WINTER DEPARTURE: SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN TRAIL - COTTAGES

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

Meals:   LD

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

Meals: BLD

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

Meals: BL

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.

GUIDES

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:

Accommodation

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.

TRACK NOTES:

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!

 

 

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Horizon Guides Day Walks 2018

Hello Horizon Guide’s walkers near and far smile we made a small start to Season 11 with four walks before Easter. These were well received and enjoyed; even thought the temperatures were pretty warm. We have also conducted the inaugural Spring Creek Mountain Trail just a week ago. There will be two more departures of this fully supported three-day walk, one in late July and one in late September.

This series of bushwalks is open to anyone with an urge to get out and experience the magnificent Scenic Rim region – and beyond. Groups are small and walks are spaced out to allow time for recovery (and training) for the next walk. You can do as many or few walks as you wish but bear in mind that it’s a good idea to keep up regular walking in between to maintain fitness for the next hike. The hikes offer a range of challenges so read the notes carefully before reserving your place.

Our aim is to get out and explore the many facets of our amazing region, note the changes and develop a deeper understanding of the natural richness on our doorstep J and, of course, become walking fit with a wonderful group of like-minded bushwalkers. After such a scorching summer I for one can hardly wait to see frost across the paddocks …

The nature of the Scenic Rim terrain means that there are few ‘easy’ walks on graded trails. The majority of routes feature uneven ground and ascents and descents, often with rocky sections. The gradients are sometimes very steep. We always allow plenty of time to complete walks so that there is not the necessity to speed through walks or to feel you are not keeping up. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to talk about the specifics of particular walks.

In order to keep prices low, participants will need to transport themselves to the start of the walk after meeting at the pre-arranged rendezvous point for the day. (Usually an optional car pool is arranged on the day.) Details of the meeting place and times are emailed one week prior to the walk, along with the names of fellow walkers and a list of necessary items to bring.

To reserve your walks: don’t take too long to decide as the walks generally book out very quickly (some within a few days!). Send an email with your preferred walks and I will then reply and send a formal reservation form as well as a medical consent form. You will not need to provide these again if you have already booked walks this year.

Walk 1: Sunday 10 June Mt Mitchell Track Traverse (Main Range NP) Approx. 12km. 6 - 7hrs. Moderate.

Description:     The track starts at Cunningham’s Gap within the closed canopy of sub-tropical rainforest though the vegetation types change regularly depending on aspect. The well-graded track contours below the west and east peaks of Mt Mitchell before emerging onto the spectacular summit area. There are good views at many points along the track and the summit provides an almost eagle-eye perspective on the Fassifern Valley. Turning back from the summit we veer SW down a prominent ridge to the Millar Vale Creek valley. Bush tracks bring us out on to the Cunningham Highway only a 10 minute drive from the ‘Crest’.

NB As this is a ‘through walk’ a quick car shuttle is required before the walk commences. Details of this will be issued prior to the walk.

Walk 2: Sunday 24 June            Paddy’s Falls – Paddy’s Ridge Loop (Mt Barney NP) Moderate - Challenging    

Description: This off-track bushwalk walk extends a regular walk to Paddy’s Falls into a loop walk that takes in Paddy’s Peak (546m) southwest of Mt Maroon.

NB This trip will suit more experienced walkers keen for an off-track adventure.   Full details to be advised.

Walk 3: Sunday 1 July Waterfall Gorge – Mt Greville (Moogerah Peaks NP) 6 – 7 hrs. Moderate – challenging. Rough and rocky.

Description:     This rugged little peak is one of the gems of the Fassifern. It has such wonderful diversity of habitat, flora and fauna that every turn in the track is a surprise. The route ascends the peak via Waterfall Gorge threading through a jumbled array of rocks between narrow towering cliffs that protect Piccabeen palms and giant White Beech trees. Emerging from the Gorge the route crosses the forested ridge to a magnificent lookout before joining the walking track to the summit. The return route to the vehicles brings us back through heath-land and over rhyolite slabs that support hoya, ferns and orchids and on through open forest to complete the circuit.

