On the way back from Fraser Island, I overnight in Maleny. I’m becoming fond of staying in hotel rooms, even ones with no ensuite. This one has a door that opens onto the verandah where I sit in the evening waiting for dinner and in the morning over coffee. The beauty of hotels is that they serve meals downstairs, often as early as 5.30 for dinner. Perfect for this easily-fatigued traveller.
After a superlative sleep, I go five kilometres out of town for a ramble in the rainforest of the Mary Cairncross Reserve.
The path winds through the gloom of the understorey. I walk amongst bolwarras, sour cherries, a couple of varieties of fig, sassafras, yellow carrabeen, native tamarind, flooded gum and black apple. A brush turkey, unconcerned, scrabbles in the leaf litter beside the track. Buttresses are sometimes lean and boney, sometimes more buxom, and vines and roots curve in elegant coils, loops and twists. The dimness is brightened by splotches of sun breaking through the dense canopy.
I hear raucous cries in the tree tops far above and catch the odd glimpse of a sizeable wingspan. Eventually I realise what I should have known. It’s bats. As I stand still, I notice movement near my feet: the sunpatches on the tracks are patterned by their quick shadows.
I can’t spend long here. I still have over 300 kilometres to drive before evening draws in. But there’s a coffee shop with an irresistible view, so I eat my toasted sandwich feasting on the Glasshouse Mountains.
If you want to know more about the trees …