People choose to live in this warm and friendly district for the lifestyle and opportunities offered.
The Atlas of Australian Birds lists over 300 species of birds in the region, almost half of the total for mainland Australia.
The district stretches along the Great Dividing Range north of Toowoomba.
The South Burnett Province of the Southeast Queensland Bioregion, with its basalt flows interspersed with sedimentary rocks, acid volcanics and metamorphics. Major vegetation types include rainforest, eucalypt woodlands, and open forest. It is part of the Upper Brisbane River catchment.
The Eastern Darling Downs Province of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion. The more productive lands here have been extensively cleared for farming and grazing. Streams flow west as part of the Condamine catchment of the Murray-Darling River system.
North Bird Trail – a loop north of Crows Nest
East Bird Trail – a loop east of Crows Nest
South Bird Trail – a loop south from Crows Nest.
Hampton Bird Trail
Hampton Visitor Information Centre
8623 New England Highway, Hampton, Qld
H1 Geham National Park
Formerly the Geham Forest Reserve Scientific Area
Access:3 km south along New England Hwy towards Toowoomba, turn left into Mt Luke Rd, after 3km left in Aberdein Rd (old S2 Bird Trails sign) and park at the corner of Zeller Rd.
[27° 23′ 26.2″S, 152° 2′ 18.9”E]
Habitat: Native forest with Sydney Blue Gum, Blackbutt, and Tallowwood. Heavily infested with lantana, some privet.
Birds of interest: Spotted Pardalote, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Torresian Crow.
H2 Merritts Creek Road
Access: Aberdein Rd across Mt Luke Rd to cross New England Hwy into Merritts Ck Rd, continue 9 km to powerlines over the road just past the end of the pine plantation (logged in April 2018).
[27° 18′ 25.0″S 152° 2′ 27.7″E]
Habitat: Wooded road reserve – private property both sides. Remnant vine scrub.
Birds of interest: Speckled Warbler, Brown-headed Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Grey Fantail.
H3 Hampton National Park
3.9 Hectare former Forest Reserve.
Access: Continue north, turn right, and right again into New England Hwy towards Toowoomba. After 6km left into Munro Rd, right into Forest Drive, 1.2 km to end of Forest Dr (junction with bitumened part of McMullen Rd – not signed). The park is a triangle stretching north, on the western side of the unmade part of McMullen Rd. (Please do not trespass in neighbouring properties.)
[27° 21 8.8″S 152° 4′ 29.2″E]
Habitat: Tall open forest heavily infested with lantana.
Birds of interest: Satin Bowerbird, Red-browed Finch
H4 Margaret Lloyd Environment Park
Access: Continue south, turn right into Wilkes Rd, about 400m to old E7 Bird Trails sign.
[27° 21′ 18″S 152° 4′ 13″E]
Habitat: Tall open forest infested with lantana and privet.
Birds of interest: Brown Thornbill, Rufous Whistler, Satin Bowerbird.
Continue to Highway, turn south to Visitor Centre
North Bird Trail
Bullockys Rest Picnic Area – next to the Police Station in Crows Nest (see East Trail for details).
On the way, visit the Crows Nest Library opposite the Grand Hotel. It has a case of mounted birds collected from the Highfields Scrub, around 1890 -1892.
N1 Coalbank Range
Access: 22 km north along New England Hwy towards Cooyar, turn right into gravel track at yellow Rural Address 5227 (just past Truck Stop).
[ 27° 07′ 41.3″S, 151° 56′ 27.5″E]
Habitat: Strip of open grassy woodland predominantly Narrow-leafed Ironbark , surrounded by grazing land. Sparse understorey, mixed grasses, notably kangaroo grass.
Birds of interest: Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Red-backed Fairywren.
Road reserve alongside Mitchell Creek.
Access:Continue 10 km along Hwy. Take track to the left opposite yellow Rural Address 4191, just before East Cooyar Rd).
