The Bunya Mountains in Queensland’s South Burnett region are one of the state’s most distinctive set of peaks with an array of native animals and birdlife, excellent walks, fantastic rainforest and important grasslands, and really great camp sites. It’s the perfect place to escape into nature and get grips to Aboriginal culture and heritage while you’re there. It’s also a lot cooler up here above 1000m than down on the plains around.

One of the park’s friendly rangers told me there is no word for mountain in Aboriginal language and so they call it Bunya Bunya, the reference which will now be used here. Bunya Bunya is of extraordinary significance to Aboriginal people, apparently more so than even Uluru, according to the ranger, and was a gathering ground for Indigenous people to meet, feast on Bunya nuts and other products of the forest, exchange trade, discuss matters and disputes, and perform marriage rites. People used to come from hundreds of kilometres around for these gatherings and often stayed many months. It’s easy to see the attraction for the greenery, cooler climates, plentiful food sources and peaceful environment of the Bunya Bunya has endured.

There are 35km of walking tracks in the Bunya Bunya that lead along the cliff side escarpments with views over the Darling Downs and South Burnett, through rainforest with enormous hoop pines and bunya pines reaching above you, past the nests of owls and by the noisy rosellas and parrots, by gushing waterfalls and creeks, and huge clumps of native grasslands. On the western edge the climate is much drier and it’s here that grass trees feature, their enormous spikes reaching skyward.

Animal and birdlife is prolific with wallabies grazing in or near the campsites, while bandicoots come out at night and there are birds of all kinds in the trees, or even scampering under the table, that include Superb Fairywrens, Satin Bowerbirds, Magpies, Crimson Rosellas and the Australian King Parrot.

There are three camp sites with various facilities, but all are excellent, well kept and clean. Apparently they’ve won awards here for this. Book your campsite online through the Queensland Department of National Parks. There are also cabins available for rent which are a good choice in the colder months when camping would be a challenge. There’s a corner store and cafe at Dandabah.

The amazing Bunya trees from which the mountains get their name. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

The Bunya nut can be up to 10kg in size. Signs advise you don’t linger under the pines in case you are clobbered with one of these. The outer skin is very hard and quite sharp. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Wallabies are popular visitors to the campgrounds and very at home in and around tents and trailers. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

The grass tree is another of the Bunya mountain’s prominent trees. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

Pockets of ferns grow in the rainforest. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

A wallaby and joey at the Dandabah campsite. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

Superb Fairywrens can also be seen near the campsites. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

Paradise Falls on the popular Barker Creek circuit. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

Red necked wallabies engage in a tussle. The male and female will fight on two legs like this, similar to males, before courting. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

An Australian King Parrot preening in a tree. Wild birds are fed several times daily at the Dandabah corner store. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

Green everywhere you turn – the rainforest of the Barker Creek Circuit. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

Guess who calls this place home? A male Satin Bower Bird of course with his collection of blue items probably stolen from campers nearby. Spot the bottle top, plastic spoon and pegs. They decorate their nests to attract females. Let’s hope it works out for him. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

The view from the Bunya’s highest peak – grass trees on Mt Kiangarow at 1135m. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

The ranger told us one of the grass trees at Burtons Well was over 1000 years old. From his description I think it’s this one. Even if it’s not, it’s an impressive one. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Strain your neck to look up at the top of hoop pines and bunya trees in the rainforest. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

All images by Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

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