sound of their enormous wing beats is straight out of Jurassic Park.
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View Hornbill Video here
We have also been walking and driving around the park like crazy, getting very badly leeched a few times, we are still wondering why we haven’t invested in some leech socks…..we really are slow learners. We didn’t see any bird storms this trip, in fact it was very quiet even driving around slowly we really didn’t stop much at all but did still managed to get some great photos and video so would definitely pay Khao Yai another visit in the future.
View ‘other critters’ Video here
Some birds of Khao Yai
I have to apologise for mistaking the scorpion in the video for some type of fresh water crab???? Honestly when I saw those big nippers I just thought of a crab and wasn’t really looking at his ginormous scorpion tail…..good thing I didn’t try to help him on his way to fresh water🙄🙄🙄🙄
Some mammals of Khao Yai
We couldn’t believe we also saw the gibbons, you hear them a lot but so hard to spot and usually they sound real close but are quite far away. Anthony also got some nice photos considering the distance they were away. So we had a great time here though very tiring at times. The next few days we will be transitioning to Borneo so you might not hear much but we are desperate to see orangutans in the wild so please keep your fingers crossed.