Ecologies of Binna Burra

Although most of the lava flows from the Tweed Volcano 23 million years ago were basalt, which gives deep fertile soils, there were also some flows of rhyolite with layers of ash and boulders, particularly around Binna Burra, which give poorer soils. But don’t let that deter the spectre of Binna Burra, because when lava flows slowed not only was the Gondwana Rainforests to reemerge, but water took over too, creating spectacular waterfalls, deep gorges, distinctive peaks and rugged cliffs gouged out of the volcanic rock. And as a bonus, Binna Burra offers the most spectacular views of the Tweed Valley caldera, carved out from the eastern side of the ancient volcano. The best views can be enjoyed from vantage points along the Ships Stern circuit and south-facing lookouts on the Border Track, all views woven into our Heart & Lava adventures and retreats.

While exploring the tracks at Binna Burra, visitors will encounter different vegetation types due to the varying soils derived from basalt and rhyolite lava flows. The circuit tracks pass through warm temperate rainforests, containing ancient angiosperms such as coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) in Nixon Creek’s headwaters. There are also wet sclerophyll forests featuring giant New England ash (Eucalyptus campanulata) around the track intersection to the Ships Stern circuit. The cool temperate rainforest, found at elevations above 900m, is where the majority of Australia’s Antarctic beech forests are located within the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Along the circuit to Tullawal, visitors can observe the majestic Antarctic Beech trees (Nothofagus moorei).

The iconic, colourful Australian King Parrot is a delightful bird to watch. Speaking of colour, getting a glimpse of a bowerbird collecting all things blue is special too. Despite the devastating bushfires in 2019 that destroyed the historical Binna Burra Lodge, nature continues to thrive in the area. I distinctly remember seeing a bowerbird make its love nest right at the driveway where the lodge once stood. On another occasion, I found myself in negotiation to pass a Lamington Spiny Crayfish along the Daves Circuit track. If lucky Richmond Birdwing butterfly’s may appear, or perhaps a spotted-tailed quoll.

But what about before all this? Read our story:

A Supercontinental Drift over Lava and a Scenic Rim is Born

Also read how the story unfolds across our other key Heart & Lava destinations:

Ecologies of Mount Barney
Ecologies of Moogerah

Heart And Lava Website Binna Burra
Heartandlava Banksia 2

Written by Heart & Lava co-founder, Dr. Tristan Schultz

Queensland Government Parks and Forests