Hello Horizon Guide’s walkers near and far 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 …
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.