Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre | Review
“Ever been to the Bunya Mountains?” That had been my catch-cry to friends and family from the moment I booked a family weekend away at the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre, and the response was invariably “No, but I’d love to.”
I heard all about how they’d love to explore the amazing scenery, see the wildlife, breathe the pure air and take time to relax, but they’d never got around to doing anything about it, so off I went with my family to give it a test run and report back …. And I’m so glad I did!
Why the Bunya Mountain Accommodation Centre?
If camping isn’t your thing and you prefer the comforts of a home environment then you’re in luck at the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre. They have over 100 self-catered homes to choose from, all individually designed and excellently provisioned. Some are on stilts with sweeping panoramic mountain and valley views, others are reminiscent of the lowland Swiss alps being situated on a rolling hillside, and for lovers of seclusion you can hire cottages tucked away in the rainforest down private trails. With such a variety of house sizes, styles and locations – and with prices starting at a little over $100 per night – there really is the perfect holiday home for you whatever you are looking for.
The office staff who greet you with a very friendly welcome on check-in, and they want you to love the Bunya Mountains just as much as they do! They’ll happily chat with you about the best walks, the best look-outs, when and how to spot the wildlife, things to do, the best foods you just have to try … it’s hard not to get swept up in their passion for the place, and the most important thing to them is that you when you leave you leave happy and refreshed and with the Bunya Mountains firmly in your heart.
The Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre is perfectly located and has its own café restaurant, Poppies On The Hill Café, right on site. At Poppies On The Hill Café you can relax in front of the open log fire and enjoy a range of delicious home-made and locally sourced snacks, meals and cakes, with many recipes featuring that exclusive local delicacy, the Bunya Nut! Poppies On The Hill Café caters for breakfasts, lunches, and take-away dinners to enjoy in your own home and is also the place to pick up a generous self-catering breakfast and BBQ pack (more on those later!).
When to go to the Bunya Mountains
The Bunya Mountains is a seasonal environment – any time of year is the perfect time to go, with Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter all offering a distinctly different experience. We stayed at the end of July and enjoyed sunshine and perfect temperatures during the day, cool frosty mornings, and cosy evenings by the log fire. The Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre website will tell you exactly what to expect at each time of the year, from seasonal wildlife visitors to weather expectations, and when to watch out for those giant bunya nuts falling!
Our Accommodation at Bunya Mountains
Our home-away-from-home was what I affectionately termed a “Heidi house”, situated on the grassy hillside overlooking the forested mountains in the Bunya National Park, but instead of being surrounded by goats we were in the company of wallabies – lots of them! When the website states “an abundance of wallabies” believe me, they’re not kidding! It was marvellous just to take the time to sit out on the steps with a cup of tea watching the joeys play chasey right around the house.
The deck was another great place to enjoy the company of wildlife. We arrived at our house (appropriately named Birdsong) just in time for the King Parrots and Rosellas to visit hoping for a feed. My kids were over the moon when they held out their hands and the birds climbed aboard – and I couldn’t grab my camera fast enough! Magpies and pied currawongs, a kookaburra and a number of bush turkeys also visited us. For the twitchers there are bowerbirds, whip birds, kites, falcons, in fact over 121 species, and we were lucky enough to see a grey goshawk feeding by the side of the road as we drove up the mountain!
But back to the house – I can only say our accommodation was excellent! Comfortable quality furnishings, two bright modern bathrooms, beautifully decorated throughout, and a kitchen equipped everything you could need – and in this particular house that included a gift of a bottle of wine from the owner! It does get cold when the sun drops below the mountains but all the houses have heating, and for us that meant a wonderful log burner and electric blankets. Logs are provided along with an axe and a chopping block, and for those of us more used to air-conditioned heating I can say there’s something especially warming about seeing your husband swing an axe on a mountainside!
The deck also has a BBQ and if your gas runs out you can simply pick up a full bottle from the office, no charge.
Things to try and things to do at the Bunya Mountains
The houses are fully self-catered so you can keep costs down by supplying your own linen, towels, food etc. but I heartily recommend treating yourself to the ‘Bliss Package’. For a small extra charge you can arrive at your home and immediately start relaxing with beds already made, clean fresh towels and toiletries provided, and a condiment pack containing tea, coffee, milk and sugar. There are other comfort pack options available to match your budget with linen, toiletries and condiments to be collected from the office, but if you can go with the Bliss Package I’d recommend it for convenience every time.
Another package that we’re so glad we tried out was the Currawong Breakfast Hamper, providing a hot and continental breakfast. The pack was ‘per person’ but there was definitely enough for even the biggest appetite, and it was full of delicious local produce. I didn’t ask but I’m sure the yoghurt and muesli were homemade – it was so fresh and tasty – and the eggs, bacon and sausage were some of the best we’ve ever tasted! I confess, I needed the kids help to finish mine, but the overall verdict was “OMG that was delicious!”
Other optional extras available include a smaller continental breakfast hamper (the Wallaby Hamper), the Bunya BBQ Pack, which includes steak, sausages, onions, potatoes with sour cream, tossed salad and more, and wood chopping and fire-preparation packages. You can see what extras are available and what’s included in each on the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre website.
