Observe Australia’s nocturnal animals in their natural habitat with a night bush walk in Byron Bay, NSW. By Neil McMahon.
World Heritage-listed Nightcap National Park, 40 minutes from Byron, is lushly beautiful by day (the four-hour return walk to the base of Minyon Falls is a must) but for a unique experience, try it after dark. This is fauna-spotting like nowhere else. Join Wendy Bithell on a Night Vision Walk and you’ll experience nocturnal wildlife wanders using military-grade night-vision goggles.
Because Bithell’s groups take to the trails without any artificial light, this is a peaceful, almost-silent, stroll and the creatures you come across (such as spotted quolls, bats, bandicoots, possums, owls, pademelons, frogs and the occasional carpet python) generally carry on their evening business as usual, undisturbed by their human visitors. “We’ve had animals not see us. We stand still and they walk around our feet,” she says. “There are no lights so they don’t know we’re there.”
Surely that can be a tad spooky? Yes, but Bithell doesn’t milk it. “Some people say I should tell scary stories but I say, ‘People get spooked enough!’”
Silence is imperative. There’s no point killing the light if you make a racket and frighten the critters away. The goggles take some getting used to but once you’ve adjusted, you’ll see the darkness in a whole new light. ￼
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