NEWSFLASH! My book hits the road! Did you miss my Channel 7 Weekend Sunrise 'Downunder Dunnies' appearance? Watch the Video HERE!


Beauty and the Bridge!

Waterfall at Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, Queensland
Although it's the bird du jour around almost any given sub-tropical picnic area and car park, my shots of Australian Brush-turkey in the dark depths of Natural Bridge*, in Springbrook National Park's lushly magnificent rainforest, all had something missing.

Now you see it ... Australian Brush-turkey at Natural Bridge

But that's what you get for driving up the impossibly steep Border Ranges from New South Wales across the Queensland Border, into Springbrook National Park and under a rainforest canopy so dense the temperature drops several degrees and you're instantly transported into the twilight zone.

Rainforest Rocks, Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, Queensland
All very moody and atmospheric, but for the photographically challenged? Well, check out my turkey shots for yourself ...

Rainforest Ferns
And although it was mid-afternoon this warm and sunny July day, the sun had already well and truly set at the bottom of the valley to which we descended on the 1 km circuit trail, and the dank chill was rising from the rushing stream below. 
Maybe we'd arrived too late. Or maybe the sun NEVER descended down this far …

In the gloom, the Brush-turkeys scuttled through the undergrowth like a pack of giant winged rats at the end of a hunger strike.

Personally, I blame the school holidays.

The unhappy July 2013 conjunction of both the Queensland AND New South Wales winter break had swollen the already high number of tourists gravitating to Natural Arch, a mere 4 km from the border shared by the two states.
Mossy Logs at Natural Bridge
As opportunistic as anything I've seen in the birding world, the turkeys had – perhaps inadvertently – exploited the social media driven urge to post 100 random photos a day by willingly posing for countless photo shoots of 'me feeding wild birds'!

Dull though these postings may be to the uninterested (and perhaps uncool!), many turkeys (like their human counterparts) had now adapted to all the worst elements of a Standard Australian Diet.
And 'hunting and gathering' had taken on a whole new first world problem meaning!

The Natural Bridge section of Springbrook National Park preserves a small sample of the rainforest native to this area and is part of the 0.3% of Australian rainforest left after 'civilisation'.
Rainforest Vines
So wandering through this rare fragment of magnificent rainforest can be awe-inspiring – when not dodging errant school holidaymakers, wannabe sporting superheroes defying the warning signs and running amok in the creek and losers getting in my way taking up all of the narrow track to the Arch, that is.

Sadly, in the absence of a camera-wielding Steve Parish**, I was forced to take my own rainforest shots of the green mossy logs, streams running over rocks, trailing vines and epiphytic ferns.

It's no contest as to who is the better photographer … but does Pilchard the secret ingredient in my shots perhaps give me a unique edge?
I'll leave that judgement to you ...

Pilchard at Natural Bridge

Formed by erosion and weathering from the full force of the creek as it descends into the valley, Natural Bridge is actually a hole in the rock where water rushes into a grotto below. 
Natural Bridge Waterfall - and a sense of scale for SFlaGuy!
Although its resident glow worms weren't lighting up the darkness of the cave yet, the unearthly glow from light above the hole through which the water fell created a splash of colour in the gloom.
Thankfully, its roar also drowned out the background noise for a rare moment of solitude before the climb back up the creek gorge to a vantage point overlooking the top of the arch, now well below us.

Back in the car park and in increasing darkness, we extricated our car with some difficulty from vehicles parked too close, backpackers preparing dinner and the rampaging turkeys on their never-ending quest for food.

Natural Bridge from above, Springbrook National Park, Queensland
As we left the National Park, the otherworldly gloom of this abundant and spectacular rainforest reserve fell behind us as we emerged onto the New South Wales road – aglow with bright, late-afternoon sunlight.

And not a Brush-turkey in sight!!

Read MORE:

* Natural Bridge is also known as 'Natural Arch'

** Steve Parish: Australian award-winning photographer whose images of rainforests (among other things) adorn his eponymous collection of Aussie books and products
Creek at Natural Bridge through the Rainforest


  1. G'day Red!
    When I visited Springbrook NP I never wanted to leave - it truly is 'otherworldly'. You got great shots of your visit!

