Welcome to Season TEN of Horizon Guides bushwalks! I can hardly believe that we began walking together back in 2007… We are all a bit older and maybe a bit slower (!) however our aim is still 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 …
So … Horizon Guides is offering a series of bushwalks 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. In general, the hikes become progressively more challenging, although this season there are few walks of an ‘easy’ grade.
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.
The 2017 SUNDAY walks program:
Walk 1: Mt Mattheson Circuit (Main Range NP) 8km. 4hrs Easy with short rough sections.
Date: Sunday 2 April
Description: We begin the day with a visit to the Pioneer Grave site before heading off on the Mt Mattheson Track, one of the most diverse and historically interesting circuits on the Range. Starting at the Spicer’s Gap picnic area near the pioneer grave site the track climbs gradually through a patch of rainforest before coming onto a ridgeline of open eucalypt forest. From Mt Mattheson (752m) the track follows a sharp ridge with bird’s eye views of the Great Divide. Small volcanic cliffs add variety with ferns and orchids sheltering in their crevices. Turning southwest the track meanders through rainforest before opening out onto old logging tracks and joining the historic basalt-cobbled pioneer road. This takes us back to the start via the Governors Chair lookout and Moss’s Well.
Walk 2: Lower Portals – Mt Barney Gorge (Mt Barney NP) Approx. 9.5km 5 - 6 hrs Moderate/Challenging. Two steep rough climbs. Some creek rock hopping requiring balance / agility.
Date: Sunday 23 April
Description: The walk begins at the Lower Portals car park and the first section is an easy/moderate walk (approx 2.4 km) on a track to the Portals. From here we bypass the Portals via a saddle and follow the ridge through open forest before dropping into the campsite on Mt Barney Creek. Depending on the group and creek levels we can follow the creek to the Lower Portals or retrace our steps up the ridge, returning along the Lower Portals track that we arrived on in the morning. A wonderful feature of Mt Barney Creek is its beautiful rocky pools – perfect for swimming on warm days.
Walk 3: Mt Mitchell Track Traverse (Main Range NP) Approx. 12km. 6 - 7hrs. Moderate.
Date: Sunday 7 May
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 4: West Canungra Creek Circuit, (Lamington, Green Mountains Section) 13.9km Approx. 7 hrs Moderate (done in a clockwise direction)
Date: Sunday 21 May
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)
There are many creek crossings on the walk and in the event of high rainfall an alternative hike will be arranged.
Walk 5: Kinnanes Falls – Cascades Circuit (Main Range NP) 4 -5 hrs. Off-track. Moderate – challenging.
Date: Sunday 11 June
Description: These falls are a hidden treasure at the foot of the Main Range beneath Wilsons Peak. A series of drops and pools are revealed from an escarpment just off the Head Rd. Towering cliffs are festooned with lilies and orchids and the open forest on top is great Glossy Black Cockatoo habitat. Initially we will follow the creek bed to the base of the falls then retrace our steps and hike up onto the ridge to rejoin the creek and follow it up to the Cascades. From here we walk out onto a forested ridge with great views of Wilsons Peak before dropping back to the top of the falls once more. A great off-track bushwalk!
Walk 6: Waterfall Gorge – Mt Greville (Moogerah Peaks NP) 6 – 7 hrs. Moderate – challenging. Rough and rocky.
Date: Sunday 25 June
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 7: Goomburra Camp (Main Range NP – Goomburra Section) Saturday: Cascades Circuit Approx. 6.5km return 5 – 6 hrs. Moderate.
Sunday: Winder Track 12 km return Approx 4 hrs.
Date: Saturday 8 (camp) / Sunday 9 July
Description: Cascades: This is a very lovely walk that commences at the Manna Gum camping area and follows the course of Dalrymple Creek up to its headwaters. There is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the cascades and pools along the ascent track. The circuit is completed via old logging trails that follow the ridge before dropping steeply back down to the camp ground.
Winder track: starts at the north-east end of Lookout Road. This track passes through rainforest along the crest of the Mistake Range before ending at the 'winder', a piece of relic machinery from the early days of timber cutting.
