Bunya Mountains_Day 3

Monday 7th October 2013

As it was the Queen’s birthday public holiday, we enjoyed one more day in the Bunya Mountains. Madi and Eric left to go have a look at the small town of Dalby, as they had already done the walk near the Dandabah campground on the Friday.

We started our walk around 11am from the Dandabah parking, walking to Festoon Falls, then to Pine Gorge Lookout and Tim Shea Falls and back.
It took us about 3 hours and half as we were walking really slowly, stopping all the time.

Bunya Mountains walking tracks

Here is a view of the walking path in the forest.

forest

The Festoon Falls

Festoon Falls

A Christmas reindeer tree

Christmas deer

View with some hoop pine in front

view

This is a pied currawong. He seems to say: “Hey you! Stop taking pictures! Where is the food I came for?” 🙂

bird

Some nice view from Pine Gorge Lookout.

view from Pine Gorge Lookout

We can see the Tarong Power station. While looking at this view, we asked an Australian couple in their fifties if they knew more about that power station and they started telling us about the Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who helped build this power station in 1978 and who was the longest-serving Premier of Queensland.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joh_Bjelke-Petersen

While we continued the walk, we saw this Twin Bunya Tree with a Birds Nest fern near the fork.

twin tree

The trunk of the Bunya pine has regular marks on it which can be either caused by branches falling or could also be caused by marks made by Aboriginals in the past, to facilitate climbing possibly. No one knows the exact answer though, which makes this tree really fascinating! What a mystery!

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The bunya cones can be 50 to 70 meters high at the top of the trunks. Bunya pines already existed 150 million of years ago, at the time of dinosaurs and were seeked especially by the sauropods. Scientists even think that the sauropods skeleton adapted to help them reach the bunya cones, and were extended for that purpose! It’s quite fascinating to be in front of a tree on which dinosaurs would feed, although they can’t have been around the Bunya mountains as these started forming 24 million of years ago when there was some volcanic activities so at that time there were no trees there either yet in this spot.

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Some more of the forest, little stream of water.

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Tadpole of the great barred frog. It can stay up to three years as a tadpole, growing and growing, before to become a frog.

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This doesn’t look like anything, but the black in the middle was a red-belly snake, one of the most dangerous snakes of Australia, but usually still more scared than you, still going away himself as quickly as possible…

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These vines can belong to the tangle-rooted strangler fig, which wraps around a tree, years after years, to the point it strangles it and takes its spot.

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A bit like here. There are not only spiders, snakes, sharks and crocodiles which are dangerous in Australia! Even the trees are nasty to each other!

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A Black-faced Monarch

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A rufous fantail.

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Along the path, another dead horse tree

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Some waterfall, maybe Tim Shea Falls.

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A brown cuckoo-dove

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A male satin bowerbird, which eyes are purple.

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Just some vines. Or was there a tree before in the middle?

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Strangler fig. There was definitely a tree before in the middle of that one!

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It goes really high up.

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Another strangler fig tree, through which we can even pass.

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Have you ever stand in the middle of a tree, looking up to the skype through its centre?

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Beautiful forest

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As soon as we were out of the forest, the first thing we did was to go to the toilets and check ourselves for ticks. They even advertise there on the toilet’s door the importance of checking yourself!

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We had some dinner nearby and had the visit of this bird which turns to be a female satin bowerbird. How colourful compared to the male!

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On the way back, we saw a baby red-necked wallaby jumping into his mum’s pocket.

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What? Do I look like I have another wallaby in me?

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After waiting for about 10 minutes, we saw the baby wallaby let himself fall out of the pocket.

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Very cute

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Before to go, we looked at the view from Mt Mowbullan.

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Bye bye Bunya pines.

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And here we were, back on the road, heading back to Brisbane.

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While I was driving, I saw a really long snake right on the road, and luckily there were no cars in front, I could drive around it. A few minutes after, we saw a huge eagle eating some prey, left of the road. What a wild country around there!

And then we were back in Brisbane, after a 3-4 hour drive again!

THANK YOU For these Bunya articles, I would like to thank Kelvin Quinn, acting Senior Ranger of the NPRSR for his very detailed answer about the fascinating mystery of the bunya pine trees scars. Thanks so much for answering my questions and helping me identify some of these trees.
I also would like to thank Robert Ashdown, visitor management ranger of the NPRSR who helped me identify the birds, and whose incredible blog is a pleasure to read ( http://www.robertashdown.com/blog/) along with my ornithologist friend Mark Bulte who also gave me his input about the birds. His amazing birds photos can be seen here: http://www.pbase.com/mbulte/root.


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