22 Apr Lamington National Park
I have been asked, “do the Bunyip Tree animals really live together somewhere in Australia?”. The answer is of course they do! There are very beautiful places in Australia where anyone can go wandering through the National Park and see birds and animals in the wild. Recently I visited Green Mountain, part of the Lamington National Park that is in the hinterland of the Gold Coast in South East Queensland, staying at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. The national park provides just the right amount of cute Australian bird and animals. In fact, a lot of the Bunyip Tree animals including koalas, echidnas, platypus, kangaroos, ringtail possums live here! There are also a few animals that we haven’t yet met in the Bunyip Tree world, including many varieties of snakes!!
Not only is Green Mountain a great place to research the habits and habitat of Australian wildlife, I even finished the last three chapters of my next novel. I also wandered about the forest and introduced myself to some potential candidates for the role of main character in upcoming Bunyip Tree children’s books. Many exceedingly good looking and quite friendly birds live on Green Mountain. Whip birds, different types of bower birds, yellow robins, superb wrens, Lewin’s honeyeaters, lyrebirds and king parrots are just the tip of the iceberg. Each morning I joined the bird tour to meet more of these astonishing creatures and even feed some. On a walk to Python Rock lookout, a wedge-tailed eagle flew directly over my head and then soared out over the scenic beauty of the valley below. Amazing!
But would I meet the next character for a Bunyip Tree book? I needed something furry, cute and mammalian, maybe even marsupial. Happily, there are many candidates that fit this description. The most abundant is the pademelon. A small and sweet macropod (the genre that comprises the kangaroos and wallabies) that looks like a mini kangaroo and has a face to melt your heart. I also saw some whip-tailed wallabies keeping me company as I trekked through the bush. I joined the animal experience at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and met some native rodents, a friendly and slightly mad magpie called Banjo as well as a carpet python and then they appeared; possibly the cutest creatures on earth – the squirrel gliders. They were asleep but we coaxed them to the top of their sleeping boxes with honey, which they love. The squirrel gliders are much like sugar gliders but have a fluffier tail, they both have membranes between front and back limbs that enable them to glide through the air from tree to tree. So an extremely cute, fluffy and tiny possum-like creature that can fly – surely there was no need to keep looking. Although, I do already have a story about a possum so maybe a cuter flying possum is too close?
That’s when I discovered the winner. The handsome and carnivorous Tiger Quoll, mainland Australia’s cousin to the Tasmanian Tiger. They are cute, have some attitude about them and although I looked hard I didn’t get to see one. They were there, hiding in the forest all around us, which only makes them more desirable in my eyes. Of course, I will now have to return to Green Mountain and attempt to find a Quoll as research for its book. Oh well…
Photos: Lamington National Park, Pademelon, King Parrot & Crimson Rosella joining the hike, Tiger Quoll, Squirrel Glider, Wedge-Tailed Eagle