SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN TRAIL
This walk is a beauty - following the Rabbit Board Fence for approximately 35km from near Killarney to the foothills of Wilson's Peak. There are views you might know well but from a refreshing new perspective - tracing the crest of the mountains allows an eagle-eye view - far better than those from a car seat. At an elevation around 1000m the days and nights are cooler than the valley making for great walking conditions.
There's a steep start but after this the open trail and mostly moderate gradients allow for relaxed walking and conversation. Rolling along beside the fence and passing through open forests and tall timbers, lush farmland and World Heritage Rainforest this trail is simply lovely.
DAY 1 Friday 27 July
Walk: Killarney Border Gate to Smith’s Farm Approx 12km. Moderate
Trans: Ex Boonah. Transfer to walk start (approx. 115km)
Transfer from Smith’s Farm to SCM Cottages
Accom: Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages
Nestled in the heart of the Scenic Rim, Boonah is where we meet before boarding our van for the drive across Cunningham’s Gap via the Settler’s Route to Killarney on the western side of the Main Range. After a break in Killarney we drive out of town to the starting point for this three-day walk along a section of the historic Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board Fence. It’s a steep start, with a 300-metre elevation gain to crest the plateau! The track then eases into more rolling terrain through open Eucalypt forest with extensive views across Acacia Plateau and Koreelah into NSW and north Mount Colliery and the Condamine Gorge. The Fence traces the QLD-NSW Border passing through farmland and rainforest by turns.
Arriving at Smith’s Farm Mal – third generation farmer on this land - takes us to visit his favourite trees in the old growth rainforest on his property. From here it’s just a short drive to our accommodation. Situated at 1050m above sea level on the Great Dividing Range this lovely award-winning property perches above the Condamine Gorge with glorious views from the café across The Head to Wilson’s Peak and the World Heritage Rainforests of the Main Range.
DAY 2 Saturday 28 July
Walk: Smith’s Farm to Spring Creek Mountain Cottages Approx. 13km Moderate
Trans: SCM Cottages to Smith’s Farm
Accom: Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages
Birdsong replaces alarms this morning as we enjoy our first cuppa of the day with spectacular valley views. After a hearty breakfast and packing our lunch we head back to Smith’s Farm and re-gain the Fence. Today’s walk again follows the Fence over undulating country with ever-changing views bounded by lush pastures. Koreelah NP is our companion on the NSW side of the fence lending a rich green backdrop to the views.
After lunch the views open up spectacularly across the Head as we make our way through farmland and private rainforest to arrive back at Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages.
DAY 3 Sunday 29 July
Walk: Spring Creek Mountain Cottages to the White Swamp Border Gate. Approx. 10km Moderate + challenging downhill section
Trans: Transfer to Boonah
As we follow the fence in Queensland we can reach out and touch Koreelah NP in NSW. Established in 1999 the park covers 53 sq km. Its creek flats, steep hillsides and deep valleys support a rich variety of habitats from wet and dry Eucalypt forests to cool sub-tropical rainforests featuring Black Booyong, Yellow Carrabeen, Rosewood, towering Hoop Pines and Giant Stinging Trees. This World Heritage Park is also part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International. Over 110 bird species are found here including Alberts Lyrebird, Noisy Pitta and Wompoo Fruit Dove. The songs from the forest will be our sound track on the walk from here on.
After an hour or so of easy walking the plateau suddenly narrows as the volcanic cliffs of the escarpment become prominent. The fence dives off the edge but we leave it for a short distance to wind down to the Head Road, re-joining the fence at the Moss Garden. There is very steep decent here before easier ground is reached. There are a couple of climbs over forested knolls but overall we are now headed downhill and the rainforest gives way to tall Eucalypts. Views through the trees reveal the slopes of Mt Superbus and Head Road and signal that our walk is coming to an end. At the White Swamp Border Gate our van meets us for the trip back to Boonah but not before we share lunch and a cuppa nearby.
Teresa Cause based in Boonah, founded Horizon Guides Pty Ltd in 2007. Offering a specialised bushwalking guide service, Teresa has a background in outdoor and environmental education, with a particular emphasis on natural history. Teresa's extensive guiding experience includes tours in Australia and overseas.
She is also the proprietor of Far Outdoors in Boonah.
Chris White is based out in the foothills of the Main Range NP. She is a passionate bushwalker and loves nothing more than getting outside and hiking through the landscape. Chris has been a guest on many walks but this time she will be providing logistical support for the trip and joining us on the track where she can!
GENERAL TOUR NOTES:
Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages is a very well known and highly regarded destination. Bev Ruskey is the owner and host and we will receive a wonderful welcome as well as fine food and comfortable accommodation in one of three cabins. Each cabin has spectacular views and a wood heater. There is bathroom in each cabin. Two cabins have a queen bedroom and a double sofa bed. One has two bedrooms, one with a queen bed and the other with two singles, as well as a double sofa bed. Rooming arrangements will depend on the guest mix. For more information visit www.springcreekcottages.com.au
Packing List A detailed packing list will be provided upon receipt of a reservation and deposit for the walk.
Meals All meals and snacks are provided from lunch on the first to lunch on the last day. Every effort will be made to cater for special dietary needs.
Laundry With such a short tour there should not be the need to do laundry however it is recommended to pack a small amount of washing detergent for hand washing.
Alcohol At Smith’s Farm Camp we will provide wine/beer/non-alcoholic beverages for happy hour before dinner. If you prefer spirits (or more than a glass or two of your favourite tipple) then you may purchase this prior to the tour and bring it with you. Spring Creek Mountain Café is fully licenced with a good selection of beverages for you to purchase.
Daily briefings Each evening there will be a briefing on the walk or options for the following day as well as a re-cap at breakfast.
Mobile Phone Coverage There is adequate mobile phone coverage at some places along the walk. Emergency access via 112 is more available.
What do we carry? All you will carry is a daypack with personal items and your lunch. All other luggage etc is transported in the trailer with the van.
Distances and track section times The distance we cover is approximately 35km. We are travelling this pretty much all on foot unless the weather or other environmental factors prevent safe walking conditions. Where indicated the time taken for each section is approximate.
Grading Most of the track is graded Moderate. There are some more challenging sections where the gradient is steep. One of these is an ascent and the other a descent. Refer to daily notes for grading on each section.
Shortening walks. For those who don’t feel up to hiking on any given day you are more than welcome to travel in the van - one of the best aspects of a vehicle-supported walking holiday!
Toilets There are no toilet facilities during the day hikes. We follow Leave No Trace principles and these will be outlined to you at the beginning of the trip.
Track direction is from west to east taking a roughly northeast direction.
Weather Mountain weather can be quite changeable in the region. Unless conditions are particularly hazardous we will walk even in rainy weather. Make sure you have a quality rain jacket with a decent hood. July on The Head is renowned for being cold and frosty!
Steps There is quite a lot of ‘up and down’ on this walk and it may not be suited for anyone with knee conditions.
Hydration / Water It is recommended to carry 2 litres of water in 1litre containers per day.
Snakes and other fauna hazards Snakes are common the area but not often seen. Of more general concern are paralysis ticks that may be associated with such conditions as Lyme-like diseases. Preventing bites can be done by using a good repellent and avoiding sitting in loose leaf litter.
We are looking forward to sharing the Spring Creek Mountain Trail with you soon!