I had only recently heard about Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area and seeing as it was a reasonably short drive from home, my husband and I decided to go check it out last Sunday. I had read that you can see koalas and kangaroos there, and I had never seen a wild koala before, and had only seen wild kangaroos a few times in my life (and usually from a distance in a car), so I was hoping to see some up close and get some photos. And I was not disappointed!
The conservation area is situated in between a sewage treatment plant and a flying club, so from the time we arrived there we were buzzed by low flying small planes and helicopters. The animals there must be used to it because none of them showed any interest in the machines flying overhead. The area is maintained by the local council and is free to enter with a few parking areas and basic interpretive centres. The paths are minimally marked and you will need to visit the council’s website to print out a map of the reserve area marking the trails.
We parked the car and started our walk at the beginning of Goshawk Track. Wearing sunglasses and a hat and not forgetting the insect repellent is an absolute must when you visit this place! There are some areas that are open and in full sun and there are mangroves around too.
Almost immediately, we saw our first kangaroo! I was trying to capture the mad flying swallows on a video when I spied a kangaroo having a lie down in the distance. In the video you can also make out the heat haze. It was very warm already at nine in the morning. It was so glaringly bright, I had trouble seeing through the camera lens so it’s a little shaky because I couldn’t really see what I was videoing.
And then just barely a minute later we saw a few kangaroos.
Then we came to a miniature forest of paperbark trees either side of the track.
It was along this stretch of the track that we saw a koala high up in a tree. There were a few different dark coloured gum trees amongst the paperbacks and the koala was high up in one of these. This was my very first time at seeing a koala in the wild! Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a good look at it. It was certainly a large koala, and it was on the move, but we couldn’t actually see its face. But I managed to get a quick video before my neck was cricked too bad from constantly looking straight up!
We then came out into some open space and there were some more kangaroos.
There was a bit of birdlife at the reserve too. Apart from the swallows, we saw a hawk flying overhead, some crows, a few magpies, a few pied butcherbirds, a few plovers and lots of noisy miners. We did hear two different birdcalls that we hadn’t heard before, but we couldn’t see the birds anywhere so we don’t know what they were.
As we walked along further it was quickly getting hotter, so we decided to do a small circuit and head back to the car. On the way we saw a few native flowers. One is a green bottlebrush or melaleuca, and I think the yellow one is either a grevillea or melaleuca. As it was autumn, these were the only flowers we saw along our walk, except for a few patches of blue billygoat weed.
While we were admiring the flora, my husband spied a kangaroo close by who was watching us warily.
We moved slowly and quietly along the track heading towards the kangaroo and then it suddenly bounded off. My husband managed to snap this pretty awesome photo of the kangaroo in motion.
As we rounded the corner in the track, we noticed a mob of kangaroos amongst the trees, staying still and just watching us. There was a big male kangaroo (the reddish one) who started making this loud coughing sound, probably as a warning to us, so we stopped on the track and took a few quick photos then continued on.
We were nearly at the end of our circuit when we saw another mob of kangaroos lazing in the shade.
I took this video of the kangaroos, trying not to be noticed.
We took a few more photos then the kangaroos bounded off into the trees. I grabbed a quick video of the kangaroos hopping away.
And here was my last sighting of kangaroos.
Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area is a wonderful place to visit on the Gold Coast. Great for walking as it’s all flat, but very hot and open in the sun a fair bit of the time. There are still a number of tracks to explore including the boardwalks and mangroves, but we might be leaving those trips until the weather cools down and the sun is not so harsh and burning. We only stayed for a bit over an hour and walked 3 km and as you can see we saw a good amount of wildlife. Overall, it was a great morning adventure seeing all the wild kangaroos and now I can happily tell everyone I have seen a koala in the bush!