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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lake Cressbrook, QLD.

View of Lake Cressbrook from our campsite.
We have been to Cressbrook Dam before but we have never camped there. We were keen to camp there because on our previous visit we only had time to partly do one of the walks and we were impressed with the amount of wildlife we saw in such a short time. There used to be a fee to pay to enter the Lake Cressbrook area but that is no longer the case.

There are about 30 bollarded tent camping sites and only 6 sites for caravans and camper trailers. Sites can not be booked and there is a self-registration booth at the entrance to the campground. It is very popular here on weekends and holidays. As well as an amenities block with flushing toilets and hot showers there is a large camp kitchen and a fish cleaning station in the campground.
Pets are not allowed in the Lake Cressbrook area or the campground. One of the reasons for this is the abundant wildlife to be found here. Someone tried to camp with a dog while we were there but the rangers were on to them straight away.

Kangaroos are plentiful around the lake.
The campground is a couple of kilometers away from the public boat ramp and has lake frontage with its own mooring area. Although boating and fishing is allowed on the lake, swimming is prohibited.

We thought the main walk started from the boat ramp area so we walked there from the campground and had a look at the boat ramp. There are excellent facilities here with two children's playgrounds, a beach volleyball court and many sheltered picnic tables. We tried to find a path from the playground area but there are signs prohibiting entry so we returned to the campground; altogether a walk of about 2 km. We were pleased to spot a koala in a tree along the walk.

Lake Cressbrook Boat Ramp

One of the playgrounds in the public area at Lake Cressbrook 

Fortunately, we met a couple of rangers in the campground who showed us the entry to the walking track next to the Self-registration booth. This turned out to be in the opposite direction from the boat ramp and is a circuit of about 5.5 km with great views of the lake. About half way around there is even a bush toilet which could be a contender for best "Loo with a View". 

How's that for a Loo with a View?
Black-fronted Dotterel
Eastern Osprey

Details for Lake Cressbrook Campground:
Where: 142 km (less than 2 hours) north-west of Brisbane.
Facilities: All sites are unpowered. 30 tent campsites (no camping beside your vehicle due to bollards). 6 caravan or camper trailer sites (the entry to 4 of these sites could be a challenge for some caravans). Fire places (BYO wood), water taps, flush toilets, hot showers, camp kitchen comprising covered area with several tables and gas BBQ's, industrial bins near entrance, fish cleaning station, boat mooring area. Boat ramp and playgrounds about 2 km away.
Fees and Bookings: $8 per adult per night, $32 family of 2 adults and dependents. Self-registration on arrival. No bookings. Maximum stay 14 nights. 
Prohibitions: Do not collect firewood. No generators. No pets (strictly enforced). No swimming in lake. No fish cleaning on or around the lake.
Of Interest: Lots of wildlife. Boating permitted. Fishing allowed with a permit.

Wildlife List: Koala, Grey Kangaroo.
Bird List: Whistling Kite, Eastern Osprey, Grey Butcherbird, Galah, Pied Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Wood Duck, Australasian Grebe, Peaceful Dove, Variegated Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, White-faced Heron, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Laughing Kookaburra, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Masked Lapwing, Noisy Miner, Australian Pelican, Pheasant Coucal, Crested Pigeon, Pale-headed Rosella, Grey Shrike-thrush, Welcome Swallow, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Black-fronted Dotterel, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crows Nest Falls Campground, Crows Nest National Park, QLD.

We drove to Crows Nest Falls Campground from The Woolshed at Jondaryan. The campground sites are quite heavily shaded which would normally be no problem for us but when we arrived we discovered that we had a problem with our solar storage so we decided not to camp here and moved on to the next place on our itinerary. We have camped at Crows Nest National Park several times and I have written blogs about it here. There didn't seem to be many changes except that there are now shower bags in the shower cubicles. Unfortunately, the shower bags seem to get stolen from time to time so it is hit and miss as to whether they will be there at any given time. 

The photo below shows sites 11 and 10 with the amenities block in the background.

One interesting feature at the campground is that although most sites can be booked online, there are a few sites available for self-register on arrival (except peak times such as school holidays). We have always received Telstra phone reception at the campground so, at quiet times, we have had no problem booking a site on arrival. The campground was deserted when we were there this time.

Registration booth at Crows Nest National Park.
Details for Crows Nest Falls Campground, Crows Nest National Park, QLD:
Where: Off Three Mile Road, Crows NestAbout 160 km, 2 hours, north-west of Brisbane. Sealed roads until a short entrance track.
Fees and Booking: Standard Queensland National Park Fees: $6.15 per adult per night. Some sites are only available online. A few sites are available for self-registration but not during peak times.
Facilities: 13 individual sites, pit toilets, donkey (boil your own) shower, fire rings (BYO wood), non-drinking water, walks, we had Telstra phone reception.
Prohibitions: No generators, no pets. Don't collect wood from the national park.
Caution: The campground is listed as suitable for all rig types but be aware that there are swales (humps) on the entry road that may scrape a low slung vehicle.
Of interest: Scenery, Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Woolshed at Jondaryan, QLD.

