Bushpeople’s Guide to Bushwalking in South-East Queensland
Second Edition 1991 (ISBN 0 646 03753 6) (out of print)
The Main Range: Cunninghams Gap to Wilsons Peak
- Special Notes
- Road Access
- Cunninghams Gap
- Spicers Gap
- Spicers Peak To Teviot Gap
- Swan Creek Valley
- Emu Creek Valley
- Mt Superbus Region
- Teviot Falls and Mt Bell
- Eastern Ridges
- Wilsons Peak Region
- Nearby Areas
The Main Range: Cunninghams Gap to Wilsons Peak
The section of the Great Divide which lies east and north-east of Warwick is referred to as “the Main Range”. This is a very rugged bushwalking region, with high steep mountains providing arduous ascents and descents as well as superb views. The region can be divided into two main subregions:
- The southern segment between Cunninghams Gap and Wilsons Peak, which is often regarded as the classic section of the Main Range and is the subject of this chapter.
- The segment north of Cunninghams Gap, which is described in Chapter 15 along with the Mistake Mountains and the Little Liverpool Range.
The terrain between Cunninghams Gap and Wilsons Peak provides some of the best bushwalking in south-east Queensland. While not possessing the vastness of wilderness areas elsewhere in Australia, and being relatively small in national park area even compared with Lamington, it nevertheless has a classic appeal. The crest, being linear in nature, provides an excellent opportunity for traversing from end to end, and the frequent views back over the peaks one has traversed promote feelings of progression and achievement while climbing each mountain. There are numerous peaks over 1000m in this region, and the high sharp nature of the peaks and the steep eastern scarp together provide a great sense of elevation for bushwalkers on the crest. It is to the Main Range that the impression provoked by the book title One Mountain After Another (by Arthur Groom; see Appendix 1, “Further Reading”) most accurately applies. It was the Main Range which prompted the major part of the Scenic Rim conservation movement in the late 1970s.
Bushwalking Conditions and Hazards
General Terrain: The Main Range has distinct topographic and vegetation patters. The main crest runs north-south with a very steep eastern scarp. To the west are a series of east-west running ridges and valleys, the ridges providing many access routes to the crest. The ridges gradually become drier as they run westwards. Near the crest, there tends to be rainforest on the southern slopes and open eucalypt forest on the northern slopes, and the northern slopes usually have some cliffs. There is apparently an ecological relationship here – the northern slopes, being sunnier and drier, have a more open vegetation, and in turn have been eroded more readily by rain and are now steeper. The does not mean, however, that the only cliffs you will find will be on northern slopes.
Official Tracks: Most of the region is undeveloped, although there are several excellent graded track walks at Cunninghams Gap, while Spicers Gap has a half day track circuit and a number of shorter strolls. There is also an interesting track circuit in the national park at Queen Mary Falls, which lies near the Main Range to the southwest
Off-Track Terrain: The region is primarily regarded as a throughwalking area, although some undeveloped localities offer enjoyable base camps and day walks. Good hill-climbing fitness is absolutely essential if venturing off the graded tracks. The terrain is very mountainous and rugged, and off-track walking usually involves repetitive steep ascents and descents. Associated difficulties include frequent scrambles, slippery grass on the northern slopes and heavy packs due to the infrequency of water points.
Cliffs: Many areas are precipitous and most routes have some form of cliff to negotiate. While sometimes these are only small, or are easily bypassed if you know the route, a number are potentially dangerous. The Main Range is not an area for people who fear heights or don’t have basic rock scrambling capabilities. Despite this, only a few routes are of extreme difficulty, and most of the region can be considered suitable for bushwalkers of moderate experience provided the party members are fit and there is an experienced sensible leader.
Most of the higher cliffs in this region tend to be on the northern slopes. Therefore, if walking north to south, most cliffs are encountered on ascent, and the general rule is to contour right (westwards) to find the relevant cliff break. Some of these cliff breaks are much more difficult to find on descent if walking south to north.
In order to negotiate the various cliff breaks, most parties should carry at least a pack hauling rope. A full length belay rope is recommended on some routes, such as Lizard Ridge and the northern ascent and descent of Mt Huntley.
