Monthly Archives: March 2017

10 wet weather activities on the Sunshine Coast

THE Sunshine Coast is renowned for its beautiful, great outdoors, from beaches to mountain trails and everything in between.

For many locals, weekends are spent at the sports field, in the surf, at the park, four-wheel-driving on the beach or in the hinterland, or in the pursuit of any number of outdoor adventures.

But what happens when the weather turns?

Maybe you’re happy to stay in on the couch and watch Netflix, but for those who are itching to get out and about, there are plenty of options.

1. Bounce

Head to The Big Boing at Birtinya to burn up endless amounts of energy on wall-to-wall trampolines. Go with or without the kids, it’s fun for everyone.

2. Climb

Want to try rock climbing in a controlled environment? You can start with the basics at Rockit Climbing Gym at Birtinya, where they will harness you up, give you the safety run down, and set you on your way. Take a partner to man the rope while you climb.

3. Bowl ’em over

An oldie but a goodie, 10 pin bowling is still a great option for wet weather fun. Head toSuncity Tenpin at Alexandra Headland, Spinners Bar and Bowl at Caloundra or Noosa Tenpinfor a few games.

4. Get cultured

When was the last time you checked out some of the Sunshine Coast’s incredible art exhibitions? Art galleries across the region showcase some fantastic works. A rainy day is the perfect time to expand your horizons. The USC Art Gallery, Caloundra Regional Gallery, Art on Cairncross, The Secret Gallery in Montville, Art Nuvo in Buderim and Noosa Regional Gallery are just a few to check out.

5. Go stealth

One word: Lazerzone. If you’re bored of shoot ’em up video games try out one of the nearest things to it in real life, without the injuries of course. Lazerzone is at Warana. Or try Lazer Tag in Noosa.

6. Skate

Even if you haven’t been on eight wheels since you were a child, roller skating (or roller-blading) is just like riding a bike. Relive your early teens at Rollerdrome Caloundra.

7. Hit the ball pit

If you’ve got really little children indoor playgrounds, like Chipmunks Playland and Cafe, are a great option. Take the kids, and enjoy a cup of coffee where you can see them having a ball.

8. Long lunch

With hundreds of cafes and restaurants on the Sunshine Coast serving up delicious savoury dishes and sweet treats, a rainy day is the perfect time to take a long lunch and watch the world go by.

9. Nature’s power

If you don’t mind getting a bit wet, watching the hinterland transformed by the rain can be a real treat. Head to Wappa Dam or Baroon Pocket Dam when the lakes are overflowing and watch the water roar over the spillway. The volume of water flowing over and the sound it makes can be pretty amazing.

10. For the bookworms

Here’s one you might not have thought of – go to the library. Half of the joy of going to the library is exploring the shelves and finding the books, not just taking the books home. Plus there are plenty of events happening at local libraries. Check out the websites for details.

Rediscover quality time in the outdoors

EVEN camping experts can forget vital equipment for a bush holiday. Tony Tanner, who has owned or managed camping shops for 10 years, said he had that sinking feeling at a camp site when he realised he had remembered everything – except the tent.

He said double-checking equipment, before leaving, was important. Mr Tanner also said three camping vitals were fresh water, a stove (the type depends on the type of camping) and sunscreen.

“Check that your water container is clean and has been sterilised, otherwise everyone gets sick,” he said.

The expert camper said anyone travelling remotely, or even overseas, should also invest in a LifeStraw. It works by sterilising the water at the source with no boiling required and could be a life-saver if a vehicle broke down.

He also said a good sleeping bag, a good mattress, and a good waterproof tent was also important, along with kits for first-aid and snake bite.

For those who cannot live without their devices, there are solar-power battery charging options.

“I tend to go somewhere where there’s no service,” he said.

“Otherwise my other half sits on her phone, and my daughter plays with her iPod. No service, no phones, no Facebook.”

Many parents attest that an inability to turn on devices is one of the biggest pluses of modern-day camping. And the experts agree.

The Federal Government Australia’s Physical Activity Recommendations suggest that children aged 5-18 accumulate no more than two hours of screen time per day and children under the age of two do not spend any time viewing television or other electronic media.

Child psychologist Nicole Pierotti said in a press release that most children spent many more hours than this in front of screens, sometimes up to 12 hours per day. Parents sometimes struggled to limit their child’s screen time because of their own busy schedules.

Destination NSW chief executive officer Sandra Chipchase said a device-free camping trip was the perfect chance to get the family talking to each other, and spending quality time together in the great outdoors.

