Bunya Mountains National Park was declared in 1908. It is Queensland's second oldest national park. The whole area has lovely mountain scenery and views. Unfortunately, we didn't see a lot of the views because of the heavy mist and rain, so I will have to go back. I did enjoy walking in the rain though, and the mist and rain gave the mountains a special atmosphere. The area has the largest natural Bunya pine forests in the world.
Bunya Mountains National Park is about 200km north-west of Brisbane and 125km northwest of Toowoomba. All access roads to the Bunya Mountains are steep, winding and narrow and not suitable for long and/or heavy vehicles. We drove up through Kilcoy and home via Fernvale.
Thirteen of us stayed at the Mai Chalet at Dandabah. The large house had three double bedrooms and a large bunkroom containing lots of double bunks. It also had a large sitting room with a fireplace, outdoor tables and a barbecue.
If you ever have visitors from overseas and they want to see a kangaroo, take them out to Bunya Mountains. There were hundreds of wallabies sitting around in the grounds. A lot of the animals had joeys and it was lovely watching the young ones tentatively hopping out of their pouch for a short time, then jumping back in and poking their little faces out. Some looked a bit miserable sitting out in the rain and others sheltered under trees or under the verandah of some of the other chalets.
Bunya pine trees produce bumper nut crops about every three years. Local Aboriginal tribes used to invite neighbouring groups to join them for the Bunya Festival when they feasted on bunya nuts. As we walked among the huge Bunya Pine trees, we saw the remains of notches in the trees where Aboriginals climbed up using hand and foot holds to get the nuts.
The area was heavily logged in the 1800s. In the 1860s, Joseph Carbine established the first sawpit in the foothills. To get logs off the mountain, he built an earthen chute running almost vertically down to his sawpit. Eventually, there were fourteen chutes on the mountain. On our walk, we saw where Chute number three used to be.
In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Bunya Mountains was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a "Natural attraction".
The two tallest mountains on the range, Mount Kiangarow and Mount Mowbullan are over 1,100 m.
We explored the area around Dandabah where we saw a sculpture of a large hand. The hand was designed and sculpted at Gatton by Ironic Art in June 2008. The buttress root base is a reminder of bygone logging days while fungi and vines represent nature reclaiming the forest. The hand reaching to the heavens demonstrates the eternal struggle within the rainforest to reach the life-giving sunlight above the canopy. It also symbolises humans caring for the Bunya Mountains.
On Saturday, we planned to walk from Burtons Well to Paradise. This walk takes in the western side of the park and is just over 15 kms. It would have involved a car shuffle. The walk follows the cliff-line on the mountains' western side commencing with an ascent of Mt Kiangarow, which is the highest Point of the Bunya Mountains.
Because of heavy rain, we changed plans. We waited a couple of hours hoping the rain would ease, then drove to Fisher's Lookout where we parked the cars. From there, we walked some of Russell Park Walking Tracks. We walked to Cunjevoi Falls and visited Top Chute No 3 and Little Mowbullan. The walk from Fishers Lookout to Cunjevoi Falls was fairly steep down through the rainforest. It was wet and slippery in some rocky areas but very beautiful. I think we only walked about six or seven kilometres on Saturday, but there were some challenging hills to climb, so we felt we had a good walk and saw some really interesting areas.
After the walk when we got back to our house, we had a warm shower, got into dry clothes, then spent the rest of the day relaxing by the fire. Some people read books and others played games. I had fun learning to play UNO.
On Sunday we walked about 10 kilometres on the Barkers Creek Circuit Track which is part of the Eastern Rainforest Circuits. We walked through the rainforest to waterfalls and lookouts and visited Paradise Falls, Little Falls, Big Falls lookout, Barker Creek Lookout and Tim Shae Falls.
The track was covered with Bunya Pine fronds. There were lots of Bunya Pine Trees and I saw a couple of Red Cedar trees. I also saw my first Python Tree (Gossia Bidwillii Myrtacae family). The Python Tree is an extremely slow growing tree, which got its name because its smooth blotched bark looks like the pattern of a python's skin. Mallet handles were made from wood from these trees.