So why weren’t more people out with their kids at parks these schools holidays? It upsets me sometimes that kids are seen as too complicated, too demanding and only interested in trends and technology, when perhaps parents aren’t doing to groundwork needed to make their child well-balanced. But I get ahead of myself.
Even alone, Ben bunny ears himself. Sigh.
On Tuesday, Ben, a friend and I wanted to go on a picnic and a small bushwalk. By far the two easiest bushwalks to access from Brisbane are Mt. Coot-tha and Walkabout Creek, because both have bus access. Ben and I like to do Mt Coot-tha really quickly. Really quickly, powering up the hill and then sweatily enjoying the view at the top before strolling back down and this isn’t the best way to approach a bushwalk with a friend. Walkabout Creek, on Waterworks Road/Mt Nebo Road has been done to death, as we used to live near it and would go jogging along the track and even considered getting married at the function centre there at one time (it was too expensive for us). If you continue down Mt Nebo road, you pass several walking opportunities, picnic spots and lookouts. The first one past Walkabout Creek is Bellbird Grove, about 5-10 minutes more down the road (depending if you actually want to do the 80kms/hour on windy roads as suggested by the speed limit signs). You can find out more about the area here, including great PDF maps.
We decided that no picnic should be simply sandwiches and soft drink, so we went by the one and only Green Edge on our way to get supplies. As my friend is vegan, this is perfect. The Green Edge is the only 100% vegan supermarkei in Brisbane and is just around the corner from where we began in Enogerra. They have everything from staples such as grains, legumes and soy milk to fancy-pants soy whipped cream, marshmallows, ready meals and so much more. I discover something I want each time we go. They also have a cafe that serves amazing smoothies, juices, ice cream sundaes, pies and burgers. Oh, and I forgot to mention the cakes, many of which are made by local Brisbane business Delicious, Regardless. We ummed and ahhed our way around the shop and thought we wouldn’t go mock meaty or soy goodness, as Ben wasn’t feeling the best and it can make his stomach hurt (poor, poor man). We finally decided upon refried beans, cous cous, popcorn, almond milk, brownies ($3) and triple layer Belgium chocolate cheesecake ($5), or cheezecake, as vegans sometimes spell it. We popped back to my friends house for cutlery and to heat up our beans and cous cous. They would still be warm when we got to the park. We also made a quick salsa cruda with diced tomato and spring onion. Rocket, coriander, avocado and chilli were added to the picnic basket (aka, shopping bag) and we were ready to go.
Clockwise from top right: Rocket, almond milk, refried beans, cous cous, popcorn, avocado, tomato salsa and coriander.
The meal was great- healthy and fresh and Mexican-inspired. My friend’s idea to make the cous cous at home, which would then absorb the hot water while we drove was genius and one I will do again on picnics soon! The vanilla almond milk was new for me, and I liked it. It’s apparently easy to make and has been on my to do list these holidays, so I’ll have to pull my finger out and actually try it. Ben wasn’t a fan, but our friend enjoyed it as well. I think a homemade one would be amazing in a banana smoothie- you could have a raw dairy-styled smoothie that way.
I was especially impressed by how utterly awesome the brownie was- chewy and maybe (just maybe, my brain makes these things up) a hint of ginger. The cheesecake was amazing but unsurprising- vegan cheesecakes routinely rock (especially Green Edge ones) and don’t leave that bloated, slightly oily feeling one occassionally gets after eating cheesecake. All food tastes so much better in the fresh air who no city sounds around.
While we ate, we were seranaded (and I use that term loosely) by gallahs (or Rose Breasted Cockatoos if you must have the correct term), sulpher-crested cockatoos, one lorikeet, one drongo (or so my friend identified) several hilarious and curious bush turkeys who flirted with us by fanning their feathers and coming in close and a couple of very relaxed kookaburras. Here’s one:
We went along the two short walking tracks, both of which are less than 2kms and one has a signed walk that tells you about the gold mining in the area. You can peer into (safely covered) mine shafts and read about gold. Which brings my back to my rant.
This park is free. It’s pretty. It’s educational. You get some exercise. It’s very close to Brisbane. It’s well maintained and has parking, toilets, mobile reception, tables and free BBQs. Why did we only see one father and his two children in the two+ hours we were there on the school holidays? It makes me sad. I understand you’re probably not going to get your teenage children suddenly interested in going to the National Park, but it’s such an easy way to spend a morning. One of my favourite memories as a small child was mum and dad (my very un-outdoorsy mum and dad) packing us into the car early on weekend mornings and driving up to the Dandenong Ranges to hunt for bowerbirds. We never saw any, and we had a picnic of scones that were still hot from being wrapped in a tea towel. Neat. Still love a good scone. I guess the experience upset me (you know, after. I was having fun at the time) because we are so quick to blame kids for their values, but they simply reflect what they have and have not been exposed to. I would never say “kids these days” seriously, I would say “parents these days”. I know not all parents are like this, but I see so many parents allowing shopping centres to take the place of natural areas and it makes me sad. In conclusion, picnics are awesome and no wrong can ever happen from them. Ever. No, I haven’t seen Picnic at Hanging Rock, why do you ask?
And to the father with the two kids that ran around the grassed area with them and actually showed and discussed the natural world with your kids: I take my figurative hat off to you, Sir.