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  • Writer's pictureKaia Colestock

Day 23-24: Budderoo National Park & Barren Grounds

Updated: Jan 6

A slight detour away from the coast took us into the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. We drove another windy road up precipitous cliffs dotted with rainforest. At the top was a plateau covered in peculiar ferns, swamp, prairie, eucalyptus forest, and scrub. The first stop was to check out Carrington Falls down the road from our campsite. A pair of gang-gang cockatoos were feeding along the trail. The only reason I spotted them was because the ferns were whipping back and forth like something from Jurassic Park. Then a cockatoo emerged in view, eating a legume pod of some sort.

Female gang-gang cockatoo (above) and male (below)

Carrington Falls didn’t disappoint.

On the way out, we spotted yellow-tailed black cockatoos that were calling in the forest.

About two miles into a walk in Budderoo National Park, we reached a ”stone bridge” crossing.

One of the many cable and plank bridges in Australia.

The next morning, we woke up early and drove down the main road in Budderoo National Park in hopes of seeing a superb lyrebird. Not long into the drive, two of them flushed off the edge of the road and ran like roadrunners into the forest. We found a total of SEVEN lyrebirds just after dawn. Most were foraging, but some found a platform in the forest and began to sing a courtship song for females within earshot. Lyrebirds can mimic up to 250 sounds, including chainsaws and camera shutters. The more they develop their repertoire, the better shot they have of attracting a mate. See the YouTube link below for video.

Superb lyrebird (above) watching me stalk him. This shot was taken milliseconds before the bird flushed and disappeared in to the vegetation. We only saw flashes of them, but we stayed to hear full-length courtship songs. While I haven’t been able to attach audio files, the video below shows a good example of what we heard.

Click the link below for some BBC footage of a lyrebird performing a display:

We ended our time on the plateau with Fitzroy Falls - one of the most spectacular scenes we’ve ever seen... a combination of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite falls, and subtropical rainforest.

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