O'Reilly's is set in the McPhearson Ranges on the N.S.W /QLD border as part of the Lamington National Park & is one of the loveliest places on Earth. It is not as isolated as it used to be though the long winding road up the mountain is still one lane wide for much of it's length. I had family who used to live on Tambourine, which is on the other side of the Canungra valley, so was well aware of the O'Reilly family's history & *the lost world*.Unfortunately Liddy's directions weren't all that clear & we were nearly to Cooloongatta & right on the border before she realised we must have missed the turn we should have taken. Instead of backtracking we cut across country ~ into the Great Dividing Range. Not the biggest hills in the world; not the steepest, just rugged & wind~y & convoluted. I struggle with maps at the best of times. Completely disoriented I'm useless. Liddy snarled & put me in the drivers' seat so she could wrestle with the map. I told her to relax & enjoy the journey. Afterwards she was pleased because she now feels she has a good grasp of the overall area but at the time it wasn't pretty.
Meanwhile the clouds lowered & glowered & the day waned. By the time we finally started seeing signposts for O'Reilly's the cloud was covering the mountain & Liddy got her first experience of driving in fog on one way roads up nasty mountains.
We may be smiling but there is a huge drop under us because this is the tree top walk. Six people per span makes you remember every movie you've ever seen where the hanging walkway suddenly gives way! We opted out of the crow's nests because while it wasn't actually raining (that's fog you can see) everything was wet & slippery & none of us are huge fans of heights. Nestled in amongst the bush walks are the lovely Green Mountain botanical gardens. O.K, so not the best day for traipsing round but they were still lovely.
Liddy had really wanted a longish walk to a waterfall but we were so behind time that was never going to happen so we only really did the treetop walk. Not a waste from my point of view. I spotted a yellow breasted scrub wren with a too big feather in his mouth & watching to see where he was headed spotted this nest dangling amongst the trees in the mist. We also spotted yellow robins, a male satin bower bird (& its bower with all his *blue* treasures) & the gorgeous yellow & black male Regents Bower bird. The girls don't get excited about the bird life but I'm not the girls & I was thrilled to spot birds we don't get on the islands.
Plus, the girls having woosed & sent me to ask the ranger about where the shorter walks began, I gathered all sorts of information about the campsites ~no open fires, eco~loos (Ditz hates these with a passion), *hot* showers, BBQs, costs...
The one thing with my girls is they like to eat! And boy, do they eat! We decided the valley would be cheaper than the touristy things round O'Reilly's so headed back down the mountain to the wineries! No I didn't need a pick~me~up but in Australia the best Mediterranean meals are usually got at the wineries; rather like a Ploughman's Lunch at a British Pub.
We were greeted by 2 huge huskies & a disappointed owner. Four girls, two obviously under age, a learner driver on a zero alcohol limit & a nervous mother was not going to sell lots of bottles of his red! Liddy & I left the younger girls to their pizza & went for pitta bread & 3 dips (olive, pesto & 3 cheeses ~ yum!) & a shared Mediterranean platter for two. This came with salami, prosciutto, mushrooms, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, a little salad & slices of sourdough bread. Artichokes should be buried at sea with full funeral rites & I'm not a fan of sourdough so left that for Liddy who was perfectly capable of scoffing it all on her own but the rest was lovely & I got a cappuccino after while Ditz ploughed through a generous slice of cheesecake; she was the only one who could eat desert. We are planning a camping trip for mid October to celebrate the October birthdays (October is the BEST month!). Our winery informed us there was a campsite a 3 minute walk away & if we rang they'd do us pizzas to go. Pizzas & a night out to celebrate drastically reduces the amount of food we'd need to lug. And while we aren't planning to do either the border walk or the 3 day trip either we would be central to lots of hiking (& food!) options. Luckily we like camping.