An AT reader reveals her two secret spots and fondly recalls a Christmas among the Bunya trees.
Horse Creek & Bunya Mountains
My favourite secret spot is on a tiny little creek, Horse Creek, near Chinchilla on the Western Darling Downs. I actually have two favourites: the other is the Bunya Mountains on the other side of the Darling Downs.
There are lots of really lovely picnic spots along Horse Creek, beautiful wildflowers in season, rocky outcrops etc, and special places where Aboriginals used to camp on their long trek to the Bunya Mountains. The tribes from southeast Qld and northern NSW used to gather at the Bunya Mountains, a truly beautiful place with ancient rainforests, grasslands and amazing views from any direction, for their Bunya Nut harvest and celebration.
When I was a little girl I used to sit on my parents’ farm and gaze at the Bunya Mountains off in the east, wishing I could go there. And when I did, it was just as special as I thought it would be. The road goes across farmlands to the north of Dalby, past a few very good vineyards and then up a very steep winding road to the top.
I suppose the Bunya Mountains are no longer the secret they were because tourists are starting to discover the place, but once you could go there and hardly see anyone. Now there are cafes and places to put your head down for a night or two and you’re surrounded by the protected and very friendly wildlife (beautiful parrots, wallabies etc), and if you happen to live there (which a few lucky people do in an enclosed “community”) and a scrub turkey should decide to build his nest in your front garden or blocking your back door, well, so be it! He has “right of way.”
The Bunya trees are truly amazing giants and although lots were cleared before that was stopped, there are still lots there. When I see one elsewhere in Australia, my heart flies straight back to this truly special spot. And the huge nuts taste good, too; just remember not to get under one when it falls from a tree.
My Dad passed away early in 2005 but our last picnic together was spent at the Bunya Mountains. He wasn’t one to ask to be taken places, but during our last Christmas together he asked to go to the Bunya Mountains. I guess he was saying goodbye.