“The simplicity of a caravan and camping holiday is that it gives you the freedom to enjoy the very best of New South Wales, with our holiday parks located in stunning natural surroundings by the beach, in the bush, on a lake or by a river,” she said.

So families arrive at their camp site, and the devices are off or no longer in service, but how does one keep the kids entertained? Although hard for a new generation of littlies to imagine, there once was a world without the internet and online games.

Mum-of-three Karen Wren turns to her own childhood as inspiration when camping with her children. She revives old favourites like card games, spotlight (played with torches in the dark) and roasting marshmallows over the fire.

“Bikes are always a hit,” she said.

“They also love to bust out old school toys like hula hoops, yoyos, sparklers, glow sticks etc.”

Fellow mum Sabrina Clair makes her children a “treasure hunt page” before they left.

“When we get up and are setting up, if they aren’t being helpful, they take the page and start discovering where everything is,” she said.

She also said mini UHF radios often proved a big hit.

And for those with an adventurous spirit, and older kids not as reliant on fixed amenities, Queensland and New South Wales has more national park camp sites to choose from than the always-popular-at-Easter Fraser Island.

A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service representative said there were many lesser-known but beautiful camp sites throughout the state (see sidebar).

“Some less-used camping areas do have fewer facilities, but their lower usage often relates more to accessibility – whether you need a four-wheel drive, and how long it takes to get there,” they said.

The representative said campers should make dependable communication and a first-aid kit top of their priority list if travelling to remote places.

“You may need everything to be totally self-sufficient so the list could be long. Water and a portable toilet might also be needed,” they said.

The representative also said it was important to book camp sites, and check park alerts and the weather forecast.

If campers were considering going to north Queensland camp sites following Cyclone Debbie, it was important to check the latest information about the areas online.

Why four blokes trekked across the desert

IN BETWEEN pushing himself to the limit with bold adventures, Kristin Fischer worked as an outdoor guide and skydive instructor.

The plan to cross the desert with his mates, the Silk Road Pirates as they called themselves, came about on a mid-winter trip through Siberia to the Arctic Circle.

“When we came out of that my buddy and I turned to each other and we said ‘right, the next place we do is going to be a nice warm area, maybe like a nice hot desert’,” he said.

War and bureaucracy foiled their plans to cross deserts in African and the Middle East, leading them instead to China and the Taklamakan Desert.

He said being able to see things no one else had was a big motivator for trips like this one, but personal growth and mateship were part of the appeal too.

“There’s a lot of time to get your head down and thinking,” he said.

Fischer said traversing the desert was not fun at the time, but the boys had a unique way of looking at their experience.

“It’s terrible at the time and we call it Type Two fun; It’s something that’s only fun once you get out of there,” he said.

“It’s something nice that we can share together, achieve together and share those same hardships and help each other out. It’s really quite special.”

Horn Pond Reservation Hiking & More

I have been coming to Horn Pond Reservation since the late 70’s. My major activities include sailing lessons, trying kayaks, and hiking alone or with groups year around. The hiking varies from flat and easy to steep and strenuous. The ledge part of the mountain may have parts that need rock climbing gear. The other parts of the ledge side of the mountain is a challenge although for only a short distance. A condensed sample of many of the types of trails encountered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There is variety in the wet areas to include a bog, marsh, lagoon, stream, and a lake with island and dam.
Horn Pond Reservation is changing both by people and nature. Some of the man-made changes include added protection to prevent accidents, memorials. As usage, increases minor trails appear, and some minor trails go back to nature takes the trail back with growth.
Horn Pond Reservation consists of 633 acres of which 133 acres of it is Horn Pond. Mount Towanda overlooks this reservation and is 287 feet above sea level. Some of the key features of the reservation include bird watching, use of non-motorized boats, fishing, walking and hiking trails. Some glacier rocks, a place where Native Americans ground grains. Swimming is not allowed.
Located in the Woburn Massachusetts. The approximate boundaries of Horn Pond Reservation are Pleasant Street on the northern side, Arlington Road on the eastern side, Lake Avenue on the southern side, and the Woburn Country club on the western side.

