Hervey Bay Whale watching.

Early start and a drive from Burrum Heads to Hervey Bay to board our boat for  day that delivered on all counts.
Five and a half hours with snacks and lunch on board and a Captain who knew exactly where the Whales would be.
We were miles out to sea almost to the end of Fraser Island , beyond all the other boats and he delivered us in amongst many Pods of Humpbacked Whales.
Mothers and calves and males showing off Breaching and splashing. He asked us all to wave at them because he said they were attracted to the noise an movement. We thought it was a wind up but it worked every time, bringing them right up to the boat and under it.
It could not have been better. Later in the day we saw Ospreys and Sea Eagles on the local beach and hundreds of Pied Cormorants.
What an amazing day !!!!


Cania Gorge

We made an early start the next day along a lovely road towards Cania Gorge.  Just a few kms down the road we stopped to photograph a Little Corella and a pretty warbler.  When we reached the gorge we where surrounded by a flock of Blue-faced Honeyeaters.  We headed off on our walk up to Fern Tree Pool and then up to Giant Chair lookout point.  In the afternoon we did a shorter walk up to the Dragon and Bloodwood caves.  Incredible views over the 70m sandstone cliffs of the gorge.  We saw a lovely Red-backed Fairy Wren on our way up the second walk, the walk had been diverted in several places due to walking bridges being washed out by floods earlier in the year.  In the late afternoon we decided to head back to the coast as the weather forecast was showing fair and we wanted to go on a whale trip.  On the way back there were flocks of Bustards in the fields, the closest we had ever seen them.  Camped for the night at a municipal site at the pretty town of Burrum Heads.  The friendly owner arranged for our whale watching tour with Whalesong the next day.

1770 and Blackmans Gap to Kalpowar

Just around the corner from Agnes Water is the town of 1770, named after the landing of James Cook in 1770, of course.  On the road there we were entertained by flocks of Bee-eaters.  There is a great walk to the point, called Roundhill lookout from where we spotted our first whale way out at sea.  There are good views here of Bustard Bay and Cooks landing and on the beaches we had our first view of Pelicans.

On advice from the council workers at the campsite we headed inland on a dirt road called Blackmans Gap, much to the dismay of our Sat Nav. We saw Australian Spoonbills, Pied Cormorants and our first Wallaby.  Feel like we are getting into our sort of countryside now, in the hills miles from anyone and no traffic.  The road was very scenic and as we entered the valley around Kalpowar the sky was full of smoke from controlled field fires set by the fire service to clear the brush and dead wood.  We located another DOC campsite for the night in Kalpowar Forest, unfortunately the signposted directions terminated at an impossible stream crossing. Not to be thwarted we headed back to the village, well more like a hamlet and found the school bus driver parking up the coach for the night.  She offered her front lawn as a stop over but suggested another track into the forest.  Intrepid as ever we took what can only be described as a farm track which skirted the field fires and lead us to the back entrance of the park.  Not surprisingly we were the only people there and again we were privileged to see several Pale-head Rosellas and Rainbow Lorikeets.  Sarah kept her eye on the glowing fires well into dark before closing up for the night.


Agnes Water

Carrying on northwards through the sugar cane lands and ending up at Agnes Water.  The main campsite was full so after some good advice from the tourist office we found a spot on a local council site called Workmans Beach.  Lovely walk along the cliff tops overlooking the beaches and disturbed our first Australian Brush Turkey.  The next morning the local campers spotted a Tawny Frogmouth nestled in a tree, this bird has amazing camouflage and is very owl like.


Wongi Water Holes north of Brisbane

Leaving the city behind us we headed up the Bruce Highway, not the most exciting road for our first day of travelling, however the name of the rest area for our coffee break stop made us laugh, it was named Chatsworth Park but showed no resemblance to the one back home in the UK.  Friends at home suggested we use the Department of Conservation Sites (DOC) and State Forest Camps as a good place to stop for the night, so we left the Bruce Highway behind and took off down a 10km unsurfaced road into the middle of a forest to Wongi Water Holes.  A beautiful and peaceful setting with us being the only humans there.  We woke to bird song  and the shuffling sounds of a large Monitor Lizard wandering through the camp.  He was over a metre long but didn't seem bothered about us.