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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Koreelah National Park, NSW.

Koreelah Creek Campground
We drove to Koreelah National Park via Mount Lindsay Road and turned north into White Swamp Road. 
The sealed and unsealed sections of White Swamp Road.
Despite encountering a fair bit of rain and some thunder storms, including some pea sized hail, we really enjoyed camping at Koreelah Creek Camping Area. It is a very well maintained park and we saw the ranger every day. Although this campground can get busy on weekends and holidays it was very peaceful while we were there. Most of the camp sites are perched above the creek, however, most don't have a view of the water. Nevertheless, we loved listening to the murmuring of the water as it flowed by.

Our campsite got a little wet but our trusty tent survived the hail.
The Gorge Walking Track (800 m return, Grade 2) starts in the campground, meanders alongside the creek, past a day use area and finishes at a small waterfall that flows into Koreelah Gorge.

Koreelah Falls
Koreelah Gorge
There were a lot of large Bandicoot holes throughout the campground so we were hopeful that we would be able to identify which Bandicoot was responsible but to our surprise we didn't manage to see any at all. The rain seemed to have stirred up the frogs though and there appeared to be thousands croaking in the night. At least they proved a little easier to find than the Bandicoots.
Stony Creek Frogs Litoria wilcoxii
These fungi were thriving in the wet conditions.
We went for a night walk and didn't see any animals until, as often seems to be the way, we returned to our campsite and there was a Common Brushtail Possum checking out our site while we were away.

Common Brushtail Possum
Of course it fined up the morning we were leaving. We were glad the sun came out though because we saw a group of Cunningham's Skinks sunning themselves on some rocks. They are very large skinks, a bit smaller than Land Mullets, so you would think they would be easy to photograph but they quickly retreat into rock crevices if they notice you and it can be quite a challenge to catch them unawares. With a fair bit of stealth and patience we were finally able to get some photos of them.

Cunningham's Skink
We saw quite a few butterflies about and a good variety of birds in the campground. 
Female Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus, and Brown Ringlet Hypocysta metirius.
Crimson Rosalla
Scarlet Honeyeater and Dusky Woodswallow.

Details for Koreelah Creek Campground:
Where: In NSW just over the QLD/NSW border. About 2 hours south-west of Brisbane. 37 km north-west of Woodenbong. 
Access: 12 km north of Koreelah including a 3 km section of dirt road.
Sites: Grass and dirt sites suitable for: tent camping beside your vehicle, camper trailers and caravans. Unpowered.
Facilities: Drop toilets, fire places (BYO wood), tables. No taps or drinking water.
Prohibited: Pets, generators, smoking.
Fees and Bookings: Self-register at information sign. No bookings. No vehicle entry fee. Camping $6 per adult, $3.50 per child. 
Caution: Ticks. Near the falls it is slippery and there is a sudden drop off.

Wildlife List: Cunningham's Skink, Lace Monitor, Red-necked Wallaby, lots of bandicoot holes. Stony Creek Frogs.
Bird List: Whistling Kite, Satin Bowerbird, Grey Butcherbird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Cormorant, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Australian Wood Duck, Spangled Drongo, Superb Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Red-browed Finch, Leaden Flycatcher, White-faced Heron, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Sacred Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Australian Magpie, Noisy Miner, Black-faced Monarch, Australian King Parrot, Eastern Rosella, Crimson Rosella, Little Shrike-thrush, Grey Shrike-thrush, Welcome Swallow, Brown Thornbill, White-throated Treecreeper, Eastern Whipbird, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail, Dusky Woodswallow. Heard Pheasant Coucal.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park, QLD.

Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cafe
The Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park is conveniently located opposite the Queen Mary Falls section of Main Range National Park. There is an excellent Day Use Area in the national park but no camping is allowed.

