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Sunday, September 1, 2019

Urunga, NSW.

The Urunga Lagoon section of Urunga Boardwalk.
There are two caravan parks at Urunga, both of which have good reputations. We wanted to explore the Urunga Boardwalk so we choose to stay at the Reflections Holiday Park which is right in front of the boardwalk. We joined the free Reflections loyalty program and got our site for a very cheap price. We choose a lovely unpowered site overlooking the Kalang River.

Camping at Reflections Holiday Park, Urunga.
Impressive camp kitchen in the caravan park.
The Urunga Boardwalk is a Grade 1 walk as it's entire length is wheelchair accessible. The main boardwalk is about one kilometer long and extends east, through a section of Ballinger Heads State Park, to the ocean. There is also a side extension that is 260 meters long and heads south into Urunga Lagoon. The walk is very scenic and dogs on leash are allowed.

The start of the Urunga Boardwalk.
Continuing along the Urunga Boardwalk.
Fishing on the Ballinger River.
Continuing along the Urunga Boardwalk.
A lookout along the boardwalk.
Continuing along the Urunga Boardwalk.
Looking south towards Nambucca Heads at the end of the boardwalk.
We thoroughly enjoyed walking along the boardwalk at different times of the day. Being late May the nights were cold but we still braved an early morning walk starting in the dark to see the sun rise.

Pre-dawn wake up.
Dawn on the boardwalk.
Sunrise from the end of the boardwalk.
Winter Sunrise.
It was so cold at sunrise that my eyes were watering.
Sunrise glow returning to the caravan park.
One of the things we loved about the boardwalk was that the waters surrounding it were teaming with life. We saw large numbers of Bream, Luderick and Mullet. As well as a few stingrays.

Stingray without a tail.
Bream alongside the boardwalk.
From the boardwalk on the landward side we could see Eastern Grey Kangaroos. There were also large numbers of Swamp Tiger Butterflies present.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo.
Swamp Tiger.
From the boardwalk we saw a Black-shouldered Kite and a family of Brown Quail as well as a variety of both bush and water birds.

Black-shouldered Kite.
We think the Urunga Boardwalk is one of Australia's best kept secrets and look forward to visiting Urunga again one day.

Wildlife in May 2019: Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Tiger Butterflies, Stingrays, Bream, Luderick, Mullet. Birdlist: Black-shouldered Kite, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Pied Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Australian Wood Duck, Little Egret, White-faced Heron, Australian White Ibis, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Australian Magpie, Masked Lapwing, Noisy Miner, Australian Pelican, Crested Pigeon, Silver Gull, Welcome Swallow, Crested Tern, Brown Quail, Willie Wagtail.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Karuah, New South Wales.

Karuah Jetty
As we were attending a funeral in Newcastle we decided to stay in a Garden Unit at BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park. We found the location ideal as it was a shorter drive for us from home and an easy drive to the airport and Newcastle. 

Garden Units BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park
Powered sites (L) and unpowered sites (R)
The caravan park has direct access to a scenic jetty, small boat ramp and a short mangrove boardwalk.

Karuah Jetty and small boat ramp.
Mangrove Boardwalk 
Quite a few Welcome Swallows have made the jetty their home and pelicans seem content to hang around the oyster shacks.

Welcome Swallows on the jetty.
Pelicans snoozing in front of an oyster shack.
In both the caravan park and the town of Kuruah there were large numbers of lorikeets. There were plenty of Rainbow Lorikeets but these were outnumbered by huge numbers of Musk Lorikeets.

Musk Lorikeet
Longworth Park is a pleasant picnic area in town on the Karuah River between an oyster outlet and the Karuah Bridge. We were informed by a local that this is a good location for dolphin watching but we didn't manage to see any. The park has an enclosed swimming area, toilets and a children's playground.

Specialist oyster boats on the Karuah River.
Enclosed swimming area.
We noticed a large nest in an electricity pylon across the river. There was an Eastern Osprey perched near the nest and later we realised that there was a juvenile in the nest.

Eastern Osprey in the nest.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Manna Gum Camping Area, Goomburra Section of Main Range National Park, QLD.

Dwarfed by the Manna Gums at Manna Gum Camping Area.
The Goomburra section of Main Range National Park is one of our favourite places and we return there whenever we get the chance. It is so relaxing to sit in a camp chair and have ringside seats for such a great variety of wildlife.

Satin Bowerbird invading our kitchen.
Red-necked Pademelons are common at Main Range National Park.
We didn't see any snakes or Southern Angle-headed Dragons while at Goomburra in June 2019 which is perhaps not surprising as it was only about 1 C at night and 16 C during the day. On previous visits we have seen an old Manna Gum with a nesting hollow being used by Glossy Black Cockatoos but this trip the tree was nowhere to be seen and we fear that it was cut down as we could see a lot of cut down tree debris. We did still see a pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos fly over the campground in the late afternoon so hopefully they have found another nesting tree nearby.

We always enjoy sitting beside our tent and watching the local bird life. There are always plenty of Satin Bowerbirds and Superb Fairy-wrens about. This trip we were pleased to see three Paradise Riflebirds stripping bark off the trees behind our tent.

Pacific Riflebird.
Satin Bowerbird, male.
Superb Fairy-wren
We noticed a bit of a commotion amongst the Satin Bowerbirds and were lucky to witness a courtship ritual involving the males twitching violently while offering females a nice tasty green leaf. A couple of the males were successful so it seems the population of Satin Bowerbirds is secure for the future. This activity occurred in low vegetation and not at a bower as might be expected.