Walk 4: Sunday 15 July           Mt Maroon Traverse – Cotswald to Drynan’s Hut (Mt Barney NP) 7 – 8 hrs Challenging.

Description:     With its imposing cliffs Mt Maroon appears as a somewhat daunting peak and whilst this is a climb that is challenging in places, the breathtaking 360º view from the open summit makes it a thoroughly worthwhile outing. Botanically this is a special peak with rare and vulnerable species of plants occupying a mosaic of very different habitats. The summit area is rocky with delicate montane heath growing in the shallow soils. Beneath the summit giant eucalypts and turpentines dominate dense forest. A narrow trail leads SW to take us off the summit and down a rough, rocky water-course that eventually becomes a series of dry cascades and pools ending at Paddy’s Gully, a tributary of Mt Barney Creek. From here we join the fire trail, passing by the 40m Paddy’s waterfall and make our way out of the Park. Our traverse of Mt Maroon has a wilderness feel and will give you a true appreciation of this beautiful peak.

NB As a “through-walk”, a vehicle shuttle is required at the beginning. Details ahead of the walk.

FRIDAY 27 – SUNDAY 29 JULY  SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN TRAIL 3-DAY WALK:  FULLY ACCOMMODATED AT SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN COTTAGES AND CAFÉ. SEE WEBSITE FOR FULL DETAILS OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION.

Walk 5: Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 August Binna Burra Weekend (Lamington NP – Binna Burra Section)

(Overnight arrangements are up to participants. If you wish to stay at the lodge you will need to make arrangements yourself once your place on the walks is confirmed.)

Saturday: Dave’s Creek Circuit (Lamington NP, Binna Burra Section) 12 km Approx. 5 – 6hrs. Moderate.

Description:     This walk is a wonderful introduction to the botanical diversity of the eastern Lamington Plateau and the geology on which it thrives. Beginning on the Border Track the track “descends through the head of Kurraragin Valley out into Daves Creek country. The circuit passes through several distinctive vegetation types: warm and cool subtropical rainforest along the Border Track; warm temperate rainforest, containing many examples of ancient angiosperms such as coachwood Ceratopetalum apetalum, in Nixon Creek's headwaters; and wet sclerophyll forest with giant New England ash Eucalyptus campanulata.” (NPRSR track note) Besides the vegetation, panoramic views and interesting geologic features such Molongolee Cave and Surprise Rock make this walk intriguing at every turn.

A variant for the return trip will take us off the Border Track along the Tullawallal Track to stand in an ancient grove of Antarctic Beech (Nothofagus moorei).

Sunday: Lower Bellbird Circuit, including Ballunjui Falls 12km easy 4+ hrs

Today we do a loop section of the Great Walk that keeps us on the Lamington Plateau. This is a chance to relax and soak up the surroundings as we hike to both Yangahla and Koolanbilla Lookouts through impressive forests of flooded gum, brushbox and piccabeen palms. After lunch at Ballanjui Falls we will complete the circuit to arrive back in time for a stop at Dave Groom’s gallery to view his exceptional works featuring the Scenic Rim.

NB For the protection of Lamington's sensitive waterways, habitat for a number of endangered and vulnerable frog species, no swimming is permitted in the creeks and pools of Lamington NP.

Walk 6: Saturday 25 August FULL MOON NIGHT HIKE Bare Rock Track (Main Range NP) 12.6km return. Approx. 5hrs. Easy - moderate.

Description:     The moon has aligned with the calendar! We will commence this walk mid-afternoon at Cunningham’s Gap. Much of the track is through rich sub-tropical rainforest. In places the track touches on to the basalt escarpment affording magnificent views of the Fassifern Valley framed by Giant Spear Lilies. Starting at 757m we contour gradually to 1168m. The track culminates at Bare Rock, the perfect spot for our dinner and to watch the moonrise. Beautiful views extend north along the Great Divide and west over Goomburra. We return by the same route – this time losing altitude all the way and enjoying the forest in an entirely different light.

Walk 7: Sunday 9 September Lizard Point (Main Range NP) 8 -9 hours return. Challenging. (Fingers crossed for a perfect clear day!)

