Bongil Bongil NP & Urunga Wetlands

Urunga Wetlands Boardwalk
Urunga Wetlands Boardwalk

 

Bundagen Headland, Bongil Bongil National Park
Bundagen Headland, Bongil Bongil National Park

 

Hello everyone, we have been having a great time just hanging out along this fantastic part of the coast. Within an hours drive is just so much to see. The Bundageree Walk , a coastal section of the Bongil Bongil National Park is fantastic, there is quite a few trails there but we only walked along the track just in from the beach, which began at the end of Tucker’s Rocks road. it was a very windy day and we could hear the wind whipping through the tops of the trees but we were very well protected in there. It’s a 3 km walk one way and about half way along the forest has a definite change, almost like a line drawn there. Fantastic as it gives you a variety of birds. It ends at the mouth of the Bundagaree creek at Bundagen Headland. We started to walk along the beach but quickly got sandblasted so turned back. You can walk all the way back to the car park along the beach making it a loop. We saw lots of birds here, of course always very hard to get photos of birds in rainforest as they don’t pop out into the open very often and there were lots of those messy vines everywhere so hard to even spot the birds in the first place. We will definitely go back and do some other walks there. September is when all the migrant birds start to come back so hopefully we will see more and more different birds as we get out and about.

 

Brahminy Kite Flyby
Brahminy Kite Flyby

 

Eastern Water Dragon
Eastern Water Dragon

Click or press for larger view 

Birds spotted on the Bundageree Walk

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Urunga Wetlands

Urunga Wetlands 
We also found this amazing Wetlands in Urunga itself, you can read more about it HERE. I don’t think we would have known about it if we hadn’t been told by a friend. But it is fantastic, not very big but the council here has done an amazing job of revamping this once derelict site. We saw 3 different birds of prey there, spoonbills, swans, ducks, grebes etc and they do get jabiru there too sometimes so we will always have to go and have a look. In the mornings the reflection is amazing if there is no wind. We have some horrible rainy windy days upon us now so will catchup with friends,  drink lots of cuppachino’s and play with our cat Chloe……she has turned into a kitten again and meeows at us constantly to pick up the piece of string so she can chase it round and round the coffee table. Cats are so easy to please.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Some birds from Urunga Estuaries 

It’s a Puffer Fish

Puffer fish are so cute

 

Kui Buri National Park

The Beauty of an Asian Elephant

We had a good day, a nice breakfast at the palace and then we decided to just walk up the side road here as we could see that most of it was bushland. Well we found lots of dragonflies and a bit further up we’re heaps of ponds with some bird life so Anthony managed to get some nice photos just in our backyard really. He was quite happy to hang out there for a while but I was already sweating so I decided it was a good time to check out the pool, have a nice swim and relax a bit which was really nice.

 

Dragonfly pics for the day

 

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt – Image captured behind our Resort
We then decided to drive up to the Kui Buri National Park  about 1 hours drive, to try and see some elephants. It’s renowned for being the easiest place to spot them and boast a 99% success rate. The drive out there was really nice, good road hardly any traffic and beautiful countryside. Quite a few pineapple plantations and rubber tree plantations too.
They are very strict at the National Park, no walking through only by safari, we had already done some research and knew roughly what to expect.
We headed off just after 2 pm and only one other safari Ute going, it seems there aren’t many people around, maybe it’s just crazy busy on the weekends..
Gaur Bull
The Gaur Bull (Bos gaurus),
We saw the Gaur very quickly I wasn’t really prepared so didn’t get much of a look at him really. Bizarre looking animal though, I guess half bison and maybe half buffalo.
We saw the elephants very soon thereafter which was fantastic, we did get off the back of the Ute and got quite close about 40 mtrs so Anthony got some really nice photos. What a beautiful animal, so peaceful, they don’t really seem to do much, just eat and swish their tails.
A moving experience up close with Asian Elephants 
We stopped at another viewpoint and you could see them in the distance and we must have sat on these logs for about an hour, we were under the impression  that the guy on the motorbike who had been spotting the elephants and radioing through to our driver was out spotting other animals for us….but since our guide or the driver couldn’t speak English we didn’t realise this was the end of the safari……everyone had gone home except for us dim wits sitting there absolutely bored shitless fo quite sometime. The safari finishes around 6 pm but because we were so lucky seeing the elephants so quickly we had a lot of time to kill so they were quite happy for us to sit there twiddling our thumbs, funny hey??  Lucky Anthony made some snappy sign language and we went home early. Honestly we love elephants but after a period of time it’s like watching a cat sleeping, you just want to go to sleep too.
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You can watch a short Video of the Elephants here
Still it was great to see them but the safari utes only go to about 3 viewpoints so I guess there’s not that much chance of seeing anything else. They’ve got an impressive wildlife list so we were quite a bit disappointed not to see anything else.
Well this was our last day down this neck of the woods, back to the big smoke Bangkok tomorrow shock horror, we will just have to remember to breathe.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

