If COVID19 has taught us one thing, it is how important it is to take a break. To let life slow down and breathe, as we reconnect with each other, our surroundings and ourselves. However, for most of us being confined to our homes and communities is sometimes not the break we want or need. Getting out in nature is essential for our mental health and emotional wellbeing. As restrictions are starting to ease, we encourage you to plan a little getaway somewhere close to home. There are so many incredible places to visit right on our doorstep that we often forget, places rich in culture and beauty. Today we will be highlighting some of these beautiful spots in nature surrounding Brisbane (Bundarra’s home) and greater Queensland where you can connect with culture and country.
1. Daintree Forest (Kuku Yalanji Country)
Image sourced from jcu.edu.au
The Daintree Forest is an area of huge cultural significance and the oldest living rainforest in the world. Located about an hour north of Cairns (the home of our founding partners), you may need a few days to explore the entirety of this 95km region, with a vast range of incredible walking tracks, secluded beaches, swimming holes, guided tours, river tours and the Daintree Discovery Centre. This location is truly a nature lovers paradise. As you immerse yourself in the lush scenery, learn more of one of the world's oldest continuing cultures and the history and dreamtime stories of the traditional custodians of the land, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji People.
A Bundarra partner artist, Luke Mallie depicts the Daintree Forest through his NAIDOC 2020 artwork “Rainforest Warrior”. Through this artwork he shares his personal story and the strong spiritual connection First Nations people have with the land and sea that their ancestors belonged to.
Find out more about the Daintree here.
2. North Stradbroke Island (Quandamooka Country)
Image by David Coleman Photography
Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) is one of Brisbane's hidden treasures and is the world's second largest sand island, located 1.5hrs from Brisbane CBD. There are endless adventures on this sub-tropical island, with incredible beaches for surfing and swimming, walking trails, off roading options, fishing and more. The traditional custodians of this land are the Nunukul, Nughi and Goenpul clans of the Quandamooka people, people of the sand and water. The Quandamooka people have retained a distinctive culture and connection with country. You are invited to learn more about and immerse yourself in this incredible culture during your visit. Stay at Straddie with plenty of eco friendly camping options to choose from, join the Mulumba Guided Gorge Walk with stunning beach views along Point Lookout and visit the Salt Water Murris Art Gallery in Dunwich to experience the rich culture through visual storytelling.
Bundarra partner Artist, Shara Dellaney is a Quandamooka Woman who shares her story and the stories of her people through her artistic practice. You can view her artworks here.
Find out more about Minjerribah here and here.
3. Burleigh Headlands (Yugambeh Country)
Image sourced from Jellurgal
Burleigh Heads is a coastal headland with walking trails along rocky foreshore and through rainforest, with plenty of wildlife to see. Nestled along the shores of some of Australia's world famous Gold Coast beaches, Burleigh is located about an hour north of Brisbane. Embark on a journey of discovery of Aboriginal culture and learn of the traditional custodians of the land at the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Guided walks take you along the picturesque beachside rainforest walkway around Jellurgal “Dreaming Mountain.” Immerse yourself in a cultural experience, learning about the local history, traditional life and dreamtime stories. After the tour and your time at the centre, you can opt to explore more of the surrounding Burleigh Headlands and Tallebudgera Creek where there are plenty of surfing, swimming, fishing opportunities.
4. Hook Island and Nara Inlets, Whitsundays
Image sourced from Tourism Whitsundays
The Whitsundays is a world famous holiday destination, with pristine white sands and stunning blue waters, it is a 12hr drive from Brisbane or an 8hr drive south of Cairns. Hook Island is the second largest island and a part of the Cumberland Island Group that lies protected inside the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Mackay. This island is a haven of tropical tranquillity, offering a diverse range of wildlife, scenery and activities. There are walking tracks leading to some marvellous places including Butterfly Bay, a uniquely shaped bay with butterflies that swarm around the shores. There are also some incredible sites to snorkel, dive and kayak with picturesque bays, reefs, inlets and beaches. The Traditional Custodians of the land are the Ngaro Peoples. The Ngaro peoples have a rich cultural history - the initial occupation in the Nara Inlet dating back to over 9,000 years ago, and is one of the oldest sites discovered along the East Coast. Immerse yourself in the traditional culture of the land and visit the Ngaro cultural site, a short rocky path at the Nara Inlets where you will see ancient rock wall paintings and an interactive display depicting the history. At Nara Inlet you will also find a magical freshwater rock pool and waterfall after the seasonal rains. This location is a must see at Hook Island. Access this location via private boat, or one of the many tours that run throughout Whitsundays.
Find more information on the Whitsundays here and here
5. Bunya Mountains
Image sourced from Kingfisher Creative
The Bunya Mountains boasts a diverse range of vegetation types including subtropical rainforest, eucalypt forest and woodlands. The mountains are located in an isolated section of the Dividing Range where the world's largest forest of Bunya Pines grows. Located a 3hr drive from Brisbane, the Bunya Mountains feature breath-taking panoramic mountain views over the Darling Downs and South Burnett. There is a rich cultural history belonging to the Bunya Mountains. For thousands of years large groups of Indigenous people from local and surrounding areas have gathered to take part in what we now know as the Bunya Festivals. The festivals were times for ceremonies, law-making, dispute resolution, friendship renewal, passing lore, sharing ideas and revitalising spirituality. The Wakka Wakka, Jarowair, Barrumgum people are the traditional custodians of these lands. There is plenty to do and see in the area, with many camping areas and hiking tracks the Bunya Mountains are a natural haven.
You can find more information on the Bunya Mountains here.
6. Carnarvon Gorge
Image sourced from abc.net.au
The Carnarvon Gorge is an incredible scenic location with a similarly incredible cultural history. Located 4hrs North of Roma, or around 9hrs West of Brisbane, Carnarvon Gorge has a spectacular array of wildlife and scenery and is recognised nationally for its outstanding natural value. The steadily flowing water has carved this gorge out of ancient sandstone. The gorge is lush oasis amongst the dry Central Queensland environment, with a wide variety of available walks and some amazing rock art sites. The traditional custodians of the land are the Karingbal and Bidjara peoples. The area is a place of learning and great spirituality, Dreamtime stories describe the creation of the land, with the story of the Rainbow Serpent. The Rainbow Serpent, Mundagurra created Carnarvon Gorge as he travelled through the creek system, carving the sandstone as he travelled. The land still continues to teach these stories, with many visitors gaining a new understanding of Aboriginal culture and history.