Archive for the ‘Members’ stories’ Category

The elusive rufous scrub bird


The elusive rufous scrub bird

WTA member Greg Clancy writes about his experiences seeking this little brown bird that forages like a small mammal on the forest floor, and despite its strong voice is quite a challenge to actually find.

Mt Barney, southeast Queensland, great for walking

Top walks at Mt Barney

Reproduced from an article by Karl C0ndon, Gold Coast Bulletin

[note: although described here as a volcanic summit, Mt Barney , though close to volcanoes it not itself a volcanic cone - it was volcanic larva that cooled underground and was then thrust up by massive earth movements]

IMtBarneySummitCool nights make way for sparkling clear days in the Scenic Rim. There is no better time of year to exhume your walking shoes and head for the hills to do some of the classic walks in the Mt Barney valley than the transition from summer to autumn. The mild weather and clear skies make this the perfect time to “bag a peak” – and there are plenty to choose from amongst the rugged topography that makes up the McPherson Range. The volcanic summit of Mt Barney towers over the many peaks, standing at an impressive 1354m.

If you are unfamiliar with the region, it is an easy 90 minutes drive west from Nerang, and sits close to the NSW border, between Beaudesert and Boonah. Upon leaving the Gold Coast, the leafy drive through the first set of hills – the Green Mountains – immediately transports you into a more relaxed frame of mind, and you definitely know when you are in the Scenic Rim when you pass through the welcoming township of Canungra.

Mt Barney is known as “Queensland’s most impressive peak” – as although it isn’t the highest, its’ alpine-like peak is bare of trees and looks similar to what you may see in a snow-capped alpine area. The area is also very popular with bushwalkers due to the vast areas of off-track bushwalking through pristine protected conservation areas. The park is World Heritage-listed, and contains important remnants of ancient Gondwanan rainforest.

There is a huge variety of walks on offer to experience both the views and the unique landscape. There are easy old 4WD roads to follow on foot, established National Park tracks to peaks, creeks and waterholes, and off-track walks up breezy mountain ridges for the more experienced navigator. For the weekend walker, there are a few good options with tracks to follow as well. Here are my favourites:

Lower Portals

MtBarneyLowerPortalsThis is probably the most popular short walk in the area, as the 40 metre rock gorge and deep waterhole invite you to swim, explore and revisit time and time again. The track leaves from a carpark on the Lower Portals Rd, accessed via Seidenspinner Rd signposted 3.5 km north of Mt Barney Lodge. It is one of the few graded and maintained tracks in the area. The 3.7 km walk rollercoasters over 10 short hills in open eucalypt forest. The walk has features sections of grasstree (Xanthorrhoea johnsonii), and Casaurina in which the threatened Glossy Black-Cockatoo often can be seen feeding. Koala can also be spotted with luck. The walk concludes with a creek crossing requiring sure-footed stepping stone selection, or a deep wade in brisk waters. The gorge itself is found a few hundred metres upstream, and can be reached by two options, another creek wade, or a tricky squeeze through an overhead hole in a cave. Whatever time of year you visit, the arrival swim is best done when you first get there!!

Cronan Creek Cascades

This 6kmwalk follows an old logging trail south from Mt Barney Lodge, and is an easy to moderate walk with good views of Mt Lindesay and Mt Earnest. (A short side trip can be made to the unmarked “Yellowpinch Lookout” via a short steep ascent, and the 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains make this little calf-burner a worthwhile detour. Care must be taken at the summit, as the 60m cliff break is unfenced.) After 30 minutes on the logging track, the first section of cool green rainforest is reached, and the light becomes softer as the overhead canopy changes. The turnoff to Peasants Ridge is ignored on the right, as this is a difficult and unmaintained mountain ascent recommended only for experienced and well prepared bushwalkers. Staying on the left-hand fork of the trail, the Cronan Creek Cascades can be found off the track to the left after approximately 40 minutes. To be really clear on where to turn off the track, be sure to ask the staff at Mt Barney Lodge.

Mt Maroon

MtBarneyWalkingStanding at 967m to the north of Mt Barney, Wahlmoorum (or sand goanna) is one of the more challenging walks that is more of a mountain expedition than a bushwalk. QPWS rates this as a Class 5 Track – in this case a difficult walk requiring a high level of fitness and experience in off-track walking. Although there is a worn foot track to follow most of the way – the trail is not constructed or maintained by QPQS, just by repeat footfall. As there is no track from the saddle to the summit, knowledge of the area and map skills apply. It is essential to prepare your knowledge base before trying this walk, so again talk to the experienced staff at Mt Barney Lodge.

Allow 6 hours, and don’t forget your camera as there are sweeping views of the Scenic Rim from most of this ridge-style walk. The higher you go, the more the surrounding agriculture, farming, bush, dams, waterways and country villages become a patchwork quilt to contemplate from afar. The silhouette of Brisbane and the peak of Mt Warning can even be seen from the summit!

