nature as an antidepressant

“I have to say”, Professor Howard Frumkin—one of the leading experts on this subject in the world—told me later, “that if we had medication for which preliminary results showed such efficacy, we would be all over researching that medication… Here is a treatment that has very few side effects, is not expensive, doesn’t require a trained or licensed professional to prescribe it, and has pretty good evidence of efficacy so far”. But the research is very hard to find funding for, he said, because “a lot of the shape of modern biomedical research has been defined by the pharmaceutical industry,” and they’re not interested because “it’s very hard to commercialise nature contact.” You can’t sell it so they don’t want to know.

From Lost Connections by Johann Hari

When I hear ‘antidepressant’ I immediately think of a pill. One of those many pills I’ve taken over many, many years.

But one of the best antidepressants I’ve found isn’t chemical, it’s simply spending time in nature. Part of this I believe is that nature makes me feel like my problems are pretty trivial when you put them into a larger perspective: I’m a small thing in a large, complex world part of an even larger universe.

That, and oh, the fresh air.

mount beerwah

I hiked up Mount Beerwah on the weekend. It was definitely the most challenging hike I’ve done but I was with good company who helped me complete it safely. The views of the surrounding Glasshouse Mountains were fantastic.

mt beerwah - 1

from this I’m absolutely astounded, really

After six decades in the business, can nature still blow Attenborough’s mind? “Yes, from minute one,” he says. “From this I’m absolutely astounded, really. There were so many new things. I couldn’t believe what I saw. It takes a bit of time to get your mind around that sort of thing. How can there be a lake at the bottom of the sea? And then it explodes like a volcano!”

“The amazing thing is how every film has found new things,” says Attenborough. One new discovery was seeing an Anchor tuskfish from the Great Barrier Reef, using coral tools to open clams. “You suddenly saw this fish that was more intelligent than you imagined. It was extraordinary.”

An extract from an interview with Sir David Attenborough in The Big Issue #553

I can’t stop thinking about this.

If a ninety one year old with 32 honorary degrees who has authored dozens of books and had some 15 species named after him, “the greatest broadcaster of our time”, can still have his mind blown by nature, there is zero excuse for you and I to not live in a total state of awe and be astounded every time we step outside 🤩

bald rock national park

On the second day of my two day trip to the granite belt I visited Bald Rock National Park. The park is home to bald rock which is Australia’s largest granite monolith. It’s hard to describe just how huge this thing is, and how small it made me feel. Even after visiting the Giraween pyramids the previous day which I thought were huge in themselves, climbing up Bald Rock was breathtaking. There’s two routes to the summit: a longer winding gradual track through forest or straight up the slab: I just went straight up.

Hanging around the top and having the rock all to myself made me feel like I was on top of the world. An amazing piece of nature and history.



giraween 2017

I spent yesterday exploring Giraween National Park which sits on the Queensland side of the New South Wales border about 3 hours south west of Brisbane.

The area is known for its large granite formations of around 220 million years ago.

Giraween offers some amazing hiking: I managed to do 29km in a day which included climbing to the top of The Pyramid and Castle Rock, as well as exploring some creeks and seeing some rock formations like the Granite Arch.

The weather was rather spectacular with temperatures around 28 degrees Celsius and clear sunny skies.

I’d like to head back at some point and try to climb the second pyramid, but I need some company to do that safely.

mount cooroora

During our recent long weekend in Noosa I took the opportunity to hike up Mount Cooroora which has been on my mountain bucket list for some time now. Each July, the nearby township of Pomona hosts a 4.2km “King of the Mountain” race up and back down from the local pub, with the record being held by Neil Labinsky, 4th year consecutive winner, with a recorded a time of 22 minutes 43 seconds.

I loved the 360 degree views at the top and had the full length of the summit to myself.

Distance: 3km return
Time up: 25min
Time down: 25min
Elevation: 439m
Elevation Gain: 300m



Last Sunday we went on an afternoon drive to the scenic rim to visit Lake Moogerah for a picnic. On the way Kitty spotted a sign for a Camel Farm and Diary so we stopped on the way home, of course. Summer Land Camel Farm only opens Sundays from 9:30 to 4 and has a cafe and an area where you can get up close and feed the camels – we all loved it so much!



mount mitchell (main range national park)

Mount Mitchell sits on the southern side of Cunningham’s Gap in the Main Range National Park. There are some excellent views of Mount Cordeau to the north whilst walking to the peak and the peak itself is a cosy rocky little area covered in grass trees with fantastic views East, South and West. I loved sitting up here and reading a book in the sun and having a cup of tea all to myself. A great walk with an awesome summit so would do it again 😊

Distance: 10.5km return
Time up: 1h:13m
Time down: 53m
Elevation: 1174m
Elevation Gain: 381m


petrichor - 1

It hasn’t rained in Brisbane for a long time. This evening I was coming home and smelt petrichor and smiled: our new house is much closer to a large bushland reserve and the petrichor is more pungent.

