Australian Natural Adventures
Wildlife, Nature & Soft Adventure Tours
Custom Australia, New Zealand & Pacific tours and travel
While not as popular with international visitors as the Far North, southern Queensland is Australia’s premier domestic holiday destination, due to warm weather and spectacular beaches. But there’s more to the region than straight hedonism. Lamington National Park, southwest of Brisbane, is an area of upland temperate rainforest and open eucalyptus forest, and is rich in fauna and flora. Two of Australia’s original ecolodges, including our favorite, O'Reilly's, is here, and both offer superb nature tour experiences, or just a peaceful stay in a beautiful, untouched environment. Further west is rich farming country, and several of the farms and stations (Australian for ranch) offer accommodation and a chance to be involved in the working of the property.
The Great Barrier Reef ends around Gladstone, the northern limit of Southern Queensland. Several islands, including Lady Elliott and Heron Island, enable visitors to stay right on the reef. The northern wet season has little effect here, and so the reef, and the region generally, can be visited easily all year round.
Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo is located near Beerwah, once a tiny rural village but now virtually engulfed by the booming Sunshine Coast. By visiting the Zoo not only do you have a grat time and see some wonderful animals, but you support Steve, Bindi and Terri's wonderful efforts to conserve wildlife around the world. Back in the early seventies Australian Natural Adventure's president, Andrew Haffenden, lived near there, and enjoyed trips looking for reptiles with Steve's Dad, Bob. At the time Steve was only small (and yes, in shorts of course), but as interested in animals as he appeared on television. Thanks, Steve for all you've done.
Lamington National Park is a region of rainforest and eucalpyt forest in the high country behind Queensland's Gold Coast. Situated around 3000', the mountains, plateaus, valleys, forests and wildlife make this an exceptional destination for those interested in wildlife and nature. An extensive National Park and two nature lodges, perhaps the longest running in Australia, make access and exploration simple, and there's even daily buses from Brisbane or the Gold Coast to get there. If wildlife, birds and natural history are on your Australia must-see list, then make sure Lamington is part of your visit. The park is an easy and interesting 2-hour drive inland from Brisbane, and a little shorter from the Gold Coast. Travel is from the coast through farming communities and small towns rising up through the hinterland and into Australia's Great Dividing Range (which actually just divides the immediate east coast from the rest of Australia). There are two access roads, one of which ends at Lamington National Park campground and Information Centre, and O'Reillys Rainforest Retreat, established officially in 1930 but welcoming guests since 1914. O'Reillys in fact predates the Park and spurred its declaration. The other route is a little to the south, and ends at Binna Burra Lodge. There is no road connecting these two parts, but there is a walking track between them.
While Binna Burra is more rustic than O'Reilly's, both offer naturalist guided tours, beautiful scenery, outdoor activities and a lot of accessible wildlife. Each month in November O'Reillys hosts a Bird Week, attracting experts and beginners alike from around Australia and overseas. Binna Burra has several programs of orienteering, abseiling (rapelling) and similar outdoor sports.
If you prefer, camping is available at the National Park campground and at Binna Burra.