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Tours in 2021


Covid-19 has closed the doors for our usual international guests.
We have re-opened our usual tours for Aussie travelers and possibly New Zealanders
We are also now offering 5 new experiences:

Birdwatching and bird behaviour for beginners
Mountain Getaway Seniors special Nature and Science for families Island tour Seniors special Student Tours: Nature and Science
cockatoo
rainfoest track
moon
Coochiemudlo
frog



Birdwatching and bird behaviour for beginners

(mid-week 3d2n)

Birdwatching is so  much more than just ticking off a list of birds seen. Birds are a very diverse group of Scarley honeyeateranimals, with important ecological roles and fascinating behaviour.

During the three days you will:

  • visit wetlands, eucalypt forests and rainforests, observing birds and their behaviour
  • search for nocturnal birds (no guarantees of sightings)
  • learn the basics of bird identification, including how a knowledge of behaviour can assist
  • learn about different foraging methods, and what to look for in individual birds and flocks of mixed species
  • learn about some courtship and parental behaviour to look for
  • learn about important ecological roles of birds
  • discuss what is special about Australia's birdlife
  • find out how to be a citizen scientist by recording bird observations, and experience some actual citizen science

Excursions will normally depart from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, either in our vehicle or as a tagalong.
Overnight with be at the Kooralbyn Valley or other locations within the Scenic Rim, TBA soon.

Included: all travel and guiding, meals and morning teas. We can stop at bottle shops, pharmacists or food stores along the way if there are any extra purchases you’d like to make.

We ask our our guests to let us know if they have any dietary restrictions (vegan, allergies etc.) or conditions that may restrict your walking (all our walks are very gentle anyway, and we stop frequently to observe the fauna, flora and scenery)

There is also opportunity to be a citizen scientist looking for birds in wildlife corridor routes for a study by Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and where possible (if you choose to do so) taking photos of fruit-eating birds either in fruiting trees or resting elsewhere for a study by Araucaria proprietor Dr Ronda Green through Griffith University. Let us know if you’d also like to plant a small tree in the wildlife corridor.

Cost pp $1,320.00.00 Cost pp if group of 3 or more $990.00

Payment: 10% at time of booking, balance before start of tour, by electronic transfer or credit card


Day 1

Leave Brisbane 7.00am, receive your bird checklists, and head to Eagleby Wetlands, a favourite destination for birdwatchers at the southern edge of Greaterswans Brisbane. The birdlife varies throughout the year with rainfall conditions affecting nomadic species and seasonal changes affecting the regular migratory ones. We often see a variety of waterbirds, from the tiny Australasian grebe through various ducks, spoonbills and herons to (if we’re lucky) the black-necked stork that towers over all the others. Most of Australia’s raptors visit from time to time: the ones we most often see are whistling kite, black kite, Brahminy kite and white-bellied sea-eagle. In the tea-tree swamps, woodlands and grassy areas surrounding the lagoons we see many small birds, including honeyeaters, finches and fairy-wrens.

We stop for morning tea at a cafe in Eagleby, revise what we’ve seen, discuss what to look for next, and continue our birdwatching for another hour or so before heading on to Kooralbyn, stopping en route in Beaudesert for lunch. All rooms at the Kooralbyn Valley Resort have an ensuite bathroom with bath tub and shower (let us know at time of booking if you need a room with a walk-in shower separate from the tub). Resort facilities include a swimming pool, spa centre and free wifi, or you can sit and watch kangaroos and birds from your room’s balcony.

After a couple of hours of settling in and relaxation time, we meet for a discussion on Australia’s main groups of birds, which groups are unique to Australia (or to Australia and New Guinea, as both were joined for much of their history),and what species we might find over the next couple of days. We also discuss what particular features of birds to look for to decide what group they belong to, and some distinguishing features of particular local species.

The rest of the afternoon is spent driving and walking to seek and identify birds, including a stint of citizen science – a half hour search in one of the research sites for the wildlife corridor project by the Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (Queensland’s oldest conservation society, founded in 1962 by poet Judith Wright, zoologist David Fleay, artist and author Kathleen McArthur and publisher Brian Clouston). Guests do not need to be able to identify the birds, just look for them and point them out to us and perhaps take photos. After dinner we will take a short drive and/or walk seeking nocturnal birds.



Day 2.

Guests who wish to practice their bird-spotting may like to rise early for a walk in the grounds of the Resort, or just see what can be observed from their balconies.

After breakfast we drive to Canungra, where we enjoy morning tea at the popular Outpost Cafe, then head up through Sarabah Valley before winding our way up the mountain to Kamarun Lookout, where we admire the expansive views to Brisbane and the Pacific Ocean and briefly discuss some of the birds we may see in the forest.