There is a cafe at the front of the caravan park which also serves as the office for checking in. We received a friendly greeting and were made to feel welcome. There are powered and unpowered sections available as well as a few cabins. We chose to camp in the unpowered section and we had the area to ourselves. 
A couple of the cabins at Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park
Camping in the unpowered section.
Feeding native birds with seed purchased at the cafe is a popular activity. As a result, there are lots of birds in the campground. As soon as we pulled up to our site Australian King Parrots came to visit us. 

The King Parrots arrived before we had a chance to get out of the car.
As we have a low impact philosophy regarding nature we don't feed wildlife but it was pleasant to sit in the campground observing various birds grazing in the grass. Crimson Rosellas and Eastern Rosellas were a colourful sight.
Eastern Rosella, Galahs, Crimson Rosella and a Wonga Pigeon.
There is a camp kitchen with a large barbecue and a wood stove for keeping warm on cold nights. It was surprisingly cool at night when we were there in late October. The amenities block is old but importantly there was plenty of hot water for a shower. If you like bush style caravan parks then you will be happy here but if you like resort style caravan parks then this caravan park may not appeal to you. We were perfectly happy to have a place to camp next to a national park with flushing toilets and hot showers.

The camp kitchen.
While we were there, we were lucky to witness the farmer next door muster a large herd of cattle. It was great to see the dogs and horses working together.

Mustering on Spring Creek Road.

Details for Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park:
Where: 150 km south-west of Brisbane.11 km east of Killarney. 
Address: 676 Spring Creek Road, Killarney, QLD, 4373.
Contact: 07 4664 7151
Fees: We paid $25 per night, unpowered.
Facilities: Amenities block with flush toilets and hot showers. Bins. Fire rings (BYO or purchase wood from cafe). Camp Kitchen with sink, tables, oven, microwave, BBQ,wood stove, kettle, toaster but no cutlery, plates or cooking equipment. Laundry.
Sites: The powered area has tiered (flat) sites for caravans, trailers and motor homes. The unpowered area is an open grass area with some shade trees.
Cafe: There is a popular cafe at the entrance which also serves as the caravan park office. Gas refills. Ice.
Of Note: Bird feeding in front of the cafe. Dogs are allowed, please check first. Conveniently located opposite the Queen Mary Falls Day Use Area and walks.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Spring Creek Road Scenic Drive, Boonah to Killarney, QLD.

Queen Mary Falls
After weeks of very dry weather it was finally raining and we thought it would be a great time to see a few waterfalls. On this road trip we chose to drive to Queen Mary Falls via the scenic route from Boonah along Carney's Creek Road and Spring Creek Road. This route is not suitable for caravans or heavy vehicles.

The small town of Boonah was looking great as the Jacaranda trees were in full bloom. There is an excellent Information Centre in Bicentennial Park on the Boonah-Fassifern Road. Free overnight camping is permitted in the car park for self-contained motor homes and caravans. 

If you are self-contained you can stay the night in the Boonah Information Centre Car Park.
Our first stop on the scenic route was Teviot Falls. These are intermittent falls best viewed after heavy rain. However, it's worth stopping anytime for the view.

Teviot Falls
View from Teviot Falls Lookout.
Our second stop was Carr's Lookout where there is a constructed walkway and lookout with an expansive view out over the surrounding countryside. Spring Creek Cafe and Cottages is also located here.

Carr's Lookout
View from Carr's Lookout
We continued on to Queen Mary Falls. There is a Day Use Area in the national park and the Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cafe is across the road. Bird feeding is a popular activity in front of the Cafe. 

Queen Mary Falls Day Use Area
Queen Mary Falls Cafe and Caravan Park Office.
It is only a short walk to the lookout overlooking Queen Mary Falls.

Queen Mary Falls from the Lookout.
Continuing the scenic drive towards Killarney; Daggs Falls is the next stop. Here there is a constructed lookout and a sheltered picnic table but no toilets. Dogs are allowed.

