A short climb to a coastal reservoir provides breath-taking scenery in every direction, including gazing Heaven-bound at a mega mural.
Yesterday was a humid morning in southern Queensland with gusts of wind and patches of blue sky interrupted by dense clouds that drop irregular large blobs of rain, but my hound and I were not going to be deterred. We set off at about 7 towards Point Cartwright, a knoll that juts into the Pacific Ocean near Mooloolaba, Queensland.
Starting at Balsa Park we began a very pleasant flat walk along the Mooloolah River to the mouth, giving the hound time to sniff and interact with other canine adventurers before we both turn onto a large, open grassed area that is dog off-leash before 8 am. Bordered on one side by the ocean, this lawn with picnic tables, bins and toilets leads upwards to where we see our first glimpse of the ornate reservoir up ahead. (When I say “we”, I mean “me” because I’m pretty sure that the hound is yet to gain artistic appreciation.)
After a wee while playing on the beach and in the tidal rock pools below the tower, we head back to the grass and begin the easy five-minute amble up the western slope of the hill and shortly arrive at another paved path that leads directly to the Unitywater facility. It is here that the full magnificence of the artwork first strikes you.
Three artists - One mighty mega mural
It’s so hard for me to describe the mammoth impact of mega murals on my psyche. They’re huge – 17 metres high and a whopping 20.5 metres in diameter in this instance.
My mind boggles as to how artists grasp the perspectives and sheer enormity of a project so immense. In this instance a sign explains that three artists – The Zookeeper (Joel Fergie), DRAPL (Travis Vinson) and Jaz Beez (Jordan Bruce) collaborated to create the piece, which was designed to “capture the tranquillity when gazing out to sea”. It succeeds.
Flying high on the artwork is a square-tailed kite – a bird of prey often seen soaring above the reservoir as well as one its western flank. A deep-water snapper swims towards the base of the water tank while a humpback whale noses forward from the depths as if to investigate me. “Why are you looking at me so inquisitively?” it seems to query. A sea turtle pokes out from another angle.
My favourite element though is found on the north-east ocean-side of the reservoir, up very high. It’s a Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, the largest sub-tropical butterfly in Australia. A member of the swallowtail family, female wingspans grow to 16 cms while their male counterparts forfeit size (13 cms wingspan) for visual brilliance. Their wings are a canvas of iridescent aqua, lime green and yellow.
Listed in Queensland as vulnerable, the butterflies were once common place throughout northern NSW and southern QLD. The Sunshine Coast is now one of only two regions where this beautiful butterfly can be found and a habitat restoration project is underway at Point Cartwright to help rejuvenate the species.
There is a way you too can help keep the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly alive. Remove any Dutchman’s Pipe Vine from your garden as this introduced weed causes the Birdwing caterpillars to die move reaching maturity. The caterpillar becomes confused about this plant because it is similar to the only that the animal can eat and survive, the Pararistolochia vine. Pararistolochia can now be purchased from most south east Queensland plant nurseries.
After about a half hour at the reservoir reading, looking and talking to other visitors the hound and I chose to make our journey a circular one by following the boardwalk that hugs Kawana Beach back to the car park where we began. Across the road we found a dog friendly breakfast and lunch café called One on La Balsa where the hound enjoyed some fresh water while I tucked into corn cakes with avo, roma tomatoes and bacon with a sticky plum sauce for $17.90. The price included patio seating with a lovely river view. Superb!
The whole experience took a little over two hours and was a wonderful way to start the day. Highly recommended.
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