Description:     Lizard Point is a rocky shelf that juts from the Main Range and is a prominent landmark on the skyline north of Mt Roberts. It’s quite a spectacular viewpoint from which to survey the headwaters of Carneys and Wild Cattle Creeks and many of the peaks of the Fassifern. This ridge walk through dense rainforest is rough and challenging. From Teviot Gap it involves a steep climb following the line of the old rabbit fence to gain the ridgeline and then takes a rough rocky foot track through rainforest and over Mt Roberts (1327m) before the trail brings us out to Lizard Point. We return by the same route.

Walk 8: Sunday 16 September West Canungra Creek Circuit, (Lamington, Green Mountains Section) 13.9km Approx. 7 hrs Moderate (done in a clockwise direction)

Description: Beginning near O’Reilly’s guesthouse, “the circuit descends to 'Yerralahla' (blue pool) passing by some large rainforest trees including Red Cedar Toona ciliata, and then follows the creek for most of its length, crossing it several times. Eels inhabit the West Canungra Creek. They bite when threatened and injuries have occurred.” The circuit includes beautiful waterfalls and ends at the Box Forest featuring many forest giants of great age. To stand among them and enjoy their ancient presence is a fitting end to the hike. On overcast summer days, leaf-tailed geckos may be seen along this circuit. This gecko is endemic to the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Fossilised ancestors of this species, from over 20 million years ago, have been found in the Riversleigh Fossil Sites.”

NB For the protection of Lamington's sensitive waterways, habitat for a number of endangered and vulnerable frog species, no swimming is permitted in the creeks and pools of Lamington NP. (These walks notes adapted from NPSRS website)

This is PENDING the opening of the walk, which has been closed since Cyclone Debbie. There are many creek crossings on the walk and in the event of high rainfall an alternative hike will be arranged.

SATURDAY 29 SEPTEMBER – MONDAY 1 OCTOBER  SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN TRAIL 3-DAY WALK:   1 NIGHT CAMPING & 1 NIGHT AT SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN COTTAGES AND CAFÉ. SEE WEBSITE FOR FULL DETAILS AND TO MAKE A RESERVATION.

Walk 9: Saturday 13 – Sunday 14 October Girraween NP Saturday: Mt Norman return including Castle Rock Approx 15km return. Full day.

Sunday: AM First Pyramid 3.4km return approx. 2 ½ hrs or Dr Roberts Waterhole and Underground Creek 3.5km return. Approx. 2 ½ hrs

Description:     For a wildflower finale to the program we travel to Girraween NP near Stanthorpe for a camping and walking weekend. There are many walk options here and no matter what we do, the walking in this granite wonderland is sensational! The flora is spectacular, especially in spring and the bush is alive with birds and other fauna.

In 1930, after intense lobbying from local GP Dr Roberts, land was set aside to create Bald Rock NP for the protection of the Superb Lyrebird and the common wombat. Nearby Castle Rock NP was established in 1932. They were then known collectively as Wyberba NP. Further land acquisitions lead to amalgamation of these parks into Girraween (meaning ‘place of flowers’) NP and land additions continued until 1980 which enlarged the Park to 11, 800ha.

To make the most of our time there it is proposed that we travel out Friday night (with takeaway en route) and set up camp at Mt Castle camping ground. There are good amenities here including hot showers. If you prefer not to camp there are plenty of accommodation options the closest being Girraween Environmental Lodge www.girraweenlodge.com.au (trouble is you may not want to go walking once you arrive here…) There are also a number of B&Bs not far away.

You will need to provide your own food and camping gear. More details, including transport arrangements will be advised closer to the date once we have a group assembled.

For more background on Girraween go to www.epa.qld.gov.au and follow the links to Parks and Forests to select Girraween.