  2. Natural Bridge it is called then. Quite spectacular and what colours!

  3. I am putting the South Florida Guy to rest after a long run. You have been my biggest fan and continuous supporter. You are also my inspiration to write a bigger and more far reaching blog in the future. For now I will take a rest, enjoy your endless travels, and contemplate my dramatically changing future.

  4. The first picture is fantastic, the water and the light comes in.


  5. I really enjoyed the trip to Natural Bridge. The waterfall is very impressive, as is the color of the water. I think you did a good job with the photography, even if the turkeys wouldn't cooperate and let you get a clear picture.

  6. I have difficulty photographing falling water and am envious of your first shot. Between your photos and your words, I think you did a great job of capturing the essence of Springbrook. 'Otherworldly' is such a good word to describe it. And I wouldn't worry too much about the turkeys. Even a really good shot of them is not all that impressive unless you fluke a male, front on with his wattle if full bloom at the height of breeding season, which, from memory isn't for another month or so.

  7. Amazing sights! each of them photographed so well.

  8. One of these days I hope to visit Queensland and the rainforests. We were amazed to see cold climate rainforests in Tasmania.
    Have a great week.

  9. You got some amazing pictures. The first one is fantastic!! Those turkeys on their quest for food remind me of the fish I am feeding out behind our house.

  10. We visited Natural Bridge on sensationally boozy trip to see friends in Brisbane. The rest of the holiday it rained and rained and I can remember this walk being very steamy - nothing to do with how we felt about our friends, you undestand ;) but what a stunning walk, and the foliage is incredible, especially for us sandgropers. Your pics are lovely, and yes, very difficult lighting.

  11. wow - there is indeed some amazing scenery. I loved your shots Red and those mossy trunks glowing as they do really thrill me

  12. Amazing! I do think it helps to have your special 'secret ingredient' in the pictures -- adds that human perspective. This is an incredibly beautiful place -- and those strangler vines look scary.

  13. These are amazing pictures Red. Love them. Not too far away from me, either. That waterfall has a lot of movement in it. Gorgeous.


  14. The first photo is lovely, the flow is just perfect as is the light. Look good on the right wall.
    Sometimes hard to get a photo of bush turkey's, maybe one day you will get a good one.
    My youngest son often says to me: "Mum you just happened to be in the right place at the right time, with your camera set at the correct setting". :)

  15. The natural bridge and waterfall are gorgeous, lovely scenes from the rainforest. I was not expecting to see turkeys though. Wonderful photos, have a happy weekend!

  16. @Rose - It's been a long time between visits ... luckily I had my best (and only) camera with me, so getting the shots was easy!!!
    @Andrew - Never underestimate the 'magic' setting on your camera ... I always thought it was 'Natural Arch' but most of the official stuff says 'Natural Bridge'!! Who am I to argue?!?!
    @SFlaGuy - And just when I'd taken your Photography 101 class and deliberately taken a pic to give the sense of scale ... all the best for your future endeavours, I look forward to your continued visits!
    @Jim - Thanx!
    @Filip - It's my favourite too!! I couldn't believe my luck to get such a good shot - the water doesn't usually turn out this well!!

  17. @George - Thanx! But I let the turkeys get me down ... actually the only time I nearly got a good shot, a couple of kids jumped out & scared it away - that's the middle shot!!
    @Pauline - HAhahaha, thank you for putting it in perspective ... I don't have many shots of the turkeys because I usually don't bother, they're so common. But the only time I decide t get some shots?? They don't cooperate! And the water? Just good luck!!
    @Indrani - Thank you and have a great weekend, my friend!
    @Jill - As usual, you're one up on me!! Tasmania is like a whole unexplored planet!! One day, one day ...
    @MJWC - Hahaha, I suspect most animals in a feeding frenzy have similar habits!!
    @Jo - Wow, that sounds like a memorable trip!! We've experienced all the rain and rain while we've been here - SO different from what I'm used to!

