G’day nature lovers,
If you’re after a truly unique Australian wildlife experience, you really must try walking around the rainforest at night with Night Vision Goggles.
Vision Walks – Eco Tours, have been running Night Vision Walks in the rainforest near Byron Bay for almost 10 years. There really is no other experience like it in the world.
Wendy from Vision Walks, picked us up from our Byron Bay accommodation (She can pick up from other places just ask). On your way she told the story of great volcano, the big scrub rainforest, the Bundjalung people, Captain Cook, and the history of European settlement in the area.
When we arrived at the park, Wendy showed us how the goggles work, fitted them on our heads and gave us an IR torch. She explained how we all need to remain as quiet as possible and gave us some clicking signal practice, to alert the others in case we see an animal first.
As we started to walk, it is really quite surreal to start but we soon immersed ourselves into the rainforest. We could hear something moving around on the forest floor. Then Wendy stopped, did a quick “click click” and pointed her powerful IR spotlight on a Long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta), it seemed oblivious to our presence as it foraged in the leaf litter. We walked away and left it to its dinner, a few minutes later we heard something else scurrying about, this was much smaller, it was a Fuscipes as Wendy called it as she thinks they’re too cute to call by their common name- bush rat. We watched the little Fuscipes, Bush rat (rattus fuscipes) as it ran and hopped about in the leaf litter and on tree roots.
We walked on and saw something bigger on the ground, with really quite bright eye shine. We stopped and watched as it walked along the forest floor, then climbed up a tree, then it just seemed to stop and look at us. It was a Short-eared possum (Trichosurus caninus, we had a nice long look at it and just as we turned to carry on our walk, got buzzed by a micro bat. Wendy said it was too fast for her to identify but it could of been a tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni) as she seen and heard them here before.
As we continued we saw more bandicoots, more fuscpies and then heard a thump, thump, thump, and some eye shine in the under growth. It was a red-legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica). We stood still and watched as it moved from the undergrowth into the open and started to graze. Then we noticed a second set of eyes – it had a joey with it -naaaaww.
When we finished our walk, we readjusted our goggles to look at the sky. The stars were amazing, we flicked up the goggles to look with our eyes, we could see quite a few stars with our eyes, but we saw 10 times more when we looked through the goggles.
After our star gazing, we posed for a Night Vision picture then Wendy made us all hot chocolate and Byron Bay cookies (not Nimbin ones). What a great way to finish off an amazing experience.
Enjoy your journey