[ 27° 04′ 07.5″S 151° 52′ 14.2″E ]
Habitat: Open woodland with mix of Narrow-leaf Ironbark, Forest Red Gum, Rough-barked Apple, with understorey of lantana and scrub species. Permanent water hole, Weeping Bottlebrush and River Oak.
Birds of interest: Rainbow Bee-eater, White-browed Scrubwren, Golden Whistler.
N3 East Cooyar
Wide road reserve.
Access:Continue north 200 metres. Turn right into East Cooyar Rd. Travel 6 km to road crest.
[27° 01 31.3″S 151° 51′ 57.0″E]
Habitat: Narrow -leaf Ironbark woodland with dense shrubby understorey.
Birds of interest: Variegated Fairywren, Striped Honeyeater, Leaden Flycatcher.
N4 Swinging Bridge Park
Platypus sometimes seen from the bridge. Camping allowed.
Access:Continue 6 km to Park behind the Cooyar Hotel.
[26° 58′ 50.9″S 151° 50′ 2.4″E]
Habitat:Scattered shade trees Forest Red Gum with hollows. Permanent water, River Oak, Weeping Bottlebrush. Permanent water.
Birds of interest: Pale-headed Rosella, Barn Owl nests here, Azure Kingfisher, Restless Flycatcher.
N5 The Palms National Park
Access:Travel north over Cooyar Creek, turn right in to Palms Rd,. 8 km to The Palms.
[26° 56′ 5.9″S 151° 52′ 41.0″E]
Habitat: Rainforest with Bangalow Palms. Fruit bat roosts. Also good bush birds between Boldery Picnic area and Palms Road.
Birds of interest: Australian Brush-turkey, Noisy Pitta, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Green Catbird.
N6 Mt Binga Forest Reserve
Access: Return to Cooyar. Follow the Cooyar – Mt Binga Rd east from the pub for 15 km. Creek crossing just past Kooralgin Rd.
[ 26° 59′ 34.5″S 151° 58′ 7.2″E]
Habitat: Grey Gum and Bloodwood tall open forest higher up, with shrubby understorey. At the creek vine scrub understorey. White Kurrajong, dense lantana on the edges.
Birds of interest: Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Brown Gerygone, White-throated Honeyeater.
N7 Stock Route
Access:Continue 3 km to Blackbutt Rd, turn towards Crows Nest. 3.2 km south, fork left on to rough bush track . (If you wish to explore, the first 2 km are trafficable with care for conventional vehicles. Leave gates as you find them.
Whole route (approx 14 km) trafficable to 4WD only. Joins Vonhoff Rd at Lanaby Station gate.)
[27° 01 22.9″S 152° 00′ 34.1″E]
Habitat: Open grassy Narrow-leaf Ironbark woodland grading down the slope into Silverleaf Ironbark with scattered understorey. Surrounded by cattle grazing properties.
Birds of interest: Striated Pardalote, Speckled Warbler, Jacky Winter, Varied Sitella, White-breasted Woodswallow, White-winged Chough.
N8 Pierces Creek
Access:From stock route turnoff, continue south along the Crows Nest Rd for 17 km. to wide road reserve along an S-bend in the creek.
[27° 08′ 35.0″S 152° 00′ 47.8″E]
Habitat: Open forest. Forest Red Gum, Yellow Stringybark, Broadleaf Apple A hot fire in 2002 destroyed most of the Lomandra and Dianella understorey. River Oaks along the creek. Permanent waterholes.
Birds of interest: Pheasant Coucal, Azure Kingfisher, Rose Robin, Dollar Bird.
N9 Rocky Creek Nature Reserve
Yellow-bellied gliders feed on the sap of Grey Gums at night.
Access:13 km south. Turn left into Rocky Clearing Dip (0.6 km south of Toogoolawah turnoff). Entrance to Reserve next to the cattle yards.
