FL29 Central Queensland Adventures

Gateway to Central Queensland

The morning of my flight from Caboolture to Bundaberg was clear and crisp and I was excited to be heading north into territory I’d never been to before. I took off from Caboolture at sunrise and the light over the Glasshouse mountains was magical. I flew over to the mountains to share the view with my livestreamers on YouTube before heading up the coast behind Sunshine Coast airspace.

Following the coast up the Great Sandy Strait was amazing. I loved seeing the patterns in the mud in the wetlands. When I got to Fraser Island, I was joined by fellow trike pilot, Stewart Riddell, from Crayonbox Flying Adventures. Stewart flew with me into Bundaberg in his sparkly red trike called ‘Sparkles’! 

Flying past the Gold Coast
Me and Stewart
Stewart's red trike, 'Sparkles'

When I landed, I was greeted by Steve Curtis whose hangar I was sharing for my time in Bundaberg. We put the trike away and then when out for coffee while we waited for my ground crew to arrive. 

My ground crew for this leg was Mick Barker from BirdLife Capricornia who I met when I landed at Caboolture. Mick has a place in Yeppoon near Rockhampton and was happy to help me out to Bundaberg and Rockhampton. The drive to Bundaberg was a good 4 hours compared to my 2 1/2 hours in the microlight. 

After coffee, we went back to the airport and I was treated to an impromptu tour of the Jabiru Aircraft factory, which is based there. It was great to see all of the planes under consttruction and it reminded me of my time at the Airborne factory.

Coffee after landing with Steve Curtis and Stewart Riddell
Checking out the interior of a Jabiru
Inside the Jabiru factory
Looking at a Jabiru wing

Shortly after the tour of the factory, Mick arrived with the car. About the same time, another Jabiru pilot, Ken, had landed in his aircraft. I’d mentioned to Steve that I’d never been up in a Jabiru, so unbeknownst to me, he quickly organised for me to go up for a flight! It was awesome. 

Me and Ken in the Jabiru
Ken's Jabiru aircraft at Bundaberg Airport

While in town, Mick and I stayed at one of the local caravan parks. One of the things I’d been hanging out to do when I got to Bundaberg was to visit Lady Elliot Island – the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef!

Lady Elliot Island is reknowned as one of the best snorkelling destinations on the reef for seeing manta rays and sea turtles as well fish and coral species. Mick was keen to come along too so we booked ourselves on a Cessna Caravan flight for a day trip to the island.

The island certainly lived up to the hype! We enjoyed a guided snorkelling tour on a glass bottom boat before having a buffet lunch, then went out to enjoy another couple of hours snorkelling. We didn’t see any manta rays but saw heaps of Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles, the most amazing walls of coral, tropical fish, nudibranchs, cuttlefish and Black-tip Reef Sharks. It was mind-blowingly beautiful!

Add to that 3 new bird ticks – Red-tailed Tropicbird, Black Noddy and Brown Noddy – and it really was the perfect day out!

Aerial view of Lady Elliot Island
Ruddy Turnstone
Eastern Reef Egret
Black Noddies

I only had one school visit while I was in Bundaberg and that was at Kalki State School. It just so happened too that Ken’s grandson was in the class I was visiting at the school too! 

Kalki State School is a Reef Guardian School and already had a strong environmental focus as part of their curriculum. It was great to see them adding shorebirds to the program.

Here’s a few photos of the beautiful shorebird drawings from the Grade 3s 🥰🐦

Colouring in a Red-necked Stint
Red-necked Stint drawing
One of the students with a Red-necked Stint

If you missed the livestream of flight leg 29 from Caboolture to Bundaberg QLD, you can watch the replay on YouTube here or by clicking one of the links below.

Milly Formby
Milly Formby is a zoologist, pilot, and illustrator of the children’s book, A Shorebird Flying Adventure She is currently flying her microlight around Australia in 2022/23 to share,A Shorebird Flying Adventure with primary students.
Image credits:
Book cover for A Shorebird Flying Adventure

A Shorebird Flying Adventure

Available Now

Join Milly on her microlight and discover how amazing and awesome migratory shorebirds are!

Milly Formby is a zoologist and illustrator of the children’s book A Shorebird Flying Adventure. Available now through CSIRO Publishing.

Like this post? Share the shorebird-nerdiness on social!

More posts you might like...