Walk 10: Wednesday 24 October FULL MOON WEDNESDAY NIGHT WALK. Mt Cordeaux Lookout. 6.8km return. Approx 3 hrs walking time. Moderate

Description: The moon has aligned with the calendar again! We will commence this walk mid-afternoon at Cunningham’s Gap. Much of the track is through rich sub-tropical rainforest. In places the track touches on to the basalt escarpment affording magnificent views of the Fassifern Valley framed by Giant Spear Lilies. Starting at 757m and ending at a wonderful lookout on the eastern edge of the escarpment. There are panoramic views along the Main Range and across the Fassifern Valley. After enjoying our dinner we will return the same way to the car park.

Walk 11: Sunday 11 November  Mt Barney via SE Ridge (Summit elevation 1351m) (Mt Barney NP) Approx. 12hrs return. Challenging – Difficult. Elevation gain 1000m. Short scramble sections. MAX GROUP SIZE 6. Cost $75pp

Description:     First ascended by Capt. Logan in 1828, Mt Barney has long been an iconic bushwalking peak. There are many routes to the twin summits so one can spend a lifetime exploring its ridges, bluffs and gorges. We will take the SE Ridge in ascent and descend via Peasant’s (South) Ridge. It’s a BIG climb, requiring good fitness and determination and it is not to be under-estimated. Start time is 5am at Yellow Pinch car park. The first part is along the fire trail giving us time to warm up. The trail proper climbs continuously for 1000 m to the very summit of the east peak. This ridge has a number of rocky sections requiring good balance and agility. Towards the final ascent the ridge is very steep and there are several scramble sections where basic climbing skills come in handy. The last section winds between rocky outcrops and through mallee and montane heath until the summit of the East Peak is gained at 1351m. The views are superb. As with all mountains, the climb is not over until you are back at your start point so as much care and time will be taken on the descent. As the final in the series, this hike is a truly memorable grand finale. It is achievable if you have prepared well and developed the necessary fitness – and the weather is with us!

NB With an early start it is advisable to stay overnight at Mt Barney Lodge. There are cabins and camping areas available for booking.

 

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SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN TRAIL - CAMP & COTTAGES

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 Saturday 7 April

Walk:             Killarney Border Gate to Smith’s Farm Approx 12km. Moderate

Trans:            Ex Boonah. Transfer to walk start (approx. 115km)

Accom:           Tent Camp with bush loo and shower.

Meals:             L D (campfire dinner)

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 280-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 our camp on Smith’s Farm we are met by Mal – third generation farmer on this land. After setting up camp and having a cuppa Mal takes us to visit his favourite trees in the old growth rainforest on his property.

Dinner tonight is a camp oven roast around the fire and under a canopy of stars.

DAY 2 Sunday 8 April

Walk:              Smith’s Farm to Spring Creek Mountain Cottages Approx. 13km Moderate

Trans:             None

Accom:            Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages

Meals:             BLD

Birdsong replaces alarms and traffic noise this morning as we enjoy our first cuppa of the day by the fire. After a hearty breakfast we leave camp and re-gain the Fence, walking across 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 we make our way through farmland and private rainforest to arrive at our home for the evening at Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages. Situated at 1050m above sea level on the Great Dividing Range this lovely award-winning accommodation 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. Dinner tonight is in the café.

DAY 3 Monday 9 April

Walk:              Spring Creek Mountain Cottages to the White Swamp Border Gate. Approx. 10km Moderate + challenging downhill section

Trans:             Transfer to Boonah approx. 50km

Meals:             BL

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 descent 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.

GUIDES

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:

Accommodations

Smith’s Farm Camp Our tent camp on the first night is on private land. You will need to supply your own sleeping bag and a small pillow. If you wish to use your own tent and sleeping mat you are very welcome to do so – we will transport these for you along with your other luggage. If you prefer to hire a tent and / or a Thermarest self-inflating sleeping mat then we will provide these for you at a cost of $45 for a tent and $15 for the mat. You will need to indicate this at the time of booking.

There will be toilets and bush shower facilities.

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.

TRACK NOTES:

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 is a basic loo at the campsite but no other 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.

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 this walk with you soon!

 

 

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Great Ocean Walk

HORIZON GUIDES invites you to experience Victoria's Great Ocean Walk - a truly spectacular spring journey through some of the most wild landscapes in Australia.