[27° 13′ 55.7″S 152° 03′ 33.6″E]
Habitat: Tall open forest with shrubby understorey (much Lantana). Grey Gum, Forest Red Gum, Yellow Stringybark , Gum-topped Box, Broad-leaved Ironbark, Swamp Mahogany.
Birds of interest: Australian King-Parrot, Red-backed Fairywren, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill.
Continue south 4 km to Crows Nest.
This trail starts in Crows Nest, follows the New England Highway to Cooyar, and on to the The Palms National Park. Then returns via Pierces Creek Road.
Total distance: 115 km.
Best Sites: N2, N5, N6, N9
East Bird Trail
E0 Bullockys Rest Picnic Area and Applegum Walk.
Access: Next to the Police Station in Crow Nest. Follow Applegum Walk 1.7 km to Hartmann’ Park – return via Dale St North.
Bullockys Rest [27° 15′ 52.9″S, 152° 03’ 27.8″E]
Applegum Walk [27° 15′ 42.0″S, 152° 03’ 51.3″E]
Habitat: Recently revegetated as part of the Natural Resource Management Project.
Birds of interest: Pacific Black Duck, Buff-banded Rail, Azure Kingfisher, Eastern Spinebill.
E1 Crows Nest National Park
Picnic area, campground. Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies (often seen at the Cascades and the Falls).
Access: Turn east at the police station at the signs. 6 km along bitumen road to park turnoff.
Track to Falls [27° 15′ 15″S, 152° 06′ 34.2″E]
Campground [27° 15′ 23.4″S, 152° 06′ 29″E]
Habitat: Tall open forest, with Qld Blue Gum, Smooth-barked and Rough-barked Apples. Weeping Bottlebrush, River She-oak and Swamp Mahogany along the creek banks.
Birds of interest: Peregrine Falcon (Koonin Lookout), Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Striated Thornbill, White-throated Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater.
E2 Lake Perseverance
Access: Return to Crows Nest. From Albert St, turn left into Dale St, continue ahead along Perseverance Dam Rd. Turn left at the crossroads, travel 6 km to Lake Perseverance. Cross Dam wall, turn right into Western Spillway car park.
[27° 17′ 16.7″S, 152° 07′ 9.4″E]
Habitat: Large open deep water dam surrounded by open grassy eucalypt woodland. Understorey of predominantly lantana and mix of native and exotic grasses.
Birds of interest: Black Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Eurasian Coot, Grey Butcherbird, Torresian Crow.
E3 Lake Cressbrook
Picnic area and boat ramp. Camp ground, walking track (5 km loop). Fishing (permit required).
Access:Continue east to Lake Cressbrook turnoff. Ahead to Boat Ramp or left to camp ground.
Boat Ramp [27° 15′ 43.0″S, 152° 11′ 33.5″E]
Camp Ground [27° 15′ 38.2″S, 152° 11′ 16.4″E]
Habitat: Large area of deep water. Open woodland along shore.
Birds of interest: Australian Pelican, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Red-backed Fairywren, White-throated Honeyeater.
E4 Ravensbourne Nature Refuge
Access: From Lake Cressbrook turn left towards Esk. Turn left at the first T-junction, right at the next, then left on to the Esk-Hampton Rd. Travel 1.7 km east to Somerset Region Boundary. Turn right (opposite Somerset Region sign) up a dirt track. Go through the fence at the locked gate and walk down the fire trail.
[27° 20′ 05″S, 152° 12′ 04″E]
Habitat: Tall open eucalypt forest on basalt soil. Blackbutt, Stringybark, Tallowwood with Sheoaks, Wattles; grading downhill into low open woodland with heath understorey (Banksias, Grass Trees), on sandy soil. Drainage lines have Bangalow palms and other rainforest species.
Birds of interest: Wonga Pigeon, Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Variegated Fairywren, White-browed Scrubwren, Red-browed Finch, Silvereye.
