Rock Wallabies Rock

Rock Wallaby with joey, Granite Gorge, Australia

Rock Wallaby with joey, Granite Gorge, Australia

We were in pursuit of a tawny frogmouth on the back roads of eastern Queensland.  It was blazing hot and although we were not lost, we were definitely on the edge of civilization.  Our guide from yesterday (Jonathan Munro) was certain it would be here.


We had arrived in Granite Gorge, a privately-owned campground and park outside of Mareeba, Australia.  It is an outcropping of gigantic granite boulders, and is a small nature park and campground. The highlight was the rock wallaby sanctuary.


Rock Wallabies

Rock Wallabies

The owner of Granite Gorge Nature Park is very engaged in her park and was on the premises that day.  Usually in our search for a “lifer,” we walk around, take photos, scan for the bird, and avoid the humans.  But if you knew how camouflaged a tawny frogmouth is, you’d understand that we needed her guidance on where to find this tricky bird.



Athena with the rock wallabies

Athena with the rock wallabies

While she talked, her pet lizard crawled behind her neck.  As part of the entrance fee, she gave us each a little packet of food pellets for the wallabies; and explained why it was okay to feed them (conditions are tough).  She is devoted to protecting this near-threatened population of rock wallabies, and has created an impressive sanctuary.


Petrogale mareeba is a 20 inch tall marsupial.  There are nine species of rock wallaby, the one pictured here is named for the area in which it lives.  Mostly nocturnal but also active in daytime, they feed on plants and shrubs (and pellets), take shelter in rock piles and caves.  They were gregarious and tame, comfortable and happy in their private sanctuary.


Tawny Frogmouth, Granite Gorge

Tawny Frogmouth, Granite Gorge

Although we had just planned to find the bird and leave, we ended up spending most of the day here.  And we found the bird!  We concluded our adventure that day by making a picnic out of what we had in our rental car.  We sat at a picnic table and listened to the melodious offerings of a magpie lark.  It was the perfect day.

Magpie-lark, Granite Gorge

Magpie-lark, Granite Gorge


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander and Jet Eliot



23 thoughts on “Rock Wallabies Rock

  1. The photographer photgraphed ! – and so nicely, too, Jet. 🙂 She didn’t seem to be having too shabby a time …
    The tawny frogmouth is wonderful, eh? – such a remarkable skill at self-camouflage. Glad you got to see one – and those lovely little wobblies.

  2. I’m really enjoying seeing birds I’ve never heard of. The Frogmouth is completely splendid; and I would love to hear what a Magpie-lark sounds like. Next stop: the very wonderful Xeno-canto, an indispensable resource for bird songs / calls around the world… RH [I’m not on its payroll]

  3. Such an informative and pleasant post,dear Jet !!! Once again I closely followed your vivid descriptions and for a moment I felt I was there with you viewing all these adorable creatures ! You are one with Nature,as I wrote in one of my comment-reply, and you make the reader feel the thill of each moment ! It is the first time I have met all three.Amazed at how tamed the wallabies are,and how they are fed by people ! As for their scientific name,petrogale,I would have understood that they live near or on the rocks because petro in Greek means stone/rock.
    Amazing! Isn’t it ? !!! The beautiful frogmouth reminds me of an owl,they are so much alike !
    And last but not least,I so much liked the magpie-lark photo.It is quite different from the common magpies we have in Greece.I suppose the have more white feathers on their plumage.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences from this private sanctuary ; the owner must be proud of it !!! Sending love and kind thoughts your way , Doda 🙂 xxx

    • Oh yes, the owner is very proud of her sanctuary. She’s quirky and very likeable. And I’m so happy to have introduced you, Doda, to a few Australian creatures! Usually the wallabies are very shy, it was almost impossible to photograph them until we got to the sanctuary. I like how you use your Greek knowledge to work on the etymology, as in petro. Thanks so much for your visit and kind words…it makes my day! 😀

    • Oh thank you Nan! That was one of those days when it was so hot that we just slowed down, changed up our plans, and hung out with the Australian campers and creatures. Thanks for your warm comment, Nan. 🙂

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