Towards the end of last year, we had some family visiting from London, England. Extended family from my mother’s side had come over for a visit. Unfortunately, even though they were here for a few weeks, there is never enough time! So one day during the Christmas break, we managed to sneak away to Maleny with them. I was with both of them, Aunt D and her daughter T, my mom and my aunt, my mom’s sister.
We went to Maleny to spend the day there. I had been to Maleny very briefly but never for a day trip, so I thought I’d tag along for an adventure. I had to be back in Brisbane too for another event so it was a full on day.
We started off by going for a walk along the main street, where you’ve got a few stores, boutiques and some specialty stores, all locally owned I believe. It’s such a cute spot and every time I’ve been there, it’s usually thriving. Anyway, we got a few little souvenirs, and then decided to go for some ice cream. Yum.
I had heard that there were some botanical gardens in the area, so we quickly looked it up on Google maps and headed off looking for them. When we got there, we realised that there was an aviary. Now, not sure if you have not realised, but I like birds. So does my mom. So we bought tickets to go in and experience a guided walk through one of the compounds.
The place was set up by a local business man, who if I remember correctly, had some exotic birds and donated the area. Eventually they needed proper carers and infrastructure, so the aviary was born. The tour guide, Jerome, that we had on the day was a veterinary graduate from one of the universities (and got an awesome job if you ask me). The aviary is set in the botanical gardens, on one of the mountains/hills. The gardens are below, and you can walk them, or hire a little golf cart to get around.
Our tour was for around 1.30pm. A few people had also started to turn up and there was around 40-50 people also waiting with us. The guide was so knowledgeable and so patient with everyone who asked him questions regarding all the different birds and parrots that lived there. We entered the largest cage, where Indian parrots, Macaws, Galahs, Cockatoos (black and yellow) and so many other species that I cannot remember, lived together. I was so amazed this little treasure was hidden away in Maleny, so close to Brisbane.
Good thing I had the camera with me, I think I went nuts with photos. We got to hold a couple of parrots (when I say hold, I mean I extended my arm to let it perch on me). One of them even say on mom’s head, and started scratching/massaging her slowly. It was the funniest thing to see. Another out its beak on her head and rubbed it against her. I tell myself it was a sign of affection!
Before you enter, you’re asked to remove earrings or watches, generally anything shiny as they may want to pick it. Once inside the cage, you kind of stay in a group and walk along the path. This way the guide can talk through the species of birds as you walk past them. Some were nesting, some eating. The cacophony of their song was exciting, if not exhilarating. So many different calls playing all at once, it was beautiful!
Anyway, it was an unexpected experience. We were all so grateful and excited about this little find, we stayed there as long as we could before having to leave to head back to Brisbane. I haven’t been back as I’ve been busy (and lazy), but would like to return. If you’re scared of birds in general, this may be a good opportunity to get over your fears. If you think it’s full on, maybe just stay outside and experience it from then until you’re ready.
Information on the sanctuary is below. If you do get a chance, do go. It’s a wonderful thing this team does, as they also take in birds that can no longer be looked after their original owners, sad as it sounds. You won’t regret going!
Some photos from the top of the hill down to the Glasshouse Mountains: