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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Agnes Water, Queensland.

Agnes Water Main Beach.
Agnes Water Main Beach:
Agnes Water Main Beach is accessed from the parking area off Agnes Street in Tom Jeffery Memorial Park Road. There are good facilities here and the beach is patrolled. Signs warn that swimming is not advised from November to April due to marine stingers. Times vary so check the Surf Lifesaving advisory boards before entering the water. Agnes Water Beach Holidays Caravan Park is conveniently located next to Tom Jeffery Park on Jeffery Court and has cabin frontage to the beach.


Agnes Water Information Centre
Located on Springs Road next to the Library and Museum. The staff were very helpful and we picked up some brochures for the local area. You can also book tours from here for a boat trip to Lady Musgrave Island or a trip on the highly acclaimed "Larc" to Bustard Bay.


Discovery Trail
This walking trail can be accessed from the large car park behind the Information Centre and Museum on Springs Road. The trail can also be accessed from the park next to Workman's Camp Ground. Although the trail is signposted there doesn't appear to be an actual map and I haven't been able to find any details for how long the walk is. Perhaps that's why it's called the Discovery Trail. Regardless it is an enjoyable walk of about 40 minutes. Side by side, there is both a natural lookout and a man-made lookout with scenic views.

Man-made Lookout
Natural Lookout
View from the lookout to the north: Agnes Beach.

View from the lookout to the south: Workman's Beach

We saw quite a few Bordered Rustic Butterflies and Joseph's Coat Moths along the trail.

Joseph's Coat Moth

The reptilian world was represented by Lace Monitors, an Eastern Striped Skink and several Rainbow Skinks.

Rainbow Skink

Paperbark Forest Board Walk:
This interesting 400 m walk can be found in Reedy Creek Reserve, Springs Road. Dogs are prohibited. As the trail passes through a paperbark swamp it is essential to spray yourself for mosquitoes and/or wear protective clothing. Don't be deterred though as this is quite a fascinating walk into an environment that is usually hard to access. Two sections of the trail involve walking across water via concrete filled pipes.


Trailhead for the Paperbark  Forest Board Walk.

Where only the brave shall venture.

Red Rock Trail:
The entry to the Red Rock Trail and Springs Beach is opposite the entry to Reedy Creek Reserve. The 800 m road into the car park is unsealed and quite rough. The trail is 3 km one way and has a time guideline of 2.5 hrs. There is a convenient map of the trail at the start of the beach access down to Springs Beach.


Springs Beach

We walked south along the beach to the trailhead for the Red Rock Trail. We saw several Whiptail Wallabies grazing on the edge of the beach. Sea turtles lay their eggs at Springs Beach.


Whiptail (Pretty Face) Wallaby.

At the trailhead there are signs stating this is a Turtle Conservation Area and prohibiting dogs. We climbed up a few stone steps to the headland where views to the south opened up. It was drizzling when we started the walk but we hoped any rain would be light and pushed on for a while. 


Pandanus along the headland.
Rain setting in.

Unfortunately, persistent rain set in and we were unable to complete the walk. We were happy to briefly see an Olive-backed Sunbird alongside Springs Beach as we returned to the car.

Wildlife we saw in Agnes Water:
Butterflies & Moths: Bordered Rustic, Evening Brown, Common Crow, Joseph's Coat Moth.
Reptiles: Rainbow Skink, Wall Skink, Eastern Strip Skink, Lace Monitor, Sand Goanna.
Macropods: Whiptail Wallaby.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Workman's Camp Ground, Agnes Water, QLD.

Workman's Camp Ground
Workman's Camp Ground
While visiting the Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy area we camped at Workman's Camp Ground on Springs Road. We managed to find a nicely shaded spot.

Our set-up at Workman's Camp Ground.
The campground is clean and well cared for by the friendly and helpful caretakers.  Technically, the facilities are in a park adjoining the campground. While trying to spot the Frogmouth family that lives in the park we noticed a goanna surveying the world from above.