E5 Ravensbourne National Park (Cedar Block Walk)
On a clear day you can see the Border Ranges from the Lookout.
Access:Turn left on to highway, travel 5 km to the National Park turnoff. Travel up the hill past the first picnic area to Beutel’s Lookout. The walk begins at the archway in the second picnic area.
[27° 22′ 20″S, 152° 10′ 40″E]
Habitat: Vine forest with emergent Sydney Blue Gum. Rosewood, Red Cedar, Blackbean, and stinging trees. The large Moreton Bay Fig in the picnic area is a popular perching and feeding tree.
Birds of interest: Black-breasted Button-quail, White-headed Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Powerful Owl, Noisy Pitta, Crested Shrike-tit, Paradise Riflebird.
E6 Palmtree (Munro’s Tramway)
Access: Return to the Esk-Hampton Rd and turn left. Continue for 2.5 km, turn sharp left into Shearer Rd. Follow Shearer Rd and National Park Rd to Palmtree Rd. Follow Palmtree Rd. Continue past the 7 mail boxes. After another 1.7 km, Palmtree Rd turns sharp right. There is space to park around the first curve. The tramway is a dirt track 1 km long to the left of yellow Rural Address 486.
[27° 23′ 36″S, 152° 06′ 11″E]
Habitat: Grassy mixed Eucalypt woodland with Forest She-oak, and dense Lantana. Views of Highfields to the south and tree canopies below.
Birds of interest: Glossy Black-Cockatoo, White-throated Treecreeper, Eastern Whipbird, Varied Sitella, Cicadabird, Silvereye.
E7 Perseverance Reserve
Access:Go back to the 7 mailboxes. Turn left into Perseverance Hall Rd. After 300m, turn left at the Reserve sign and drive to the big tree.
Tree [27° 23′ 52.4″S, 152° 07′ 03.2″E]
Habitat: 6 hectares of tall open forest beside Perseverance Creek, infested with lantana and other weeds. Being revegetated by Ravensbourne Landcare.
Birds of interest: Black-faced Monarch, Eastern Whipbird, White-throated Treecreeper.
Continue along Perseverance Hall Rd, (the farm dam on the left is usually worth a look – park at the gate).Then left into Esk-Hampton Rd to return via Hampton to Crows Nest..
East Bird rail
This trail starts in Crows Nest, goes to the Crows Nest Falls, and then does a loop around via Lakes Perseverance and Cressbrook, returning to Crows Nest along the New England Highway.
Total distance: 85km. Best sites: E1, E4, E5, E6.
South Bird Trail
Start – Bullockys Rest
Next to the Police Station in Crows Nest (see East Trail for details). Most of these sites are in the Condamine Catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin. Site name in italics means a brochure is available.
S1 Merrits Creek Rd
Narrow road reserve.
Access: From Bullockys Rest head 5 km south along the New England Hwy towards Toowoomba. Turn right towards Goombungee and then immediately left into Merrits Creek Rd. Cross Coobybilla Creek, travel another 200 metres, park near the yellow Rural Address 56.
[27° 18′ 25″S, 152° 02′ 28″E]
Habitat: Wooded road reserve parallel to creek.
Birds of interest: Australian Wood Duck, Speckled Warbler, Brown-headed Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Grey Fantail.
S2 Geham National Park
Access: Continue for 9 km to New England Hwy. Cross Highway into Aberdein Rd. 1.6 km to Mt Luke Rd. Park near crossroads.
[27° 23′ 23″S, 152° 02′ 00″E]
Habitat: Plantation of Mexican pines to the west, native forest with Sydney Blue Gum, Blackbutt, and Tallowwood to the east.
Birds of interest: Spotted Pardalote, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Torresian Crow.
S3 Highfields Falls
Walking tracks to top and bottom of falls.
Access: Turn right into Mt Luke Rd, continue to T-junction with bitumen road, turn right, 0.8 km to New England Hwy. Turn left, continue south along Highway through Geham and Highfields. 1.2 km past Shell Service Station, turn left into Dau Rd. 1 km to entrance to Falls walking track (at Kleve Rd corner).
[27° 28′ 29″S, 151° 57′ 06″E]
Habitat: Sclerophyll forest in deep gully heavily infested with privet and lantana.
Birds of interest: Australian Brush-turkey, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Powerful Owl, White-naped Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Spangled Drongo, Figbird.
S4 Spring Bluff Railway Station
Picnic area and kiosk.
Access: Return to Highway. Turn left towards Toowoomba, travel 5 km through traffic lights towards Toowoomba. Turn left into Murphys Creek Rd. Travel another 5 km to railway station turnoff. Continue to car park. Walk uphill from the station to old dance hall.
[27° 27′ 59″S, 151° 58′ 33″E]
Habitat: Level clearing in tall open forest.
Birds of interest: Pacific Baza, Spotted Pardelote, Brown Honeyeater, Torresian Crow.
S5 Charles and Motee Rogers Reserve
Short walking track.
Access: Return to New England Hwy. Turn right towards Crows Nest. Just past Shell Service Station, turn left into Highfields Rd. 2 km to tavern, turn right into O’Briens Rd. 200 metres to Cultural Centre. Walk begins next to Sports Centre.
[27° 27′ 02″S 151° 56′ 50″E]
Habitat: Open eucalypt forest (Sydney Blue Gum and Blackbutt) with scrub understorey.
Birds of interest: Common Bronzewing, Galah, Laughing Kookaburra (nest in termite mound).
S6 Williams Park
Picnic area and playground. (Beware scrub ticks.)
Access: Continue along O’Brien’s Rd another 0.5 km. Turn right into Mavis Ct. Picnic area is across the creek.
[27° 26′ 59″S 151° 57′ 11″E]
Habitat: Small remnant in the middle of a developing suburb. Sydney Blue Gum, Tree Ferns, vine scrub.
Birds of interest: Little Lorikeet, Laughing Kookaburra, Eastern Whipbird, Olive-backed Oriole.
S7 Lake Cooby – Loveday Cove
Picnic area. Fishing. Sailing. (Permits required.) Boat ramp. Note closing times.
Access: Return to O’Brien’s Rd, back to Highfields Rd, turn right at tavern. Continue northwest 3 km towards Meringandan. At the T-junction, turn right towards Cabarlah, and follow the signs to Lake Cooby. At the Y junction go straight ahead to the picnic area on the west side of the cove (water birds best seen late afternoon when the sun is behind you). 4 km walking track to the Dam wall begins at the entrance to the picnic area.
[27° 23′ 03″ S 151° 55’ 29″ E]
Habitat: Landscaped park area next to deep open water.
Birds of interest: Musk Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Great Crested Grebe, Pelican, Black-necked Stork, Osprey, Painted Snipe, Black-winged Stilt.
S8 Lake Cooby – Dam Wall
Picnic area. Bush birds. Note closing times.
Access: Return to Y-junction, and take left fork to Dam wall. Parking area opposite Rangers house. The first section of walking track to Loveday Cove is rich in bush birds. Track is 4 km long.
[27° 23′ 28″S 151° 56′ 28″E]
Habitat: Along the first part of the track around the open water inlet: open eucalypt forest with Forest Red Gum, Gum-topped Box. Dense understorey with lantana.
Birds of interest: Chestnut Teal, Glossy Ibis, Grey-crowned Babbler, Plum-headed Finch, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, Clamorous Reed-Warbler, Golden-headed Cisticola.
Return to Meringandan Rd. Turn left towards Cabarlah. Turn left on to the New England Hwy, and continue north 28 km to Crows Nest.
The South Bird Trail
South from Crows Nest, vis Merritts Ck Rd, on to Highfields Falls, Spring Bluff, and back to Lake Cooby.
Total distance: 114 km.
Best Sites: S7, S8