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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Gympie Duck Pond and Chatsworth Park, QLD.

Lake Alford Park

The official name for The Gympie Duck Pond is actually Lake Alford Park and it can be found on the southern side of Gympie. At the main entrance, directly off the Bruce Highway, there is a Visitor Information Centre, amenities block, access to the "Duck Pond" and an amazing playground with a flying fox, sand and water play area, BBQ's, shade and more toilets. Since we don't travel with children these days we tend to enter at Nicholas Christopher Drive where there is usually room for RV parking and a few picnic tables beside the lake. However, parking is more of a challenge when the markets are held on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of each month. The Gympie Historical (Gold Mining) Museum can be accessed from here or from Brisbane Road. 

We often drop in on our way north or south on the Bruce Highway so I thought I'd put up a few photos we have taken in the last three years.

Dusky Moorhen
Dusky Moorhen, immature
Cattle Egret, breeding plumage
Pacific Black Duck
Last week on our way back from Brooyar State Forest we took a few more photos. There were lots of small birds flitting about the flowering mistletoe which was growing over the Paperbark and Callistemon trees near the picnic tables. We saw Scarlet Honeyeaters and Mistletoebirds but only managed a photo of a Little Friarbird.

Mistletoe smothering a Callistrmon tree
Little Friarbird
The black swans had two surviving adolescent young this trip but Mumma swan was having trouble letting go. Dad was supervising from a distance.

Chatsworth Park

Another place we often drop into for a toilet break on our travels north is Chatsworth Park; about 7 km north of Gympie. There are toilets, a playground and rubbish bins provided. It is a popular overnight destination for travelers that can get very busy. Being right next to the highway there is a constant drone of passing traffic but it is an otherwise pleasant area next to a lagoon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Glastonbury Creek Campground, Brooyar State Forest, QLD.

Glastonbury Creek Campground in Brooyar State Forest is about 21 km north-west of Gympie. Turn left into Petersen Road at Bells Bridge and follow the signs to the campground. The entrance road is unsealed with some light corrugations. National Park fees need to be payed online or by phone on 13 74 68 before arrival. The campground is an open grassy area with shade trees. There is a long drop toilet and fire rings and taps (non drinking water) are scattered throughout the grounds. Dogs are allowed but generators are prohibited.
Glastonbury Creek Campground
Previously, we stopped at Glastonbury Creek Campground in late October and the Black Bean and Silky Oak trees had started to flower which attracted large numbers of rainbow Lorikeets.

Glastonbury Creek is fenced off from the camp ground but there is an access point through the Day Use Area. However, on this weeks visit we found that the tables had been removed from the Day Use Area and both walks from the campground were closed due to logging operations. It might be a good idea to phone ahead if you are planning a visit in the near future.

Information Board at the entrance to Glastonbury Campground. The turn-style on the left is the starting point for one of the two walks from the campground.
The Day Use Area looking very empty without tables and BBQ's.
The walking trail from the Day Use Area
On our last visit we were just about to cross Glastonbury Creek when we decided to wait for this snake to glide by first.
Abseiling is a popular activity in Brooyar State Forest. Point Pure Lookout is a short drive from the campground. The access road to the lookout is only suitable for high clearance vans and trailers. There is a pleasant 300 m return walk to the lookout from the car park. 

Road to Point Pure Car Park
The walk to Point Pure Lookout
Point Pure Lookout
The sandstone abseiling cliffs at Point Pure
Anybody feel like an abseil?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ewen Maddock Dam, Sunshine Coast, QLD.

View of Glass House Mountains over Ewen Maddock Dam
Ewen Maddock Dam is a 16 km drive west of Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast or a 12 km drive north of Australia Zoo. Access is limited to daylight hours from 6 am to 6 pm, however, Seqwater is reviewing access hours so these might change in the future. Swimming is permitted in a designated area, however, keep in mind that there are no lifeguards present. Boating is limited to paddle craft and there is a small launching ramp near the main car park. No camping is allowed but dogs are permitted on a leash. There are dedicated walking only trails and several kilometers of multi-use trails for walkers, mountain bikes and horses. Unfortunately it is not possible to walk right around the lake as there are no trails on the eastern side and there is no public access to the dam wall. The dam contains bony bream and is stocked with bass, silver perch, golden perch and southern saratoga. Fishing permits are not required to fish in the lake. We have never fished here but we have walked all the trails and enjoyed a few picnics.

View of the dam wall from the picnic area.
Goanna in the picnic area.
Rainbow Lorikeets in the picnic area.

 Maddock Park, located off the Mooloolah Connection Road, is a good place to start the trails and access the short boardwalk over the lake edge. There is a parking area, toilets, picnic shelters and BBQ's. Access to a more remote area of trails is from the unsealed Ford Road.
Launching ramp for paddle craft.
Boardwalk at Ewen Madock Dam.
Once past the boardwalk there is a nice section of forest with plenty of woodland birds.

White-throated Treecreeper, female
Red-browed Finch
Brown Thornbill
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
White-browed Scrubwrens
We often walk to a curved causeway before retracing our steps back to the car park. This section of the walk is good for viewing water birds. 

Australasian Grebe
Intermediate Egret
Darter, male.
Some birds just like to enjoy both habitats.

Variegated Fairy-wren
Willie Wagtail

Friday, August 7, 2015

Amamoor State Forest, QLD. Amamoor Creek Camping Area.

Amamoor State Forest is about 170 km north of Brisbane. The road in from Amamoor is suitable for 2WD vehicles towing caravans, however, flooded creek crossings can cause the road to be closed after heavy rain. There are two camping areas: The Cedar Grove Camping Area and, further along, the Amamoor Creek Camping Area. Both campgrounds have large grassy areas, fire rings and nonpotable water. The main difference is that dogs are allowed at the Amamoor Creek Camping Area but not at the Cedar Grove Camping Area. Generators are not permitted in either camping area. National Park fees apply and must be payed online before arrival. 

The Gympie Muster is held every year, at the end of August, at the Amamoor Creek Camping Area. The campground is open all year round but bookings for the Muster are made through the Muster website. We camped there in July 2013 and were fascinated to see all the small tents that people had erected, many weeks in advance, to stake their claims near the Muster stage.There are several overflow camping areas that are used during the Muster.

All staked out for the Gympie Muster.
Facilities at Amamoor Creek Camping Area.
Overflow camping areas for the Gympie Muster
The Gympie Muster Stage

Wildlife is plentiful in the camping area. Noisy miners, Bell Miners (Bellbirds) and Butcherbirds are common. We found that our every move was being closely observed by several Kookaburras. We also saw goannas, ducks and Evening Brown butterflys in the campground.

Kookaburras checking us out.
Lace Monitor (goanna).
Australian Wood Ducks, female (L) and male (R).

We walked around exploring the creeks where we enjoyed watching a gorgeous Azure Kingfisher darting in and out of the water for a feed.

Amamoor Creek
Azure Kingfisher

Cedar grove camping area was closed for maintenance when we were there but we are planning on going there for a shake down camping trip when we get our new Kimberley Karavan. The Cedar Grove Hiking Trail, a 4.6 km return, Class 4 walk starts and finishes in the campground. 

The Amama Day Use Area is a great spot to stop for a picnic on the way to the campgrounds. Here you can enjoy a pleasant short walk along Amamoor Creek and stop for a while at the Platypus Viewing Platform.