The Bunya Mountains is a beautiful, peaceful, natural spot and the only place where the Bunya Tree naturally grows.
We visited this spot to try out our camping set up for our Australian roadtrip and to take it all in.
Here we'll cover:
On the way up from Oakey, we came across a large goat farm just before we reached the Bunya Mountains. What a surprise!
Bunya is basically about hiking through various trails, bird-watching, waterfalls and relaxation. It's a very relaxing atmosphere and there's not a lot competing for your attention.
There are quite a number of long walks and only a couple short ones. We often saw other campers heading off in the morning (sometimes with their lunch) and coming back hours later or even late afternoon. There are a number of trails that you drive to and then go for your hike as well as a main one with a few waterfalls leaving from the Dandabah area.
Children may find most of the walks long and for us with a toddler, we did only 2 of the walks.
There are a number of places to stay here. We stayed at the Dandabah campground which is the main campground as part of the national park. There are also chalets, other national park campgrounds and and room options.
The Dandabah Campground is part of the national park and nice and cheap! At the time of writing, it cost $5.90 per person over 5 years old. It's a large grassy spot and there is a sloping area so if you're camping in a busy time, try and get there early to avoid this spot. I was actually surprised at the size as I expected it to be a bit bigger.
There are lots of wallabies around as well as scrub turkeys and a variety of birds. The view above is toward the back of the camping area and the other side faces the parking lot and road (which is not very busy at all). Hot showers are only in this campground and they are better than some caravan parks I've stayed at! Happy surprise.
Remember to bring your own water.
There are two other campgrounds. Westcott is close to an important grassy site and offers toilets only. Burtons Well is on the north end of the park and has toilets and 2 cold showers as well as fire pits.
A popular time for visitors is winter and if you visit then, it will be too cold to camp. There are a variety of chalets on offer and they are quite nice. Some are cute and quaint, others are log cabins overlooking a great valley view, some are right in the Dandabah area close to the coffee shop and restaurant. It all depends what you're looking for.
I was quite surprised at the tameness, variety and nearness of the wildlife in the Bunya Mountains. If you'd like to see parrots and wallabies close up, this is a great spot to visit.
There were wallabies all around and an amazing thing was the amount of joeys in pouches while we visited (November). They get quite close to the tents in the campgrounds and are all around the grassy areas.
The birds are fed in a licensed area which has led them to being quite tame and they'll come quite close. There is quite a variety of parrots, crows, bower birds, wrens and much more.
The birds actually presented a bit of a challenge when cooking and eating outside. They're sneaky! We needed to keep a close eye on all food we were preparing and actually ate inside our tent (which we've never done before) to avoid the birds. They are cute and funny but we don't want to feed them. They did land on Ricky and started eating the pear he was eating.
Also beware of the scrub turkeys in the background below. They'll go after any plastic bag or scrap of food.
The ticks are a problem here if you are visiting in the warmer months. It's a constant watching out for them, checking all the places they could possibly get and just basically being paranoid.
We encountered a tick the very first night crawling along our daughters neck - hadn't bit yet luckily. I had one tick bite the first full day we were there and found a number of them on me after our walks in the bush.
So be prepared with the right clothing (including hats as they jump off leaves) and insect repellent. Bring tweezers, wart-off (freezes them and they fall off) or vaseline (to cover them so they can't breathe and let go).
The Dandabah area is the only spot you can buy something. There's a shop, a restaurant (Elz) and a Poppies Cafe. Prices were reasonable at all spots. The only place we visited was Poppies to try a bunya nut - carrot cake. We're still trying to figure out what bunya nut tastes like but the cake was good.
We had a nice time in the Bunya Mountains and would recommend a visit. It's a bit out of the way but that makes it all the more peaceful. It's also quite a bit cooler than the surrounding area so keep that in mind when you're packing.
For more on this area and to book a campsite, visit the Bunya National Park website.