The Woolshed at Jondaryan
I know it isn't a national park but we were driving past so we decided to spend a night at The Woolshed at Jondaryan. There is a day entry fee to look at the museum or you can stay the night and the accommodation cost includes entry. There is a great variety of accomodation from self-contained cottages, rustic cabins, shearers quarters, caravan park and campground.

Imagine staying the night in this cute cottage.
We chose the unpowered campground down the back paddock next to Oakey Creek. It was very relaxing and we didn't mind the long walk to the amenities which are in the caravan park section. Entry for the two of us would have been $20 so our campsite fee of $23.50 meant we were effectively only paying $3.50 to spend as much time as we liked wandering around the grounds looking at the woolshed, a collection of historical buildings and several sheds of old machinery and tools, bargain! 

Our campsite next to Oakey Creek

View of Oakey Creek from our campsite.
We shared our campground with a few sheep and three alpacas peacefully grazing nearby.

There were a variety of parrots and a couple of birds of prey about so we didn't miss out on our favourite pastime observing wildlife. 
Red-winged Parrot, Nankeen Kestrel, female and male Red-rumped Parrots.
While wandering along the creek bank we heard a loud sucking sound which turned out to be an enormous carp patrolling the creek bank.

The caravan park section has powered sites and amenities with hot showers and laundry facilities. The camp kitchen has an open fire pit which has been designed for use even when there is a fire ban. Just perfect for happy hour and winter nights.

Caravan Park at The Woolshed at Jondaryan
Camp kitchen with indoor fire place.
The Woolshed at Jondaryan is a popular place for weddings. I'm sure all the historical buildings and equipment make for lovely wedding photos. Not to mention the bridal party gets to arrive in a horse drawn dray. There is also a chapel and newly constructed marquee for functions.

Wedding reception set up inside The Woolshed at Jondaryan

Here's a few more photos from our stay:

Pens in The Woolshed
A genuine Furphy!
The Smithy
Clydesdale outside The Woolshed 
The Woolshed Cafe

Details for The Woolshed at Jondaryan:
Where: 264 Jondaryan-Evanslea Road, Jondaryan QLD 4403. 178 km, 2 hours 18 minutes, west of Brisbane via Toowoomba. Turn south at Jondaryan town and it is 4 km to the Woolshed.
Information:  07 4692 2229
Accommodation: Self-contained cottages, rustic cabins, shearers quarters $55 - $155 per night. Caravan Park: $28.50 powered: toilets, hot showers, laundry and camp kitchen with open fire. Campground beside Oakey Creek: fires (if no fire bans) and dogs allowed, unpowered $22.50.
Cautions: Large wedding groups put pressure on the amenities and can be noisy late at night.
Facilities: Caters for weddings. Large Marquee for functions. Chapel.The Woolshed CafĂ© Wed – Sunday 8.00 am – 4.00 pm. Damper Hut Monday and Tuesday 9.00 am – 2.00 pm.
Museum Admission: Adults $10, Concession $8.00, Children Ages 5 -15 $5.00, Children under 5 free. Locals within 100 km are free. There are special theme days and historical enactment weekends several times a year.

Domestic Animals: Sheep, Alpaca, Clydesdale horses, working dogs.
Bird List: Black Kite, Nankeen Kestrel, Grey Butcherbird, Cockatiel, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Corella, Galah, Pied Cormorant, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Australian Wood Duck, Superb Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, White-necked Heron, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Laughing Kookaburra, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Noisy Miner, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Common Myna, Red-winged Parrot, Red-rumped Parrot, Crested Pigeon, Willie Wagtail.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lake Broadwater Conservation Park, QLD.

Lake Broadwater
We moved the short distance from Wilga Bush Camping Area to the Lake Broadwater Recreation Area Campground in Lake Broadwater Conservation Park. We set up further away from the amenities and overlooking the lake. There was quite a strong wind coming off the lake but we weren't complaining as we no longer had those pesky flies we encountered at Wilga Bush Campground. We woke up to fabulous sunrise views in the mornings.

Sunrise from our campsite at Lake Broadwater
There were large flocks of Little Corellas in the campground and a few Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.
Little Corellas and a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
There is an easy bushwalk from the recreation area campground to Wilga Bush Camp. I think it is approximately 4 km return. 

Walking trail between the two campgrounds at Lake Broadwater.
We saw a great variety of birds on the walk. A Pallid Cuckoo was of particular interest to us as we have never seen one before.

Pallid Cuckoo
Whistling Kite, White-throated Gerygone and Red-winged Parrots.
We were excited to see a Yellow-spotted Monitor. These goannas are distinctly different from the more common Lace Monitors and they can be confused with sand goannas. Update: We sent our photos to the QLD Museum for confirmation however, after five weeks they had not replied. I have since sent the photos to Gunther Schmida who has confirmed that this is a Yellow-spotted Monitor (sometimes known as an Argus Monitor) Varanus panoptes

Yellow-spotted Monitor Varanus panoptes
In the opposite direction from the recreation area there is an elevated bird hide overlooking “The Neck” of the lake. There weren’t many birds on the lake while we were there; mostly Eurasian Coots.

