I finally got to spend a few days at O’Reilly’s in the Lamington National Park. A super-efficient, large-scale ecotourism resort that provides much better food and quality of service than most luxury, downtown hotels. Moreover, despite the commercial tourism the quality of the natural rainforest environment around the facility is very good with only minor impacts of the tourism. I was slightly uneasy that luxury villa are being sold on the O’Reilly property. I think all enroachment of these magnificent parks should be limited absolutely. None.
For once too I had some major birdwatching victories - I saw all of the key speciality species at Lamington namely the Rufous scrub bird, Noisy pitta and the Albert’s lyrebird. The scrub bird is one of the most elusive species in Australia – I got it on a hike about 12 km down the Border Track from O’Reilly’s towards Binna Burra *. The lyrebird I got about 2 km down the Border Track while it was being tracked by a Yellow-throated scrubwren.I saw 3 pittas in all – one very close to O’Reilly’s and the other 2 together on the track to Moran’s Lookout – these last 2 provided 10 minutes view and photographs at close quarters. Other good birds in the park included Green catbirds, Logrunners, Satin bowerbirds, Russett-tailed thrush, Wonga and Pale-headed pigeons, Brown cuckoo doves and many other rainforest species that are abundant up here but scarce or non-existent further south.
Particularly spectacular rainforest country on the Border Track – the track separating NSW from Queensland – with ancient Antarctic Beech forests linking this part of Australia to our Gondwana land past. This reminded me of forest scenes from the Lord of the Rings movie. O’Reilly’s a strongly recommended destination for ecotourism and just as a luxurious resort at which to relax. Much more important than the Sydney Opera House and 1000 ratty Packer casinos.
On the road back to Coolongatta saw a Peasant cougal sitting in the middle of the main road – yes it did (at least temporarily) escape damage and, then, close to the departing airport, saw the Osprey nest at Currumbin.
* My attempts at getting the Noisy scrub bird in WA a few years back failed. Several days of fruitless searching for it and the Western whipbird. I’ll try again in 2013.