SamRoiYod National Park

Temple in a Cave – Phraya Nakhon, SamRoiYod NP

 

Well our day started off quite sedately, a nice breakfast here at the palace which didn’t start till after 8 am so we didn’t even hit the road till around 9 ish. Our excitement for seeing new birds turned sour pretty quickly, we paid to get into the national park and were then told that the one spot we were really keen to visit, a freshwater marshland, was closed. We drove around some of the hundreds of shrimp ponds and did see quite a few normal sort of birds I guess, like the stilts, herons, egrets, plovers, terns etc but Anthony has so many really good photos of these already and the light was too bright against  the shallow murky brown water and didn’t come up too good in the photos.

 

Our first stop which included a rewarded climb at Khao Daeng
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You can watch our short Video of Khao Daeng here
So we decided to play Tommy Tourists instead, which must sound quite relaxing but it involved hiking which we love of course but climbing very steep terrain in the tropical heat has knobs on it, I was so glad to do it but thought about the pool back at the palace quite a few times, we were so hot and bothered and absolutely drenched by the end of the day.
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Watch our short Video of Phraya Nakhon Cave and surrounds here
The view from Khao Daeng was fantastic, you can see the hundreds of shrimp ponds in the area. Also the temple in the cave was truly a mystical experience, I am so glad we were the only ones there, it was so still and peaceful and such a beautiful spiritual aura about the place, it would have been ruined by noisy tourists.The history is very interesting so you can read a bit further about it Here.
We love seeing all the monkeys on the way, they are quite used to humans but do keep a wary eye on us so we were quite amazed when a mummy macaque carrying her baby brushed so close past Anthony ,maybe they can sense that we mean them no harm.
So we had a fantastic though very tiring day, not sure what we are doing tomorrow yet, probably will start with a sleep in. Enjoy the pics and videos.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

From Mountains to the Sea

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Picturesque Dolphin Bay, SamRoiYod

 

Wow wow wow ….

What else can I say? Check out our new digs!! Palace more like it with Palace gardens, this little mini resort should be on the cover of a glossy travel magazine, absolutely stunning. It’s called Stella Resort just up the road from Dolphin Bay where all the fancy resorts are. Our room is beautiful too and spotless, really when I looked at that pool I just wanted to get my bikini on and lounge around it for the rest of the afternoon, the lady here does meals and even massages, what a beautiful relaxing place and check out the mountains in the distance.

 

How amazing does this scene look? At our new Digs

 

We really wanted to check out the area as we only have 3 nights here….tick tock tick tock, so no time to relax just yet, plus we hadn’t had lunch, looks like we might be combining lunch and dinner. The surrounds here are amazing, that mountain range is awesome and the coast is pretty good too. We found a nice restaurant by the beach , fantastic Thai food, there’s restaurants and bars most of the way along Dolphin Bay.
The fishing village of Bang Pu was so colourful, all those brightly painted boats made for great photos, oh yes and look at the Hoopoes almost at arms reach on the lawn of a resort after we spent quite sometime stalking them at the dam this morning.

 

A couple of snaps from around SamRoiYod
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A quick look a SamRoiYod including Dolphin Bay and Bang Pu
Anyway enjoy the video and pics, we are really excited to do more exploring tomorrow,
Bye, Steph and Anthony.

Farewell Kaeng Krachan

Unexpected Visitor at the Lawns of Kaeng Krachan Dam

Well our morning started really well, we were lying in bed doing our iPad thing and Anthony spotted a Blue winged Pita hopping around in the garden at the Rivercreek Estate. Of course I didn’t believe him at first till I got a look myself, they are such an elusive gorgeous little bird, I quickly got my video recorder going through the window so it’s a bit grainy, Anthony was clicking madly just outside the door but the photos didn’t turn out that good as it was so dark. Such a good feeling to see a bird like that. I suppose we could have done nothing for the rest of the morning but we didn’t have to check out till 12 am and couldn’t check into our next place till 2 pm so decided to zip back out to the dam and see what it was like in the morning light.

