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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Booloumba Campgrounds, Conondale National Park, QLD.

 Booloumba Creek at Booloumba Camping Area 4.
While camping at Charlie Moreland Campground we drove to nearby Conondale National Park to check out the campgrounds. We have been there a couple of times before on day trips and have done most of the walks but we haven't actually camped there and we were trying to decide if we should take the tent or the van.

In Conondale National Park there are three campgrounds and a day use area; collectively referred to as Booloumba. To access the national park, it is necessary to have a high clearance 4WD, as all the campgrounds and the Day Use Area are reached via creek crossings. Many keen walkers park their cars on the side of the road before the first creek crossing and walk in. Over the years,we have had no problems fording the crossings with a standard Pajero and a standard BT50, however, keep in mind that the crossings will vary enormously depending on how much rain there has been in recent times. The photos in this blog were taken on our recent visit and show very tame crossings due to an extended dry season.

The first water crossing
The second water crossing
There is a third water crossing on the way to Area 3 and 4.
The third creek crossing into the Day Use Area is the hardest crossing. Photo taken from the side.
Booloumba Camping Area 1 is a pleasant campground with numbered sites, each having a tent platform and an individual car park. This is the only area with a pay phone and it is the easiest area to get to. 

Typical campsite at Booloumba Area 1: car park in front with tent pad behind.
Fan-tailed Cuckoo and  Staghorn at Booloumba Area 1.
The Day Use Area (Area 2) is the hardest to access as it is beyond the more challenging creek crossing. Many people take their vehicles through the first two creek crossings then park on the side of the road before crossing the creek by foot into the Day Use Area. There is an extensive car park in the Day Use Area and the walks start from here. We love Booloumba Day Use Area; it is a very relaxing place beside Booloumba Creek and there are lots of birds. It’s a great place to have a picnic after doing one of the walks.

Booloumba Day Use Area on the banks of Booloumba Creek
Even on this short visit we saw many birds at the Day Use Area.

Azure Kingfisher
Mistletoebird back and front, male.
Little Shrike-thrush and Grey Shrike-thrush
Booloumba Camping Area 3
There are two sections to this camping area; the lower section near the creek which has flush toilets and the higher section that has pit toilets. All the sites are numbered and have tent platforms with adjacent car parks.

After parking we walked towards Booloumba Creek where a Kookaburra snatched up a frog and landed right in front of us with its catch.

Kookaburra with its catch.
We were looking at the front row of campsites when we noticed a male Paradise Riflebird eyeing off an immature staghorn fern. It quickly lifted the base of the fern away from the tree with its very long beak and ate the snacks it found there.

Paradise Riflebird, male.
Booloumba Camping Area 4
This is the only camping area for vans, camper trailers and large groups. However, bear in mind that the vehicles need to be 4WD's towing high clearance off-road vans and trailers to ford the three creek crossings to access the campground. The campground is a large sloping grassy area with only a few flat spots. This is the only campground not beside the creek as it is on the other side of the access road, roughly opposite Camping Area 3.

Booloumba Camping Area 4, amenities block on the left.

Details for Booloumba, Conondale National Park:

Where: Booloumba is about a two hour drive north-west of Brisbane, via Maleny. The turn-off from the Maleny-Kenilworth Road onto Booloumba Creek Road is about 13 km past Conondale. 
Access: All the National Park roads are gravel and are only suitable for high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Similarities for Camping Areas 1,3 and 4:
Fees: $5.95 per person, children under 5 years are free. There is a Family Rate of $23.80 for 1 to 2 adults with children under the age of 18, with a maximum of 8 people in total. 
Bookings: Phone 13 74 68 or online at There is no mobile phone reception. There is a pay phone at Camping Area 1.
Facilities: Non-drinking water, toilets, fire rings, BYO wood. No bins. No phone reception.
Prohibitions: No generators, no domestic animals.

Differences between Camping Areas 1, 3 and 4:
Type of Camping: 1 and 3 are for tent camping. Area 4 is for tent and group camping as well as 4WD vans and trailers.
Facilities: Camping Area 1 has cold showers, a pay phone, 24 numbered sites and two water crossings to access. Camping Area 3 has 20 sites, 3 water crossings to access and the best access to walks. Camping Areas 1 and 3 are for tents only and have dirt tent pads and the individual car parks are in front of bollards; both are near Booloumba Creek. Camping Area 4 is an open grass area with parking beside your tent or rig; suitable for 4WD's towing off-road vans or trailers and is the only group camping area. 

Day Use Area 2:
Type of Access: 4WD, high clearance vehicle.
Number of Creek Crossings to access: 3
Facilities: BBQ's, picnic tables, non-drinking water, toilets and good access to the walks.
Prohibitions: No domestic animals.

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