Whatever walk you decide upon, remember to always check weather and QPWS website for any park alerts before leaving home. The Ipswich forecast is most like the Mt Barney weather – remember it can be blue skies over Mt Barney when a different rain system hits the Coast. “Leave No Trace” bushwalking principles should always be top-of-mind during your experience. If you are unfamiliar with what these are, please take the time to look them up so that our shared protected areas can be enjoyed for years to come.

MtBarneyGlampingCampfireMt Barney Lodge is the perfect base to plan your walks from. It is an Advanced Ecotourism retreat right at the base of Mt Barney, and many of the walks commence right from your door. There is accommodation to suit comfort and budget considerations – from camping and Glamping (glamorous camping!), to rustic huts and self-contained Queenslander Homesteads. Mt Barney Lodge also provides local knowledge on walks in the area to its accommodated guests, and sells relevant topographical maps.

Further information:
Mt Barney Lodge – 5544 3233

QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) –

Bureau of Meteorology –

Leave No Trace Bushwalking Principles –

Destiny Eco-Cottage, southeast Queensland, praised

Destiny Eco-Cottage, southeast Queensland, praised

Stunning views, unique cottages, wildlife and asses.

DestinyRedCottageTim of Eco Safaris had this to say about Destiny Eco-Cottage after visiting:

Laze on your veranda with a drop of local red, watching the pretty-faced wallabies as the sun sets over the valley” – sounds a bit like a corny advertisement, but it’s true. Destiny Boonah Eco Cottages are surrounded by National Park and have glorious views across the Scenic Rim out to the Great Dividing Range.
Destiny Boonah is run by the ever-gregarious Heike. Originally from Germany, a few years back she was travelling in Australia when she came across Boonah. Struck with the beauty of the region, in her words she ‘found her destiny’, and found a way to stay.
Heike has a passion for animals and provides a private ‘eco-tour’ around the property on her 4WD-golf-buggy-cart-like vehicle. It’s at sunset so she can tell you all about the native animals that come out to play. Various types of wallabies are common as well as echidnas, possums, various birdlife including eagles, and the newest resident – ‘Tiger’ the koala!
Destiny_viewBut Heike also has a passion for her asses with her ‘Assquestrian Centre’ (you read right). Heike is one of the good people. She saves mistreated donkeys, treats them like royalty and provides fun and educational donkey sessions for groups.
Oh yeah – the accommodation………. These cute, self-contained cottages have acquired a bunch of eco certified badges. They’re solar powered, beautifully appointed throughout, cozy, well equipped, spacious and of course, spotlessly clean. Different sized cottages are suitable for couples, families and groups.
Destiny has private walking tracks and is only minutes away from Lake Maroon & Lake Moogerah. You’re also just 7km’s to Boonah’s restaurants, shops and two great wineries. Stay 3 nights get a free wildlife tour.

Butterfly approves of Wildlife Tourism Australia’s logo

Butterfly approves of Wildlife Tourism Australia’s logo

Mark Essenhigh of Off Road Adventure Safaris had an unexpected visit from a jezebel butterfly attracted to the WTA logo on his shirt






Nice to be noticed!

Mandurah Cruises are grinning from winning!

One of our members from WA has just taken out the top local honour at the Alcoa Peel Business Awards!


Pictured are Rod and Cheryl Bishop, owners of Mandurah Cruises.

Kev Mahney from Mandurah Cruises who is also our Treasurer, said they won two awards on the same night!

First win was the Peel Tourism Award and then the Alcoa Peel Business Award!

Congratulations Mandurah Cruises!

Echidna Walkabout gets International Seal Of Approval!

ewlogoOne of our members, Echidna Walkabout is ‘Getting it RIGHT’ when it comes to animal-tourism, says an international wildlife charity.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours has been given a seal of approval from an international wildlife charity which focuses on the way animals are treated by tourists.

Echidna Walkabout Tours, based in Melbourne, is now featured on the website, which is run by Care for the Wild International. The website – dubbed ‘Trip Advisor for Animal Tourism’ – gives tourists information on how to enjoy animals while on holiday, without doing them harm.

Philip Mansbridge who is the CEO of Care for the Wild, says that teaming up with responsible tour operators was an important part of the project and that “it’s fantastic to have Echnidna Walkabout on board”.

RIGHT-tourism gives people factual information on every country in the world so people can avoid practices that harm animals, whether that be, for example, bull fighting or a badly managed zoo. But it’s important that we also point people to where things are being done correctly.

Janine Duffy of Echidna Walkabout is really excited to be teaming up with RIGHT-tourism. The RIGHT-tourism concept is the future for world wildlife tourism, especially in places like Australia that rely on unique animal experiences.”

Janine says that with the conservation work they are doing, and with the support of RIGHT-tourism, hopefully they can get more people thinking about the animals they come across on holiday, and ensure that we all respect them a bit more.”