Amenities and picnic tables in the park next to the campground.
Interesting bracket fungi in the park.
Goanna
There were lots of Wall Skinks in our campsite.

Wall Skink Cryptoblepharus virgatus
Both Workman's and Chinaman's Beach Picnic Area can be accessed on foot from the campground. It is also only a short walk via the Discovery Trail to the Information Centre, Library and Museum. I will cover the walks in Agnes Water in the next blog.

Workman's Beach:
You can't see Workman's Beach from the campground but it is only a short walk to this lovely secluded beach. The beach is unpatrolled but here are plenty of rocks to explore on the southern end of the beach.

Workman's Beach
Southern end of Workman's Beach
Chinaman's Beach Picnic Area:
A walk of about 700 m leads from the campground to Chinaman's Beach Picnic Area and a lookout. I imagine that the lookout would be excellent for whale watching in the winter. A different branch of the walk can be taken to overlook Chinaman's Beach.

Lookout at Chinaman's Beach Picnic Area.
Chinaman's Beach

Details for Workman's Camp Ground:
Where: Springs Road, Agnes Water, QLD.
Access: Suitable for all rig types.
Sites: 38 clearly defined and numbered sites. The size of the sites varies, some are big enough for big rigs some are quite small. 
Fees & Bookings: No bookings. Arrive at anytime and simply set up in a vacant site. Vacate by 2 pm. $9.20 per person per night, $25 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children under 17 yrs. Fees are collected daily by caretakers who give receipts. Camping is allowed for up to 42 nights however we have heard that this time limit may be reduced in the future.
Facilities: Bins. In the adjoining park there is 1 amenities block with 3 toilets (1 with disability access), 1 outdoor beach style cold shower, tables and free electric BBQ's.
Permitted: Dogs on leash. Low noise generators from 7 am to 7 pm.
Prohibited: No vehicle access to beach. Fires. Noise after 10 pm. Can't leave site unoccupied for more than 2 days.
Caution: Swimming in the ocean is not advised from November to April due to the presence of marine stingers. Check the patrolled area on Agnes Water Beach for swimming details.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Deepwater National Park, QLD.

Deepwater National Park
Deepwater National Park protects the catchment of Deepwater Creek and adjoins a strip of beach favoured by four different types of nesting ocean turtles. A variety of lowland flora from swamp paperbarks, gum trees and cabbage tree palms to coastal flora dominated by Pandanus and She Oaks, supports a great range of wildlife in the area.

There are two campgrounds that I covered in the previous blog and a picnic area in the national park.

Wreck Rock Picnic Area

Walking:
There are no designated walks so we made up our own circuit by walking from Wreck Rock to Middle Rock via the 4WD Road and then descending to the beach and walking back to Wreck Rock. All in all, this is about 6 km and isn't too difficult if you time your walk along the beach with low tide. The highlight of our walk was spotting where two turtles had emerged from the surf and made their way to the dunes to lay their eggs. One of the turtles appeared to have tried three times before finally finding a suitable spot where the dunes weren't too steep. She must have been absolutely exhausted after that herculean effort. Loggerhead, Flatback Green and Leatherback Turtles lay their eggs along this stretch of beach between October and April. The hatchlings emerge from January. 

This photo is taken into the sun but you can still see where a turtle has done a u-turn when confronted by a steep dune.

After the third attempt this turtle lay her eggs but she appears to have been too exhausted to fully fill the sand back over her nest.

We also enjoyed exploring Wreck Rock which looks like it was tossed onto the beach and toppled sideways millennia ago. There are usually rock pools to explore as well but on this trip they had been filled with sand; no doubt they will reappear again. 

Wreck Rock
Close up of Wreck Rock.

Wildlife:
As previously mentioned turtles frequent the beach at Deepwater National Park. Queensland Turtle Conservation Project volunteers camp at Wreck Rock Camping Area during the nesting and hatching season to record the turtle activity.

Native Sand Goannas frequent the campground and dune areas. Goannas love eggs, as do non-native foxes. Unfortunately, we saw fox footprints in the dunes. Another introduced pest that is prevalent is Cane Toads. Crabs frequent the beach, running in and out of the surf.

