On your journey through Somerset you will notice the region is surrounded by the rugged D’Aguilar, Conondale and Great Dividing Ranges, providing a sanctuary for wildlife and the perfect place to get back to nature.
Somerset is home to Lakes Somerset, Wivenhoe and Atkinson, along with a range of environmental reserves, national parks and recreational trails. With these wide-ranging habitats of purpose built lakes, natural river systems, native bushland and virtually untouched wilderness areas, there is a chance for everybody to have a natural experience.
Wivenhoe Hill Trails
The Wivenhoe Hill Trails are a perfect way to explore more of Lake Wivenhoe by foot, mountain bike or horseback. The entrance to the 16km trail network is off Fig Tree Road via the Hay Road exit on the Brisbane Valley Highway. With four trails to choose from, the Wivenhoe Hill Trails have something for everyone. Keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife regularly seen along the trails including, Whiptail Wallabies, Koalas, Whistling Kites, Red Fairy Wrens and Grey Fantails.
An outdoor lover’s paradise, Somerset is home to National Parks, state forests and environmental reserves. With the D’Aguilar National Park to the east, Conondale National Park to the north and the Great Dividing Range to the west, Somerset is the perfect central location to explore these environmental wonders and get back to nature.
Camping permits are required to camp in Queensland National Parks and State Forests.
D’Aguilar National Park
As the eastern border to the Somerset region the D’Aguilar National Park has a range of diverse ecosystems throughout the two sections of the park. Home to an array of flora and fauna, wildlife spotting is a must when you visit. The northern section of the D’Aguilar National Park is home to two camping areas, Neurum Creek and Archer. Both camping areas offer a natural bush setting to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. At the southern end of the national park, enjoy a scenic drive up Northbrook Parkway with a stop at Wivenhoe lookout for spectacular views. For more information click here.
Conondale National Park
Conondale National Park covers over 35,000 hectares and is home to more than 120 species of wildlife throughout the diverse range of ecosystems. Apart from the Conondale Great Walk, four-wheel driving is a favourite past time in the national park, with registered high clearance four-wheel drives allowed on forest roads. Sunday Creek Road from Jimna to Charlie Mooreland Campground near Kenilworth is a popular track. Make sure to check road conditions and park updates before heading out on the four-wheel drive tracks. For more information click here.
Ravensbourne National Park
Ravensbourne National Park is located 33km west of Esk among the Great Dividing Range. With expansive views over Somerset and Lake Wivenhoe, it is known for its birdlife with 113 bird species recorded in the small national park. Enjoy a walk through this remnant forest on one of four graded tracks or enjoy the day use area and pack a picnic. For more information click here.
Jimna State Forest
Jimna State Forest is home to Peach Trees camping and day use area and is a wildlife watcher’s dream. Eastern Grey Kangaroos are commonly seen lazing around under the gumtrees scattered throughout the camping area. Set up camp on the grassy banks of Yabba Creek with sites suitable for tents, campervans and caravans. A dedicated wheelchair friendly camp site and toilet facilities are available at the campground. During your visit choose from one of the three short walking tracks to explore the surrounding bushland, or head down to Yabba Creek at dawn or dusk to keep an eye out for the elusive Platypus. Mountain biking and horse riding are allowed on state forest roads throughout Jimna State Forest and the horse trail network. A horse paddock is located beside Peach Trees camping area. For more information click here.
Benarkin State Forest
Benarkin State Forest can be found along the western reaches of the Somerset region. The Benarkin day use area is easily accessible from the D’Aguilar Highway, but for those a little more adventurous, the 16km four-wheel drive track to Clancy’s Camp and Emu Creek day use and camping areas will hit the spot. Take a dip in the cool waters of Emu Creek or go wildlife spotting in the open woodlands or hoop pine plantations of Benarkin State Forest. For more information click here.
Somerset is a wildlife watcher’s paradise. Regular glimpses of koalas snoozing in the Eucalypt trees, grazing kangaroos in open grasslands, occasional echidnas meandering along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and rare sightings of the elusive platypus in quiet waterholes are all possible.
Birdlife is abundant throughout the region with many opportunities for birdwatchers to catch a glimpse of the many species found here. Have your binoculars ready when exploring the lakes, Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, parks and reserves as you never know when you might spot that elusive species. Birdwatchers revel in sightings of Black Cockatoos, King Parrots, Rainbow Lorikeets, Pied Cormorants, White-faced Herons, Bush-stone Curlews, Whistling Kites, Australian Pelicans, Wood Ducks and Azure Kingfishers, just to name a few. Grab your bird list from the Kilcoy Visitor Information Centre before exploring Yowie Park to see how many of the hundred bird species, commonly sighted in the park, you can spot.
Some places to spot wildlife and birdlife
- Peach Trees Day Use Area, Jimna State Forest
- Brisbane River, Linville
- Yowie Park, Kilcoy
- Kirkleagh Day Use Area, Lake Somerset
- The Spit, Lake Somerset
- O’Shea’s Crossing, Lake Wivenhoe
- Koala Habitat Enhancement Corridor, Toogoolawah
- Lions Park, Esk
- Pipeliner Park, Esk
- Hamon Cove, Lake Wivenhoe
- Logan Inlet Day Use Area, Lake Wivenhoe
- Wivenhoe Hill Trails, Lake Wivenhoe
- Cormorant Bay, Lake Wivenhoe
- Spillway Lookout, Lake Wivenhoe
- Atkinson’s Crossing, Lake Wivenhoe
- Billie’s Bay and Hays Landing, Lake Wivenhoe
- Branch Creek, Lake Wivenhoe
- Northbrook Parkway, D’Aguilar National Park
- Twin Bridges, Fernvale
- Savages Crossing, Fernvale
- Jensen’s Swamp Environmental Reserve, Lowood