Heat and Cold: With the exception of areas around Cunninghams Gap and possibly Teviot Gap, the region is not recommended in hot weather. Due to the steep slopes and expansive areas of open forest, most localities are likely to be far hotter than average in hot conditions. Very few creeks are deep enough for swimming.
Winter is the recommended walking season, although the area is often extremely cold at night. The valleys around the Main Range tend to be enclosed basins which act as “cold sinks”, trapping the colder heavier air and becoming extremely frosty on still winter nights. In windless conditions the peaks are often warmer than the valleys, although they can be extremely cold in windy conditions. Very occasionally snow falls on the high peaks.
Water: Large water bottles (from 2 to 4 litres per person) are always essential if camping on the crests. Sometimes you must drop down the western gullies considerable distances to obtain water from the creeks, and typically there is only one water point each day. A cup should be carried when collecting water as the pools are often very shallow. However, unless the summer and autumn have been particularly dry, water can usually be obtained by these methods during the whole of the main walking season (April to August) regardless of any lack of rain in winter. Some water points dry up quickly in spring.
Vegetation and Navigation: The vegetation is reasonably trafficable on most of the range. There is no lawyer vine, and only a few main bushwalking routes pass through bad scrub. Where there is scrub it is almost always because of previous logging activities, the worst areas being the Emu Creek valley and the Teviot Brook region.
There is a good deal of open vegetation on the crests and northern slopes between Lizard Point and Mt Mitchell, and most of the ridges are clear and distinct. These characteristics ease the navigational difficulties, although reasonable navigation skills are still required.
Camping Hazards: The majority of camping areas on the Main Range are in tall eucalypt forest and there are often dead limbs overhead. Always choose your test site carefully to minimise the danger of falling branches.
Facilities and Camping
Base Camping: There are two national park camping grounds, one at Cunninghams Gap and the other at Spicers Gap. The former is beside a busy highway and is not highly recommended for weekend camping, but is suitable for overnight stops while travelling. The only other official camping ground in the vicinity is a private camping park at Queen Mary Falls, which is situated about 20km west of Teviot Gap and about 10km east of Killarney. In addition, the state forest lands in the Swan Creek and Emu Creek valleys west of the range can be used for base camping, although road access s very rough and there are no facilities.
Throughwalk Camping: There are numerous throughwalking campsites on the Main Range. Those on or near the high peaks are often quite small but there are also some extremely spacious areas on the western ridges and in a couple of the saddles. Wood fires should be avoided in some places, especially Panorama Point, Lizard Point and Mt Doubletop. As in other areas of the Scenic Rim, the Queensland National Park and Wildlife Service places number limits on the size of throughwalking parties in this region. These are still being finalised at the time of writing, but it is likely that some sites will be restricted to party sizes of 6 or less.
The entire area is covered by excellent 1:25 000 and 1:50 000 topographic maps. The main 1:25 000 sheets are Cunninghams Gap and Mt Superbus, with the Wilsons Peak, Teviot, Mt Clunie and Mt Alford sheets necessary for certain trips on the eastern ridges and in the south. The Cunninghams Gap 1:50 000 sheet covers the main region and is also an excellent map, although the adjoining southern and eastern sheets are not of comparable quality.
The Forestry maps are also suitable for much off-track navigation, the relevant sheets being titles Main Range, Emu Vale State Forest and Teviot Falls. Interestingly, they are superior to the standard topographic maps in showing drainage features, cliffs, forestry roads and walking tracks. However, their general relief representation is not as good and, from a bushwalking perspective, their coverage of the region is rather piecemeal i.e. the forestry regions do not conform to patterns of bushwalking usage, so that often major walking routes occur on the extreme edges of the maps.
There are a large number of back roads in the Main Range region, although most are evident if you combine a good road map with the relevant topographic maps. Here are the main access points:
Cunninghams Gap lies on the main highway between Ipswich and Warwick and can be easily found on any road map.
