The richness of West Cooroy

From pademelons to land mullets, paradise riflebirds to neon cuckoo bees, West Cooroy State Forest is brimming with fascinating wildlife. 

The state government has promised to transfer West Cooroy State Forest into national park by the end of the year. The forest is one of the last big chunks of government-held land within the Noosa Shire that can achieve protective status. This is a milestone achievement, in some ways a culmination of six decades of effort that began when Dr Arthur Harrold established the Noosa Parks Association in 1962. 

On the very edge of the Noosa Shire, accessed by dirt roads, West Cooroy Forest has largely flown beneath the public radar. The 1,100 hectares contains critically endangered lowland rainforest as well as open eucalypt forest. Inevitably that includes many threatened and endangered plant species, such as native guava and southern penda. 

Koala mapping using tracker dogs identified healthy koalas on private land abutting the West Cooroy State Forest. Koala surveys could not occur inside the State Forest at the time. However, as with Yurol and Ringtail Forests, it is likely that aerial surveys will unveil a sizeable population of resident koalas happily getting on with life in West Cooroy Forest.

During my trips to West Cooroy, I have frequently seen pademelons darting across the track. Indeed, West Cooroy may be the last refuge in Noosa Shire for these charming little macropods.


West Cooroy is also the only place in the shire where I have been able to clap eyes on paradise riflebirds. Male riflebirds were once hunted for their iridescent plumage, used to adorn ladies’ hats. 

This is also one of the few places in the shire where one can regularly see pale yellow robins, the smaller cousin of the more common eastern yellow robin. Along with treecreepers, wrens, finches and other feathered friends, there are also plenty of pigeons and doves, including the outlandishly gaudy wompoo fruit dove. Vulnerable marbled frogmouths have been spotted in the forest as well as sooty owls. 

pale yellow robin
wompoo fruit dove
paradise riflebird

West Cooroy is one of only two places in the shire where I have come across a land mullet. If that moniker invokes a fish out of water, then you’re on the money. Land mullets are our nation’s largest skinks, and they do look somewhat like their briny namesakes. The endangered giant barred frog inhabits the creeks of the forest, while endangered greater gliders soar between trees at night.

land mullet
greater glider

And don’t get me started on the insect life in West Cooroy. This beautiful neon cuckoo bee kept me entranced for half an hour one memorable day.

neon cuckoo bee

In coming years, I am sure that more thorough scientific scrutiny will uncover all manner of wonders in West Cooroy Forest. I am but a stumbling amateur, propelled by enthusiasm not exactitude. Importantly though, as a national park, West Cooroy Forest will remain an essential stronghold for Noosa’s biodiversity for decades to come.

Tony Wellington

Writer & Photographer

Former Mayor of Noosa, author, photographer, artist, film-maker, lecturer, musician, social commentator and environmentalist. Welcome to Tony’s stunning view of what makes Noosa special.

This Post Has One Comment

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    Amateur…no way! Superb photos! The Greater Glider is wonderful, so hard to see in the wild (way up in the trees). I hope West Cooroy Forest will become our next National Park.
    Regards Annelise

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