After leaving the Brisbane area we started our mammoth drive north to Cairns. Between Ipswich and Noosaville we called in at the wonderful Mary Cairncross Rainforest Park, a tiny remnant forest reserve preserved thanks to the wisdom of Ms Cairncross. Along the short boardwalk trail we saw Green catbird, Spectacled monarch and Logrunners as well as a beautiful Wompoo fruit-dove sat on its nest overhead.
After Noosaville and Inskipp Point, pitstops along the way included Yeppoon, near Rockhampton, where we could relax on deckhairs overlooking the ocean and watch Glossy black cockatoos, Far Eastern curlews, Whimbrels, Red-capped plovers, Black kites and a Beach stone curlew out on the sand.
After Yeppoon we spent a night at Airlie Beach, where the hostel grounds gave us our first Bush stone curlews, hunting under the streetlights and the seaside trees held Noisy friarbird, White-breasted woodswallow and Peaceful doves.
The next major stop was at the charming village of Paluma, where we stayed two nights at the Forestmist B&B, run by the very friendly and welcoming Annie and Andy, who made our stay all the more enjoyable. From our verandah we could take in the deafening dawn chorus of rainforest birds including Chowchilla, Spotted catbird. Victoria's riflebird, Bower's shrike-thrush, Grey-headed robin and Satin bowerbird - an unforgettable experience.
Within the village, a couple of short trails bring close encounters with Rainbow pitta, Eastern spinebill and White-cheeked and Macleay's honeyeater - the spinebills and honeyeaters gorging themselves on pollen and nectar from the flowering bottlebrush trees.
An early morning stroll through the village gave us magnificent close views of Rainbow Pitta, but we were unlucky in our search for both Golden bowerbird and Red-necked crake. At Birthday Falls however we were treated to a fine Tooth-billed bowerbird in full song. We watched in awe as he performed beautifully over his arena of upturned fresh leaves. What a bird.
Leaving Paluma, we headed north to Cairns. I loved Cairns - a cracking little city with some of the best birding you'll ever get.