Regulation Punishment: Exploring the D’Aguilar National Park (Part 1)

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Of all the good things my new home in Brisbane has to offer, the D’Ag is probably the best.

A boot-shaped strip of bushland whose toe has a hold in the city’s western suburbs and whose top touches on the southern fringes of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the D’Aguilar National Park sports the usual array of natural sights and sounds, native plants and animals.

According to the experts, visitors can expect to experience rugged gorges, rock pools and rainforests, not to mention bopple nut trees, Hiller’s snub-nosed katydids and Mount Glorious torrent frogs.

Okay, so maybe not the frogs, torrents of which there are not. (The species hasn’t been seen since 1979.)

In fact, the least interesting thing about the D’ag is its name. Situated on land traditionally owned by the Jinibara people, the park bears – with awful irony – the name of George D’Aguilar, the author of Regulations and Punishments of the British Army, a best-selling textbook from the early 1800s.

Three hours into our walk around the Enoggera Reservoir, a lake located at the tip of the park’s toe, this seemed all too appropriate: me and my family were experiencing the regulation punishment – the pain that usually accompanies such expeditions.

We set out just after ten on a Saturday morning, me, my wife, and our son (13) and daughter (9), driven by my sudden desire to get back to nature and by my wife’s love of bushwalking.

Despite a few difficulties, the ensuing seven-kilometre hike had its highlights.

Early on we narrowly missed being mobbed by a wave of water-borne tourists.

The track wove its way through trees aplenty – some wearing wasps’ nests like bumbags and others playing dress-ups with ‘grandfather’s whiskers’ (a kind of moss).

At times we wondered for whom the bell birds tolled, for toll they did.

We kept catching tantalising glimpses of our destination – the dam wall.

We stopped for lunch – bread, cheese, relish, grapes and nuts – in a shady grove not far from Enoggera Creek itself. Several groups of walkers went by, and the kids begged me (in vain) not to greet each one with my joke of the moment: ‘Ah, there you are – just in time for lunch!’

Back on the track, we day-dreamed about swimming across the lake’s narrowest arm, but the shore was choked with water lilies.

Around one bend we witnessed wildlife of a different kind: teenage boys swinging from the trees.

And then, at long last, we reached our destination – the ‘damn’ wall. As big as it was, it couldn’t contain our relief.

The worst, however, was yet to come.

Stumbling into the park’s ‘Discovery Centre’, we discovered that the café was about to close. For a moment we faced an uncertain future – one averted by take-away milkshakes and a long-awaited swim.

We’d made it!

Lolling by the lake, the trials and tribulations of our walk already half-forgotten, we vowed we’d return to explore more of the park.

Well, I did.

2 thoughts on “Regulation Punishment: Exploring the D’Aguilar National Park (Part 1)

    Angus said:
    April 16, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    Omg. I have always wanted to do this walk. You have finally given me the confidence to do it I myself.

      timmnewlands responded:
      April 17, 2023 at 5:04 am

      Yes, I won’t carry you next time, Angus.

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