Sand Monitor
Crabs and Blue Bottle Jellyfish.
The ladies toilet at Wreck Rock Campground seemed to be a haven for gravid female wildlife. A large Huntsmen spider had taken up residence there, as had a large Bar-sided Skink.

Huntsmen Spider Holconia immanis .
Bar-sided Skink
We noticed that the local variant of Garden Orb Spider was the white stripe form.

Garden Orb Spider, Eriophora transmarina
Macropods are easy to spot in Deepwater National Park. We saw Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Whiptail Wallabies and Black-striped Wallabies.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo at Wreck Rock Camping Area.
The main butterflies we saw were Lemon Migrants, Evening Browns and Tailed Emperors.
Tailed Emperor and Lemon Migrant.
Queenslands largest cockroach  Macro-panesthia is found in Deepwater National Park. Although we didn't see any large ones we did see the cream rimmed Barred Cockroach Cosmozosteria subzonata but it was too fast for us to get a photo.

Due to the varied landscape there is a great variety of birds in Deepwater National Park. It is quite common to see Emus, although we dipped out on this trip. A friendly ranger informed us that he saw two Brolgas in November as well. We were happy to see two Sooty Oystercatchers and four Wandering Tattlers on the rocks at Middle Rock Beach.

Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove
A young Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, before it develops the pink cap.
Dusky Honeyeater
Fairy Gerygone
Wonga Pigeons at Wreck Rock Camping Area
Is Deepwater National Park under threat?

At present, the only way to traverse the full length of Deepwater National Park is by a sandy 4WD track. Accessing Wreck Rock Camping Area from the south is by 2WD but the section between Wreck Rock Camping Area and Middle Rock Campground is categorized as easy 4WD and the section to the north of Middle Rock is harder 4WD. Recently the Gladstone Council decided to upgrade the full length of the road from Agnes Water to the southern end of Deepwater National Park. The upgrade to a sealed road won't simply improve access to the National Park itself. The road will provide a direct route from Agnes Water to Bundaberg, significantly increasing through traffic, which raises concerns about the impact on wildlife. There is a wider concern here as well that needs to be considered. National Parks often protect the last remnants of a natural landscape and they will increasingly come under threat in a world with growing demands for such things as transport corridors. Further information can be found on the Facebook page Save Deepwater NP

Wildlife seen by us in November 2017: Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Black striped Wallaby, Whiptail Wallaby, Flying Fox, Bar-sided Skink, Rainbow Skink, Sand Monitor, Cane toad. Huntsmen Spider Holconia immanis, Garden Orb Spider Eriophora transmarina. We saw the tracks and nests of two ocean turtles between Wreck and Middle Rocks. We also saw the tracks of a Fox. 
Butterflies: Lemon Migrant, Tailed Emperor, Evening Brown.
Birdlist: Australian Brush Turkey, Cicadabird, Pied Cormorant, Torresian Crow, Bar-shouldered Dove, Leaden Flycatcher, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Fairy Gerygone, Lewin's Honeyeater, Dusky Honeyeater, Laughing Kookaburra, Pheasant Coucal, Wonga Pigeon, Common Bronzewing, Grey Shrike-thrush, Little Shrike-thrush, Silver Gull, Sooty Oystercatcher, Varied Triller, Wandering Tattler.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Wreck Rock Campground and Middle Rock Campground, Deepwater National Park, QLD.

Wreck Rock.

Wreck Rock Camping Area

We really enjoyed camping at Wreck Rock. The sites are protected from the wind and nicely separated. It is only a short walk to Wreck Rock Beach.