Driving along the iconic Great Ocean Road is just the start of our week-long exploration of the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks. Known as the ‘Shipwreck Coast’ this part of Australia’s coastline is ruggedly beautiful and in the era of sail formed the extremely hazardous approach to Melbourne. Today we can enjoy the coastline and tall forests on the Great Ocean Walk. Opened in 2005 the track takes us to places that are invisible from the highway. On foot you can feel and breathe the ocean and adjacent forests in all their wildness.

Starting at the eastern end of the GOW at the seaside town of Apollo Bay we walk a new section of track each day until we complete the 104km walk at the 12 Apostles. This eco-guided, and vehicle-supported walking holiday allows you to become immersed in the history and natural beauty of the region. 

Here are the planned tour highlights ... but expect some serendipity too ....

  • 104km of spectacular scenery and wonderful walking!
  • Diverse environments: rocky shores, towering cliffs, pristine beaches, mountain ash and myrtle beech forest, coastal heath and still river inlets. 
  • Historic beaches and places: Wreck Beach, Melanesia Beach, the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
  • Abundant wildlife including Koalas, Little Penguins, prolific birdlife and unique creatures like the Otway Snail

DAY 1 

Walk:     Apollo Bay to Shelly Beach 8.5km Medium/Hard

Trans:    Bus from Melbourne Airport

Accom:   Sea Eagle Retreat (Shared facilities)

Meals:     L (own in Apollo Bay) D

Pickup at Melbourne Airport is around 10am. Once we arrive in Apollo Bay there will be a chance for a bite to eat and a bit of a stretch before we take the first step on the Great Ocean Walk. The track first takes the Great Ocean Road to cross the Barham River then from Marengo Beach the GOW is a diverse mixture of beach and bush walking. Depending on the time and the tide/sea conditions we will take the track or walk the intricately patterned rocky shelves. The bus will meet us at Shelly Beach then we continue to Sea Eagle Retreat and settle in to our private retreat.

DAY 2 

Walk:      Full day Shelly Beach to Parker Hill 20.5km Medium/hard (6 – 7 hrs of walking)

Trans:     Shuttle to walk start (approx 30 mins)

Accom:    Sea Eagle Retreat (Shared facilities)

Meals:     BLD

Shelly Beach to Blanket Bay (13.5km: Medium/hard) From Shelly Beach the track climbs steeply up to the Elliot Ridge GOW campsite in the heart of the forest. The tall wet forests of Mountain Ash dominate this walk along old forestry tracks. Keep an eye out for koalas, black cockatoos and other wildlife.

To Parker River Inlet 7.4 km: The track winds through dry coastal forests with views over Parker Inlet. There is a river crossing here to finish – generally it requires shallow wading. It was near here that the wooden ship ‘Eric the Red’ was smashed to pieces in 15 minutes in the early foggy hours of 4 September 1880.

Note: The Parker River crossing is dependent on tides and river levels. If the river is impassable the walk section will end at Blanket Bay. 

DAY 3 

Walk:     Parker Hill to Aire River 16.5km Medium

Trans:    Shuttle return to accommodation (approx 35 mins)

Accom:   Sea Eagle Retreat

Meals:    BLD

Today we return to Parker Hill and take the escarpment track above the cliffs to Cape Otway. If conditions are right we can take the short side trip to beautiful Crayfish Bay. From the Cape Otway Light Station entrance, the sandy track crosses Paynters Hill and passes by the historic Cape Otway cemetery. From here the track meanders through dense wind-sculpted vegetation hugging the slopes and cliff tops above Station Beach. If the tides are in our favour today we can take the return side trip to Rainbow Falls, an unusual seepage over limestone cliffs where algae creates colourful features above the beach rock platforms. The next couple of kilometres are along the wild expanse of Station Beach. Keep an eye out for the endangered Hooded Plovers and interesting flotsam and jetsam before rejoining the escarpment track. From the Escarpment Lookout over the Aire River mouth the track drops down through dense vegetation before emerging beside the Aire River estuary

DAY 4 

Walk:      Rest and Travel Day

Trans:     Transfer to 12 Apostles accommodation.

