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Southern Queensland Birding

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: December 2006

canungra sunsetIn 2006 and 2007 we spent 255 Days driving around Australia. We started in Darwin, drove south to Alice Springs, backtracked to Cairns, went down the East Coast to Rockhampton, cut over to Melbourne, went across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth, drove up the West Coast to Broome, and finished by crossing the Kimberely Region on our way back to Darwin -- 24,000 miles & 6 rental cars. Along the way we stayed in 56 cities and saw 693 bird species/subspecies.
This Trip Report covers the 44-days we spent bird watching while based in 4 locations in Southern Queensland between Nov 26, 2006 & Jan 8, 2007; i.e., 3 days in Helidon = 43 bird species; 6 days in Canungra = 54 bird species; 7 days in Samford = 89 bird species; 28 days in Boonah = 166 bird species; for a total of 186 bird species in 44 days.

The nature areas we saw the most bird species were: Bilyana Cottages area in Boonah = 113; Main Range NP (Qu Mary Rd) in Boonah = 88; Haslemere Guest House & Cottages in Samford = 67; Main Range NP - Cunningham Gap in Boonah = 59; White Swamp Road in Boonah = 55; Boonah Visitor Center Lake = 42; Lake Apex Park in Helidon = 35; Lake Maroon in Boonah = 30; Magpie Creek Throughbread Farm in Canungra = 29; Mt Nebo NP in Samford = 23; Mt Glorious NP in Samford = 21; Springbrook NP in Canungra = 21; Mt Tambourine NP in Canungra = 19; Lake Moogerah in Boonah = 14; Lockyer Creek in Helidon = 7; Ravensbourne NP in Helidon = 5; Mt French in Boonah = 4.


Helidon -- We stayed at the Mineral Water Resort Spa (http://www.helidonmotel.com.au 27.984S 152.622E). The room had a nice hot tub, but we couldn't tell there was any mineral water. There was a bigger hydrotherapy pool outside. Unfortunately, it is so hot outside we had to stay inside and watch Cricket on TV most afternoons. We saw 6 bird species on the premises.

If you put these coordinates into Google Earth, you can see the locations I am discussing. Typically, there will be lots of pictures as well.

Canungra - We stayed at the Magpie Creek Thoroughbred Farmstay (http://www.myfarmstay.com 27.937S 153.139E ) between Jimboomba and Canungra (about 50 miles west of the Gold Coast in Brisbane). This is an active horse breeding and racehorse training farm. There were 8 foals in the pasture we drove thru to get to the house. There were also a hundred Australian Wood Ducks in a small farm pond, and a pack of Kangaroos. We could only do basic cooking here. We saw 28 bird species on the premises.

Samford - We stayed at the Haslemere Guest House & Cottages in Highvale (www.babs.com.au/haslemere 27.393S 152.823E), in the mountains west of Brisbane. We stayed in a small self-contained red cedar cottage with a solar heated spa on the verandah and a great view of the birdfeeders. We saw 32 bird species on the premises.

Boonah -- We stayed at the Bilyana Cottages (http://www.bilyanacottages.com/ 28.083S 152.683E), 10 miles south of Boonah on a sealed road and 600 meters uphill on a gravel road. We had a lovely 2-bedroom house with a view of the valley and the Main Range Mountains to the west. The house was nicely furnished, had a good kitchen with a cook top but no baking oven, and no TV (not a problem for us since we don't have a TV in our house in Ohio either). We saw 61 bird species on the premises.

If we were planning the trip again, I would:

Eliminate the days in Helidon.

Spend some time at Byron Bay.

Still not go to O'Reilly's Guesthouse in Lamington NP. We could have driven there from Boonah or Canungra, but decided it was too expensive and too regimented. I'm glad we stayed a month in Boonah instead of a few days at O'Reilly's.

Just go birding in the Boonah area if time was limited.

A week in Boonah might be long enough to see most of the birds. We stayed a month because we didn't want to be traveling during the Christmas and New Years holidays, and because we got a great rate by staying a month.

Highlights of the Region:

Birding the mountain road to Queen Mary Falls, and eating a Macadamia Nut and Pineapple Slice at the RV Park.

Exploring White Swamp Road and finding Red Wattlebirds.

Seeing courting Eastern Whipbirds at Mt Nebo.

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