Have you ever seen a multitude of fireflies in a dusk-filled rainforest, flashing their glowing lights through the trees? It’s a magical sight that takes your breath away – and it’s a regular occurrence during spring at the Bunya Mountains!
Contrary to their name, fireflies aren’t actually flies – they’re beetles. There are more than 2,000 species of firefly found worldwide, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. All the species of firefly in Australia belong to the Lampyridae family, which literally means “shining ones” in Greek.
Fireflies are a sign of approaching summer, and they light up the night with their bioluminescent flashing lights as the days start to get warmer. Adult fireflies only live a few days after going through metamorphosis and reaching adulthood, during which time they mate, lay eggs and then die.
And what makes fireflies flash? The answer is as old as time – love. Fireflies use their flashes as mating signals, making them essentially the language of love. The male firefly will flash when he is looking for a female, and if the female firefly likes what she sees, she will flash back in response. It’s like a visual conversation, and each species has its own pattern.
Hundreds of fireflies flashing their glowing lights through the trees is a breathtakingly magical sight – and the Bunya Mountains is one of the few places where you can enjoy it. You’ll marvel to see the intriguing spectacle of many of them congregated in one area. With lights winking on and off as they drift amongst the trees, the effect is like a starry night against the darkness of the rainforest. The myriad shimmering beetles are enjoyed by children and adults alike, and are a special reminder of the unique ecosystem of the Bunya Mountains.
While fireflies can be a tricky phenomenon to photograph, it’s well worth it for the spectacular photos you can capture. Imagine hundreds of fireflies flashing their glowing lights through the trees at dusk – and imagine the stunning photos you could create from this annual spectacle. With the right equipment, you can capture unique and breathtakingly magical photos that are unlikely to be replicated by others.
The time of the fireflies is magic.
The flicker and flash of fireflies on a warm spring evening can bestow on us a childlike sense of wonder and joy. These enchanting light displays are mesmerising and help remind us of the wonder and beauty of the natural world. Watching the fireflies’ light show at the Bunya Mountains is an enchanting, mysterious and wondrous experience that you really shouldn’t miss.
Where to find the fireflies
Walk up Bunya Avenue or Bunya Mountains Road at dusk and savour the extraordinary display the fireflies make as they flicker and flash against the rainforest. You’ll be surrounded by a host of fireflies as you walk down the hill from Fisher’s Lookout along Bunya Mountains Road. It’s a truly magical experience to walk slowly down the road at dusk and marvel at the galaxy of fireflies shimmering and flashing through the trees. They can be seen along the forest line about an hour before dusk, remaining until full dark.
When to see the fireflies
You can only see the fireflies for a short period during late spring. October and November are the time of the fireflies at the Bunya Mountains, and they’re a popular attraction as they flicker and flash through the gathering darkness. It’s a spectacular time to visit the Bunya Mountains, with the beauty of spring in abundance and plenty of wildlife, including the fireflies, to enjoy.
It can be tempting to use a torch or your phone’s light to view the fireflies, but this is not a good idea. The light will make it harder for the fireflies to see each other’s lights, and will disrupt their flashing. It’s best to view fireflies with a yellow light if you really need to use one, or to turn your torch or light off once the fireflies start their light show.