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Yungaburra - BirdForum Opus

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The small township of Yungaburra is located in the heart of the Southern Atherton Tablelands. The surrounding area offers much to interest visiting birders, most notably Lake Tinaroo, Peterson Creek and Curtain Fig Tree National Park. Lake Eacham, a part of the Crater Lakes National Park lies just 4 kms to the east.


Notable Species

The immediately surrounding area is rich in bird life, and good birds can often be had in the town itself. These include: Southern Cassowary, Australian Brush Turkey, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Pacific Black Duck, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Spotted Harrier, Black-shouldered Kite, Pacific Baza, Grey Goshawk, Australasian Swamphen, Nankeen Kestrel, Pacific Emerald Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Peaceful Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Australian King Parrot, Papuan Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar, White-throated Needletail, Australian Swiftlet, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Sooty Owl, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Treecreeper, Red-backed Fairywren, Barred Cuckooshrike, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Varied Triller, Cicadabird, Little Shrike Thrush, Bower's Shrike Thrush, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Pale Yellow Robin, Grey-headed Robin, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Pied Monarch, Spectacled Monarch, Black-faced Monarch, Leaden Flycatcher, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Chowchilla, Eastern Whipbird, Dusky Honeyeater, Macleay's Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, White-breasted Woodswallow, Pied Currawong, Spotted Catbird, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Victoria's Riflebird, Spangled Drongo, Australian Pipit, Horsfield's Bush Lark, Golden-headed Cisticola, Red-browed Firetail, Olive-backed Sunbird, Mistletoebird, Welcome Swallow, and Silvereye.


To do


Birds you can see here include:

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Other Wildlife

The surrounding area is rich in wildlife.

Mammals: Yungaburra itself is noted for being a good area to spotlight for Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo, which can also sometimes been seen in town trees during the day. Peterson Creek is a reliable spot, especially early morning for them. Platypus also occur in the creek.

Reptiles: A large variety of reptiles live on the Atherton Tablelands. Both Boyd's Forest Dragon, and Eastern Water Dragon, are commonly encountered in the vicinity.

Site Information

History and Use

The township of Yungaburra was first settled in the 19th century. The surrounding area was opened up for agriculture around this time. as a result, little forest remains, though important remnants exist at Lake Eacham (for which see Crater Lakes National Park), and Curtain Fig Tree National Park.

The town itself is nowadays mostly a tourist centre and a useful stopping point for visitors exploring the surrounding area.

The nearby Curtain Fig Tree National Park became part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988, and was converted into a national park in 2005.

Immediately to the north of Yungaburra, Lake Tinaroo is an artificial lake created as a water supply for the Tablelands.

Areas of Interest

Lake Tinaroo: This lake lies a few kms to the north of the town. It can be easily accessed at a place called Tinaburra for anyone heading from town, though due ti its sheer size can be accessed from other directions well away from Yungaburra as well.

The lake itself often has little in the way of bird life and tends to only become interesting when water levels drop and/or there is a severe drought in surrounding areas. At times like this, the lake can harbour thousands of wildfowl and the exposed muddy shoreline can attractive waders, sometimes in numbers.

Peterson Creek: Known locally as 'platypus creek', this creek runs around the edge of the central township and is a short walk from the main street. The creek, as the nickname suggests, is a fairly reliable place to observe Platypus at the right time of day, and so long as one is quiet. There is a platypus viewing platform and a rope bridge over the creek that afford good views.

Both sides of the creek are lined with vegetation and can be excellent for a good range of Wet Tropics species. Walking tracks give access to the creek and an early morning or evening walk along here can prove very rewarding.

Curtain Fig Tree National Park: A couple of kms to the south west of the town, this park protects a valuable remnant of rainforest in a largely deforested setting. The main attraction however is the Curtain Fig itself, a magnificent, huge living sculpture of a tree that dominates the centre of the circular walkway through the park. It is worth just coming here to see this.

The forest here is relatively open, and one can often more easily observe the rainforest birds that occur here. An hour or so in this setting can be very rewarding for a good selection of species.

Access and Facilities

Yungaburra lies on the Southern Atherton Tablelands about 60 kms south west of Cairns. It can be reached from Cairns by traversing the serpentine Gillies Highway up into the mountains. One actually passes through the Lake Barrine section of Crater Lakes National Park en route.

The Gillies Highway is a tortuous switchback road of considerable length which is sealed all the way to Yungaburra. Most roads heading west and south are similarly sealed and in good condition.

There is no regular public transport to Yungaburra.

The township contains shops and restaurants where one can buy refreshments and gifts, including arts and crafts. There are also cafes and restaurants. Due to its central location on the tablelands, Yungaburra is an ideal place to stop for lunch.

The Tinaburra access point to Lake Tinaroo can be accessed by Eacham Road and Tinaburra Drive.

Peterson Creek is right near the centre of town at the end of Penda Street.

Curtain Fig Tree National Park can be accessed by heading west out of town along the Gillies Highway and then south on the Fig Tree Road. The park is open 24hrs a day, allowing for spotlighting.

All three locations are walking distance from the centre of town, but Tinaburra is the most distant at about 4kms.

Contact Details

The town itself has its own website and offers a good introduction to the local area:

Accommodation can be had at Tinaburra for the more budget conscious, where there are chalets and camping facilities. Ring to make a booking:

Tel: +61 (0)7 4095 3563. 2, Tinaburra Drive, Yungaburra, QLD, 4884.

External Links