Spicers Gap (Eastern Route): This road is only accessible in dry weather, being closed by a locked gate in wet conditions. Take the road marked “Lake Moogerah” which turns off the highway 5km south-west of Aratula. Follow this for 6km and turn right at a marked junction. Avoid any further turns. This leads to a QNPWS camping ground near the Pioneer Graves area.
Spicers Gap (Western Route): This four wheel drive road approaches Spicers Gap from the west, but is strictly a dry weather route only. The signposted turn-off is on the south of the main highway, just after a small rise 1km west of the Cunninghams Gap roadhouse. In dry weather this road is trafficable by high clearance two wheel drive vehicles as far as the State Forest boundary.
Swan Creek: Turn left towards Freestone 26km west of Cunninghams Gap, then drive to Yangan. The various road junctions along this section are well marked on most maps and are signposted either “Yangan” or “Killarney Falls”. Take the Swanfels road, which is on the left at a junction 2km beyond Yangan. About 16km after Yangan (9km beyond Swanfels), the road crosses a series of small ridges and starts to become rough. This section is often slow to travel and can be very awkward in wet conditions. About 6km further on (approximately 22km from Yangan), it reaches the state forest boundary. There are various camping areas in the upper section of the valley although some are on private property.
Emu Creek: Once again, these access routes are difficult in wet conditions. Proceed through Yangan to Emuvale, then turn left just after the school into the village centre. Proceed through the tiny township, turning right to follow the bitumen at the end of the town (ignore the dirt track straight ahead at this point). Follow this main road as described below:
|Odometer||Feature/Directions||Distance Between Features|
|4.1||Keep left, ignore right hand road||0.9|
|6.3 – 8.0||Four creek crossings in 1.7km, possibly deep and rough||2.2 – 1.7|
|9.7||Ignore road coming in at angle on right||1.1|
|13.4 – 14.6||Two gates||3.7 – 1.2|
|16.9||Ignore “Private Road” sign and very old road on left||2.3|
The left hand fork at this intersection proceeds down to the old sawmill site (407 792), which is often used for camping but is actually on private property. This road then continues up Emu Creek (middle branch) and Reedy Creek, and is in reasonable condition for some kilometres.
The right hand fork proceeds up the south branch of Emu Creek. It is a public road, although it may not be readily trafficable by two wheel drive vehicles due to rough patches and several bad creek crossings. After 3km, another intersection is reached (434 786). The left hand branch here makes two more rough creek crossings before leading to a good campsite in the state forest. The right hand branch is the start of the old forestry road up to Mt Superbus. It is now a walking route only, with vehicular access being blocked a hundred metres or so up from the second junction.
White Swamp (Boonah Border Gate): This route is mainly used when climbing Wilsons Peak from the east. Drive south from Boonah towards Maroon, but take the right hand road marked “Carneys Creek” 16km from Boonah township. Follow this road all the way to the border gate. It can also be used to reach Teviot Gap in wet conditions (see below).
Teviot Gap: Take the “Carneys Creek” turn-off 16km south of Boonah (as described in the directions for White Swamp), then drive 15km and turn right just after a bridge. The Teviot road is rough and steep and is rarely trafficable in wet weather. In wet conditions the worst part of the road can sometimes be bypassed by taking the White Swamp road until 7km south of the Boonah border gate, then turning right and following an old dirt road back to The Head via the Condamine border gate.
Queen Mary Falls: This national park is actually some 20km west of the Main Range, but is sometimes visited by base campers. It lies on the road between Killarney and Teviot Gap, about 10km east of Killarney.
Wild Cattle Creek: On the east of the Main Range, roads follow up both branches of wild Cattle Creek from a turn-off 2.6km south of the intersection of the Coulson and Croftby-Moogerah roads. The actual turn-off is at 528 910 (there are several turn-offs here but all are shown on the Mt Alford 1:25 000 topographic map). All lands around wild Cattle Creek and the foothills of Panorama and Lizard Ridges are private property and permission to traverse MUST be obtained beforehand.
