Tag Archives: Hike

Bunya Mountains NP – Westcliff and Cherry Plains Circuits, and Mount Kiangarow

Today was my second day in the Bunya Mountains and after sleeping the night in my van, I was up early and preparing for two 4-hour hikes followed by a 3-hour drive home.

Today’s hikes run into each other at the Cherry Plains Lookout and could be combined, but I chose to separate them and stop for lunch in between.

Bunya Mountains National Park map

Map is owned by and used with courtesy of Queensland Government.  Please visit that site for more detailed information on hiking in this region.

Westcliff and Cherry Plain Lookouts – 11.4km
This hike begins at Paradise Carpark, an area I came close to on yesterday’s hike past Paradise Falls. Yesterday’s hike was on the northern side of the Bunya Mountains, today’s hikes are both on the southern side.

The walk began in a forest similar to yesterday’s.  I quickly came to a place called Little Pocket, a small glade in the middle of the forest.  It would make a great place to camp or for a picnic.

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The trail continued on the other side of the pocket with many ferns growing on either side. The trail meandered through the forest with the typical sound of the whip birds singing to each other.

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A slanted, tree laden cliff face dropped away on my left giving vegetation obscured views of the plains to the south heading to Toowoomba. I soon arrived at the Westcliff Lookout which gave me clearer views of the plains.

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I walked back into the forest and eventually came to a burned area with new green shoots. The land is hardy and while I think this was burned as part of Queensland’s back burning campaigns for the dry summers, it’s always amazing to see the new green shoots pushing up through the blackened ground. At the far side of the of the area I emerged into the Westcott Camping area where I’d spent the night.

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I continued along the trail and headed downhill towards the Koondali Lookout and then on to the Valley View Lookout.  Both gave the same sprawling views to the south.

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The trail led back into the forest, but this time the vegetation along the sides had changed. The ferns had been replaced with the sharp spiky leaves of stinging nettles and cacti. I’m glad I wore long pants today! The trail eventually winds its way back towards the road. So far much of the walk had been fairly flat or slowly heading down, not what I expected in the mountains.

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When I got back to the road, I followed it towards Paradise Carpark, some 3.5 km away. This turned out to be the hardest part of the hike as the road climbs steep hills directly to the carpark. The trail is suggested to take 4.5 hours, but it only took me 2.5.

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Mount Kiangarow and Cherry Plain Circuit – 10.7km
I drove from Paradise Carpark to Burton’s Well Carpark and stopped for lunch. I then set out along the trail which quickly came to a junction at the bottom of Mount Kiangarow, the tallest mountain in the National Park. While it didn’t take long to climb the 1.1km trail, it was actually nice to be climbing something, albeit rather gently.

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At the top the lookout is rather small with only a slim area to view from. A little disappointing, but you often get that.

Back at the junction I headed south and then east along the cliff line. As per the end of the last hike, the vegetation at the side of the path was mainly nettles around the trees. The path again headed downwards, this time a little more apparent than earlier today.

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The Ghinghoin Lookout gave the same views south as much of the other lookouts.  The trail then began to climb, not harshly, just long enough to keep the body working. While walking around the edge of the cliff, a bluff came into view and I could see a lookout platform on it.  It was not a harsh climb, but after 16km of walking today my legs were starting a quiet burn.

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The lookout was surprising easy to get to and I sat for a moment to give my legs some time before heading back up along the path. My last stop before the road was the Cherry Plain Lookout which was overgrown and I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking out over.

The trail then joined the one I’d walked this morning and made its way for 1km to the road. This time I only had 2.4km of road to walk but again it was the steepest and hardest part of the hike.

I arrived back at the van ready for my trip home.

Overall, the Bunya Mountains are a beautiful place to walk with greatly varying vegetation depending on which side of the mountains you are on.

Next weekend I’m heading off to Crows Nest National Park.

The Lone Trail Wanderer

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Bunya Mountains National Park – Barker Creek and Scenic Circuits

During the week I was in Tamborine Mountains National Park, Queensland’s oldest National Park. This weekend I decided to visit Queensland’s second oldest National Park: the Bunya Mountains. The Bunya Mountains is about 3 hours north-east of Brisbane. There are three main walks in the Bunyas, so I have come away for the weekend to walk all three.

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This is also an opportunity to try out my newly purchased ‘sleeper’ van – a van I have set up for a coming three-month trip around South East Australia. So, laden with food and my hiking gear, I set out for my overnight stay in an unpowered camping ground.

Bunya Mountains National Park map

Map is owned by and used with courtesy of Queensland Government.  Please visit that site for more detailed information on hiking in this region.

Barker Creek and Scenic Circuits – 12km
I arrived in the Bunya Mountains just after midday and quickly got myself sorted. My first stop is a camping area called Dandabah which is also the hikes trailhead. On arrival, my fantasy of being ‘lost in nature’ in the Bunya Mountains was broken straight away. The camping ground is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, groups of chalets and far too many people.