Care for the Wild International is a charity dedicated to the conservation and welfare of wildlife around the world, and has been funding wildlife projects since 1984. The RIGHT-tourism project was set up to help inform people as to how ‘animals in tourism’ are treated around the world. Tourists are invited to feedback information to the site if they witness good or bad practices.

Congratulations Echidna Walkabout!

For more information, contact Janine Duffy at Echidna Walkabout on
+61 (0)3 9646 8249  or mobile  +61 (0)427 808 747

New book on Northern Territory birds

Birds of Palmerston in Australia’s Top End

Goodfellow, DL and M Stott (2012). Birds of Palmerston in Australia’s Top End. Scrubfowl Publ. Darwin, NT.

This is the title of a new book to be launched next month by WTA vice-chair Denise Goodfellow

Goodfellow, DL and M Stott (2012). Birds of Palmerston in Australia’s Top End. Scrubfowl Publ. Darwin, NT.

Denise Goodfellow has been described as a Northern Territory treasure. She has worked as a biological consultant, conducted countless bird guiding tours for domestic as well as overseas tourists and has an incredible knowledge of the fauna and flora we all enjoy in this very special part of the world.

Many years ago Denise was adopted into an Aboriginal family.  She has worked tirelessly to assist her extended aboriginal family to overcome the barriers so many of them faced dealing with the bureaucracy and requirements of another culture.  Well before it became fashionable to raise cross cultural awareness Denise was quietly doing what she could to assist with cross-cultural issues in a very practical way.

Denise has been much sought after as a speaker and lecturer in other parts of Australia and overseas including the United States of America and Asia.

She is able to mix her scientific knowledge with entertaining stories of her own experiences with Aboriginal people and as an ornithologist and nature lover.

– taken from the book “Birds of Palmerston”

She is passionate about the environment in which she lives and is a great advocate for retaining our native heritage and preserving the best but often fragile aspects of the natural world.

Denise is the author of a number of books including her own autobiography and books such as ‘Common Birds of the Darwin Area” and ‘Birds of Australia’s Top End”. With the assistance of her partner Michael Stott, Denise now brings us ‘Birds of Palmerston”.

Palmerston began as a satellite town of the City of Darwin.  It has grown into a city in its own right with a rapidly expanding population.  This means, new suburbs, clearing and building.  However it is still filled with a stunning variety of birds that bring a great deal of joy to an increasing number of residents.

‘Birds of Palmerston” can be used as a reference book or just an enjoyable read.  The detail and descriptions are easy to follow, interspersed with fascinating little anecdotes and words of advice and filled with exquisite illustrations.

It is a book that you may want to read sitting in your garden or refer to as you walk through the parks and byways of Palmerston.  It is a book that will bring joy to bird lovers the world over including those fortunate enough to live in Palmerston.

To order a copy contact Denise Goodfellow

WTA Member Wins

Hon Jon Castrilli presents Kev Mahney with award

Congratulations Mandurah Cruises and our Wildlife Tourism Australia treasurer Kev Mahney!

Mandurah Cruises was presented as a nominee in the prestigious LandCorp Sustainability Award at the 2012 Regional Achievement and Community Awards in Perth held on 16th November 2012.

These awards are about recognising rural and regional individuals and groups in their community.

Hon John Castrilli MLA, presented Kev Manhey with the award in front of 420 guests from across the state.

Mandurah Cruises is the first company in Australia with EcoPlus Accreditation, as they have their own environmental policy, implementing recycling bins in the office and on their vessels. They also have a focus to reduce fuel and power usage and have banned chemicals and use china cups instead of paper cups. And they also sponsor a marine biology student who is writing a thesis on cetaceans.

Destiny Eco Cottage on TV

Destiny Eco Cottage to be on TV soon


Heike and Henry at Wildlife Expo

Destiny proprietor Heike with Henry at the Wildlife Expo in Beaudesert last year

15th of July, 5:30 pm on Channel 7

The Great South East 

The show will also be aired nationally on 7TWO on the Saturday after, 21st of July, 11:30am

Wildlife Tourism Australia  member Destiny Boonah ECO Cottages, the Wildlife Tour and their beautiful donkeys will be featured.

Osprey photos by Mandurah Cruises, WA

Osprey photos by Mandurah Cruises, WA

The “dolphiniologist” from our new member, Mandurah Cruises, took the attached photoslast month.

It is an osprey sitting on Samphire (the pink flower), waiting and looking out for a fish. The other photos show the bird with a mullet in its talons.



Also from Mandurah, a Press Release:


After a lot of work and an extensive submission to the WA Tourism Council, we have been successful in obtaining an EcoPlus accreditation.

This is a requirement to access Department of Environment and Conservation managed lands and waters.

The EcoPlus accreditation demonstrates a level of environmental management and achieving environmental sustainability.

The best news is, we, Mandurah Cruises are the first company in Western Australia to obtain this accreditation.

Have a great weekend!

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