Wreck Rock Camping Area.
Access to Wreck Rock Beach.
Wreck Rock Beach

Details for Wreck Rock Campground:
Where: 114 km, 1 hour 36 minutes, north of Bundaberg.
Access: 2WD access from the south or high clearance 4WD access from Agnes Water in the north. The campground itself requires some clearance in one short section (i.e. I wouldn't take my Mazda 3) There was water over the causeway and some water over the road when we went there in November 2017.
Fees & Booking: Standard National Parks QLD fees. $6.35 per adult per night. Must book before arrival https://qpws.usedirect.com/qpws/ or by phone 13 74 68 no phone reception at the campground.
Sites: Suitable for vehicle based camping, tents and campertrailers. Listed as "not suitable for caravans" on the website (no room to maneuver) 14 defined, hard sand sites. Most sites have a table and fire place. Behind fore dunes with no view of the beach.
Facilities: Male and female composting toilets. Outdoor cold shower. Also one tap with non-potable bore water in the campground. Tables. Fire places (BYO wood). Short walk to the beach and Wreck Rock.
Prohibited: Pets, collecting wood, chainsaws, beach driving.
Fun Fact: Ocean turtles nest along the beach from October to April. Turtles emerge from the nests from January.

Middle Rock Camping Area

There was no one camping at Middle Rock when we were there, however, a few 4WD enthusiasts passed by from time to time. Although we like remote and quiet camping areas we did prefer Wreck Rock as there is no water and no toilets at Middle Rock and it is a longer walk to the beach.


Entry to Middle Rock Camping Area
A site at Middle Rock Camping Area
The beach is a fair distance from the campground.
The beach in front of the camping area at Middle Rock.

Details for Middle Rock Camping Area:
Where: 14 km south of Agnes Water. 3 km north of Wreck Rock Camping Area.
Access: High clearance 4WD.
Fees & Booking: Standard National Parks QLD fees. $6.35 per adult per night. Must book before arrival https://qpws.usedirect.com/qpws/ or by phone 13 74 68 no phone reception at the campground.
Sites: High clearance camper trailers and 4WD vehicle based tent camping behind fore dunes in sites defined on the information map.
Facilities: Fire rings and tables. There are no toilets and no water. Longer walk to the beach than Wreck Rock Camping Area.
Prohibited: Pets, chainsaws, driving on beach.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Harding's Paddock, QLD.

Harding's Paddock Picnic Area
Harding's Paddock Picnic Area and Harding's Paddock Campground form part of the Flinders - Goolman Conservation Estate and are managed by the City of Ipswich. The picnic area is a huge grassy area containing a lagoon and several sheltered picnic tables with electric BBQ's.

One of several picnic shelters.
The campground is gated and you will receive a code for the gate when you make your booking. There are eight sites, each with a parking area big enough for a caravan or motorhome and a picnic table with a grassy area at the back for tents. This design may not be suitable for some camper trailers. Fires aren't permitted at the camp sites but there is a large communal fire ring between the campground and the camp kitchen. There is also an adjoining horse holding yard so although this is usually a quiet campground it can become very busy if a group activity is booked in.

Example of an individual site: parking area in the front and a table and tent area at the back.
There is a central grassy area behind the sites for tents.
In a separate area, there is a large camp kitchen, toilets, fire ring and shower cubicles (BYO shower bag).

Camp Kitchen with toilet block in the background.
Several walks of varying difficulty leave from the picnic area. Flinder's Plum Picnic Area is about 18 km away (by car) and also has some walking trails in the conservation estate.

Details for Harding's Paddock Campground:
Where: About 55 km south-west of Brisbane or 40 km north of Boonah. The picnic and camping areas are at the end of Carmichaels Road (not Ellison Road as stated by Google Maps).
Access: Carmichaels Road is a 2WD unsealed road with some pot holes.
Sites: 8 individual numbered sites. Suitable for tents, caravans and motorhomes. 
Bookings and Fees: https://www.discoveripswich.com.au/accommodation/hardings-paddock-campground/ or phone 07 3281 0555   $12 per site per night.
Facilities: Gated campground. Tables in each campsite. Communal Camp Kitchen (with water, sink, tables and BBQ's), fire ring (BYO wood), toilets, shower cubicles (BYO Bag). Horse Yard with water. Walks.
Prohibited: Pets. Fires at camp sites. Collecting wood.
Caution: The Ipswich area can become very hot and there isn't much shade in the campground.