Cunninghams Gap is mainly a day trip area, although there is a national park camp ground opposite the roadhouse a few kilometres to the west. There are two major graded track walks, one to Bare Rock near Mt Cordeaux in the north, and one to Mt Mitchell in the south. These tracks present an appeal which is typically “Main Range” in character – a sense of elevation, clean air and mountain grandeur. These qualities are strongly evident despite the close proximity of the highway and its obtrusive heavy vehicle noises, which sometimes carry for a considerable distance. In addition, there are also several other shorter track walks.
Mt Cordeaux and Bare Rock: A graded track zigzags up the slopes of Mt Cordeaux north of Cunninghams Gap, passing through rainforest with some superb brush box trees. It then contours around to the north of the mountain to Morgans Lookout, before terminating about 20 minutes further on at Bare Rock. The latter is an unusual rocky knoll with interesting views. It makes a good half day walk from Cunninghams Gap (about 12½km return, grade 1½), or a very easy day walk. Because the climb up the slopes of Mt Cordeaux is rainforest, this walk is relatively cool in warm weather.
The graded track does not actually reach the summit of Mt Cordeaux, but skirts around its western flanks. There is little to see from the summit, although if they wish competent scramblers can climb the peak from near the saddle to the north (402 980). A belay rope is recommended, and it is necessary to take care not to dislodge rocks, since the cliffs are located directly above the graded track. For these reasons it should only be attempted by small groups of competent scramblers.
Mt Mitchell: Much of this track passes through eucalypt forest with attractive grasstrees – a typical vegetation type on a northern slope of the Main Range. The track then circles around to the west and south of the mountain, before ascending to the saddle and finally the east peak. The saddle provides excellent views north towards Mt Castle, especially in the early morning. At the east peak, there is a short but spectacular razorback which provides inspiring views to the south. However, great care should be taken around this razorback, since there is a massive cliff to the east which has previously been responsible for a fatal accident (if you have small children, you would need to take care to control them both near the razorback and at one or two other places up from the saddle). This walk is only about 10km return, but in warn weather it is slightly hotter than the Bare Rock walk (½ day, grade 1½).
An interesting feature of the razorback is the high iron content of the basalt, particularly in the fissures. If you hold a compass close to the ground and slowly move it over the rocks, the needle will rotate wildly.
Other Track Walks at Cunninghams Gap include Gap Creek Falls (9½ km return) and the Box Forest Track. The latter leads between Cunninghams Gap and the national park camp ground to the west, a distance of 4km one way.
Spicers Gap is becoming popular for base camps and day walks due to the development of the national park camp ground just east of the Gap. The walks are best suited to winter conditions, despite the camp ground being extremely cold when the westerlies are blowing. There are several inspiring walking possibilities, although there is only one major track walk and the main off-track walks are quite hard and long. In addition, the Governors Chair Lookout is a popular picnic area close to the road. N.B. The Spicers Gap road is usually closed by a locked gate in wet conditions.
Mt Mathieson Track
This is the only official track walk of any length that has been developed at Spicers Gap to the date of writing. It is not actually a graded track, being somewhat steeper and rougher, but is well marked and provides a relatively easy half day circuit (grade 1½). An old timber jinker on the track provides historical interest.
Spicers Peak can be visited on either day walks from the camp ground or as part of a throughwalk itinerary. The two main routes are the north-east and north-west ridges. The steep north-east ridge provides the quickest route to the eastern summit, but requires considerable care (¾ day return; grade 3½ to 4). Alternatively, both ridges can be combined to make an excellent circuit requiring a full day (grade 4). An early start is recommended on the longer walk since a number of difficulties often take longer than expected. The circuit includes about 4km of road walking on the Spicers Gap road.
North-East Ridge (grade 3½ to 4): This route is steep and very loose in places. Although it is not as exposed as it appears from a distance, it is not suitable for people nervous of heights and would require particular care if carrying throughwalk packs. It should not be tackled by inexperienced walkers, since there are several areas where you need to scramble amid loose rocks, and where you could venture into precipitous terrain if you lost the route.
