I walked the Many Peaks trail again last weekend, almost exactly a year after my previous visit. This time, walking with friends, I didn’t stop so often to look at little wildlife, but we still took about five hours for the twelve kilometres or so. That seems, in fact, to be a reasonable minimum time for the route for anyone who wants to enjoy it.
The Wet is well over but there is still open water. The water birds, however, still have other options and are not in great numbers on the Common. That said, we did see Drongo, Magpie Geese, Egret, Peaceful Dove, Honeyeaters, Rainbow Bee-eater, hawk (probably Black Kite), Plovers, Scrub Turkey and other species.
The Tawny Coster is now so well established that it was one of the commonest butterflies but there were plenty of the usual Swamp Tigers, Blue Tigers, Crows (both Common and Brown) and others.
We joined Wildlife Queensland’s Townsville Branch recently to walk the Edmund Kennedy Track on one of their rare excursions beyond the local area.
The occasion was a joint expedition with the Cassowary Coast branch to commemorate the anniversary of Kennedy’s landing in 1848, and it was combined with a visit to Ninney Rise and a very convivial dinner at the nearby Bingil Bay Cafe. (Yes, that’s a free plug. Anyone who makes a laksa as good as theirs deserves one.) The weekend will be written up on the branch blog in due course so I will focus on the Track.
Cape Hillsborough near Mackay is a favourite holiday destination for the very good reason that it’s magically beautiful. We’ve written about the National Park and the resort after a previous trip (introduction and overview , 2014) so this post is mostly saying that it’s still there and still as good as ever.
The resort has been adequately maintained but not significantly altered in at least 25 years, so it’s still very low-key and family-centred; it is probably constrained by its position, wrapped around by National Park with no possibility of expansion, but that is fine as far as we’re concerned.
Tasmania is not very big, especially to Queenslanders like us, but Cradle Mountain is as hard to get to as Strahan, and for similar reasons: it’s at the end of several hours’ drive into wild country whether you start from Hobart or Launceston. Launceston is the closer of the two but the trip still takes a couple of hours – down the highway towards Burnie, then through Sheffield, past Mt Roland and up into the northern edge of the highlands. It’s worth the effort.
The entry-point to the park is a big new visitor centre with a carpark to match. Free shuttle buses run from it all day to Dove Lake, the end of their run, with stops at accommodation, walking tracks and the ranger centre.
We fitted the Dove Lake walk and two shorter walks (Enchanted and Waldheim) into the two long half-days we had there. Another day would have been nice, but I’ve already said that about several other places we saw, so I guess we really needed a longer holiday.
There aren’t many campervan sites on Freycinet Peninsula (previous post) and over-casual visitors are bumped out to free camping areas on the Friendly Beaches or near Moulting Lagoon, or to commercial van parks around Coles Bay. I therefore spent one night at each of the National Parks locations before heading North to Bicheno and then South again to the Three Thumbs and the Tasman Peninsula.
Lurking quietly between Coles Bay, Bicheno and Swansea is a large shallow estuarine area, a RAMSAR-proclaimed wetland and bird sanctuary. As Wikipedia says,