Courtship Ritual
We were keen to walk the Winder Track because it was the only walk we hadn't yet done in the Goomburra Section of Main Range National Park. It is a 12 km return, Grade 4 walk. The walk starts from a car park at the end of Lookout Road. Although the track is along a ridge line there are only limed views. However, there are a couple of stunning lookouts along Lookout Road that are well worth doing.

Limited views on the early part of the Winder Track.
We very quickly discovered that there is a lot of damage caused by feral pigs along the track. We soon passed a pig trap that had been freshly baited by national park rangers. Of all the creatures that can be encountered in the Australian bush, pigs are my least favourite so we were glad that we didn't actually see any.

Pig Trap
We did see a few Lyrebirds in dense bush alongside the track but were unable to get any photos as they sent out strident alarm calls as we progressed along the track.

The Winder is an old piece of forestry equipment and was quite overgrown.

The Winder
As there is no seating and no view we took a few photos and headed back the way we had come. Overall, this walk is a bit underwhelming and I wouldn't put it on my list for a return visit, but hey, nothing ventured nothing gained.

Wildlife: Red-necked Pademelon, Red-necked Wallaby. Bird List: Satin Bowerbird, Australian Brush Turkey, Grey Butcherbird, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Pied Currawong, Superb Fairy-wren, Red-browed Finch, Brown Gerygone, Lewin's Honeyeater, White-napped Honeyeater, Laughing Kookaburra, Albert's Lyrebird, Australian Magpie, Bell Miner, Noisy Miner, Australian King Parrot, Paradise Riflebird, Crimson Rosella, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, White-browed Scrubwren, Grey Shrike-thrush, Bassian Thrush, Brown Thornbill, Eastern Whipbird. Heard: Green Catbird, Pheasant Coucal, Common Koel.

Details for Manna Gum Campground:
Where: Goomburra section of Main Range National Park, QLD About 195 km south-west of Brisbane. From Brisbane drive up Cunningham's Gap. Turn right at Gladfield or Clintonvale. Turn right at Goomburra and drive along Inverramsay Road to the very end. 
Access: Unsealed roads. Some pot holes. Suitable for tents and all rig types, however, there is a very short section between Poplar Flat Camping Area and Manna Gum Camping Area that is narrow and uneven and sometimes has overhanging vegetation so if you have a high or large rig it might be better to book into Poplar Flat Camping Area.
Sites: grassed area, no designated sites, some shade.
Fees & Bookings: Bookings must be made by phone or internet before arriving as there is no reception at, or anywhere near, the campground. Ph 13 74 68. $6.55 per person per night, adults and children. Has single rate. Family Rate: $26.20 per night includes 1 to 2 adults and a maximum of 8 people (ie up to 2 adults and up to 6 children, extra adults $6.55)
Facilities: Non-flush toilets, fire places, BYO wood, some non-potable water taps throughout campground. No showers, no power, no phone reception.
Prohibited: No pets, no generators.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Diamond Head Loop Walking Track, Crowdy Bay National Park, NSW.

Forest Walking Track: 1.5 km one way, Grade 3. 
Diamond Head Loop Walk: 4.3 km loop, Grade 3. 
Metcalfes Walking Track: 700 meters one way, Grade 3.

We combined the Forest Walking Track, Diamond Heed Loop, and Metcalfes Walking Track into a loop of about 6.5 kilometers starting from Diamond Head Campground and walking via Indian Head Campground, Kylies Hut and Kylies Campground.

Forest Walking Track
We started on the Diamond Head Loop Walk from Diamond Head Campground, turned into the Forest Walking Track and walked to Indian Head Campground.

Young Eastern Grey Kangaroo having a scratch at Indian Head Campground.
We continued on via the walk-in trail to Kylies Hut. 

Kylies Hut
From Kylies Hut we took Metcalfes Walking Track to Kylies Beach Campground.

Brackish creek on Metcalfes Walking Track.
We saw both and Red and Little Wattlebirds in this section of the track.

Red Wattlebird.
Little Wattlebird.
Amenities at Kylies Beach Campground.
From Kylies Beach Campground we walked out the 4WD beach access into the Kylies Beach section of Crowdy Beach. There were several Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos eating banksia cones in the Banksia trees along the track.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo eating a banksia cone.
Photographing birds on Kylies Beach.
Sooty Oystercatchers on the rocks at Kylies Beach.
At the northern end of Kylies Beach we found a rough, unofficial, track that climbed up the hill and joined up with the Diamond Head Loop.

We climbed up from Kylies Beach to rejoin the track.
From here we rejoined the Diamond Head Loop track and started the return north to Diamond Head along the coastal cliffs. We arrived at Kylies Lookout shortly after rejoining the track.

View looking south from Kylies Lookout.
This section of the track is very scenic with great outlooks over the ocean and a variety of rock formations. It is also a great vantage point in the winter for whale watching.

The Natural Arch
Diamond Head Loop Walking Track.
Looking south on the Diamond Loop Walking Track.
More coastal rock formations.
A Mapping Authority marker on Diamond Head.
Walking through heath; looking south on the Headland Walk.
Looking north from the Headland Loop Walk.
After a very pleasant mornings walk we arrived back at Diamond Head Campground.