Bushwalking in the Bunya Mountains
The Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre is literally on the doorstep of the Bunya Mountains National Park, with several walking trails starting right outside its gates. When you check in at the office you’re given a map detailing walk distances and durations, how easy or challenging they are, and the things you’re likely to see along the way. At the time of our stay my son was recovering from a chest infection so we didn’t want to go too far, but the ‘Scenic Circuit’ at 4km was just perfect for him. Along the way we passed waterfalls, a dramatic lookout (bring binoculars!), rock pools, and a strangler fig that the boardwalk passed straight through. There are many other walks to choose from varying in length from 500m to over 10km!
Spotlighting fun for the kids
In the Bunya Mountains on a cloudless night you are guaranteed a breath-taking view of the night sky. Fishers Lookout is a 1.2km walk from the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre and from there you can look up to see the Milky Way brilliantly displayed, or look-out to a different light show from the distant small towns. If you walk there be sure to take a torch to see if you can spot the secretive Bunya Mountains Ringtail Possum (not found anywhere else in the World!) hiding in the trees. You might also be lucky enough to spot rare owls and small bats.
Time Travel – take a step back in time
Across the road from the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre you can wind back the clock and hitch a ride in a horse drawn cart. Bunya Mountain Horse Drawn Tours with Allen, the driver, and his two Clydesdales have a range of ride durations, including a picnic tour with damper and billy tea, which we sadly didn’t have time for on our stay. We booked our tour later in the afternoon and enjoyed the 45-minute ride. All the kids had a turn at sitting up by the driver and along the way Allen gave an interesting talk on the history of the Bunya Mountains, and the flora, fauna and plant life to be found. Bookings are recommended as his carriage fills up fast!
Bunya Mountain Markets
The last Sunday of every month is market day, right in the grounds of the Bunya Mountain Accommodation Centre, and it’s no ordinary market! The stalls are bursting with fresh local produce and artisan arts and crafts. Just as a taster you can buy jewellery, pottery, baby goods, local fruit and veg, speciality teas, and home-made pickles, jams, cakes … oh my goodness you must try the local foods – we certainly filled our shopping bags with yummy goodies to bring home! Find out more here.
Places to eat – we recommend:
After the markets we headed in to Poppies On The Hill Café at the Accommodation Centre to fill up on their exquisite cuisine. Like most kids mine were a little sceptical at first – I mean, nuts, ew! – but I persuaded them that they HAD to try something with bunya nuts while we were there. One of our choices was the Poppies signature Bunya Nut Beefburger – a tender juicy blend of beef and bunya nuts with salad, caramelised onions, mature cheese and Poppies special sauce (vegetarian option available). The burger was huge and we thought we could never devour a burger that big, but it was so tasty not a crumb was left! The Bunya Nut Scones also went down very well in a cream tea.
We were only there for a weekend and that meant I didn’t get chance to try enough the tempting signature dishes at Poppies On The Hill Café. Their home-made pies sound delicious and I’ll definitely be making room for them next time we go, but in the meantime if you have any of the mouth-watering pies when you visit please tell me all about how good they were in the comments!
There are many other things to do at the Bunya Mountain Accommodation Centre, all designed around relaxing and escaping the rigours of rat-race world. Refer to the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre website for the perfect activities to enjoy during your stay.
Directions to Bunya Mountains
It’s approximately a 3-hour drive from Brisbane, but once you leave the suburbs behind you can approach the mountains via several different scenic routes, and once you start that winding drive up the mountain you’ll certainly want to take your time to enjoy the views!
Things to be aware of during your stay
- If you trust your sat-nav to get there you may find yourself in a no-signal zone along the way – we did! The best advice is to follow the directions given on the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre website, and if your sat-nav tells you to go straight ahead when the big road sign says turn right, ignore it! (The road signs know their job!)
- There are no petrol stations close to the Bunya Mountains so make sure you have enough fuel to last you through your stay.
- Mobile phone reception can be patchy in the mountains with some houses having a good reception, and some having very little. If staying connected is important to you ask the staff in the office for recommendations when booking.
- Some of the forest walks aren’t suitable for prams, strollers or wheelchairs.
- No pets are allowed in the Bunya Mountains National Park, and that includes the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre.
Did the kids enjoy their holiday?
My kids love their technology and I was concerned that they’d be ‘bored’ without wi-fi access, so we packed board games, DVDs and the Xbox, but surprisingly we didn’t need any of it! They were so busy exploring, watching the wallabies, trying to identify all the different species of birds, and immersing themselves in the experience of the Bunya Mountains that their usual habits were forgotten. They learned from the information boards in and around the forest – and from Allen’s horse and cart tour – and opened up their imaginations to what life would be like all year round in the Bunyas. Our daughter was interested in learning how to prepare the log fire for the evening, and even in cleaning out the cold ashes in the morning, and after all that fresh mountain air they were early to bed and sleeping well. The feedback we got on the way home was “When I’m older I’m going to live in the Bunya Mountains…!”
Would you go again?
Yes, definitely! There are so many other bushwalks we’d love to try, and next time we go I’ll make sure everyone gets up early enough to go and watch the sunrise through the forest mists, but that pure mountain air meant we slept too well this time! I’d also love to visit in different seasons to experience the changing colours of the forest, and the seasonal wildlife visitors, and also in summer to picnic by the swimming holes.
I’d still take a couple of board games in case wet weather keeps us indoors, and my son says he’d like to take his bike or scooter next time just for getting around the local area but it isn’t really necessary, and there’s so much more to see if you walk!
If you’ve been to the Bunya Mountains and loved it please leave a comment below, and if you haven’t been – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? When it comes to the Bunya Mountains the best time to visit is always right now! Go to www.bunyamountains.com.au to choose your affordable home and book your stay.