What is petrichor you ask?

(pretrichor is) used to describe the distinct scent of rain in the air. Or, to be more precise, it’s the name of an oil that’s released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall.

The word was invented by the CSIRO in Australia.

the only exercise…

“Many people – and not a few companies – like to think that they can somehow stretch the cognitive limits of their minds, that doings lots of Sudoku or using programs like Brain Trainer will somehow enlarge their capacity. They’re out of luck. The only exercise that seems to nurture, or at least protect our brains is aerobic exercise. Yoga, toning and stretching may make you feel good but, in fMRI scans, only aerobic exercise seemed to have a visibly positive impact on the brain.”

~ Margaret Heffernan – Wilful Blindness

mount greville

Five of us went up Mount Greville yesterday. We ascended via the South East Ridge and came down via the Waterfall Gorge. Stunning views, particularly from about halfway down the Waterfall Gorge path where there were open rock faces you can walk on top of and stare out at Lake Moogerah. It took us about 4 hours with plenty of stops. The views from the actual summit were so so but everything else made up for it. I will be back to try Palm Gorge next time (up) and probably South East Ridge down for those views.

mount cordeaux / bare rock

A mate and I headed out of the city first thing this morning to Cunningham’s Gap: a break in the Great Dividing Range of the East Coast of Australia where there’s a few trails to some of the peaks.

Today we tackled Mount Cordeaux and then Bare Rock which is an extension to the same trail.

It was sunny when we got to Mount Cordeaux but as we arrived to Bare Rock fog had crept up and over the mountain which gave us some great contrasting landscapes.

There was another little trail off the main track called Morgan’s Walk which was short but overgrown and not really worth it.

The walk was very graded and there weren’t any tough parts which was a little disappointing but the views, particularly from Cordeaux made the trip worthwhile.

Distance: 14.3km return
Altitude Gain: 610m
Time: 2:19 up 1:36 down (with breaks)


a perfect brisbane-toowoomba day trip

Toowoomba is a pretty sweet little city. Despite having a relatively small population (~100,000) it has the vibe of a bigger city.

Another good thing about Toowoomba is its proximity to Brisbane. You can get up there fairly easily in 90 mins on a weekend, which makes it a perfect day trip destination if you set off early.

I set off early yesterday as the sun was rising and began my road trip. I couldn’t help but stop at the abandoned Servo Plus service station at Plainland (cool suburb name) for a few quick snaps.

There’s also a really cool red elephant statue on the same side of the road at Plainland (right near Wet Dreams Aquatics 😳) which is worth checking out as you drive by.

My first destination in Toowoomba was Table Top Mountain. This is a mountain just East of the main range which has a large grassy plateau on top which you can walk around on checking out the views of the surrounding pristine Lockyer Valley. I wanted to get here early before it got too hot, and also to see the rising sun to the East. The climb isn’t for the unfit or faint-hearted but the views are definitely worthwhile.

After admiring the views I made my way into the city to check out some of the Toowoomba street art. There’s a long weekend festival in Toowoomba each year called First Coat where street arts cover buildings around the city in murals. It’s been running since 2014 so there’s already plenty of murals to check out. Any lane in the city is pretty much guaranteed to have a few different murals.

One of the benefits of exploring the laneways in the city is you come across places to eat you wouldn’t otherwise discover. One such place was called Skewers which is an Indonesian street food style restaurant serving skewers grilled over hot coals, and slow cooked rendangs 😍

After wandering the streets and eating some lovely food I decided to start making my way back home.

I’m a huge fan of roadside produce stalls and doing some Googling I discovered that the Lockyer Valley sitting just East of the Great Diving Range has lots of farms, and lots of roadside produce stalls. So I descended from Toowoomba into Flagstone as Flagstone Creek Road has heaps of the roadside stalls. My favourite stall was at Winwill, and during the drive back I managed to pick up two dozen fresh eggs, two pumpkins, spinach, potatoes, a watermelon, two punnets of tomatoes, and three stems of broccoli.  All so fresh and delicious! The fringe benefit of this ‘produce run’ is that the views driving through the valley are top-notch:

It’s been a long but fun day so I make my way home to unload the produce and edit all the photos I’ve taken. Good times. 


table top mountain, toowoomba

I started my day in Toowoomba by climbing to the plateau of Table Top Mountain.

I can’t believe I hadn’t been up here before: it’s amazing.

The climb up and back down was much quicker, but much harder, than I was expecting. Once you’re at the top there’s a huge grassy plateau to walk around and admire the gorgeous views of the pristine Lockyer Valley around you 😍

There were a number of large prickly pear cacti growing around various parts of the mountain covered in fruit.

I definitely would do this again if I was in the Toowoomba area.

Elevation: 596m (206m gain)
Time up: 19m
Time down: 18m