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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lamington National Park, QLD. Walks and Wildlife: Revisit.

On our recent camping trip to the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park there had been heavy rain in the days prior to our arrival. We had intended doing half of the Border Track (10.7 km return from the halfway point) but we found the muddy conditions very heavy and slow going so we changed tactics, deciding to do shorter forays while keeping an eye out for local birds and wildlife. 

As always there were plenty of birds to be seen in the trees around the O'Reilly's birdfeeding area. Here we saw King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Red-browed Finch and White-throated Scrubwren. There were Yellow-throated Scrubwrens, Lewins and Satin Bowerbirds in the Day Use Area. The Rainforest Walk starts near here and is a pleasant short walk, 1.4 km return.
Crimson Rosella and King Parrot, female
The Rainforest Walk.
We had excellent views of Logrunner, Bassian Thrush and Large-billed Scrubwrens along the first section of the Border Track.

Logrunner, female
Bassian Thrush
Large-billed Scrubwren
Albert's Lyrebird were present and we enjoyed watching them scratching and feeding in the undergrowth. We stood very still and one pair came closer and closer to us until they were right in front of us seemingly oblivious to our presence looming over them.

Albert's Lyrebirds
Red-necked Pademelons are common in the campground but along the track it is possible to spot Red-legged Pademelons in the forest undergrowth. They can be hard to get a full photo of as they seem shyer than the Red-necked Pademelons and they tend to move away when they notice you looking at them. We are pretty chuffed to have managed one photo of a Red-legged Pademelon out in the open.

Red-legged Pademelon
On another morning we walked to Picnic Rock to have a picnic breakfast. We love picnics and just can't resist such an enticingly named spot.

Picnic Rock
We have walked the Moran's Falls track before (4.4 km return, Class 3). One afternoon as the sun was setting we did it again even though the trail goes down to the lookout and what goes down must go up on the return.

Moran's Fall Lookout
View from Moran's Fall Lookout at Sunset
Moran's Falls
Last time we were here the Python Rock Track (3.1 km return, Class 3) was closed for maintenance so it was one of our goals for this trip. This trail has a gentle decent which is easier on the return than the Moran's Fall Track. We thoroughly enjoyed walking through the forest to the beautiful vistas from the lookout. Here we discovered why the track was closed on our last visit when we arrived at the newly constructed lookout platform. The helpful sign at the lookout named all the mountains and rock formations that could be viewed from here but strangely none of them was named Python Rock. No doubt one of these natural landforms is locally known as Python Rock and we had fun guessing which one. Moran's Falls can also be seen in the distance from the Python Rock track.

Strangler Fig on Python Rock Track
Fungi on Python Rock Track
Grass trees, Zanthorrhoea, on the Python Rock Track
Python Rock Lookout
Python Rock Lookout
Which one is Python Rock?
Moran's Falls
We walked from the campground to the trailhead for the Moran's Falls and Python Rock tracks. This involves carefully sharing the narrow road with traffic. However, while we were there a walking path was being constructed from O'Reilly's, through the top of the campground, all the way to the trailhead. It is expected to be completed in late September 2015 and will make this a safer and more pleasant walk.

The road from the trailhead back to the campground.
We also walked along part of Duck Creek Road while we were here. Duck Creek Road is a popular 4WD road with beautiful views and has areas of interest for birders. Unfortunately my camera stopped working a couple of hundred meters in as the SD card was full.

Our last post covered the campground and our previous post contains more information about Lamington National Park.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lamington National Park, QLD. Camping and Accomadation. Green Mountains/ O'Reilly's Section: Revisit.

While we are waiting for the delivery of our new Kimberley Karavan we decided to go winter camping again in the Green Mountain section of Lamington National Park. Lamington National Park has beautiful rainforest walking trails with numerous waterfalls and is a top birding spot where it is common to see Albert's Lyrebirds, stunning black and gold Regent Bowerbirds, Satin Bowerbirds, Logrunners, King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas. Red-necked Pademelons graze on any available grass and the shyer Red-legged Pademelons can be seen foraging in the rainforest.

Albert's Lyrebird
Red-necked Pademelon

We camped in our tent at the Green Mountains campground. National Park fees apply and it is necessary to book online or by phone. We had good Telstra phone reception at the campground. Tent sites are numbered gravel platforms in a grassy area enclosed by bollards; with parking on the perimeter. There are a few sites designated for small motorhomes. There is also a walk-in section for those doing the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. Unfortunately, there are no sites for caravans or camper trailers. Previously it was possible to put a trailer or large motorhome on Site 1 or 2 but there is currently work in progress to construct a walking path between O'Reilly's and the trail-head for Moran's Falls and Python Rock and this path is being constructed right through the top of Sites 1 and 2. Many people drive up the long, steep, narrow and windy road to the campground from Canungra only to discover that there is no site suitable for their rig. Sharp Park and the Canungra Showgrounds are popular alternatives.
Our tent at Green Mountain Campground
The campsites are quite close together which gets a little cosy in peak times. There are several taps scattered through the campground and large industrial bins for rubbish. There are no BBQ's or camp kitchen and dogs and fires are not allowed. There are toilets and hot gas showers. The day use area, a short distance away, has toilets, BBQ's and picnic tables. The campground is centrally located for the various hiking trails. 

Satin Bowerbird nest in the Day Use Area
Wildlife frequent the grounds both day and night. Every afternoon we saw Topknot Pigeons flying overhead. Early in the morning we saw Wonga Pigeons wandering around. Satin Bowerbirds, Eastern Yellow Robins, Yellow-throated Scrubwrens and Bush Turkeys were common visitors. Other birds we saw in the campground were Crimson Rosellas, Grey Shrike-thrush, White-browed Scrubwrens,Variegated Fairy-wrens, Large-billed Scrubwrens, Lewins and Currawongs. Regent Bowerbirds are not sighted as often in the winter but we did see one juvenile.

Satin Bowerbird, male
Yellow-throated and White-browed Scrubwrens
Large-billed Scrubwren and Eastern Yellow Robin
Grey Shrike-thrush and Crimson Rosella

One afternoon we were walking back to the campground from O'Reilly's when we were treated to an interesting display by a male Logrunner who appeared to be preoccupied with impressing a lady friend. 

Logrunner (spine-tailed), male
One night we were sitting in front of our tent in the dark when something scurried right up to us. It was a Long-nosed Bandicoot which was so close that we barely managed to photograph it. Unfortunately we startled it because the flash went off (usually we have the flash turned off and use a red torch to view wildlife at night).

Long-nosed Bandicoot

It is a short walk from the campground to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat which attracts people from all around the world. Luxury accommodation is also available at the Lost World Spa. The Tree Top walk and heritage garden are open to campers from the campground for free but a donation for upkeep is appreciated. Other activities at O'Reilly's include bird feeding, flying fox, glow worm tour, bird guides, various guided tours, Segway hire and a Birds of Prey Show. O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Winery is on the road from Canungra to O'Reilly's and offers wine tastings, Devonshire teas, dining and functions.

Stinson Memorial at O'Reilly's

Luke O'Reilly's Farm
Perhaps less well known is Luke O'Reilly's Farm which offers more rustic accommodation in the form of a house for 8 people, a house for 6 people and a hut for 2 people; all at modest prices. Guests get to enjoy extensive views, birdlife and private walking trails. A 4WD is recommended to access the 500m driveway. 
Luke O'Reilly's Farm
The farm adjoins Duck Creek Road which is a popular 4WD route through Kerry when conditions permit.

Duck Creek Road

We will cover the walking trails in the next blog. More details about Lamington National Park can be found on our previous blog :