Dagg's Falls Lookout.
Dagg's Falls
Browns Falls Park is only a further 1.2 km along Spring Creek Road. Here there are toilets, picnic tables and a children's playground. It is only a short walk of 600 m to Brown's Falls from here, however, the track is unformed and it is necessary to cross the creek three times so this walk is not for everybody. No sooner had we set out under the tunnels than it started to thunder and rain so we made the decision to retreat back to the car.

This is an excellent day trip. Choose between returning the way you came, cutting across to Cunningham's Gap or doing a circuit through Koreela, White Swamp Road and Carney's Creek Road. We choose to head into northern New South Wales.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Queen Mary Falls Section of Main Range National Park, QLD.

 Queen Mary Falls.
The Queen Mary Falls section of Main Range National Park is on Spring Creek Road between Boonah and Killarney. Camping is not allowed in this section of Main Range National Park but there is a privately run Caravan Park and Cafe across the road from the Queen Mary Falls Day Use Area. The Day Use Area is quite large with several separate areas, however, the car park can be full on Sundays.

Queen Mary Falls Day Use Area.
We saw a Satin Bowerbird guarding his bower between the road and the Day Use Area. 

We haven't seen fresh grass growing in a bower before.
Due to the bird-feeding activities across the road at the Caravan Park Cafe there are usually lots of Australian King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas about.

The walks leave from the Day Use Area.
Cliff Circuit, Class 2, 400 m return:
This is an easy short walk but doesn't have great views of the falls. However, about half of the circuit is also part of the Queen Mary Falls Circuit and I feel, that if you prefer short walks or are in a hurry, you would find it more rewarding to walk to the Lookout on the Queen Mary Falls Circuit and return the same way.

Queen Mary Falls Circuit, Class 3, 2 km return:
Although this walk descends to the base of the falls before climbing again to the Day Use Area we found the walk easier than we expected. The track meanders alongside Spring Creek before the creek plunges over the falls. There is an easy crossing over Spring Creek by a foot bridge and it is only a short distance to the lookout which has excellent views of the falls.

Crossing Spring Creek to get to the lookout is easy.
The lookout on the Queen Mary Falls Circuit.
Queen Mary Falls viewed from the Lookout.
We continued on and descended to the base of the falls. There was a rainbow at the base of the falls and excellent views back up to the lookout.

There were lots of Eastern Water Dragons on the rocks at the base of the falls.

Eastern Water Dragon
The circuit continues on, zig zagging to the Day Use Area via a few steps.
The descent and ascent to the Day Use Area was surprisingly good for bird watching considering how many people pass through every day. 

Spotted Pardalote
Black-faced Monarch

Details for Queen Mary Falls Section of Main Range National Park, QLD:
Access: South-west of Brisbane. Choice 1: The scenic route is 64 km south-west of Boona via Carneys Creek Road and Spring Creek Road. This route is very steep and unsuitable for caravans or trucks over 3 tonnes. Choice 2: the Day Use Area can be reached via Warwick and Killarney. Choice 3: Take Freestone Road off the Cunningham Highway and drive via Yangan and Emu Vale.
Caution: Sheer cliffs. Supervise children closely.

Queen Mary Falls Day Use Area:
Where: Opposite the Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cafe on Spring Creek Road.
Facilities: Drop toilets, tables, picnic shelter, wood BBQ's (BYO wood) and free electric BBQ's, walks, information sign. No bins.
Prohibited: Pets. Camping. Collecting wood from the park.
Note: Gets very busy on Sundays. At the time of our visit in October 2017 the toilets were in the most disgusting condition of any toilet we have ever seen!

Bird List: Satin Bowerbird, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Pied Currawong, Australian Wood Duck, Superb Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, Red-browed Finch, Leaden Flycatcher, Fairy Gerygone, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian Magpie, Noisy Miner, Black-faced Monarch, Spotted Pardalote, Australian King Parrot, Pheasant Coucal, Wonga Pigeon, Eastern Yellow Robin, Eastern Rosella, Crimson Rosella, White-browed Scrubwren, Eastern Spinebill, Welcome Swallow, Brown Thornbill, Red-browed Treecreeper, White-throated Treecreeper, Eastern Whipbird. Heard: Bell Miners along Spring Creek Road.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bellthorpe National Park, QLD.

