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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mapleton Falls National Park, QLD.

Mapleton Falls
Adjacent to the car park, there is a large lookout platform that is wheelchair accessible. The lookout has great views over Obi Obi Valley. However, the view of Mapleton Falls is limited.

Lookout Platform 
View over Obi Obi Valley
The picnic area is a short walk from the car park. Fortunately, we were able to take cover under a shelter shed as it poured with rain while we were there. 

Mapleton Falls Picnic Area
Several Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos were active in the trees behind our picnic shelter.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
Wompoo Circuit; Grade 2, 1.3 km.
Despite the rain we decided to walk the Woompoo Circuit.

Strangler Fig
At the Peregrine Lookout there are good views but it was raining too heavy for me to risk my camera gear.

We did manage to photograph a few birds and we saw three types of robin.

Dusky Honeyeater
Pale-yellow Robin
New Holland Honeyeater

Details for Mapleton Falls National Park, QLD:
Where: Sunshine Coast hinterland. 120 km, 1 hour 40 minutes, north of Brisbane.
Access:  Sealed Roads. The car park is quite small and tight. We had difficulty parking our ute as the car parks were short. Caution: Don't drive the Obi Obi Road from Kenilworth to Maleny if towing or in a large vehicle as on the section of Obi Obi Road south-west of Mapleton Falls Road caravans and large vehicles are not permitted.
Facilities: Wheelchair accessible lookout and toilets from car park. Information shelter. Picnic area 50 meters from the car park: Tables, Shelter Shed.
No Camping.
Prohibitions: No domestic animals.

Bird List: Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Dusky Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow Robin, Pale-yellow Robin, Rose Robin.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kondalilla Falls, Kondalilla National Park, QLD.

As there had been some heavy rain in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland we decided to go to Kondalilla National Park to see Kondalilla Falls. 

Kondalilla Picnic Area:
The walks start from the picnic area which is fifty meters downhill from the car park.

Part of the Kondalilla Picnic Area
Brown Cuckoo Dove
The Kondalilla Falls walk includes the Picnic Creek Circuit and passes the Rock Pools.

Picnic Creek Circuit: 1.7 km, Grade 2.

Picnic Creek Falls
Lookout on the Picnic Creek Circuit

Rock Pools: 2.4 km return. Grade 3.

Rock Pools is a popular swimming area.

Kondalilla Falls Circuit: 4.7 km. Grade 3:

The walk loops around the top of the falls before descending steeply to the bottom of the falls via more than 300 stairs.

Top of Kondalilla Falls
View from the top of Kondalilla Falls
As it was wet, we had to take care on the steep muddy descent but it was great to see so much water flowing over the falls.

Kondalilla Falls

Sunshine Coast Hinterland Walk: 58 km. Grade 4.
Over the years we have done most of the walk by breaking it up into small sections. There are quite a few steep sections and a number of links walking on sealed paths through hinterland village areas but it is a beautiful area well worth exploring.

Details for Kondillia National Park:

Where: In the Sunshine Coast hinterland. 100 km, 1 and a half hours, north of Brisbane.
Access: Sealed Roads.
Facilities: Large car park at the end of Kondililla Falls Road. The picnic area is 50 m downhill from the car park. Tables, shelter sheds, toilets, BBQ's, information, walks.
Prohibitions: No pets.
Camping: Flaxton Walkers Camp, in the northern section, is provided for walkers doing the 58 km Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. Not accessible by vehicle.

Bird List: Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Pied Currawong, Lewin's Honeyeater, Australian Magpie, Noisy Miner, White-browed Scrubwren. Butterflies: Blue Tigers.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cunningham Highway, Main Range National Park, QLD.

Picnic area on the Cunningham Highway.
We often stop at rest area on the western end of Cunningham's Gap. We haven't been able to find out the name of this rest area so we refer to it as Bellbird Park. When driving south, the turn into the rest area is immediately after the end of a passing bay and is a sharp narrow entry. We feel it is quite a dangerous turnoff so we only decide to go in if there are no vehicles immediately behind us. I wouldn't recommend the access at any time for a caravan. 

Even the national park map doesn't name the rest area.
We love the rest area because it is such a beautiful green space alive with the ping ping call of bellbirds.

Bell Minor (Bellbird)
Other birds we typically see there are Satin Bowerbirds and Eastern Yellow Robins. This trip the Bowerbirds were looking very scruffy.

Satin Bowerbird
Satin Bowerbird
The Box Forest Walking Track runs between here and the Crest Car Park further to the east along Cunningham Highway. It is a pleasant green rainforest walk; 5 km return. On this trip, we just crossed the pretty creek near the rest area and came back again. Later we noticed that on that short walk a leech managed to hitch a ride.

The Box Forest Walk
Fungi on the Box Forest Walk
The rest area has two areas. There is a toilet block and an undercover picnic shelter in the second area.

Second car park area with toilets and information shelter.
Sheltered picnic area.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Rockface Walk and the Little Bald Rock Walk, Bald Rock National Park, NSW.