Taking my daypack I headed out onto the trail. It’s nearing the end of winter in Queensland and the forest high in the Bunya Mountains is fairly cold. But I’m a quick walker, so it didn’t take me long to warm up. The dirt trail through the forest is wide and laden with tree roots.

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The Bunya Pines stand tall in the forest many with their companion strangler fig trees. One thing is also prominent as you follow the trail, the amount of ferns that cover the floor of the forest. After about 3 km of fairly flat trail a side track appeared with a sign that simply said ‘Paradise 80m’ and an arrow. So I followed!

Of course, ‘Paradise’ is the quaint Paradise Falls.

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The trail then follows the rocky stream through the forest to Little Falls, a smaller but no less quaint set of falls.

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The trail continues on along the stream before meandering away from it to a lookout called Big Falls Lookout. This part of the trail is an open hill face and reminds me a lot of central Australia, rocky, dry, arid but with hardy grass growing everywhere. Perhaps with more rain there might be water in falls but the view from the lookout was only a dry and rocky cliff face. The trail continues to Barker Creek Lookout which looks out to the north across the valley. The most distinct feature of the view is the power station, although it is difficult to see in the photo. There is also a sign that says Noosa Heads 131km.

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The path meanders back into the forest and eventually arrives at the Tim Shea Falls, another quaint set of falls. This is where the Scenic Circuit begins at a large pair of Hoop Pines. The trail then follows a stream with little rock pools scattered along its length until it reaches a lookout built to look at a single massive Bunya Pine.

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The trail continues to Festoon Falls, with its rocky surroundings it is the tallest and most magnificent falls in the mountains.

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The circuit then returns to the trailhead at Dandabah camping ground.

This circuit was listed as 4.5 hours but as I said earlier I’m a fast walker and it only took me 3. It did give me time to set up my van for the night. Tomorrow, the other two hikes…

The Lone Trail Wanderer.

Mt Tamborine National Park

Mt Tamborine is about an hour south of Brisbane by car, 30 minutes north of the Gold Coast. It’s a popular tourist area in the mountains with many arty stores and great views of the coast.

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Mount Tamborine National Park is not a large single park but several smaller ones scattered throughout the region. It has 6 short walks with approximately 20km of trails between them. Today I’ve decided to walk all of them.

Tamborine National Park walking track map

Maps are owned by and used with courtesy of Queensland Government.  Please visit that site for more detailed information on hiking in this region.

Palm Grove and Jenyns Circuits – 5.4km
For my first walk of the day, I chose the hardest of the trails in Mt Tamborine. When I say hardest, I mean in a very easy kind of way. The rocky path meanders through the tall thin trees with plentiful small creek crossings. There are views to the south of Springbrook National Park and The Cougals. In this part of the National Park I saw the most wildlife, with several wallabies feeding near the entrance and an Iguana who started climbing a tree when he saw me before changing his mind and just sitting on the trail staring at me.

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Curtis Falls and Joalah Circuit – 4.2km
Similar to Palm Grove, but without the animals. Much of the trail is sealed and was the most popular track of the day for visitors. The trail heads to a lookout at Curtis Falls, then along the stream where it crosses it at two places on concrete bridges.

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Witches Falls Circuit – 3.4km
Witches falls was the first established National Park in Queensland. The rocky dirt trail leads along the road line at the top of the park, past a grave yard before plunging down a steep hill to the waterfall at the bottom. The lookout is set just to the side of the rocky waterfall and gives a partial view.

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Knoll Walking Track – 2.6km
The Knoll starts off at the top of a knoll (surprise!), with a lookout to the west towards Brisbane city. The track begins fairly typically to the rest of the National Park, a rocky track heading through the rain forest. It meanders down the knoll to a lookout at the top of a cliff overlooking a waterfall. You can walk around to the top of the waterfall and stand on the rocky edge watching the water flow down to the pool below while looking out across green hills to the west.

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Cedar Creek – 1.2km

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While only a very short and sealed track, the waterfall at Cedar creek is the best of the day. The water holes at the bottom are good locations for swimming in the warmer months (which is most of the year in Queensland). The path meanders down the mountain, stopping at lookouts before arriving at the bottom. A less sealed track continues along the river to another, larger water hole.

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Rainforest Walk – 1.4km
For my last walk of the day, the rainforest walk is just that, a walk around a rainforest. I suggest doing this walk first as beyond the rainforest, there’s not much else to see. In saying that, the short rocky track is not a bad walk and there were a couple of large strangler figs along the way. The rocky dirt track was fairly easy.

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The Trail Wanderer

Mount Cordeaux and Bare Rock – Main Range

After climbing the Mount Mitchell Peaks a couple of months ago, I decided to take my hiking group to another of the hikes in the same area.  I  set this up a couple of weeks before I went to Tonga and on my return discovered more than 50 people had registered.

I set the Aratula petrol station as our meeting place, about 10km from the beginning of the trail, making it easy for everyone to find.  While 50 is a lot for a hike, I expected a third to pull out, but a total of 45 showed up.  I discovered another group of 26 would also be on the trail also, so it was going to be busy.