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A short Video of the elusive Blue-winged Pitta
Well it’s a fantastic place in the morning, saw heaps of herons and kingfishers, saw the amazing Hoopoe, what a crazy looking bird that walks like a chicken, I never thought we would get to see one. In the distance I could hear miaowing and this gorgeous little cat found me and then wouldn’t leave, I felt so sorry for her, she obviously has some kittens as well so must be having a pretty tough life. There is a restaurant there and she is very very friendly so probably does ok, but anyway if there was a magic geenie ….she would be mine, with her babies of course.
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A video featuring the Hoopoe and Kaeng Krachan Dam
Birds spotted on our last morning at Kaeng Krachan
On the way back we did a quick circuit of our frontage road and took some photos of the Weaver bird nests so high up in the palm tree. We spotted quite a few other birds, this was a fantastic place to stay.
Baya Weavers and their Nests
It’s time to head to our new digs so please enjoy the last pics and videos.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Kaeng Krachan – Rivercreek Estate and Surrounds

Impressive National Park Entrance

We had a nice relaxing day today, had a nice breakfast down here on the landing, walked up and down the road looking for birds but it was already hot at 7.30 am and not much shade on the road also it is a public road with other farms and houses and it seems everyone has a dog or 5. Most are ok with us walking past but others go to town so we try not to disturb them too much. There is a lot of birds we see but then again hard for photos as we don’t want to follow the birds into people’s private gardens and farms though really everyone is so friendly here they probably wouldn’t mind. They really stare at us as they drive past as if we had just dropped down from Mars, I don’t think they get any western tourists walking around with cameras and binoculars. We certainly must be a sight.

 

A couple of Pics waking around Rivercreek

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A short Video of Rivercreek Estate

We took the kayak for a paddle in the little river here but we should have gone early not at midday, honestly we are such Wally’s sometimes, it was nice but ridiculously hot and really uncomfortable with the life jackets on camera , hats etc so we only went for an hour, still got some nice photos.
A couple of pics paddling around Rivercreek
We then went for a drive to the big dam, Kaeng  Kra Chan which is part of the National Park, just beautiful there, finally got there a bit earlier to get some photos and walk around a bit.Theres this huge suspension bridge going over to an island, we just got there and all these macaques were sauntering along coming our way quite funny to see.
A couple of pics from around Lake Kaeng Kra Chan
Some other tourists had small bags of food and started walking on the bridge and these macaques  are so clever …..the people never suspected that they had only one thing on their mind and they reached up and grabbed the food bags so quick I wish I had my video camera going. One lady had the food tucked in her handbag and had turned to have her photo taken by hubby and this macaque  just snuck up and grabbed her bag and wrenched out the food and took off along the bridge. Would have been a great video.😁😁
You can’t walk over, it’s all wired up, I think maybe the macaques  on the other end got too aggressive and were attacking the tourists. I guess this is a classic case of what happens when you feed wildlife.
These macaques are quite amazing, they swim and dive to catch crabs in the lake, and wouldn’t we love to capture that.
We found a great little restaurant that makes amazing fish cakes absolutely yum.
We love Thai food just not too spicy.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

 

Bangkok to Kaeng Krachan

Our Hotel in Bangkok
Waving to the neighbours – Aranta Airport Hotel, Bangkok

Well what can I say about Bangkok?. We hated it. We would never normally bother visiting such a toxic metropolis but sadly we had dental appointments and our grand plan of spending as much time in nature as possible is now being encroached upon with yet more dental visits next week…not so easy peasy as we first thought.

Our Digs in Bangkok 
Meanwhile today things seemed a bit better and we left the hotel, picked up our rental car from the airport and drove almost 3 hours away from the big smoke.
The peacful surroundings of Rivercreek Estate 
Anthony found us the most beautiful place in paradise, the birds are chirping here , the dragonflies and butterflies seem to be in abundance and we only walked around the property here for maybe an hour, got some great photos already and tomorrow we visit the biggest national park in Thailand ( Kaeng Krachan) so are really looking forward to that. Our new abode is called Rivercreek Estate and it’s a really nice spot here on the river, we both feel so much better getting back into nature.
Critters of Rivercreek Estate
So be prepared for lots of photos coming over the next 3 days, the birdlife in the Park is supposed to be amazing  and we plan on going every day.😀😀
Cheers for now Steph and Anthony.

