COME face to face with the animals who share this part of the world. Go for a bush walk, hit the water or visit an environmental centre. Explore one of this weekend's top five experiences.
Leave behind your worries, and be greeted at Bribie Island Butterfly House by hundreds of butterflies.
The centre founded by Ray and Delphine Archer, run by Bongaree volunteers, is a sanctuary for 19 varieties including the threatened blue Ulysses butterfly.
There you can tiptoe through an enclosed butterfly garden, learn more about the amazing insects, and take a look at the laboratory's volunteers doing to increase the number of butterflies.
Ray says for every butterfly who lays 100 eggs in the wild, only two will survive.But they do have an 80 per cent success rate in the laboratory. There were 1200-1400 caterpillars in the laboratory on the day Moreton Life visited, and it was clear that the feeding and cleaning of them was a love labour. Volunteers are on the job every day.
It can take two weeks for the metamorphosis cycle to complete. They go from leaf-eating caterpillars with poor eyesight, short stubby legs and a mouth, to a creature that can mate and fly with eyesight 35 times better than a human, long delicate legs and a straw-like tongue drinking.
“It’s like driving a Model T Ford into a garage with a whole lot of banging and crashing for two weeks before everything goes quiet and a jet aeroplane emerges,” Ray says.
He and Delphine moved from a property between Gatton and Esk to Banksia Beach about five years ago, and established a butterfly garden at home as a way to stay active and contribute to the community.
Their garden attracted more and more visitors and before too long it was time to move somewhere where large numbers of visitors didn't adversely impact neighbours.
Moreton Bay Regional Council gave them the land where today's Bribie Island Butterfly House stands and residents rallied to build the on-site facilities.
“A community of about 160 people has helped with the whole journey,” Ray says.
The centre raises money for charities and at the 10-month mark had donated $60,000.
“The thing has taken off like a noxious weed,” he jokes.
It has been open for 11 months, and has attracted more than 12,000 visitors so far, despite being open to the public only two days a week.
A walk through the butterfly garden is delightful with relaxing music playing, water sound features and a mist adding to the experience. There is only one rule — don't touch the butterflies.
You could damage their legs and wings, or give them such a scare they drop dead.
“Most people who come through the entry tunnel are awe-struck. They love it,” Ray says.
“We get a lot of people that are hurting that get some nature therapy here. People are at peace.”
Entry is $12 for adults, $10 for concession, $7 for children (4-15), and $34 for a family of two adults, two children). The centre is at 208 First Ave, Bongaree. Visit bribieislandbutterflyhouse.org
Phone 0459 104 174.
Watch in wonder as Ospreys soar over the Pine River, splash into the water to capture fish and carry them back to their nests high up in the dead branches of trees or the purpose-built nesting platform.
There is a camera above the platform, so you can see what thew resident osprey pair is up to. Nesting season runs March through to September
The environmental centre, owned by Moreton Bay Regional Council and run by volunteers, is also home to shorebirds, koalas and small marine creatures.
The environmental centre, owned and run by volunteers by Moreton Bay Regional Council, is also home to shorebirds, koalas and small marine creatures.
While you are there, you can take in exhibits and watch a documentary on wildlife and the environment at the Osprey House Theatre.
From October to February, at low tide, you will see many shorebirds that have flown from as far away as Siberia. The centre’s bird hide is the perfect place for close, sheltered and quiet observation.
Queensland Blue Gums and Grey Ironbarks are part of the Osprey House ecosystem and provide the koalas with food and shelter. Volunteers at the Center will be able to tell you whether and when you are most likely to find them.
The environmental centre is open to the public from 10am-4pm Monday to Sunday. Boardwalks, barbecue facilities, and picnic facilities are always open.
Osprey House is at Dohles Rocks Rd, Griffin. Visit ospreyhouse.asn.au
Take a walk through the 6 ha Kumbartcho Sanctuary adjoining the South Pine River and home to many species of birds including the white-faced heron, eastern whipbird, golden whistler and others. There's evidence of Powerful Owl visits, too.
You can watch environmental videos at the centre, take in a mangrove diorama with live native fish into the mountains, and check out touch-and-feel and nocturnal displays.
You could take a guided walk around the sanctuary, where freshwater turtles, lizards, frogs and butterflies could be seen.
The Kumbartcho Sanctuary is open daily from 7am-7pm, and the environmental centre is open from 10am-2pm from Tuesday to Friday. It is located in Eatons Hill on Bunya Pine Court. Visit kumbartcho.org.au
Just up the highway you could see the striped marshfrogs, microbats, koalas and native stingless bees at the Caboolture Region Environmental Education Centre.
The centre is set on Rowley Rd, near Burpengary Creek, among 18 ha of diverse native vegetation. The Environment Center is open from 8 am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, and the grounds are open for seven days.
CREEC is at 150 Rowley Rd, Burpengary. Phone 3888 8751.
Both centres are owned by Moreton Bay Regional Council and run by volunteers.
Hit the water in the beautiful Moreton Bay for your chance to see dolphins, dugongs, turtles , fish and whales.
Most days the crew at Dolphin Wild leave Newport Marina offering expert commentary on their marine eco tours, boomnetting, guided snorkelling tour through Tangalooma wrecks, and time on Moreton Island.
Co-owner Lisa Edwards says her boat is recognised by dolphins, dugongs and tortoises, particularly the dolphins who will make a beeline for it. “They come flying over to the boat and ride the small bow waves,” she says.
There are 600-800 dolphins living in Moreton Bay - the shy Indo Pacific bottlenose dolphin and the more sociable common bottlenose dolphin.
Dugongs and turtles prefer the shallow, clear water close to Moreton Island where they feed on seagrass. They too know the boat, pop up and take a look before resuming their feed.
Lisa says Moreton Bay is home to the world's last large herd of dugongs and it's not unusual to see as many as 50 tortoises in one outing.
A day on the bay is relaxing and perfect for children Dolphin Wild also offers guided snorkelling from one end to the other of the Tangalooma wrecks with thousands of fish to be seen. Check out dolphinwild.com.au.
“They see amazing things, go on the island and go snorkelling and get off technology,” she says.
“People say they haven’t ever had an interaction like that with fish. It is so amazing and it’s on our doorstep.”
Did you know that in many suburbs around the region , particularly Toorbul, you can see kangaroos in fairly large numbers? They gather in family groups at Toorbul Esplanade Parklands, to groom, to play and to rest. It's fun for photos, but stay back ... they 're wild animals.
Sightings may be rare but platypus have been spotted at Caboolture in the waters of the North Pine River and Lagoon Creek. They like rivers, creeks, lakes and dams that move slowly, so you never know where one might pop up.
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