Sunday, September 08, 2019

Postcards from Australasia # 8

On arrival back in Brisbane we met up with our friends Catherine and Nortbert and headed to an Airbnb (first time for us) on Stradbroke Island.   They'd booked the car ferry and the house, we'd brought along a large rental vehicle and did the driving.

As soon as the ferry starts you're on Island time.   A smooth 45 minute crossing and then, because we'd not seen each other for a few months, a rapid-paced drinking and eating session, Catherine had made a veggie lasagne so the evening took care of itself.

The next day we explored the Island proper, starting at the boardwalk at Lookout point, the views were stunning:

We saw our first Little Wattlebird displaying from the trail:

Strady is characterised by long sandy beaches:


And wildlife.  We saw our first Koala in the wild, passing dolphins and humpback whales, lots of sea birds including some shearwaters, we loved the place.

Pelicans too:

After a bit more exploring, pizza from the mobile pizza wagon and a load more beer and wine it was time then to leave.   This is where we waited for the incoming ferry:

From Strady we headed up the coast to Maroochydore to recover and to catch up with some friends we'd not see for over 15 years, Richard and Lisa. 

Then it was a bit further North again to Rainbow Beach in the Great Sandy National Park.   We walked a few trails, enjoying some splendid isloation in the stunning landscape:

We avoided all the 4x4 beaches and enjoyed our brief visit to the area.  One trail we walked we found this Lace Monitor hanging around the picnic area.   People feed them apparently, so they get aggressive trying to hassle for food.   We kept our distance from this one.   After one couple left it climbed onto their table before jumping off and coming over to us, prompting us to leave too!

From Rainbow Beach we drove to the top of the Bunya Mountains, we think a hugely under-rated location.   There's loads of Red-necked Wallabies around, this mother and joey were outside the back of our room:

In addition we had a family of Splendid Fairy-Wrens roosting in a shrub next to our room:

We saw loads and loads of birds on the trails from the lodge, enjoyed the food and our first drams since leaving Scotland, the lodge has an outstanding collection of Whisky.

From Bunya we visited Mount Tamborine, seeing Albert's Lyrebird, though they moved too rapidly away for me to have captured a photograph.   The forest around this tourist location is surprisingly good and there's a number of decent though realtively short trails to explore.

Then it was on to Lamington National Park.  We stayed in two lodges there, the first Binna Burra was very confusing it seems a place trying its hardest to stay the same.   The food was poor, the cabins are small, dominated by the bed and with little else going for them.   It's perched high on the hill with a network of great trails but was mainly hosting pensioners who were pottering around.

O'Reillys was a huge contrast, for double the money you get a ten times better grade of room, it's very widlife friendly, the food is excellent, as is the service and it's a better location, however it has fewer trails.   We'd still have picked it every time over Binna Burra.

We did the Creek Loop, 15km and didn't meet a soul:

The birding was outstanding, lots of forest birds up-close including our second fleeting encoutner with an Albert's Lyrebird, lots of Eastern Yellow Robins:

There are lots of semi-tame wild birds, habituated to the reliable feeding (just like in our garden in Scotland) though they all take advantage of the sympathetically planted food flowers like this Australian King Parrot:

And this Crimson Rosella:

We joined a 'meet the birds' walk one morning, i was promptly landed on by two Crimson Rosellas hoping for some food.  I had the broadest smile.   As you can imagine i couldn't really capture the moment myself luckily a lady we've never met before had her phone to hand so captured the moment the birds landed on me.  Magic!

One of my favourite birds of the whole trip so far has beent he Regent Bowerbird, O'Reillys has good numbers of these and indeed has adopted the colours as their coporate colours (black and gold):

After leaving O'Reillys with the road re-opened after the danger from a number of out-of-control wildfires had passed, we drove to the coast and then south, leaving Queensland and crossing for the first time on this trip, into New South Wales.


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