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A long flight, Manchester – Abu Dhabi – Brisbane, then two nights in the vibrant city, to get over the jetlag. To show us around Brisbane we met up with Bob Fick (who accompanied us on the Annapurna Circuit and Chulu Far East expedition in 2007).

We had a month to explore, walk and scramble around the Great Dividing Range based in a hired motorhome adept at avoiding Roo’s but think milk crate for sound quality.

David was already in Queensland with the RAF for three months so some ideas were forthcoming. Firstly, a walk up to the summit of Mount Mitchell through rain forest, to emerge from its depths to fine views west of the range. Further south in New South Wales we embarked on a peak called Mount Warning, aptly named. The final 150 metres involved steep scrambling on slippery rock with a stout chain for moral support. Apparently Captain Cook saw this peak as he sailed up the Gold Coast and it coincided with some treacherous reefs, hence the warning. And so the trip progressed, delightful hill days in glorious weather.

We were soon to reach what must be the highlight of the trip, the Carnarvon Gorge National Park after a rattling long, long drive (two days). The scale of things in Australia is over whelming. The Gorge is spectacular, massive cliffs, rain forest, Aboriginal wall art and miles of trekking along its meandering river.

On returning east we spent some time exploring the Glass Mountains north of Brisbane before the long flight home.

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