|One of the many adorable locals on the Bunya Mountains.|
It was my 34th birthday last month, and I celebrated it with a group of close friends out in the Bunya Mountains. I have only ever been to this place once before, as part of a weekend away with a birdwatching club when I was a teen. My memories of that experience are a little blurry with time, but I recall being enraptured by wallaby-packed hillsides, and an amazing sunrise.
The wallabies—red-necked wallabies, to be precise—made a big impression on me this time as well! They’re everywhere on the mountaintop, whether it be in the National Park, in public areas or on private lawns! They’re also common here on the outskirts of Brisbane and in the surrounding shires, but locally they tend to be shy animals that are usually seen alone or in small groups. I suspect that their abundance and approachability at the Bunyas is a result of many generations of wallabies living there peacefully, with little to no hunting pressure or harassment from humans and dogs, so that the only thing they have to fear are the occasional droughts that reduce their food supply.
We saw the wallabies as we drove into the mountain township on the Friday night, quietly feeding along the roadside verges. I was already in full ‘wildlife mode’ because further down the range, we had seen an echidna ambling out into the path of our vehicle. Luckily my friend Leah is an alert fauna-friendly driver who avoided a collision, and she then turned the car around and insisted I get out for a better look.