Day 76 Sunday, 24/7/2016, Yeppoon, hot
Friends C & W have invited us for a picnic in Byfield National Park. They live about 20kms north of Yeppoon at Bungundarra on rich red soil and their 20 acre farm and mango orchard faces east towards the blue ranges of Byfield. The area is lush with farms and I’ll swear that even a concrete post would grow in soil like this. Dozens of magpie geese have taken up residence in the dam out front.
We have morning tea on the terrace before driving along about 17kms of rough dirt road into Upper Stoney campground. This is a 4WD only campground and we drive across the Stoney Creek causeway and into the grassy picnic ground. There are BBQ’s and toilets and while we eat lunch a tree crashes down in the forest. There is evidence of last week’s rain and last year’s category 5 Cyclone Marcia which has left trees laying at odd angles as though a bulldozer has been through here (Is it any wonder that Rockhampton’s Botanic Gardens were looking a little worse for wear). In fact, the cyclone dropped a water tank in our friend’s paddock from two farms away, proving that water tanks can indeed fly.
At the causeway Stoney Creek forms a cool green swimming hole with fish, eels and turtles visible in the water. We take a short walk through the forest and see native hibiscus and Byfield ferns. We even cross a bridge that was built under W’s supervision when he worked for the forestry department.
Back on the bitumen road we visit Red Rock campground further downstream. It is a pleasantly quiet spot with grassy campsites, toilets and fire pits. This is the spot that we had intended to stay at before the rain changed our plans.
Not far away we cross a small weir, a cormorant sits on the edge of the spillway. The pool is palm fringed and sunlight filters through the trees. Above is Water Park campground and picnic area. Each campsite is secluded and sheltered by rainforest.
Just down the road is the Byfield General Store, a few houses and several private rainforest retreats.
We return to the farm through back roads and in doing so realise how close it really is to the park. We leave laden with passion fruit and a pumpkin. What a day, what a place and such kind hosts.
2021 Note: Byfield National Park is a hidden gem, a truly beautiful park with excellent camp grounds for self contained campers and in the tiny village of Byfield the General Store is renowned for its delicious lunches.