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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mooloolah River National Park, Mooloolah River Section, QLD. Part 1: By Boat.

This section of the national park is about one hour fifteen minutes drive north of Brisbane, behind Kawana Waters on the Sunshine Coast. A 6 km section of the Mooloolah River adjoins the Mooloolah River National Park protecting remnants of coastal lowland habitat.

Mooloolah River
On this trip we decided to explore the upper reaches of the Mooloolah River by a small boat using an electric motor. We launched from the boat ramp at Outrigger Park, off Brisbane Road, entry is south bound only from Mooloolaba. This river trail can also be done by canoe or kayak.

Boat Ramp at Outrigger Park

Boat Ramp to Mooloolah River National Park:

We turned west and traveled under the first two bridges, beneath Brisbane Road and the Sunshine Motorway. These bridges are noisy to pass under but that doesn't seem to bother the feral pigeons and nesting welcome swallows/fairy martins (sorry we weren't taking enough notice at this point as to exactly which birds they were).

The muddy mangrove banks support a large variety of birds. We were rewarded with sightings of Pied Oystercatcher, Little Black Cormorant, Pelican, Striated Heron, Pied Cormorant, White-faced Heron and Sacred Kingfisher.

Pied Oystercatcher

Little Black Cormorant

Australian Pelican

Sriated Heron

Pied Cormorant

White-faced Heron

The second Striated Heron sighting of the morning.

Striated Heron

Sacred Kingfisher

The small mangrove islands support Flying Fox colonies and the taller mangroves serve as Osprey perches.

Grey-headed Flying Fox


Near the third bridge, under the Kawana Way, Striated Pardalotes have made their nests in the river bank.

Striated Pardalote

Mooloolah River National Park.

Extensive heath plains and sedgelands stretch away from the river and we have often seen kangaroos grazing here. However, over the last ten years their numbers have dropped and we did not see any on this trip.

This Brahminy Kite was watching over two young in a nest a few meters away.

Brahminy Kite

Juvenile Brahminy Kites

White-throated Honeyeater, Olive-backed Oriole, Varied Trillers and Azure Kingfisher added a splash of colour in the mangroves.

White-throated Honeyeater

Azure Kingfisher

Mooloolah River National Park to the Upper Reaches of Mooloolah River.

The third Striated Heron of the morning. 

Striated Heron

As the river narrowed we saw large numbers of Little Black Cormorants, a Pied Cormorant and more Egrets. 

Pied Cormorant


 Little Black Cormorants

At about the 9 km mark, from the boat ramp, we came to the tree that has been lying across the river since 2010. We successfully drifted underneath it and continued for a short distance before heading back to the ramp.

The banks of the river change from saltpans to mangrove scrub land with some Melaleuca forest and the occasional clumps of mangrove fern.

On our return we saw Rainbow Bee-eaters and were able to get a photo of an interesting Osprey nest.

Rainbow Bee-eater

Osprey Nest

As we passed back along the national park we saw a person walking and swimming two dogs in Mooloolah River National Park.


  1. What a great way to explore the National Park!

    Interesting amount of variation in the plumage colour of the Striated Herons. I like how one appears in the background of the Pelican shot!

  2. Wow, you are so observant Christian! We didn't even notice the Striated Heron in that photo.