Walk 8: Mt Maroon Traverse – Cotswald to Drynan’s Hut (Mt Barney NP) 7 – 8 hrs Challenging.
Date: Sunday 23 July
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.
Walk 9: Ships Stern Circuit (Lamington NP – Binna Burra) Approx. 19km 7 + hrs. Moderate.
Date: Sunday 6 August
Description: This is one of the classic hikes on the plateau and deservedly so. The well-graded track drops down to the rainforested headwaters of Nixon Creek before gradually ascending to the Ships Stern and culminating at Kooloobano Point. From here the track traverses the eastern escarpment before swinging SW back into rainforest and then joining the Border Track north for the return to Binna Burra. The ever-changing forest types and cliff top sections affording extensive views of the Numinbah Valley make this an engaging outing. There are caves along the way and several interesting side-tracks including to Charraboomba Rock and Nagarigoon Falls.
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 10: The Steamers (Main Range NP) 7 – 8 hrs Mod - challenging (off track)
Date: Sunday 20 August
Description: A two-hour drive (last bit requires 4WD) brings us to the start of this walk however it’s worth the journey to visit one of the most dramatic geologic features in SE Queensland! The Steamers rise as steep cliff sections atop a ridge to the west of the Main Range NW of Mt Superbus. They are named the Prow, Funnel, Mast and Stern for their resemblance to a massive ship. The view from the western end of the Stern is one of the best in the region. There is not really any track so be prepared for steep climbs and rough ground with a section of steep scree as we head up on to the ridge and traverse the various features of the Steamers before returning by the same route.
NB The final section to the view point off the end of the Stern involves an exposed and very narrow short section of ridge. Extreme care is required and this part is not recommended for those nervous of heights. The walk is still very rewarding without this final scramble.
Walk 11: Mt Barney via South (Peasants) Ridge (Summit elevation 1351m) (Mt Barney NP) Approx. 12hrs return. Challenging – Difficult. Elevation gain 1000m. Short scramble sections. NB Maximum of 8 in the group - $75pp
Date: Sunday 3 September
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 South (Peasants) Ridge in ascent and descend by the same route. 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 climbs continuously for 1000 m passing though Rum Jungle Saddle and the old hut site. The trail winds through scrub and over rocky outcrops until the summit of east peak is gained. 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 big day walk in the series this is a great test of how much fitness you've gained. It is achievable if you have prepared well – 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.
Walk 12: Border Walk with Overnight B&B
Date (proposed): 7 and 8 October
Description: Proposed is an overnight walk on the McPherson Range along the QLD-NSW Border fence, west of the Lions Road crossing. Spectacular vistas, diverse forest types and an abundance of spring wildflowers will make this a memorable hike! Accommodation and meals provided by a well-established environmental education facility.
Confirmation, details and price to follow.
Walk 13: Gibraltar Range NP / Washpool NP in NSW (To be confirmed)
Date: 20 – 22 October. CAMPING trip – travel down Friday afternoon/evening. Description: Located adjacent to each other, Gibraltar Range NP and Washpool NP straddle the ranges between Grafton and Glen Innes. Massive granite outcrops give the region its shape and on the escarpments waterfalls and gorges have carved the rock into dramatic features. Depending on aspect, the vegetation ranges from dense rainforest to richly diverse heathland – in spring waratah flowers glow crimson through the drier forest understory.
The Gibraltar Range is listed as World Heritage National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforest Reserves of Australia. There are many hiking options here and more details will be available in a few months time.
Tour SummaryDates: April - October 2017 as listed Cost: $55 per person per day / Mt Barney $75 / Walk 12 TBA Guests: Maximum group size 10 plus guide/s Accommodation: Camping weekends as listed - details provided prior to each trip. NP camping fees apply. Inclusions:
- Services of an experienced hiking guide with First Aid / CPR.
- National Park permits and day use fees.
- An interpreted guided bushwalk.
- Safety briefing appropriate to the proposed hike.
- Appropriate emergency equipment carried by the guide.