By Nelson Groom
A British nature lover has forked out nearly £160,000 ($280,000 AUD) and spent 13 years transforming an overgrown forest on his Australian property into a hidden 150-acre paradise – fit with a lush 20ft waterfall.
Danny Gibson, from Middlesbrough, North Yorks, began work on his enchanted rainforest after retiring to a powerless shed in the Tablelands region of North Queensland in 2005.
Now, the grandfather-of-four shares the tropical wonderland with stunning local wildlife including kangaroos, bandicoots, platypus, and cassowaries.
Dad-of-two Danny, who moved to Australia in 1981, said: “This just grew as a project. If I’d known how much work it would be, I might not have started.
“When I started it was overgrown with lantana and Tobacco bush. It was so thick you could hardly walk through it.
“I’m taken with the amount of water everywhere; creeks, springs and rapids. It’s very peaceful.”
After buying the patch of land for £130,000 ($230,000 AUD) in 2005, Danny first set to work with the back-breaking task of clearing the overgrowth.
The pensioner then single-handedly laid stones for the water features and paving the paths through the property – spending £28,000 ($50,000 AUD) on transforming the site in total.
Despite some setbacks – including his hard work being undone by the destruction of 2006’s Cyclone Larry – he powered through on the 13-year-long project completely alone.
Danny now describes his garden as a ‘labour of love’ and said it was therapeutic to keep his hands busy in his advanced age.
And beyond the local wildlife, he’s also opening the property to walking groups who he takes all over the garden.
The grandad said: “When I look around now I can see this great canopy of cushions and ferns.
“It’s very peaceful, I hardly ever have any visitors.
“Life’s made of projects, it gives us something to look forward to.
“If anything ever happens I just walk around and it puts me back on my feet.
“I’m very fortunate. It’s very therapeutic.”