We then continue to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, where we head straight into the rainforest along the Booyong boardwalk seeking ground-foraging birdsBowerbird-and-bower such as scrubwrens and log-runners and, if very lucky, lyrebirds, looking upwards as well for those that forage in the trees, and noting their behaviour. The canopy walk we now enter, a project of the Lamington Natural History Association but built on O’Reilly’s land, is the first that was ever constructed in rainforest. It is very safe and not strenuous, but if you are uncomfortable with heights you can give this a miss and wait for the group on the wooden seats just a little way up the track. We will also explore the botanic gardens, as often whatever is flowering or fruiting at the time can attract a variety of birds, then enter the Lamington National Park itself to return via the Border Track, watching for birds of course as we go.

We can continue watching for birds while having lunch on the balcony of the restaurant.

After another brief rainforest walk we return to the Kooralbyn Valley Resort, relax with free time for about an hour and gather again to discuss behaviour of birds, and how knowledge of their behaviour can assist with identification and also help us understand their ecological roles and conservation needs

The rest of the afternoon and evening can follow the same pattern as for Day 1 (but with different destinations), unless guests opt for further relaxation time instead.


Day 3.


After breakfast we will have a final short birdwalk in Kooralbyn and further discussion on bird behaviour before checking out from the Resort and heading to a couple of birding spots south of Kooralbyn followed by a hearty lunch at the Rathdowney Hotel. We then head north again, with stops for extra birdwatching at wetlands and open forest sites on our way back to Brisbane.




 Mountain Seniors special

(mid-week 3d2n)


Rainforest at Binna BurraIncluded: all travel and guiding, meals and morning teas. We can stop at bottle shops, pharmacists or food stores along the way if there are any extra purchases you’d like to make.

We ask our our guests to let us know if they have any dietary restrictions (vegan, allergies etc.) or conditions that may restrict your walking (all our walks are very gentle anyway, and we stop frequently to observe the fauna, flora and scenery)

There is also opportunity to be a citizen scientist helping us find fauna along wildlife corridor routes for a study by Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and koalas in forests and tree-studded paddocks for a study of habitat use by traveling koalas by University of Queensland. Let us know if you’d also like to plant a small tree in the wildlife corridor..

Cost pp $1,122.00.00 Cost pp if group of 3 or more $968.00

Payment: 10% at time of booking, balance before start of tour, by electronic transfer or credit card


Day 1

Leave Brisbane and head south to the mountains of the Scenic Rim, an arc of high country formed by three ancient volcanoes which gave rise to the impressive landscapes, a variety of microclimates and rich soils supporting rainforests and tall eucalypt forests.. Our first stop is Rosen’s lookout to admire the view towards the peak of the old volcano at the centre of the southeastern portion of the Scenic Rim.

Then it’s on to the Headmaster’s Cafe at what was once the Beechmont School and has since served as a venue for local markets. It is now run by Binna Burra Lodge and continues the lodge’s tradition of tasty snacks and drinks, which we’ll enjoy for morning tea (please et us know in advance if you have any dietary restrictions). As we travel on up the hill, if artist David Groom, grandson of Binna Burra’s founder Arthur Groom, is at home, we’ll visit the gallery show-casing his very distinctive paintings.

Binna Burra itself is our next destination. Hear about the history of the lodge, which tragically burned down in 2019. The rainforest walks, the campground, the dinner bell and a few buildings escaped but all the old heritage wooden cabins, some of which had stood for 83 years, are gone. Nigel the bowerbird, well-known for his bower by the honeymoon cottage, survived, and has re-built.

Kooralbyn Valley ResortWe will take a gentle interpretive walk in the rainforest of Lamington National Park, looking at birds, plants, fungi and anything else that happens along, while discussing some of the important interactions between plants and animals and other aspects of the ecosystem.

After lunch in the Lamington TeaHouse, from which we can look over the hills and trees to the Pacific Ocean, we’ll briefly visit the information centre before a scenic mountain drive to Canungra and on through Beaudesert(with comfort stops as needed) to the Kooralbyn Valley Resort, where we’ll check in and relax with some free time before dinner. All rooms have an ensuite bathroom with bath tub and shower (let us know at time of booking if you need a room with a walk-in shower separate from the tub). Resort facilities include a swimming pool, spa centre and free wifi, or you can sit and watch kangaroos and birds from your room’s balcony.

We are working in with the Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, so all those who wish to can join us as citizen scientists on a drive and/or walk to seek nocturnal wildlife as part of a monitoring program for a major wildlife corridor project. The actual search will take half an hour, but our guests can choose whether they would like to stay out a bit longer or head back for an early night.
view
                  from room, Kooralbyn


Day 2.

If you choose to rise early you may like to stroll through the grounds of the resort watching birds and kangaroos. After breakfast we head past the Wyaralong Dam to visit a very different mountain, stopping first in Boonah for morning tea.

