When guests come to Brinawa Bird and Bush Retreat the bush and its sounds surround them. At night, it’s the sooty owls, boobooks, frogmouths, powerful owls, and a myriad of frog and insect species. In the morning, it is the laugh of the kookaburra and the call of lyrebirds, the screech of the king parrots and the black cockatoos to which guests wake.
The accommodation is rustic, being built from recycled and bush materials. Guests can choose between the main residence with a double bedroom and spa bathroom or the cottage with a queen size bed and ensuite. There are a range of walking tracks to suit all levels of fitness and in order to protect the native wildlife pets are not welcome.
Ross Dixon is the owner of Brinawa, which covers 17 hectares surrounded by the Watagan State Forest, with vegetation varying from open hardwood forests to rainforest gullies.
A number of fauna species are present on the property, including the giant barred frog (Mixophyes iterates), greater (Petauroides volans) and yellow bellied (Petaurus australis) gliders, spotted-tailed quolls (Dasyurus maculatus), pink-tongued skinks (Cyclodomorphus gerrardii), brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), noisy pittas (Pitta versicolor), superb lyrebirds (Menura novaehollandiae), and regent bowerbirds (Sericulus chrysocephalus).
This sanctuary is featured in Wildlife Lands 17!
Brinawa (‘place of rock lilies’) was purchased as a 40 acre soldier settler block and is in an isolated, northerly-facing valley west of Newcastle. The valley is bisected by Wallis Creek, a tumbling, rocky creek which is a tributary of the Hunter River with its headwaters in the Watagan National Park.
This ‘backyard’ with its varied forests and abundant wildlife has been the family’s playground and my obsession since 1978. Growing up near the Royal National Park, I escaped the perceived pressure of peer and family expectations by going ‘bush’ where I found the peace and connections I thought I needed. This led to a degree in entomology, teaching and, now, leading small groups on environmental tours.
Clearing of choking and impenetrable lantana has been the largest ongoing project but the satisfaction of watching the rejuvenation of natural vegetation over decades more than offsets the years, effort and money involved. What greater pleasure can there be than walking each morning through healthy forest you have helped to restore to its natural state? The creation of pond and wetland areas encourages even more varied wildlife and walking tracks, initially intended as inroads into lantana, offer access to steeper, pristine rainforest gullies and waterfalls nearby. Here you will find climax plant communities which have never been logged with red cedar trees, figs, tallowwoods and some forest giants with 14 metre circumferences.
The bush and its sounds surround guests at Brinawa Bird and Bush Retreat. At night, it’s the sooty owls, boobooks, frogmouths, powerful owls, and a myriad of frog and insect species. In the morning, it’s the kookaburra’s laugh, the lyrebird’s call, and the screech of king parrots and black-cockatoos. Guests can explore and find bowerbirds, wombats, echidnas and pink-tongued lizards. Brinawa is now a place where people can reconnect with the past as generations of First Australians did, and be part of a future where a bond with nature is mandatory for society to choose the right path and make the right decisions in order for the sustainability of all levels of life. For more information visit www.rossdixon.com.au