Australian Wildlife Overview Tour (3-day wildlife tour from Brisbane)
The Kooralbyn Valley Resort is now our default accommodation for this tour (Cougal Park B&B has now closed due to ill-health of the proprietor). It is showing its age a little, especially as it closed down for a decade after a previous owner declared bankruptcy, was reviving well under the new owner but then forced to close again during Covid lockdowns, but is in a good location and we are assured by the manager that our guests will have clean, comfortable rooms.
Alternative options include staying at either O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat or Binna Burra Mountain Lodge for one or two evenings (additional cost - see below).
The bushland surrounding the Kooralbyn Valley Resort harbour many kangaroos and wallabies which emerge in the early morning and late afternoon to feed on the grasses of the Resort, including the extensive golf course. Wedge-tailed eagles, kookaburras, cockatoos, lorikeets, frogmouths, spoonbills and many other birds may often be seen on the property or nearby. Occasionally we may be lucky enough to see a koala or (at night) a squirrel glider (a small gliding possum).
Rooms have private ensuites with both shower and bath (guests with disabilities can opt for a room with accessible shower) and patios (most popular are those that overlook the golf course and the hills beyond).
Chef Wayne Golding is highly experienced (including internatonally and on TV) and adept at preparing tasty meals for guests with any kind of restricted diet.
If time permits, guests can enjoy a swim in the pool, a wander along bushland trails or participation in various activities offered by the resort.
O'Reilly's and Binna Burra
These ecolodges existed long before the term "ecolodge"
or "ecotourism" existed, and both offer wonderful
opportunites for exploring the rainforests and other
ecosystems of Lamington National Park.
O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, on private land nestled within Lamington National Park is internationally famous as a birding hotspot, and many of the birds are so accustomed to humans it i far easier tophotograph them here than elsewhere. The first treetop walk to ever be constructed in a rainforest is also here, a joint project by O'Reilly's and the Lamington Natural History Association. There are many cabins, many of which are connected to one another and to the main lodge by a covered walkway, perfect for continuing to watch and photograph birds even while it is raining.
We frequently arrange one or two nights there on our
3-day wildlife tour or custom tours.
The beautiful lodge and heritage cabins of Binna Burra tragically burned
down in the dreadful fires of 2019.
Andrew Drynan Reserve
This is the main overnight stay for guests participating in our nature activities, just around the corner from the Araucaria property, a scenic reserve nestled between Mt Chinghee National Park and Running Creek. It is a "primitive" campground: it has toilets, picnic shelters and open-fire barbecues but no showers or hot water. Bring your own camping gear.
If you intend staying there, please book with Barry Moran, 07 55441281.
There are various other options for staying overnight in the Scenic Rim. Closest are Running Creek Cabin and Rathdowney Hotel/Motel, but there are various other cabins, B&B's and campgrounds. Kooralbyn (as above) is a 40-minute drive.
is not a luxury trip but we do value comfort,
safety and enjoyment of the "dinkum"
(genuine) Australian outback (some
call any rural areas "outback" but this is misleading).
There are no five-star or even four-star hotels after
we pass the first few hundred kilometres. We
head far away from the crowds - just wide open
spaces, a variety of outback habitats, plenty of
kangaroos, cockatoos and emus, and brilliantly starry
skies. "I didn't see nearly as
much wildlife on my package tour to Uluru" one lady
Other toursHere we stay in a delightful timber chalet near the forest, with birdsong and wallabies close by in the early morning or towards dusk, and a cosy fireplace for winter evenings. The forest is just down the driveway and across the road. Walking in the early morning mists is a delight.
Girraween Environmental Lodge:
Rooms with a view! Enjoy refreshments on the verandah, wake up to bird calls and kangaroos outside your window
If you feel like a nice hot soak, you can indulge within your cabin or wait until the outdoor spa is turned each afternoon and relax there amongst the rocks and trees. A cosy fireplace is very welcome on chilly evenings.
Another top choice is the lovely Twinstar Guesthouse, down the road from Giraween. The host is an experienced amateur astronomer, and will take us out to this observatory (just behind the guest house) on clear nights to take us on a tour of the solar system, other parts of our galaxy, and beyond.
Twinstar verandah, showing Observatory
in the background
Possibilities vary greatly depending on what our guests desire.
We have for instance included camping at various sites (in tents or hammocks), cabins at Tweed Heads, Fingal, Myall Lakes and Minnee Waters, motels en route to various destinations, campgrounds at Brunswick Heads, and hotels in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sydney on various customised tours.