As promised it’s time to catch up with our last local short holiday posts.
After enjoying a local Melbourne Cup lunch yesterday we headed out this morning with our destination being Kingaroy, about a three hour drive to the north of Brisbane. As we drove through the country area we could still see some smoke from the fires that have been burning for the past couple of weeks. Luckily they did not hinder our path and after a lunch stop we found out way to our camp at the Kingaroy Showgrounds. We don’t need the bells and whistles of a holiday park and the cost is $28 per night for power and water. We’ve just booked for one night as we can stay till 5pm tomorrow and we will be back from our day in the Bunya Mountains and could go on to a free camp. We have a nice grassy spot under a couple of trees but it was very hot and the air con got a workout.
This morning we packed our lunch and headed out in the car to make our way to the Bunya Mountains and take in a couple of the walks. We were glad not to have the caravan as the road in is quite narrow in parts and as with lots of mountain roads it had many curves with quite steep sides. The Bunya Mountains is a wilderness range and forms part of the Great Dividing Range. The area lies about halfway between Kingaroy and Dalby. The range features mountain scenery and views over the South Burnett region and the Darling Downs plains.
Aboriginal people historically used Bunya Mountains as a meeting place for the various tribes scattered throughout Queensland and New South Wales. They feasted seasonally on the bunya nuts collected from the bunya pine trees. Early Europeans used bullock and horse teams to harvest the red cedar and other rainforest timbers. Today 11,700 hectares of Bunya Mountains is a National Park. We climbed to an elevation of 1135 metres before starting to stop at the various car parks for the walks. You can see from this map the various walks that are available.
Our first stop was the Koondaii Circuit which provides us with views across the Darling Downs.
We then stopped at the car park for the walks to three Falls but quickly heard from other walkers that due to the drought conditions there was no water at all and we headed back to the car and drove to the village of Dandabah. The Bunya Mountains are home to 215 species of birds including king parrots, crimson rosellas and satin bowerbirds. Red-necked wallabies bound or preen in grassy areas but the swamp wallabies and pademelons prefer the cover of the rainforest and can be observed along the roadside or during a forest walk. We were greeted by the locals and had a look around the township area before sharing bunya nut scones and carrot cake with bunya nuts.
We then embarked on the longer trail of the Scenic Circuit which is 4 km track and encompasses the 500 m Bunya Bunya track as well. The track entrance is just off the car park and before long we were walking past enormous trees with markings where the Aboriginal people would scale them to collect the nuts with only the assistance of a climbing vine.
We reached the Pine Gorge Lookout with views across the Burnett area and the Tarong Power Station in the distance. There was a seat here but no shade. It was very hot and we were not yet halfway around the track but hoped for some more shade as we headed back inland. This proved to be correct but only in small sections. We reached a shady area marked as Gardens in the Sky where ferns and orchids grown from the tree trunks before the wooden track led us through this tree.
The walk took us about two hours in the heat and we were very ready to enjoy our lunch and a cool drink on our return. We headed home via Nanango and at a rest stop took a photo of the art on this toilet block at Maidenwell depicting the Bunya Mountains area.
We headed back to camp to find an issue with the caravan reversing lights and a call to RACQ meant waiting in town again overnight for a quick fix the next morning. We were also glad of the rest and the ability to use our air con which we would not have had at a free camp.