A while back I wrote about how traveling broke a lot of my mental barriers and helped me overcome my fears. However, as someone who has never been into fitness or working out, I was also physically challenged during my travel. The hardest being an 8-hour trek on the Warrie Circuit in Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast.
Springbrook is a heavenly mountain with forests, farms and scenic lookouts but its most striking feature is its majestic waterfalls. (I’d forever be grateful to our Air BnB hosts who introduced us to the area.) If you’re exploring Springbrook you’re tempted to make stops after every 5-10 minutes gazing through the lookouts, fraternizing with the wildlife and taking loads and loads of pictures.
Making pit stops all day long, when we arrived at the Springbrook National Park hoping to scope some waterfalls, it had started to get dark already. Disappointed my brother and I were standing on top of the mountain deciding what to do when we met a lovely French couple. Hellos were exchanged, small talk was initiated which then turned into a long and in-depth conversation about the hazards of corporate slavery and how man is meant to be married to nature instead of an office desk. “You have been bitten by the travel bug”, remarked our friend Florent.
The conversation spanned further into culture, politics, international affairs and it was amazing to me how people from totally different backgrounds, who had just met, could talk for hours. It wasn’t until the sun went down and it got really cold that we decided to head home. Numbers and emails were exchanged and with a promise to keep in touch we headed back to our Air BnB.
No sooner than we got back we received a text from Florent inviting us to go for a walk with them on the Warrie Circuit the next day.
The idea of walking for 8 hours straight was daunting but then I thought if I’m ever going to “trek” in my life, it might as well be in an Aussie jungle with the French. Approvals were exchanged, plans were made.
The next day we met Florent and Marie at the Tallanbana Picnic Area at 10 am. The circuit starts from the top at the picnic area and circles downhill towards the bottom of Twin Falls. The walk takes you through a subtropical forest that is bedazzled with stunning waterfalls and creeks.
At the very start, you’re welcomed by a gigantic rock cleft that you have to make your way through. It serves as a gateway to the beautiful world ahead.
Ecologically diverse; the circuit is home to diverse species of plants and trees. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, you can just spend hours observing and marveling the intricate shapes of trees and their roots. The most frequent sightings are Piccaben trees and Strangler Figs.
We took the Warrie Circuit that led us to our first stop at the breathtaking Rainbow Falls.
You can actually walk behind/under The Rainbow Falls as they flow in front of a cave forming a massive curtain of water. It gives you a totally different perspective of the waterfall that leaves you in awe.
A treat was waiting for us on the other side!
The walk wasn’t just about exploring the forest, it was also about exploring our different cultures and interests. I don’t think I’ve ever talked for 8 hours straight. Time flew by as we discussed the rules of cricket, life in a campervan, the process of making your own perfumes (from the perfume making classes they had been taking), families, friends, religion, French and Pakistani cuisine, and pretty much everything under the sun. The conversations took some interesting turns as we talked about how Lassi, a simple beverage made from milk, salt and water is referred to as desi wine.
And of course, no intercultural interaction is complete without discussing the intricacies of each other’s languages.
The Warrie Circuit is located within the Gondwana Forest that is a part of Australia World Heritage area and is home to trees that are around 1500 years old. Big hollowed out trunks from fallen trees are frequent sightings. You can’t help but realize how small your lifespan is compared to these beasts and how insignificant you are in the realm of time.
Numerous fungal species feeding off of the fallen giants. Such is the circle of life.
Making our way through the rocks beneath the rather dry Ngari-Dhum Falls.
Four hours in, we stopped for lunch and to gather our energies near a nice stream at the lowest point of the trail. Ice cold Aloo Bhujia, Palak Paneer with toast, canned tuna, and chickpea salad was on the menu. I was pretty proud of myself for not getting tired up till now. The hike uphill was a different story.
When you start getting tired on the trail, the sound of the water coming from a distance serves as a great incentive to keep going. It reminds you that there is another waterfall or stream just waiting to be explored.
Next stop Gooroolba Falls. At this point, I was really struggling to keep going. I was breathless, cramping in the legs and thirsty (should have brought more water!) so it was a welcomed rest stop.
It was getting dark in the forest now and the hike was getting increasingly steep. I was slowing the group down by stopping after every 10 minutes but hey that’s what you get for trekking with a rookie 😀 It was pure survival instinct that kept me going because I wasn’t keen on spending the night in an Aussie jungle.
The last waterfall we found on the trail was the Blackfellow Fall – another fall you have to go under to stay on the track.
Silver lining – a lookout into the Springbrook National Park. It was getting brighter now that we were on higher ground and getting close to the end of the Warrie Circuit.
Tired and triumphant at the same time, we reached back on top to be welcomed by the most breathtaking views of the forest and the Gold Coast skyline.
After catching our breaths and having one last conversation about Pakistani music, Qawali, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, we said goodbye to Florent and Marie and one of the most rewarding days of our lives.