The Rockface Walk:

The Rockface Walk
When we were here a few weeks ago we decided not to climb Bald Rock via The Rockface Walk due to wet conditions. We came back for a short stay in the campground and the first thing we did after putting up the tent was head up the rock face. It is a simple matter of walking up the granite rock by following the white dots. This route is a much shorter trip to the top than the alternative Bungoona Walk and is not overly difficult, other than requiring some fitness and a head for heights.

At the top of The Rockface Walk

Little Bald Rock Walk: Grade 3, 7.6 km return.
The next morning we set of from the Bald Rock Picnic Area to Little Bald Rock. I often see this walk listed as 6.5 km return but the sign in the picnic area states it is 3.8 km one way and it did feel like an eight kilometer walk to us. Much of the walk is part of the Carroll's Creek Walk and the Border Walk. The walking track is quite pleasant and easy although a bit of scrambling up granite rocks is required to reach the top of Little Bald Rock.

There were flannel flowers and a few different types of fungi alongside the track. 

There were tiny skinks everywhere in the leaf litter.

On our previous trip we saw a lot of male Common Brown Butterflies and on this walk we saw lots of female butterflies including Bank's Brown and Black Jezebel as well as Common Browns.

Common Brown Butterfly, female.
Bank's Brown Butterfly, female.
At first we walked right past Little Bald Rock and continued on Carroll's Creek Walk before we realised our mistake and back tracked. 

Approaching Little Bald Rock. It's hidden behind the trees.
The entry to climbing Little Bald Rock is not very obvious but we managed to find a way and clambered to the top where we were met with beautiful views of Bald Rock in one direction and vast views over Girraween National Park in Queensland in the other direction.

Standing on Little Bald Rock looking at Bald Rock.
Back at the campsite, a Red-necked Wallaby came for a visit and White-faced Scrubwrens foraged in the gravel. Thankfully, the Kookaburras kept their distance this time but we were very careful to cover our food at all times.

Red-necked Wallaby in the campground.
White-browed Scrubwren.

Wildlife List: Red-necked Wallaby, Swamp Wallaby. Botany Bay Weevil. Black Jezebel Butterfly. Bank's Brown Butterfly, Lots of Common Brown Butterflies. Very small brown skinks. Birds: Satin Bowerbird, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Laughing Kookaburra, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Common Bronzewing, Eastern Yellow Robin, Crimson Rosella, White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Thornbill, Striated Thornbill, White-throated Treecreeper, Weebill, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail. Heard: Southern Boobook, Tawny Frogmouth.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mystery Face Walk and Thunderbolt's Lookout, Torrington State Conservation Area, NSW.

Mystery Face
Mystery Face Walking Track and Thunderbolt's Lookout were the highlight of our trip to Torrington State Conservation Area.

Mystery Face Walking Track: Grade 3, 2.6 km loop.
Take the signed turnoff from Silent Grove Road to the parking area for this walk. The road in is unsealed but was in good condition.

We really enjoyed this easy walk suitable for the whole family. There seemed to be an amazing rock formation around every corner. We did the loop clock-wise and took the side track to Westminster Rocks. Our first encounter was with The Brain. We continued on and as we passed some large granite rocks Mystery Rock suddenly came into view.

The Brain
I think these look like brains too.
The Sphinx?
Climb through Westminster Rocks
View from Westminster Rocks
We saw a number of birds along the walk, including three different types of Thornbills: Striated, Brown and Buff-rumped.

Striated Thornbill
There were lots of Copper-tailed Skinks out in the sun on the granite rocks.

Copper-tailed Skink

Thunderbolt's Lookout Walking Track: Grade 3, 2 km return.
This walk starts at Nomads Picnic Area. The entry to the picnic area is on the corner of Bates Road and Emmaville Road at Torrington. 

Nomads Picnic Area
Although both Mystery Face Walking Track and Thunderbolts Lookout Walking Track are listed as Grade 3 walks they require completely different levels of ability. The last 200 meters of Thunderbolt's Lookout Walking Track is mostly steps and culminates in a steep 5 meter ladder. Don't be deterred as the view from the lookout is breathtaking. 

The last 200 meters is mostly steps:

More Steps

The ladder.
The view
Looking back down the ladder
As always, I find getting back down the hard part but the ladder is very well designed and I got down easily. 

We had a lovely picnic in Nomads Picnic Area. While we were there, several people arrived on day trips only to discover that they couldn't go on the walks because they had their dogs with them. Pets are not allowed on any of the walks in the conservation area.

Wildlife List for Torrington Conservation Area: Euro, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Eastern Wallaroo, Copper-tailed Skinks, Eastern Water Skinks. Birds: Pied Currawong, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Striped Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow Robin, Crimson Rosella, White-browed Scrubwren, Eastern Spinebill, Brown Thornbill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Striated Thornbill, White-throated Treecreeper, Weebill, Willie Wagtail, Golden Whistler.