The ridge can be found by simply walking towards the mountain from the Governors Chair lookout in the Gap, taking care to stay on the crest (avoid an old road which leads down to the east just past the Governors Chair). The route quickly steepens and at one point climbs a band of cliffs. These cliffs are not difficult and if you stay on the correct route there should only be a few brief sections which are exposed. However, there are a number of large loose rocks which require great care (these have caused a fatal accident in the past) . Near the top of the ridge, the route contours west below the summit cliff line into a rainforest gully. This contouring section also requires care since there is a small cliff below.
Descent on this ridge is not recommended unless you know the route. However, if descent is attempted, the rainforest gully lies only a hundred metres or so west of the eastern lookout. After dropping down a short way, search for a route on the right which contours on a scrubby ledge below the summit cliffs.
Summit to Summit: Allow several hours for the Journey between east and west peaks, this often taking much longer than expected. It is largely rainforest but a number of small grassy sections provide good views. Several rocky obstacles present minor difficulties, the main one being negotiated on the northern side. Considerable navigational care is necessary around the west peak, especially if traveling westwards. There are two major ridges and several lesser spurs diverging westwards off the west summit, and the rainforest can cause considerable confusion. It is possible to descend north from the saddle on Spicers Peak (410 916) Descend to a rainforest gully from the western side of the saddle, then once below the steepest slopes near the bottom of the rainforest, contour back east to the main north ridge.
North-West Ridge (grade 3): For throughwalkers who are nervous of heights, this route provides an alternative to the north-east ridge, although it is much longer due to the time consuming traverse between the two peaks. It provides good winter views out onto the Darling Downs. In ascent the route is straightforward, with a couple of minor rocky obstacles being easily bypassed on the south. However, it is usually necessary to access the ridge across private lands Just west of the state forest boundary (cars are probably best parked just inside the State forest). The ascent is started just west of a small creek (389 939), which crosses the road about 200m west of the gate at the state forest boundary (signposted).
If descending this ridge, you need to navigate carefully when descending through the rainforest in the top section, since several other spurs lead off the west peak. It may be best to err a little to the north. Some care is also required to find the start of the spur at 390 930 when descending off the main ridge to the road, although the spurs which lie further west can be used if necessary.
Mt Mitchell can be visited from Spicers Gap on an adventurous full day circuit, ascending the south-east ridge and descending the south-west ridge (the circuit includes about 4km of road walking on the Spicers Gap road). However, the south-east ridge route is only suitable for experienced walkers. Less experienced walkers are advised to ascend and descend by the relatively easy south-west ridge.
South-East Ridge (grade 4 to 4½): To ascend this ridge, take the Mt Mathieson track and locate a bend in the path at 426 947, on the main crest just inside the eastern boundary of the rainforest. From here, follow the ridge north-west for a considerable distance, initially passing through old logging regrowth on a very gradual ascent. Later the ridge steepens dramatically, and the vegetation changes to an attractive mixture of rainforest, eucalypt forest and grasstrees.
After a while you will encounter the first band of cliffs. This band, as well as one or two others higher up, can be negotiated by contouring westwards. The scrambles gradually become more difficult. Some care is required on the second last band of cliffs, where you usually climb up at an angle for a few metres on a scrubby crumbly ledge above a short drop. A belay rope may be useful if any party members are not competent scramblers.
The summit cliffs are best negotiated at the eastern razorback. This is a surprisingly easy scramble with no initial exposure, although one on top of the razorback there is an extremely airy traverse for about 50m until the graded track is reached. Great care is needed on this razorback (refer to previous comments on page 201). There are one or two other routes up the final summit cliffs. However, the routes become harder and probably more dangerous as you go westwards, not easier (an unusual feature on the Main Range).
It is also possible to avoid all scrambling and exposure on this route, by contouring for a considerable distance west of the bottom cliff line then ascending to the graded track just west of the saddle.
The south-east ridge is not recommended for descent unless you have travelled it previously. The route down the summit cliffs at the end of the razorback is relatively easy to locate, but the cliff breaks lower down may be much more difficult to find. In descent, it may be useful to carry an abseil rope as a safeguard against becoming cliff bound.