Accom:    Apostles Motel & Country Retreat (All rooms have private facilities)

Meals:      BLD

After a few days of long walking today is a chance to recover - but we will still be active! Starting with a couple of hours at the historic Cape Otway Light Station precinct. Once through the entry you are free to explore at your leisure – there is a great deal to see here as well as enjoying a cuppa the Café.

Continuing west on the Great Ocean Road we travel across to Loch Ard Gorge – scene of the tragic loss of the Loch Ard and the remarkable survival story of two young people. We will spend about 1 ½ hrs to take in all the walks, viewpoints and stories.

Time permitting, other features on our itinerary are London Bridge, the Arch and the Bay of Islands and the sleepy fishing village of Peterborough pop. 178 - the site of the infamous shipwreck of the Schomberg in 1885. Said to be the “most perfect clipper ever built” it ran aground on a sand spit in controversial circumstances. There was no loss of life apart from the drowning of two men who planned to salvage the cargo. Eventually it was all lost to the sea. The surf and fishing village of Port Campbell has a lovely foreshore and jetty area. Here you have some free time to browse the shops or sit by the bay. Our accommodation for the next four nights is the Apostles Motel.

For those who are keen there is an opportunity to take a helicopter flight along this spectacular section of coastline. www.12apostleshelicopters.com.au The experience isn’t cheap but it is worth every second! This can be arranged on the day (at your cost).

DAY 5 

Walk:       Aire River to Johanna Beach 12.4km

Trans:      Shuttle to Aire River

Accom:    Apostles Motel & Country Retreat (All rooms have private facilities)

Meals:      BLD

Returning to Aire River this morning our walk continues with an initial climb back up to the escarpment via the GOW campsite. From here the track traverses coastal heathland for the next 5.5km sneaking beneath the sculpted cliffs with fabulous views along the coast before we arrive at Castle Cove, a beautiful beach rimmed by spectacular cliffs. Not far from here some of Australia’s most important dinosaur finds were made between 1984 and 1994 under very challenging conditions as the excavations were made off rock platforms frequently subject to wild sea conditions. From Castle Cove we continue the westward journey traversing heathland with wildflowers, grass trees and cliff top views. The last part of this 6.9km section is along Johanna Beach. There is no inland route so if the day is pleasant we can take our time beachcombing. Though this is famous as a surfing location; swimming is not recommended at Johanna Beach.

DAY 6 

Walk:       Melanesia Gate / Moonlight Head / Gables 16.5km Medium / Hard

Trans:      Shuttle to Melanesia Gate (Approx. 50 mins) / from Gable (approx. 30 mins)

Accom:    Apostles Motel and Country Retreat

Meals:      BLD

This is arguably the most spectacular section of the whole GOW and it is also one of the most challenging sections of terrain. We first walk the old 4WD fishing track and meet the beach at the eastern end. The geology here is truly remarkable and quite unique. We’ll spend time appreciating the features before turning inland to climb above the beach with great views.

Between Melanesia Beach and Moonlight Head (9.6km) the walking is hard though the track is well constructed (with steps in steep parts) through the rough terrain and the last section to Moonlight Head is along an old fishing track. Moonlight Head is a magic spot with extensive views east and west. The last section of today’s walk starts along a country road then takes a trail inland to arrive the Gables Lookout where the walk ends for the day.

DAY 7 

Walk:      The Gables to the 12 Apostles 19km Easy / Medium

Trans:     Shuttle to The Gables

Accom:    Apostles Motel and Country Retreat

Meals:      BLD

This is the last section of our Great Ocean Walk. We need to be mindful of the tides as the famous Wreck Beach is part of today’s walk and here the ocean crashes straight into the massive cliff-line at high tide. There is a high tide route if we cannot make the low tide.