Mt French, sacred to the Ugarapul people and internationally famous amongst rock-climbers, is composed of volcanic rock of a very resistant kind that doesn’t erode easily or form deep soils, and experiences less much rain than Lamington National Park. It is also one of the few mountains in the region that we can drive to the top of and then enjoy a leisurely stroll around the plateau through eucalypt forest and heathlands, encountering a different birdlife than we saw at Binna Burra.

We return via a different route, hearing some of the Indigenous and other stories about the mountains we pass along the way. After a hearty lunch at either the Dugandan or Rathdowney pub (both have excellent chefs) we return to Kooralbyn mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is at leisure, unless you’d like another stint at a citizen science fauna survey (at a different site) either before or after dinner.


Day 3

Skywalk

This morning we head to yet another mountain: Tamborine Mountain (named after a Yugambeh word, not the musical instrument). Here we may visit a waterfall if time permits,. Otherwise it’s straight to Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, where we have morning tea and head out to a very safe raised walkway through the canopy of the rainforest for a close-up look at the tree-tops, anything that may be fruiting or flowering at the

moment

. We often see a variety of birds, and on sunny days sometimes Australia’s second largest butterfly, the beautiful Richmond birdwing.

On to Cedar Creek Estate Wineries for lunch while looking out over the lake and trees and (if you wish) wine-tasting. We then walk through their rainforest restoration along the creek and enter a very well-made artificial limestone cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites and a crystal clear stream, which is gradually darkened as we watch a video about the life cycle of the glow “worms” (actually larvae of a small gnat). Donning glow-in-the-dark pendants on our backs, we are led into the glow worm chamber, where a few hundred glow worms were introduced a few years ago and have happily multiplied in thousands, giving the impression of a starry sky as we walk below them. We also visit Frog Hollow on the same property to view a variety of frogs in their terraria.

Finally we head back to Brisbane to say our farewells in time for dinner...

Possible alternative schedule subject to availability of Skylodges (additional cost)

Day 1
  • Leave Brisbane or Gold Coast 9.00am on a Monday or Tuesday either in our minibus or as a tagalong
  • Visit Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk for morning tea and a very safe and gentle journey into the rainforest canopy
  • Visit Cedar Creek Estate for lunch and optional wine-tasting and a tour of the glow worm caves and Frog Hollow.
  • Leave Tamborine Mountain for Beechmont, short visit to Dave Groom's art gallery (grandson of Binna Burra's founder, with an unmistakable style of representing the rainforest landscapes)
  • Settle into SkyLodge accommodation at Binna Burra.
  • Dinner followed by optional short walk seeking nocturnal wildlife

Day 2

  • Optional early birdwalk
  • Breakfast, gentle interpretive walk in rainforest and discussion of its fauna, flora and general ecology
  • Morning tea followed by free time to explore the forest or Binna Burra memorabilia or just relax and enjoy the view.
  • Lunch at Lamington Tea House followed by further free time
  • Afternoon tea
  • Gentle interpretive walk in rainforest and eucalypt forest
  • Sunset watch
  • Dinner, free time

Day 3

  • Breakfast, time for packing up
  • Travel to Canungra for morning tea at the Outpost
  • Visit O'Reilly's Vineyard for wine-tasting, lunch and meeting friendly alpacas
  • Return to Tamborne Mountain to explore Botanic Gardens, Gallery Walk or both
  • Return to Brisbane or Gold Coast



Nature and Science for families

(weekend 3d2n)

kanga&joeySelf drive to Kooralbyn Valley resort Friday afternoon or early evening

ACTIVITIES (with a scientist with long experience of explaining science and nature to people of all ages)
  • Fun ways into understanding scientific inquiry
  • Natural history games and art/craft
  • Watching and understanding behaviour of birds and kangaroos
  • Astronomy
  • Using insect life to assess water quality
  • How to be a citizen scientist



Island tour Seniors special

(mid-week 3d2n)

 beachDay 1
  • Leave Brisbane or Gold Coast by mini bus or tagalong 10.00am, travel to Victoria Point
  • Morning tea
  • Short ride on car ferry to Coochemudlo ("red rock") Island
  • Lunch
  • Short beach walk to the red rocks that give the island its name
  • Afternoon tea, discussion of island's fauna
  • Dinner, optional short walk on beach at night
  • After-dinner snacks

Day 2

  • Gentle walks to explore mangroves, woodland and sandy and rock beaches and their fauna and flora
  • Plenty of free time to just relax
  • Three meals and snacks

Day 3

  • Breakfast, free time, morning tea
  • Leave island, explore the bushland, lagoon  and native gardens of Redlands Indigiscapes
  • Lunch at Indigiscapes
  • Return to Brisbane or Gold Coast

Student Tours

(mid-week 3d2n)

Variety of options involving scientific method, environmental science, zoology and botany for all levels

 

Please email us for further details









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