Stony Creek Day Use Area, Bellthorpe National Park, 
The last place we visited on our Blackdown Tablelands roadtrip was Bellthorpe National Park. There is no camping available but the Stony Creek Day Use Area is well worth the drive in for a picnic. We walked the short distance to the waterhole where we saw a Keelback snake and a Saw-shelled turtle swimming about. Due to the light rain we hadn't taken our zoom lens to the waterhole so we ran back to get the lens but were too late for a photo of the keelback. 

Natural swiming hole in Bellthorpe National Park

We saw some Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and a White-eared Monarch; a bird that usually alludes us.

White-eared Monarch
The weather deteriorated quite quickly so we were only able to stay a short time before we decided it would be prudent to leave as the wind was really picking up. We didn't get far before the road was blocked by a small fallen tree. With a bit of work we were able to remove it from the road and continue on our way.

Details for Stony Creek Day Use Area, Bellthorpe National Park:
Where: D'Aguilar Hwy, turn into Stony Creek Road approximately 5 km east of Woodford, turn into Fletcher Creek Road. Follow the signs to Stony Creek Day Use Area. 
Access: 2WD access. Last couple of kilometers unsealed road.
Facilities: picnic tables, toilets, wood BBQ's (BYO wood).
Prohibited: No Camping. No pets. 
Activities: Swimming. 4 wheel driving. Picnics. Cycling. Horse riding. Short walk to natural swimming hole.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Walks and Wildlife at Peach Trees Camping Area, Jimna State Forest, QLD.

Three walks leave from Peach Trees Camping Area. 

Yabba Creek Circuit, 730 m, grade 2 walk:
This is a popular walk with families and nature lovers. As we made our way towards the suspension bridge on the Yabba Creek Circuit, a man carrying a camera with a very large lens overtook us and raced to get to the walk first. He told us that he was intent on getting a photo of an Eastern Whipbird and apparently he didn't want us ahead of him disturbing the birds! After a while he stopped on the path and was intently taking photos so we stopped a few meters back and waited for him to achieve his goal. While waiting, I spotted a male Regent Bowerbird and we managed to get some photos. 

Regent Bowerbird, male.

After a while, the birder came back to us and told us that he had been taking close up photos of an Eastern Yellow Robin sitting on it's nest. We were horrified because birds are easily stressed and have been known to abandon their nests if they feel uncomfortable. Of course we have learnt these things over time. If you are interested in learning more, Birdlife Australia has published an Ethical Birding Guidelines PDF that is helpful. It turns out that the birder didn't manage to get a photo of an Eastern Whipbird. After the incredulous look he gave us when we told him we had been taking photos of a Regent Bowerbird we didn't have the heart to tell him that we had in fact managed to get a couple of photos of an Eastern Whipbird as well.

Not the greatest photo of an Eastern Whipbird but relevant to the story.

We often encounter goannas sunning themselves on the path.

Lace Monitor (goanna)
Turtles and Little Pied Cormorant on Yabba Creek.
We have, in the past, viewed platypus in Yabba Creek from different places on the path. We didn't miss out altogether on this trip though because we saw them while walking the Eugenia Circuit.

Araucaria Circuit, 3.5 km, grade 3 walk.
An extension of the Yabba Creek Circuit which I have written about previously.

Eugenia Circuit, 2.4 km, grade 3 walk.
The first part of this walk climbs gradually to a lookout before descending again to the creek. The second half of the walk is mostly flat. We have walked this circuit many times over the years and there is always something interesting to see. This time, the highlight was seeing several active platypus moving about Yabba Creek.

I certainly wish I had the eyesight of this Grey Goshawk when viewing wildlife.

Grey Goshawk
I attached a full list of wildlife that we saw on this visit to the blog Peach Trees Camping Area.