Because of the lack of parking at Cunningham’s Gap, I suggested car pooling, so leaving some cars behind, we set off for the trailhead. The Mount Cordeaux and Bare Rock trail is 12.6km return or about 4 hours. It’s a Class 3 (well defined wide dirt track) with points of Class 4 (rocky defined path).

There are several trailheads leading off from the car park and I ensured we were heading along the right one before we headed off. The initial trail is a small circuit that connects all of the other trails together.  We walked along this on a wide dirt track to a lookout.

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We continued along the circuit trail until we found the turn off to Mount Cordeaux and headed along it. The track began climbing immediately. The track zig-zagged up the side of the mountain to a point where the vegetation cleared and the western peak of Mount Mitchell could be seen across the gap.

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About 4km into our climb and at the base of the great rocky face of Mount Cordeaux the trail forked.  We took the path to the right on a rocky path around the side of the mountain to a lookout, climbing stone steps to get there.

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The lookout is a fairly large flat rocky area with plenty of room for our numbers. We stopped for a break, enjoyed the view across the valley to Lake Moogerah and Mount Greville – the next group hike I intend to arrange.

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After 15 minutes, I led the group back to the fork and we continued along the trail around the other side of Mount Cordeaux on rocky steps.  We continued across a short saddle and into a throng of trees before the trail began to climb steeply.  The climb was fairly brief and we soon emerged onto Bare Rock, a large area similar to the lookout with views north along the Main Range.

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Being late winter, I had expected it to be a little blustery, but we’d been lucky up to this point. Once at the top, however, the wind picked up and it cooled down. The group stayed for about half an hour, eating lunch and talking until the wind got too much and we set off down again.

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The climb to Bare Rock was not particularly hard and with so many people, was slow going. The trip down was quicker, with most being a gentle meander heading back towards the car park.

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The hike turned out to be a success with everyone enjoying themselves. To celebrate, 20 of us headed to the Aratula hotel for a beer – a must following a hike – before heading home.

Next I’m back to my lone wanderings, the many short trails of Mount Tamborine.

The Trail Wanderer.

Burleigh Head National Park

It’s my first weekend back after my Kingdom of Tonga trip and the weather is beautiful, so I decided to get out and do a mild walk. Today I chose Burleigh Head National Park.

Burleigh Head National Park map

Map is owned by and used with courtesy of Queensland Government.  Please visit that site for more detailed information on hiking in this region.

The Burleigh Heads are a section of beach at the southern end of Queensland’s Gold Coast.  The national park is nestled alongside the creek.

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From the Gold Coast Highway, I walked along the trail at the side of the Tallebudgera Creek with people fishing on my side and sun baking on the other.

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The ‘trail’ is more of a sealed path and is suitable for wheelchair access, which makes it a class 2 track.

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The path either continues around the base of the national park or cuts into it. I cut in and began climbing a fairly steep hill. While much of the national park is rainforest, I liked the great rocky outcrops and boulders alongside the path. After a fair climb up the steepish path, I arrived at Tumgun Lookout and peered out along the coast to the south.

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The climb down from the lookout heads down to the beach and contains several sets of short stairs until it emerges at the end of Burleigh Heads Beach and a view along the Gold Coast.

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I headed back up along the path to a junction and headed around the back of the national park, which is not as picturesque as the other way.

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Arriving back at the creek, I followed the lower walk around the base of the national park for another, lower, view of the beach before heading back to the car and home.

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I was only looking for a short walk today and even though the drive to and from this national park combined was longer than the time I spent there, it was still worth the effort and the sweat.

Next week, a real track.

The Trail Wanderer.

Mount Mitchell Peaks – Main Range

The Main Range National Park is a section of South East Queensland’s Scenic Rim – a quarter circle of mountains attributed to the prehistoric Tweed volcano that existed here over 23 million years ago. The Main Range is about 115km inland from Brisbane and has plentiful walking tracks along its length.

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This last weekend, while passing through the Main Range, I had a free morning so stopped at Cunningham’s Gap – the location where Cunningham Highway cuts through the mountains. Cunningham’s Gap is the starting point of several well-defined and more casual walks.

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The Major Mitchell Peaks is a 10.2km, 3.5 hour walk, perfect for the time I had. The beginning of the trail starts opposite the car park and meanders its way up the side of the mountain along a forest path.

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The closeness of the forest gives the illusion that the trail is fairly flat, but it’s not.  It’s only the last few hundred metres that the trail begins to climb more steeply, with steps cut into the rock.

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The views to the east are fantastic with the road winding through the forest.  Lake Moogera can be seen between Mt Greville on the right and Mt Edwards.

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To the north, Mt Cordeaux.

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The trail heads back into the forest as it rounds the Western peak and emerges at the top of the Eastern peak, a short pinnacle of rock that’s been paved to prevent further erosion. I basked in the winter sunshine eating lunch with views in both directions.

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I would have stayed longer but the occasional icy gust quickly chilled me. The return walk passed quickly and the tranquillity of the trail was broken by the harsh sounds of trucks going past on the Cunningham Highway.  On reaching the highway, I returned to my car and continued on my trip.

The Lone Trail Wanderer