Kumbartcho Sanctuary at Eatons Hill
Kumbartcho Sanctuary at Eatons Hill is a beautiful community-managed forest reserve rich in native flora and fauna. Enjoy a day out with the family exploring the reserve, stopping for lunch and and a play in the playground, a visit to the fairy garden and a walk to the river.
Saved from developers nearly 20 years ago, Kumbartcho is a community forest reserve located on four hectares of protected land sitting adjacent to the South Pine River. Deriving its name from the local Aboriginal word for Hoop Pine, Kumbartcho has a lot to offer families with young children.
Locals might remember it as the old Bunya Park Wildlife Centre and reminders of this past are visible throughout the park, (walk through bird aviaries have become frog sanctuaries as an example). This entire centre is staffed by local volunteers, supported by Moreton Bay Regional Council. It genuinely has a feeling of being a special place, where everything created and added is done in a way to ensure the enjoyment of the space without impacting on the natural surrounds.
One thing is for certain; from the moment you step out of your car, the sound of cicadas, the fluttering of butterflies and the bird song that will surround you, will surely ensure a peaceful and soul lifting experience.
The playground and the picnics
The playground at Kumbartcho is well equipped with a climbing frame, swings, bouncy rockers and two platforms linked by a rope bridge with slide and climbing wall. There’s also a lovely colonial-style playhouse where older Brisbane kids can set-up shop.
Within this area are picnic tables and barbecues where you can stop for lunch. This isn’t a huge space but we love that it is fenced and shady and forms a part of the child friendly features at the sanctuary. You can also have a picnic further into the sanctuary, close to frog hollow although this picnic area doesn’t have BBQ’s.
The wildlife at Kumbartcho
With freshwater lagoons, streams, rainforest and open forest, there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife sightings. Keep a lookout as you wander through the sanctuary as Kumbartcho is home to freshwater turtles, frogs, lizards, snakes and many species of birds. You will also notice that there are a number of scrub turkeys that enjoy the sanctuary and depending on what time of year you visit, you might be lucky enough to see a scrub turkey building its nest or even some baby scrub turkeys wandering around.
Platypus have been sighted down in the South Pine River but only in the very early hours of the morning when the sun has just risen. If your Brisbane Kid has a particular fascination for platypus you might want to consider heading down to the river at this time either accessing via Bunya Riverside or through Sargents Reserve.
The Sanctuary is an important wildlife highway providing a safe place for wildlife to move from the state forest to the river. This rare pocket of untouched riparian rainforest has 6km of walking paths throughout the forest and along the river. Take your little adventurer on a walk along the paths through the sanctuary searching for wildlife. Make a game of it by creating a nature scavenger hunt and see who can find all the animals first.
Interactive wildlife trail
When you arrive at Kumbartcho Sanctuary head to the nursery and pick your kids up a booklet. This will facilitate a journey through the sanctuary and provide the opportunity for the kids to identify flora and fauna and even create pencil rubbings of them in their booklets.
The Fairy Garden
An unexpected feature of the Kumbartcho sanctuary is a delightful little fairy garden which sits at the end of one of its smaller walking trail. A delight, especially to smaller children, it also offers a post box to send mail to the fairies. Additions are constantly made to this little curiosity and recent additions include a car track and a range of different hollowed logs featuring doors that hide a variety of different book characters and animal figurines. What we like about this space is how child friendly it is with child sized paths winding through the setup and also a pram friendly walk to parents can join their kids in the fun.
The Kumbartcho walking trails
Kumbartcho connects to a river walk that will take you up and down South Pine River and also connects to the popular Bunya Riverside. This popular swimming hole is on the other side of the river and has its own carpark that you can access by driving through Ferny Hills and onto Bunya.
If you dont want to walk that far, the sanctuary itself features a number of walks within the grounds that are quite sizeable for little feet. The walkways are pram and wheelchair friendly and while there are stairs in some places, there are alternative walkways to reach the same destination.
The native plant nursery
Run by volunteers, this affordable native plant nursery grows all their plants from local seeds. Each species of plants is labelled and highlighted with its likelihood to be bird or bee attracting and for its koala friendly qualities. They also sell possum boxes and even DIY bird boxes which would make a great gift idea for a child. Their expertise is also onhand and Kumbartcho Nursery offer a consulting service where they will come out to your house and give you advice on how to best plant a native garden on your property.
Accessibility at Kumbartcho Sanctuary
The paths from both carpark areas lead to the flat and accessible walking paths, playground, picnic table and the playhouse. Fenced on the external side and on both carpark areas, the playground base is chip bark and is partly shaded with a shade sail while large trees shade the rest of the park. There are sheltered picnic tables and barbecues that are open from dawn until dusk, as well as toilets. The 6km of walking paths throughout the sanctuary are either concrete, paved paths or wooden bridges and are suitable for wheelchair users.
We highly recommend that if you plan to visit Kumbartcho you pre spray yourselves with insect sprays as this is a sub tropical environment sitting adjacent to a river.
Kumbartcho Sanctuary at a glance
- Bark based playground, partly shaded by shade sails, featuring a slide, climbing net, swings and bouncy rocker.
- Large grassy area with a lot of trees providing shade with picnic tables. (More picnic tables are also on offer further within the sanctuary)
- Walking paths
- Frog sanctuary
- Wildlife abounds
- Fairy Garden and mini car track
- River, streams and lagoons
- Community Hall and Barn
Kumbartcho is located at 15 Bunya Pine Court, Eatons Hill.