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Bushwalking and Camping at O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park

Home > Brisbane > Animals and Wildlife | Camping | Outdoor | Walks | Weekend Escapes
by Roz Glazebrook (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published November 6th 2018
Bushwalking in rainforest with wildlife
My bushwalking club planned a weekend camping and bushwalking trip recently to O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park. I had been bushwalking there previously but had never camped there.

Startled Brush Turkey
Startled Brush Turkey


Three of us drove down from Brisbane on Friday morning and set up our tents. The other four people arrived later that day. Three of the group stayed at the guesthouse and four of us camped.

Albert River Circuit
Albert River Circuit


There was a lot of wildlife around the campground, including lots of pademelons and birds. Usually, I feel I'm very lucky to get a glimpse of a shy pademelon in the rainforest, but there were lots of them around the camping area and we watched several animals playing chase with each other.

Pademelon with baby
Pademelon with baby


One of the pademelons had a baby in her pouch. The baby was very shy, and I only got a glimpse of a small foot poking out of the mother's pouch. Pademelons are small, compact, short-tailed wallabies that typically inhabit wet sclerophyll and rainforests from Tasmania to New Guinea.

O'Reilly;s Camping Ground
O'Reilly;s Camping Ground


We even had a satin bowerbird bower in the bush close to our tents. We saw the male bird moving his precious blue pieces around to attract a female to mate with.

Our campsite Bowerbird had a few blue trinkets around his bower, but on Sunday we saw a huge number of blue things around another male Bowerbird's bower. I think he would probably attract more females than our probably younger bird. Brenda even saw a rare Albert's Lyrebird when she walked up to the guesthouse from the campsite.

Satin bowerbird in his bower
Satin bowerbird in his bower


Over the weekend we saw lots of other birds including Yellow Breasted Robins, King Parrots, Regent Bowerbirds, Rufus Fantails, Brush Turkeys, Welcome Swallows, Green Catbirds, Crimson Rosellas, and Superb Fairy-Wrens. I also saw my first Lewin's Honeyeater, Grey Shrikethrush and Marbled Frogmouth. I set my wildlife trap camera up behind my tent and captured a startled brush turkey. He must have been very close when the camera triggered.

Antarctic beech trees
Antarctic beech tree


We all met up for dinner at the restaurant before going on a short bus excursion to see the glowworms. We were very lucky to see two marbled frogmouth birds on the way. The bus headlights picked up one sitting on a post waiting to catch some prey and the other one was high up in the trees, along the track to the glowworms.

Creek crossing
Creek crossing


Chloe, our guide led a group of us along the dark track to the mystical Glowworm grotto, which is in a secluded gully. We all had head torches to see our way as we had to negotiate some roots along the path. When we got to the river, we turned off all the lights and sat quietly. In the dark, hundreds of glowworms twinkled like stars along the riverbank. The glowworms were magnificent. I had only seen glowworms once previously in New Zealand many years ago. I remember on that trip we went into caves by boat.

Echo Point Lookout
Echo Point Lookout


After an early breakfast on Saturday morning, we set out to walk the 21.8 kilometre Albert River Circuit. The track starts out on the Border track and turns off on the circuit after about five kilometres. We chose to do the walk in an anti-clockwise direction so we could enjoy the creek crossings and waterfalls while we were still fresh. It was a lovely fine day, unlike my previous walk in the area when it poured all day. I wrote about that walk here.

Brenda had told us to expect quite a few creek crossings and to bring a spare pair of socks. We followed the track down to the river and crossed over. Four men were ahead of us and not long after we crossed the river, we came across them heading back. They told us the track petered out. We all started looking around for the right track. Eventually, Brenda went back across the river and found the large arrow pointing the way to the right. It was above head height, and we had all missed it by concentrating on how we were going to get across the river on the rocks. It was a good lesson in backtracking to find the right track. I think the four men were impressed when we called them back and pointed out the right way to go.

Track marker we all missed
Track marker we all missed


On the way, we saw one of the elusive Lamington Spiny Crayfish and some lovely flowering cascade lilies (Helmholtzia glaberrima). These lilies are also called stream lilies. They are native to New South Wales and Queensland rainforest creeks and gullies. We were lucky to see the pale pink tall flower spikes as they only appear in summer. It was still Spring when we were there.

waterfall
Waterfall


There were lots of beautiful waterfalls along the way, including Echo Falls, Mirror Falls, Gwahlahla Falls, Gurrgunngulli Falls, Joolbahla falls and lots of others. There were also lots of cascades.

We stopped for lunch at the lookout at Echo Point, where we had magnificent views into New South Wales and the peaks surrounding Mt Warning.

There is a campsite at Echo Point and small groups of walkers can book this campsite through the National Park website. On our way out, we met two fathers with their young daughters heading to the campsite to camp. The two young girls looked very excited to be having such a great adventure.

Cascade lily
Cascade lily


Our club often has a through walk to Echo Point, where they camp overnight and then return the next day but we decided to do the walk as a day walk and return to camp at O'Reilly's.

There are stands of ancient Antarctic beech trees (Nothofagus moorie) along this track. These majestic trees are a link with Gondwana and are protected within Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. On the way back to O'Reilly's, we passed the Cominan lookout.

crossing another creek
Crossing another creek


We didn't need our spare dry socks as none of us got our feet wet crossing all the creeks and no one got any leeches or ticks either, which is unusual.

Mossy logs and trees
Mossy logs and trees


Some of our group got up early to go on the organised bird watching walk on Sunday morning. After that, we did the short Tree Top Walk along the suspension bridge.

The 180-metre suspension bridge is 15 metres above the rainforest floor.

Morans Falls
Morans Falls


A few of us climbed the two observation decks. The highest one is 30 metres above the ground. It was ok as long as you didn't look down.

After our boardwalk walk, we drove to the start of the Moran's Falls walk. The return track to the falls return is only 4.4 kilometres. It was a beautiful, easy walk suitable for all age groups. There was a rainbow over the falls and several lookouts along the way. You can park near the track start or you could start the walk 150m downhill from the National Park's Information Centre via the Centenary track. If you start from here it is 6.6 kilometres in total. The falls drop 80 metres to the valley floor. We got nervous when we stopped at the first lookout and spotted some young people very close to the edge of the falls. It would be easy to slip and fall.

Tree Tops Walk
Tree Tops Walk


It is worth going to the Information Centre. There is a great display on the history and wildlife of the area and a fabulous audiovisual on the different birds, which we all wished we had seen two days earlier.

We packed a lot into a wonderful weekend with waterfalls, rainforest, birds, wildlife, rare plants, glowworms, interesting bushwalks and good friends.

You do need to book campsites through the National Parks website.
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Why? Enjoyable outdoors activities
When: Anytime
Where: O'Reilly's at Lamington National Park
Cost: Camping fees, $30 glowworm excursion
Your Comment
I love O'Reilly's. Great photo of the pademelon!
by Amanda I (score: 2|305) 6 hours ago
Nice one Gail.
by scockburn (score: 0|4) 5 days ago
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