A couple of weeks ago it was my Mother’s birthday, she loves birds and mentioned she hadn’t been to O’Reilly’s for a long time, perfect time a trip down South. O’Reilly‘s is a guest house in the middle of beautiful rainforest at Lamington National Park on the Gold Coast hinterland. The national park is part of the McPherson Range, a huge, long extinct, volcano. Lamington is part of the the Northern Rim, the middle plug is now Mount Warning in northern NSW.

The Lamington National Park is on the Lamington Plateau about an hour and a half drive from Brisbane, at about 600m it’s much cooler than Brisbane, great in summer. On the way up the hill we start passing lots of road bikes coming down the hill, there must have been some sort of event today – it’s a very long, steep climb to get up there. I was wishing I had my bike in the car to take the long way up 🙂 – Edit: This was one of the Kangaroo Point Cycling Clubs ‘challenge’ events, around 70KM with the grade up to 15%, looks like fun!

The cooler temperature and high rainfall means this area has stunning temperate rainforest, some of it dating back to Gondwana times. We weren’t any this trip but I have been for probably hundreds of hikes in this area, there is a huge variety of length and difficulty, most have waterfalls and creeks to cool off and often great views to the coast.

O’Reilly’s is well known for parrot feeding, they are native to the area and come in huge numbers for some easy to get bird food. It’s pretty well controlled these days to make sure they don’t get too much food; the bright reds and greens of the Rosellas and King Parrots are gorgeous. They have learnt that people mean food, when you walk around the feeding area pretty quickly they start landing on your arms, your head, your back…. Not a good place if you’re afraid of birds!

One of the original builders of O’Reilly’s, Bernard O’Reilly is famous for having located the crash site of a Stinson in 1937, rescuing two people. The rainforest around here is extremely thick, visibility in rain and cloud were almost zero, and Bernard only had hints of location from smoke, it is an amazing achievement. I have walked to the site a few times and it is hard going. He was a very experienced bushman but the search was extremely difficult, he lost around 16 kg in just over two days. The story is interesting and he wrote it in the book,  Green Mountains. There is a good short summary on the Scenic Rim website. There is a replica of the plane outside the guest house.

My mother wasn’t up for any long hikes, so we looked around some short tracks close by, a great small botanic gardens with many exotic plants and went over the Tree Top Walk. These canopy walks are a great way seeing a totally different view of the rainforest, many orchards, staghorns, elkhorns and other vines are far easier to see from 16 meters up. It really is a stunning area, all the tracks have an immense variety of birdlife, vegetation, fungi, creeks and waterfalls. It is absolutely worth visiting.

Images from O’Reilly’s

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