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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Girraween National Park, QLD: Part 4: Dr Robert's Waterhole.

The parking area for Dr Robert's Waterhole and the Underground Creek tracks is a short drive on an unsealed road from the Day Use Area in Girraween national Park. I have covered the Underground Creek Track here in the previous blog. 

The waterhole is named after Dr Robert's, a medical doctor in Stanthorpe in the 1930's. His love of lyrebirds and wombats and his vision for the area, ultimately led to the protection of this amazing environment as Girraween National Park.

Dr Robert's Waterhole, 1.2 km return, Class 2.

We took the short walk to Dr Robert's Waterhole on our return to the carpark from Underground Creek and we were so glad that we went to the waterhole on the way back because our timing was perfect to witness one of natures most amazing spectacles.

Dr Robert's Waterhole.
While standing on the banks of the waterhole we heard a rustling noise coming from the opposite bank. We got pretty excited when we saw two dark "tufts" sticking up out of the undergrowth because there is a long-tailed northern subspecies of Superb Lyrebird (edwardi) found in this area.

Oops, that definitely isn't a Lyrebird tail swaying in the undergrowth.
We were frantically peering into the long grass and taking photos in the hope that a photo might turn out to be clearer than the naked eye when two of the biggest Red-bellied Black snakes we have ever seen emerged in full mating embrace. We have always admired Red-bellied Blacks but we had no idea they could grow this big; this pair were as heavy in circumference and as long as carpet pythons. We spent the next few minutes in absolute awe, watching these amazing creatures thrashing around as they moved entwined together from the waters edge to a rock overhang a few meters away.

A pair of Red-bellied Black Snakes mating at Girraween National Park.
We were a little glad that for this encounter we were separated by a body of water because otherwise we would have tried to sneak up on the "lyrebirds" and it would have been quite a shock to encounter this pair up close.

On the drive back to our campground we pulled off the road to take a photo of The Pyramid. I lept out of the ute and while taking the photo I heard a "hissing" noise nearby. I laughed my head off because I thought the noise was coming from the ute and that it was a joke. Turns out the noise was coming from the undergrowth but I don't know what was making the sound.

The Pyramid, seen from a different angle.
I did discover a stowaway on my shoe though.

Back at Castle Rock Campground the friendly Red Wattlebird was waiting on our camp chair.

Later that day, we drove to Old Wallangarra Road to look for Turquoise parrots. We didn't see any Turquoise parrots but we did see a nice colourful pair of Eastern Rosellas. 

In Wallangarra we were questioned by a police officer as to what we were up to. What are you using those cameras for? Where have you been? What birds were you looking for? What birds did you see? Where are you going? We thought this was a good time to ask for directions to the Mount Norman Day Use Area but when the officer told us we were in the wrong place altogether and that we needed to return to Pyramids Road to find it we decided not to contradict her. She may have been wearing one of those nice blue uniforms rather than one of those new black uniforms but we were, after all, right on the border of Queensland and NSW and we thought it prudent to leave while the going was good.


  1. AAAARRRRGGGH! I've got the cold shivers after reading about your snake adventure! It's almost as scary as your brush with the law! What's that about?!

    1. We were watching the snakes from a safe distance I assure you. I can only guess that our large long-lensed cameras caught the attention of the police officer. It is probably in the nature of all police officers to ask questions until they are satisfied with what they are hearing. It was all perfectly cordial but, as law abiding citizens, we are unused to the scrutiny.