Bird Hide at Lake Broadwater

View from the bird hide.
There is a self-drive track further along from the bird hide. Be warned, the loop section of the track requires a high clearance vehicle.

Varied Eggfly, female, Hypolimnas bolina
We did quite a bit of walking in the Conservation Park and were rewarded with close up views of a large and healthy looking Shingleback.

Shingleback Tiliqua rugosa aspera

Details for Lake Broadwater Recreation Area Campground in Lake Broadwater Conservation Park, QLD:
Facilities: Two amenities blocks with flush toilets (one with hot showers, one with cold showers), bins, tank water, variable phone reception, TV reception, gas BBQ’s, fireplaces, picnic shelters and tables.
Campsites: Large campground that is popular even during the week. Grassy areas with some trees. No defined sites. No power.
Fees: $6 per adult, self-register, no bookings.

Wildlife List: Grey Kangaroo, Yellow-spotted Monitor Varanus panoptes, Shingleback Tiliqua rugosa aspera, Dwarf Tree Frog
Butterflies: Orchard Swallowtail, Caper White, Meadow Argus, Varied Eggfly and some Yellows.
Birdlist: Apostlebird, Grey-crowned Babbler, Whistling Kite, Pied Butcherbird, Cockatiel, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Corella, Galah, Eurasian Coot, Pallid Cuckoo, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Grey Teal, Peaceful Dove, Variegated Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, Double-barred Finch, Restless Flycatcher, Little Friarbird, White-throated Gerygone, White-necked Heron, White-faced Heron, Scarlet Honeyeater, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Noisy Miner, Australian King Parrot, Red-winged Parrot, Crested Pigeon, Grey Shrike-thrush, Silvereye, House Sparrow, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Wilga Bush Camping Area, Lake Broadwater, QLD.

Picnic Shelter, Wilga Bush Camping Area
Self-registration and the amenities (Bush Toilet)
Exiting through the narrow entry to Wilga Bush Camping Area.
Wilga Bush Camping Area is a basic National Park campground set in dry bushland away from the lake.There were a surprising number of butterflies, mostly Caper Whites, and an annoying number of flies in the campground. 

Details for Wilga Bush Camping Area, Lake Broadwater, QLD:

Where: Lake Broadwater Conservation Park, 237 km west of Brisbane (about 3 hours). 28 km south-west of Dalby along the Moonie Highway.
Fees: $6 per Adult. Self-register on arrival. No bookings. Maximum stay 21 nights.
Campsites: 10 individual sites and 6 fire places.
Camping Type: Tents, suitable most rigs. Big rigs may struggle to negotiate the narrow entry and there are overhanging bushes in the campground.
Facilities: Pit Toilet, Fire places, Picnic Shelter, Tables, Tank Water, Walking Track.
Prohibitions: No pets. Do not collect fire wood.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Swinging Bridge Park, Cooyar QLD.

Barn Owl
We have visited Swinging Bridge Park a couple of times while driving past but this time we decided to stay the night as the park has resident Barn Owls and sometimes platypus can be spotted as well. We were really happy with our decision because we did see a Barn Owl at night as well as several Brush Tailed Possums.

Brush Tailed Possum
We saw platypus in the afternoon and in the morning. They were shy compared to the ones at Maleny but we managed a quick photo of one peeking out of Cooyar Creek.

The camping area is pleasant especially if you are self-contained but there is a toilet block not too far away in Memorial Park.

Swinging Bridge Park Campground
Memorial Park, Cooyar.
The swinging bridge is a pedestrian bridge and makes for a great spot to do a bit of platypus watching.

The Swinging Bridge, Cooyar
There are a surprising number of birds to be seen in a short walk around Cooyar.

Red-backed Fairy-wren
The Cooyar Hotel, established in 1903, is close to the Swinging Bridge Park and serves meals. Every second Saturday of the month there is live music and Pig on the Spit. You can also get a hot shower at the Hotel for $3.

Cooyar Hotel
Details for Swinging Bridge Park Campground:

Where: Swinging Bridge Park, off Fergus Road, Cooyar. Between Crows Nest and Yarraman on the New England Highway. Or about 195 km north-west (2 and a half hours) from Brisbane. 
Access: Suitable for tents and all rig types.
Fees: Free or $5 for power (pay at the Cooyar Hotel), no bookings. $3 showers are available at the Hotel.
Facilities: Picnic shelter with BBQ and Water Tank. No toilets but there are toilets nearby in Memorial Park. Bins. No phone reception.
Pets allowed.

Brush-tailed Possum. Platypus. Micro Bats.
Butterflies: Lesser Wanderer, Glasswing, Common Crow.
Bird List:
Barn Owl, Apostlebird, Pied Butcherbird, Cicadabird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Bar-shouldered Dove, Variegated Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, Restless Flycatcher, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White Ibis, Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Masked Lapwing, House Sparrow, Double-barred Finch, Red-rumped Parrot, Crested Pigeon, Rose Robin,Grey Shrike-thrush, Welcome Swallow, Eastern Whipbird, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail.