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  • Writer's pictureKaia Colestock

Day 10: Julatten, Mossman Gorge, Newell Beach

Updated: Jan 6

Another long day ahead, we set off for Julatten, one of the more reliable sites for buff-breasted paradise kingfisher. Julatten is a honeyeater heaven. While the grounds of the Kingfisher’s Park Birdwatcher’s Lodge are closed to drop-ins, we walked around the adjacent roads. A kind gentleman living nearby saw that we had binoculars and approached us with his dog. He showed us sites for the four species of owls that roost on the land, termite mounds where paradise kingfishers nested, and a native honeybee hive. The people of Australia are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met. They are more than happy to educate newcomers to the hidden gems of their land.

In Australia, there is a shrub called Banksia, which grows up to 25 feet tall. These iconic native plants are known for their spectacular flower heads that produce massive amounts of nectar. Anytime we see a Banksia, we have to stop and check it for honeyeaters. Well, we found one in Julatten at eye-level, and just stood still and watched while a smorgasbord of honeyeaters descended on the blossoms in revolving-door fashion.

A quick bus ride into Mossman Gorge to see the rainforest and walk the trails.

Ending our day at Newell Beach at a Bali-inspired home. A white-lipped tree frog greeted us at the courtyard. Geckos darted all over the porch ceiling, catching insects attracted by the light. We could hear the sounds of golden-headed cisticolas and munias flying through the neighboring fields. We slept to the sound of heavy rain.

White-lipped tree frog (the size of my hand) at the doorway

We stumbled upon an incredible aerial display of flying foxes.

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