Horn Pond

The Native Americans called this pond Innitou, translated means “Mirror of the Spirit.”The pond covers 133 acres. The pond has the greatest depth of 40 feet and an average of 10 feet. The pond receives its water from a stream. The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game stocks Horn Pond with trout in spring and fall. A survey from 1982 recorded 13 species of fish.
Mt Towanda

The name Towanda was the name used by the Native Americans. The mountain has a height of 287 feet above sea level and covers an area of 40 acres. The top of the mountain has a lot of flatness, a few trees and excellent views of the surrounding areas including Boston. Other points of interest include an
abandoned reservoir, Indian bowl, ski jump, lunch rock, and the Nolan trail.

Community Gardens

The Community Garden plots are 28 feet by 28 feet ( 784 square feet)and leasing available on a yearly basis. One does not have to be a Woburn resident. Organic plots are also available. This is something I would find desirable if it were close to where I live.

The Interactive Map of Horn Pond Reservation

This interactive map provides the best resource for quick access to information about the Horn Pond Reservation. A few places are still under construction.

The major parts of the Horn Pond Reservation

    • Horn Pond
    • The lagoon or North of the Causeway
    • Cattail marsh and community gardens
    • The area between the lake and the Woburn Country Club
    • Mount Towanda
    • The Main Entrance

The Main Entrance

Although there are many ways to walk into Horn Pond Reservation most people arrive in cars and park in the main parking lot off Lake Avenue. From the parking lot, there is easy access to the restrooms. The electric substation is visible behind the restrooms. To the west, the water works pump station is visible. Looking north is Horn Pond and the one of two boat launches. Walking east out of the parking lot we pass by Scalley Dam. Our tour will start by heading east toward Scalley Dam.

Scalley Dam

Scalley Dam controls the water level in Horn Pond and the overflow goes into the Horn Pond Brook which flows to Winchester center. Now heading to Old Foley Beach. At one time it was possible to walk over the dam, now one can look at it through a high chain link fence. The fence completely surrounds the dam including adjacentoverflow area.

William J Scalley Dam memorial

Old Foley Beach

The next point of interest is Old Foley Beach. About all that remains of a former public beach from are a few stone and concrete steps. We now continue to Lynch Park.

Lynch Park

Lynch Park has added some memorials since my last visit. The water level has increased and vegetation is taking over the once sandy beach used for swimming. It is now a good place for fishing.

Thousand Yard Interplanetary Walk

We now head toward Thousand Yard Interplanetary Walk. I have a couple pictures of the stone markers on this walk. I either missed the others or they are no longer there. Our next point of interest is Hudson Grove.

Hudson Grove

The path goes through the Hudson Grove area with large trees between the path and the shoreline, the other side of the path is a large flat field surrounded by some trees. I have often seen young children with their parents in this area.   Our next area is the smaller boat launch to a small parking lot.

Smaller Boat Launch

This launch is at the junction of Beacon and Sturgis Street. A small parking lot is next to the boat launch. This parking lot when full has about 10 cars. There is also parking along Sturgis Street. Our path now leads to Ice House Park

Ice House Park was once the home of an ice producing plant, storage facility, and home heating oil depot. It is now a field of grass with a few scattered trees. The trees and grass have completely overgrown the history of the past. This is a favorite place for the geese when not in the water.  They tend to leave scat also in this area. As we continue our walk following the shoreline there is a Kiosk and a pet waste station. The path splits, we take the left and walk over the causeway. The causeway is a man-made road that separates Horn Pond from the lagoon. At the end of the causeway the path branches. This is a favorite for bird watchers to view the many varieties of birds. We take the left branch to Lions Park.

Lions Park

Lions Park was a former paved parking lot named for and maintained by the Woburn Lions club. There is a bronze statue of a lion in this area along with a gazebo and a few memorials. As we continue we take a left and head toward the Winitihooloo statue. I did not see the statue on this visit

As we progress, along the walkway the path branches left to Strawberry Point at the tip of the peninsula. Strawberry Point is a good spot to view the tiny island. We continue on the main path till there is a junction and take a left at the electric substation and head back into the main parking lot.

Returning to the point where we walked over the causeway, we will now go north of the causeway on the trail to the right of the lagoon. This area is less frequented and we are more likely to see birds which are the predominant wildlife of the reservation. The trail is narrower than the previous trail. There is a bridge at the northern end of the lagoon. There is where something that resembles a stream feeds water into the lagoon. As we head north there are several wooden bridges for crossing wet areas. These are good places to view wildlife like fish, turtles, and birds. Walking north there is Cattail Marsh on the right, a sand pit, and marsh on left. Going right after the bridge at the northern end of the lagoon leads to the other side of Cattail Marsh and the Community Gardens.