SPRING CREEK MOUNTAIN TRAIL - CAMP & COTTAGES (SPRING 18)

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.

WHAT OUR GUESTS ARE SAYING:

This is a time traveller’s journey through ancient forests in the footsteps of pioneers, loggers, graziers and farmers - brought to life by Teresa and present day locals. We recommend this great walk for experienced and novice hikers alike – it is not just a walk!  (Guests: David and Jane)

… the Spring Creek Mountain Trail is great value for money and I would definitely pay it again with no hesitations - highly recommended!
It’s not just about following the rabbit fence – it’s the beauty and history of the surrounding areas that goes with it that counts. And that’s what we got with Horizon Guides! Experience, quality and an amazing time in the bush right from the start. (Guest: Gail) 

What a wonderful experience joining the rabbit board fence walk - as a newcomer to bush walking I learnt so much. Staying at Spring Creek Mountain Cottages was sheer indulgence and the food was to die for. I have enjoyed this walk so much I will be back to do it again next year! (Guest: Trish)

DAY 1 Saturday 29 September

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 hearty fare around the fire and under a canopy of stars.

DAY 2 Sunday 30 September

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 1 October

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 with the tour reservation details.

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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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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Contact info

7 Church St, Boonah QLD 4310

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

teresa@horizonguides.com.au

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