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.
All images by Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com