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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Another Camping Trip to Charlie Moreland Campground, Imbil State Forest, QLD.

After our camping trip to Charlie Moreland and our visit to Booloumba we went home to attend to a few things then we returned to Charlie Moreland for two nights to show this wonderful place to some friends of ours. 

We saw a female and a male Paradise Riflebird in the morning and a female in the afternoon. They were feeding on the fruit of the Celerywood tree Polyscias elegans. The fruit of Celerywood is eaten by many birds and the seed is spread from the droppings of Pied Currawongs. 

Male Riflebird feeding on the fruit of the Celerywood Tree.
Female Paradise Riflebird showing off her scalloped breast.
Female Riflebird feeding on Celerywood in the afternoon.
Lewin's Honeyeater. 
One of the two crossings on the Little Yabba Creek Circuit
Little Yabba Creek Circuit
There were quite a few Rainbow Bee-eaters passing through high up in the trees. Although not the best photos I'm rather amused by the bee-eater imitating a torpedo.
Rainbow Bee-eater
Back in the campground, this Kookaburra was keeping an eye on us while crunching its catch.

Bird List for this visit:  
Australian Brush Turkey, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Australian King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Azure Kingfisher, White-browed Scrubwren, Bell Miner, Noisy Miner, Lewin's Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush, Golden Whistler, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Paradise Riflebird, Torresian Crow.

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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Charlie Moreland, Imbil State Forest, QLD. Revisit.

The swimming hole in Little Yabba Creek at Charlie Moreland Campground.
One of our favourite campgrounds is Charlie Moreland near Kenilworth. I wrote a blog about our last visit in December here. It is always interesting to visit campgrounds at different times of the year as the experience vary quite a bit. In December the creek crossings for the Little Yabba Creek and Piccabeen circuits had a small amount of water flowing over the stepping stones and we seemed to be the only people doing the walks. This time the stepping stones were high and dry which made for an easy crossing. We didn't see or hear any Noisy Pittas though. We didn't see any Paradise Rifflebirds on this trip either. However, large numbers of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos made quite a spectacle every afternoon as they flew past and we enjoyed watching them use the horse troughs in the horse yards next to the campground.

Antics at the horse trough.
A dry crossing over Little Yabba Creek.
Some years ago (2011 I think) we did the walk to the Mount Allan Fire Tower. Our timing was unfortunate then because alongside most of the walk the forest had very recently been raised to the ground. We toiled up and up on our way to the tower with no shade and a bleak close-up view of the destruction. Mercifully, the tower is in Conondale National Park and we had some relief from the searing sun as we got closer to the tower. Although we don't have fond memories of the walk itself the fire tower is well worth the effort as it is open to the public and we enjoyed climbing it and having a picnic at the top with great views. On this trip we had a look at the start of the walk and discovered that new trees have been planted and they have grown quite quickly so we will probably do the walk on another visit but we will wait until the weather cools down a bit more.

Near the start of the Mount Allan Fire Tower Walk
I like to keep an eye out for edible plants in case I get lost one day. I do carry a personal locator beacon so I shouldn't go hungry for too long. "Wild Food Plants of Australia" by Tim Low is an excellent book on the subject and lists native ginger Alpinia coerulea as edible. There were a few last blue fruits on the native ginger along the Little Yabba Creek Circuit. I also noticed some watercress near the start of the Mount Allan Walk. 

Wild watercress.
Native Ginger Alpinia coerulea
When we were here in December the Blackbean trees (also known as Moreton Bay Chestnuts) were in flower and now the pods were dropping on the ground. The seeds are poisonous but they were once an important Aboriginal food, however, they required intense preparation over many days before they could be consumed.

Pods and seeds of the Blackbean  Castanospermum australe
There were lots of Goannas (Lace Monitors) in the campground by day and a few Red-necked Pademelons about, especially at night.

Lace Monitor Varanus varius
Red-necked Pademelon
As in December, Brown Cuckoo-Doves were busy feeding in the campground.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove
We noticed some interesting insects on a fence post. There were lots of Leafwing butterflies about and I spent ridiculous amounts of time trying to get a photo of one with its wings open, with limited success. They may have a carefully camouflaged exterior but when they fly they transform into a glowing orange beacon.

Australian Leafwing Butterfly Doleschallia bisaltide
When the rangers did some campground maintenance with Whipper-Snippers I went down to Little Yabba Creek and watched the dragonflies dart about.

Bird List for Charlie Moreland Campground on this trip: Australian Brush Turkey, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, Bell Miner, Noisy Miner, Logrunner, Eastern Whipbird, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush, Golden Whistler, Grey Fantail, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Red-browed Finch.

The Ridge Track, Goomburra Section, Main Range National Park, QLD.

The Ridge Track: Class 4, 5 km return.

The first section of the Ridge Track is very steep and contains sections of slippery shale. Nevertheless we couldn't resist doing the walk again as we have fond memories of encountering Albert's Lyrebirds about halfway along the track. This time we didn't see any Lyrebirds but we could hear them. There was plenty of fruit for the birds to eat so it wasn't surprising that we saw a nice variety of birds. We also saw quite a few butterflies. A feature of the walk this time were the large number of native Golden Everlasting flowers.

Bassian Thrush
Australian Logrunner
Bell Miner and Red-browed Finch
Piccabeen fruit and native figs.
Macleay's Swallowtail Graphium macleayanus
Orchard Swallowtail

Birdlist for The Ridge Track on this trip: Brown Cuckoo Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian King Parrots, Crimson Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Bell Miner, Noisy Miner, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Logrunner, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Pied Currawong, Red-browed Finch, Bassian Thrush. Previously we have seen Albert's Lyrebirds here but this time we could only hear them.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dalrymple Circuit, Goomburra Section, Main Range National Park, QLD.

Dalrymple Circuit, Class 3, 1.2 km circuit.

The Dalrymple Circuit is a great short walk that we love to do when camping at Manna Gum campground. Previously we have seen a Southern Angled-headed Dragon on the walk but we didn't see one this time. However, they are still there because someone asked me to identify a photo they had taken in the Dalrymple Circuit and I was happy to see that it was a juvenile Angle-headed Dragon. The same people got excellent photos of Green Catbirds there as well. I admit to being jealous of their close encounter with Catbirds because I have always found them quite a challenge to photograph.

Signage on the Dalrymple Circuit
The Dalrymple Circuit is the domain of a very healthy looking male Satin Bowerbird. After a short search we found his bower as well.

Red-necked Pademelons are common here but we have found them to be much shyer than the ones in Lamington National Park.

In the early morning we saw this spider, which had attached itself to a stick in the water, "fishing" for prey.

Bird List for the Dalrymple Circuit on this trip: White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Wonga Pigeon, Crimson Rosella, Superb fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Weebill, Bell Miner, Noisy Miner, Lewin's Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Eastern Yellow Robin, Jacky Winter, Golden Whistler, Australasian Figbird, Satin Bowerbird (female, male and bower), Red-browed Finch.  We did not see any Green Catbirds here but some other campers got good views and photos of Green Catbirds showing nicely down low and out in the open.