With a long weekend looming we clocked off early on Friday to head to the Bunya Mountains, home to the world's largest stand of bunya trees and more nature and wildlife than your eyes can absorb.
It's about 150km from Brisbane, and as we prefer to travel in daylight hours on the motorbike, a 2 pm departure was planned. Unfortunately, with a few stops along the way to meet up with group members, road works and a speeding fine (you know who you are) from a friendly copper, it was dark and raining when we hit the last 30 minutes of the ride and a dirt/gravel stretch. The boys were not happy, and it was a slow procession to our accommodation.
Our group of four couples was staying in two side-by-side cottages in the small village in the middle of the national park. There is also a camping ground in the same spot and a couple of others close by. Despite popular opinion, I like to camp and have camped here before, but on a motorbike, it's easier to stay in accommodation.
|The boys and their bikes|
|Walking back to the cottage from the general store took about 15 minutes|
Staying in the Bunya Mountains is a little different from most other places. As this is a small, isolated community, they have made their own rules, and you need to be organised and book ahead to suit your requirements.
Here are my 10 best Bunya tips.
* book everything from accommodation to dinner venues and the Sunday paper early, things book out and sell out, and there are few alternatives.
* don't expect to find a well stocked general store where you can pick up anything you have left behind. The general store stocks essentials and some other stuff but it's not Woolies.
* be prepared to pick up your pre-booked linen and make your beds, then also drop the linen back to the booking office.
* pack good walking shoes and warm clothes. There's no need to get the car out for the morning papers, but you will need a jacket.
* your mobile phone won't work well unless you are with Telstra (Telstra, you can pay me later)
* Nothing much opens before 9.30am and most things close at 4 pm or 5 pm. Eat out between those times, arrange hampers or barbecue packs or book for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.
* While your accommodation won't include linen it will include wood for the fire but be prepared to chop, chop, chop.
* We didn't find anywhere that had mastered a good, strong coffee. Take your own if that's important or always order a double shot - it might work.
* Try the local bunya nuts and bush flavoured jams and condiments. They are delicious.
* Be prepared for ticks and leeches
Here's what we did -
|Bikie gang members - cameras are not a pre-requisite|
We started day one with morning tea of scones and local jam at Poppys, a newly opened cafe on the high side at the bottom of the hill. The scones were delicious, so I also ordered an orange and almond cake to celebrate K2's birthday - yes 21 again!
Poppys also offer a barbecue pack which solved the Sunday night dining dilemma. The pack was generous with potatoes, garlic bread, salad, onions, sausages and steak and it was all reasonable quality for the $18.50 per head price tag. I would eat it again.
The 4.6km walk called and it was a magical exploration of the forest. Some of us were so bewitched by the atmosphere they took a wrong turn and walked 10km. They had plenty of time to work out where they went wrong.
|We walked through the middle of this tree, and I took the photo below looking up into its heart.|
I went back to the cottage and enjoyed a spa bath - perfect for tired biking and walking muscles.
That night we dined at the Cider Gum Restaurant. The food was home style and the service charming. We were grateful to have someone cook for us.
|Barker Creek pork with a honey mustard sauce|
One of the girls was not feeling great on Sunday so the group split with the boys heading off to explore the open road on their motorbikes and the girls staying home to watch DVDs and chat - at least that's what we told them.
TC improved dramatically once the bikes departed and we soon wandered down the road to order the night's dinner and back up the hill for morning tea/lunch at the Bunya Forest Gallery and Tearoom. This is a charming cafe where the emphasis is on native bush flavours.
|Bunya nut pesto|
|This is what the bunya nut looks like|
Here're some of the animals we saw-
Want to know more?
Here're some helpful links
Bunya Mountains background
Bunya Mountains accommodation
Disclaimer: Just in case you were wondering - this trip was entirely funded by E,d+bK and her friends.