  18. @Carole - This is archetypal rainforest! And SO different to 'the bush'!!!
    @Sallie - Lucky my 'secret ingredient' didn't get nabbed by the killer strangler vine, huh?!?! The beauty makes taking the pix easy!
    @Denise - Welcome back! This region is one of the most awesome parts of OZ - you're so lucky to live nearby!
    @whiteangel - I have already adopted your son's philosophy!!! I just drink in the beauty around me and hold up the camera!!! Sometimes I get lucky ...
    @eileeninmd - I DID expect to see the turkeys - they're everywhere - but not quite this close!! Happy weekend to you too!!

  19. Whoa! Nary any RED in these photos!

    These were some of the most intensely green pictures I have ever seen. Truly lovely pictures of a very special place.

  20. It is a magic place isn't it. proud to be a Queenslander. I haven't been there for ages. The last time was with a loads of kids on a school camp. We took them to see the glow worms at night. I was dead scared of losing one. I don't remember that sturdy looking path and rail when I was there. Great captures even with the difficult light.

  21. Man, a lot of that looks like Oregon! Except for the FUZZY BLUE AND RED TURKEYS. We don't have those.

  22. I love rainforest images, they're so lush with all the greenery, rocks and water. You are a wonderful photographer.

  23. Great pics! Love that blue!

  24. @TMWH - Yeah ... I'm trying to wean myself off RED!! It's SO green here it hurts the eyes!!!
    @diane b - One day I'll see the glow worms ... but with any luck, it SO won't be with a group of school kids!!! I think the railings etc are a new addition.
    @Murr Brewster - I'll bet if I came to visit you'd have all sorts of FUZZY new bird species!! Weirdly, they seem to pop up wherever I go ...
    @River - Thank you so much, my friend!! But all credit goes to the scenery - AND my awesome little camera!!!
    @Linda - Thank you!!

  25. To be fair Red, those Bush Turkeys were moving along at quite a pace I think even Steve Parish may have encountered difficulties:) I think he would have been well impressed with these shots..the Pilchard included image is a stunner, so much atmosphere. I love that you show the world Australia's incredibly beautiful outback, and when the book comes out I'll be first in line!

  26. Red, that first image of the waterfall fair took my breath away!
    How deliciously eerie.

    I'm glad you take these photos and share them with us. It so makes me want to get a camper and "get out there".

    One day.

    For now, I'll drink in the beauty - landscapes and fleet footed feathered inhabitants... minus the tourists - through your blog :)

  27. Red this looks like quite the place to take a trip to, I love the first shot... as for the turkey photos, definitely unique! :-) Australia sure is diverse, you have so much to see and do, so much so that I hope to take a trip back that way one day and stay for hmmmm I don't know, maybe 6 months!

    Have a wonderful week!

  28. Wow - that waterfall is stunning!

  29. Awesome photos Red! There's nothing wrong with your shots of bush turkeys, that'S EXACTLY how they always look to me; running around like the proverbial ... chooks.

  30. @PDP - Hahaha, you're WAY too kind ... if Steve Parish ever reads this, he'd be horrified!!! As for the book?? When does one EVER have enough material?!?!
    @Vicki - Yes, finding the drama is one of the reasons to travel ... if I've inspired you just a little then my work is done! Thank you so much for your kind words!
    @darling - Haha, 6 months would be a good start ... it's not all red dust, red rocks and red tides! Sometimes Australia is GREEN!
    @ladyfi - Thank you!! But it was even better live!
    @FruitCake - Hahaha, you're right! I never thought of that!! So great to see you back - hope all is well!!

  31. I've just finished my trip and a chance to catch up on your posts. You comment about the school holidays made me smile .... we soon discovered that school holidays and grey nomads made for very crowded caravan parks ... we booked ahead just to be sure of spot which is something we don't generally do ... was glad we have a small van as we would not have got in in several places.

    Your travels are as always simply awesome.


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