Today’s walk takes off from the spectacular Gables Lookout. There is a steep descent to Wreck Beach where high cliffs of sedimentary limestone tower over the narrow beach. The anchors of the wreck of the Fiji (1891) are stuck fast in the beach rock at the western end of the beach. From the end of the beach the track skirts steeply around the Devil’s Kitchen with great views of the beach. The next 7.7km parallels the Old Coach Road to Princetown. Crossing the Gellibrand River the track heads back into the low-growing coastal heath of Port Campbell NP. The views are extensive and as we approach walk finale, the rock stacks of the Apostles dominate the landscape. The Great Ocean Walk passes near historic Glenample Homestead, once home to the farmers who played an important role in caring for survivors of the Loch Ard disaster of 1878, and ends at the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre. Tonight we enjoy a final dinner together.

DAY 8 

Trans:      Bus return to Melbourne Airport

Meals:      B

Today we farewell the Great Ocean Walk and the Shipwreck Coast, returning to Melbourne via The Princes Highway. Arrival at Melbourne Airport is expected to be by 12 noon.

GUIDES

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.

Jenny Lambert Based in Ocean Grove, Jenny is an educator, adventurer and outdoorswoman of great experience. She will provide logistical support and back-up on walks.

GENERAL TOUR NOTES:

Accommodations

Sea Eagle Retreat www.seaeagleretreat.com.au

Private retreat with shared bathrooms, full kitchen, laundry and indoor pool.

Apostle Motel and Country Retreat. (RACV 3 Star Rating) Twin share rooms with private facilities. Bar and restaurant.

Meals All meals and snacks are provided except lunch on the first and last days. Every effort has been made to cater for special dietary needs.

Laundry There is a laundry at Sea Eagle but none at Apostles Motel. However there is a Laundromat in Port Campbell and if necessary we can go there mid-tour. It is recommended to pack a small amount of washing detergent for hand washing.

Alcohol at Sea Eagle Retreat we will provide wine/beer/non-alcoholic beverages for happy hours 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 in Apollo Bay. There is a bar at 12 Apostles Motel where you may purchase drinks.

Daily briefings Each evening there will be a briefing on the walk or options for the following day.

Mobile Phone Coverage There is adequate mobile phone coverage at some places along the walk. Emergency access via 112 is more available.

TRACK NOTES:

Distances and track section times Officially the track is 104km in length. We are covering pretty much all this on foot – all except for a section that we drive. Where indicated the time taken for each section is approximate.

Grading Most of the Great Ocean Walk is graded Easy – Medium. There are some Hard sections. Refer to daily notes for grading on each section. Being a coastal walk, elevation gain and loss is moderate over short distances.

Shortening walks On some sections of the walk there is vehicle access to certain points. For those who don’t feel up to hiking the entire daily section, there may be the opportunity to walk part of the way a have a pick-up arranged - one of the best aspects of a vehicle supported walking holiday!

Toilets Each of the walk-in sites has composting toilets and in several places we will also walk through public access areas with toilet facilities.

Track direction The GOW is designed to be walked East to West. This gives all walkers a better opportunity to walk ‘alone’ as there will be less chance of passing walkers.

Tides Inland vs. beach walks. In places there are decision points for safely walking sections. This will be strictly weather and tide-dependent. The track walking is generally easier going, as the beach sands may be soft and therefore harder walking.

Weather Spring weather can be quite changeable in the region so you may expect to encounter all sorts of conditions from sunshine to wild squalls. Please take note of the detailed packing list.

Steps There is quite a lot of ‘up and down’ on this walk with steps of stone or timber construction in steep sections. It is not recommended for anyone with knee conditions.

Swimming There are no patrolled beaches on the walk and many beaches have strong currents and rough water. Swimming is not recommended.

Hydration / Water There is usually rainwater at the GOW campsites and water treatment will be available. It is recommended to carry 2 litres of water in 1litre containers per day.

Phytophthora fungus Boot cleaning is encouraged in the effort to help prevent spread of Phytophthora fungus that causes ‘die-back’ of a variety of plant species.

European Wasps In summer European wasps may be a problem around water sources. Keep water containers capped when not drinking from them.

Snakes Along the track there are ample snake warnings. In places the narrow track and scrubby bush close on either side makes spotting snakes difficult.

 

 

 

 

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7 Church St, Boonah QLD 4310

Phone +61 07 54634 114
Mobile +61 0417 760 966

teresa@horizonguides.com.au

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