For an exhilarating day trip and a definitive back to nature feel, you cannot go past an enchanting excursion to O'Reilly's
wildlife experience at the heart of the Queensland's World Heritage, Lamington National Park.
For over 100 years the O'Reilly family have opened their home, of sorts, to visitors from all over the world, allowing them to experience and admire the mountains, scenery, wildlife and witness a rainforest that has been shaped over millions of years, to which is now protected by world heritage status.
On arrival, the staff of O'Reilly's encourage you start with bird feeding in an area allocated specifically for the hand feeding of feathered varieties, such as King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and the ever present cheeky Queensland brush turkey. And believe me when I say these birds are not shy.
Perched upon your head or any other part of your body they can hang onto, to get at the gastronomic delights of birdseed, that you hold out for them.
After the frenzied feeding of birdseed had been devoured, it was time to wander off to the boardwalk and around a section of the Lamington forest and admire the abundance of flora, fauna and winged varieties that roam free in this heavenly part of the world.
Self guided tours were easy, however we were fortunate enough to tag along with a group and be guided and shown the regeneration of the largest trees to the birds that wandered across our paths on the meandering.
On top of the trees
As the pathway gently climbs up we started on the suspension bridge walk, which sits above the tree canopies. One of the first suspension bridges built in Australia and for sure will take your breath away.
Definitely feeling at one with nature once the walk had ended and after a leisurely lunch, it was time for the birds of prey show. I have seen many birds of prey shows before at other locations, however I don't think anything comes close to the spectacular display that was on show this day. From Australian hawks, to barn owls, all were keen to show their wares and vie for attention of the human audience that watched.
Keeping their eye on everyone!
And once the birds were satisfied that everyone was enthralled, and for a small fee, a hawk was placed on your outstretched arm, for the obligatory photo opportunity.
From the birds of prey show, there was a short drive down the valley in a modified bus that took us to an open area where we were suited up in harnesses and after safety instructions, we trudged up the hill to the start of the flying fox. Sitting approximately 25 meters up and with knees slightly knocking it was time to put my fear of heights aside and slide. Once hooked on, it was pretty easy, just let yourself go. Exhilarating, breathtaking views and for sure the most fun on a wire that you will ever have. After two hours of taking turns zipping on a wire and climbing the hill back to the start, and feeling like a kid again, it was time to set off back to the bus to begin our journey home.
With the day over and heading back to the bright lights of the city, I am still amazed of what sights are situated within easy reach of Brisbane. Only a short drive, and on probably some of the most awe inspiring driving through Lamington National Park to the O'Reilly's retreat, makes a great day out for families, locals and tourists alike and without a doubt has made me glad that I live in a state with such variety. From Segway tours to accommodation and everything in between, O'Reilly's is a must do for any local or visitor alike.
Oh, and one last note, Lamington National Park was named after Lord Lamington, who was governor of Queensland in 1896, and if you were also wondering, the Lamington [chocolate/raspberry and coconut] sponge cake, was, according to some, named after him. Which you can order a slice when you get there!