Walking the foothills of Mount Stuart

A week ago I joined my first Wildlife Queensland walk for the year, having missed an expedition to their Mahogany Glider Project Area in March and the branch’s 50th birthday party in April.

Their May walk took us up into the foothills of Mount Stuart behind the Western Campus of James Cook University. It began on a purpose-built walking track but quickly led us onto an impressive network of mountain bike trails, all new to me and a very easy way to “go bush” just a few minutes from suburban Townsville. Continue reading “Walking the foothills of Mount Stuart”

Porcupine Gorge wildlife

As I said a few days ago, the wildlife at Porcupine Gorge  was abundant when I visited it last week. Here’s a sample of photos under the three broad headings of mammals, birds and invertebrates (i.e. insects and spiders). I did see some reptiles as well – a goanna and a frill-necked lizard (I think) on the road, and several small skinks around the gorge – but have no photos to share here.

Mammals

A large wallaby or small kangaroo species was quite common in the early mornings but I’m not sure which species: possibly red kangaroo or agile wallaby, but I’m inclined to think they were Antilopine Kangaroos, Macropus antilopinus. If so, they were at the Southern end of their known range.

Porcupine Gorge
An adult on the move

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Around Porcupine Gorge – scenery and birdlife

This is an illustrated list of places in the vicinity of Porcupine Gorge which are worth a look for one reason or another, intended as a guide to visitors and context for my wildlife photos (still to come). My starting point is the camping ground. Working away from it …

There is a waterhole beside the camping ground access road which attracts quite a lot of bird life.

Turning North towards the Lynd soon takes you over an attractive creek crossing, White Cliffs Creek. It’s an incipient gorge, having cut only a few metres into the white sandstone, and is good for birds and butterflies. Travelling further up the same road takes you through typical savannah country and, eventually, to Undara Lava Tubes, Greenvale and the gemfields.

Porcupine Gorge region
White Cliffs Creek from the main raod
Porcupine Gorge region
Looking over the savannah from a low hill on the road to The Lynd

Continue reading “Around Porcupine Gorge – scenery and birdlife”

Porcupine Gorge National Park

Porcupine Gorge sunrise
Dawn at Porcupine Gorge

Getting to Porcupine Gorge from Townsville is easy but takes a while: drive South-west to Hughenden (380 km) and turn right. Drive another 70 km, still on good sealed roads, and you arrive at the Pyramid camping ground overlooking the Gorge. It’s too far for a day trip and a stretch even for a weekend, which is why it’s six years since I have been there. After that trip I promised to write about it but other things intervened so this will be my first real report on the place.

The gorge carved out by Porcupine Creek, a tributary of the Flinders River, over millions of years is more than 100 km long and the National Park encloses and protects a quarter of it.

Porcupine Gorge view
Looking across the gorge into rugged country just after sunrise

The camping ground is on level ground on the Western lip of the gorge, offering good views down to the Pyramid. A steep track leads down to the creek and (at this time of year) sandy beaches beside swimming holes, rocky terraces, grevilleas, melaleucas … endless entertainment for anyone willing to explore. Continue reading “Porcupine Gorge National Park”

Alligator Creek photo album

A collection of photos from our visit to Alligator Creek on Easter Saturday, as promised a few days ago in my post about the goanna.

alligator-creek-swimming-hole
Looking downstream from the lookout to the main swimming area

We parked at the picnic ground, followed the Alligator Creek Falls walking track as far as Cockatoo Creek, two kilometres upstream, and returned for a late lunch before a heavy shower of rain made us decide to return home rather than walk down for a swim.

The creek and park are at their best now. Continue reading “Alligator Creek photo album”