The Bunya Mountains Region

Wedge-tailed Eagle
The Majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle

Hello everyone, well we didn’t have time to revisit Redwood Park so we will be very excited to head back that way maybe at the end of our holiday time just before we go back to Stanthorpe.

The Caravan Park and some resident critters
We have been in Bell now a few days and there’s really not much to the town itself, there’s quite a few shops that are well and truly closed and a bit run down which only leaves one general store with a couple of fuel bowsers, one cafe, the van park of course which is really nice and not much else.
Birds we met on the way to the Bunya’s
The drive from here to the Bunyas is fine, it’s only about 35 kms. but there’s a couple of kms of dirt road and then once you hit the mountains it’s all up, up and up very steep and very windy with lots of hairpin bends.
On the dirt section there were 4 Wedgetail Eagles, they were squabbling with a bunch of crows over a couple of kangaroo carcasses in a paddock. It was great to see them flying around and banking in the morning sun, such a huge magnificent bird, always one of our favourites to see. Anthony managed to get one good photo and we are thinking to head back there  a bit earlier in the morning to try and get some action photos . We also saw the cockatiels where the black shouldered kites were the day before, and then also the falcon on the way home, always a lot to see when you really start looking. We are always scanning the trees etc when driving, well I am, of course Anthony has his eyes on the road hopefully…..

 

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The Bunya Mountains National Park
It’s very dry down here but once you get up into the mountains it’s so green and beautiful and cold,around 7 degrees cooler than down here.Theres so many walks up there all pretty much in the rainforest, very dark , very hard to get good photos of anything. But still beautiful walking around, we certainly did some kms. We would have liked more photos, we did hear the Noisy pita a few times and saw a lot of Satin bowerbirds but just too far away. The little wallabies are just gorgeous and we got stuck in the fantastic cafe a few times.
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Watch a Video of the Bunya’s Here
So we had a great time here , will spend tomorrow catching up on things before we head to the coast.
Cheers, Steph and Anthony.
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Find out more about the Bunya’s here

Redwood Park (Take 3)

A stunninig Male Scarlet Honeyeater, one of the many birds of Redwood Park

Well we had an interesting weekend…. I told you the model railway display was on here at the Showgrounds, well we didn’t realise that everyone would park around us, they just kept on coming out of the woodwork, good thing we weren’t hitching up and going anywhere as it would have been impossible to get the truck near the hitch. 🙄🙄            The display was really good, you can certainly transport yourself to a different world when you really look into the different places and scenarios that those very clever people have created. If you’ve never been to one it’s definitely worth a look.

Oops – Stephanie’s Cuppuchino’s are becoming way to popular
We did manage to wash and polish the van in the afternoon which was great to at least get something done. As you can imagine the polishing is a huge job, I do the bottom and Anthony does the top on a ladder, his poor arms felt it at the end. We do have a big orbital polisher which is fantastic, it does a great job and saves our arms a bit.

 

Today we couldn’t resist and headed back down the range to Redwood Park, we just had to get another look at that gorgeous Male Rose Robin. Well he only showed up fleetingly, couldn’t even get a photo but his lady friend was quite happy to have a little bath in front of us, she is quite the showgirl.
I finally pulled out my video camera and must have taken a million (slight exaggeration) little snippets of the amazing variety of birds at the hotspot. We had a fantastic morning, Anthony got some great shots yet again. Of course I spent ALL afternoon editing all my little snippets…..I’ve never done this and I can tell you it was really doing my head in, I’ve snipped and cut and deleted and joined and put in text till I’m blue in the face, my god how time-consuming, anyway it has turned into a quite reasonable little video which we have added to our blog so you better like it or I don’t think I will have the aptitude to do another.😬
Tomorrow we are off to a place called Bell, from where we will visit the amazing Bunya Mountains, we do think though that we might have a little time in the morning ( early) to go back to Redwood and see if we can’t possibly capture this little elusive male Rose Robin again, see how we feel in the morning.
Cheers
Steph and Anthony.