South-West Ridge (grade 2½): To descend this ridge, find the sharp turn on the graded track at 398 9S7. A clear footworn track should be evident leading down the ridge through eucalypt forest. Later this crosses into private land and becomes an old and very steep road. Stay on the ridge crest until it flattens and reaches a small knoll at 388 948, then descend the spur to the south to Millar Vale Creek. Cross the creek and walk across paddocks to the Spicers Gap road.
In ascent, walk north from the gate on the road at the western boundary of the state forest (signposted), then ascend any of the spurs on the north of Millar Vale Creek.
Spicers Peak To Teviot Gap
The mountainous terrain between Spicers Gap and Teviot Gap is the classic section of the Main Range and provides many of south Queensland’s most outstanding bushwalks. It is often done in a single traverse with a long car shuttle. Extremely fit parties can complete this traverse in two days, although most people prefer to take three or even four days since this allows camping at the most spectacular campsites. If attempted in two days (a tough walk at grade 5½), camp should be made at either Huntley saddle or Mt Huntley. On a 3½ day trip (about grade 4½), it is possible to camp near Mt Doubletop and at Lower Panorama Point and Lizard Point.
Alternatively, smaller sections of the Range can be done as circuits using the western ridges, or even a couple of eastern ridges. These routes are discussed later.
The terrain has many arduous ascents and it is not suitable for inexperienced bushwalkers. Navigationally the traverse is easier from north to south. The highest cliffs in this region tend to be on the northern slopes and, if walking north to south, most cliffs are encountered on ascent. The general rule is to contour right (west-wards) to find the relevant cliff breaks. Some of these cliff breaks are much more difficult to find on descent i.e. when walking south to north.
The following notes describe the traverse route from north to south, but comments have also been provided on the south-north route where necessary.
Spicers Peak: The routes on the north of Spicers Peak have already been described. The descent on the southern side starts about 50m west of the cairn on the east summit. It is typically troublesome and tiring with rainforest, thorny undergrowth and frequent small cliffs. If either descending or ascending, contour westwards to find any cliff breaks. Pack hauling is sometimes necessary, depending on your exact route. A typical time for the descent is 2 hours, although this is rather erratic and some parties have found much quicker routes. It seems to be best to head straight down for a while, then contour across to the east again.
The saddle at 420 909 is a useful campsite with water usually available a long way down to the west (about 15 minutes down, but allow an hour for the return Journey). The knolls to the south of this saddle provide an excellent view of Mt Castle in the afternoon light.
Mt Doubletop: Proceeding south, you soon start climbing Mt Doubletop. When the route is eventually barred by cliffs, contour west, then ascend again until more cliffs are encountered. You can contour either left or right at these uppermost cliffs. The left hand route is steep and slightly exposed.
There are two lookouts on the northern summit of Doubletop, one looking north and the other south. The southern lookout has a tiny bivouac campsite for two or three people. It provides a superb view of the sunset over the Darling Downs in clear winter weather. Because the summit is covered in fragile sclerophyll heath, wood fires should not be used.
From Doubletop, descend south-east and follow the crest towards Mt Huntley, passing over several knolls and through patches of rainforest in the saddles. There are good eucalypt campsites at Swan Knoll (431 887), just north of the summit of Huntley Knoll (443 876) and at Mt Huntley saddle (443 872). In the rainforest saddle between Swan and Huntley knolls, these is an interesting section of ridge called the rainforest razorback. Nearby, at about 437 882, it is common to descend to the west slightly to avoid a vine entangled section of ridge, using a large open rainforest terrace just off the crest. Water can sometimes be obtained by descending along this terrace to a small lagoon on a natural slump shelf, although the water is usually very stagnant and would probably dry up quickly in dry weather.
Mt Huntley is a steep tiring ascent on slippery grassy slopes. When the cliffs are reached, contour west for a considerable distance, using care across the top of a slabby section. Contour around the north-west corner of the cliffs until a cliff break is found about 50m beyond one corner. The route up the cliff break may be difficult to recognise without previous experience of it. It follows a slight zigzag path, starting on the left of the break, traversing across to the right, then up to a large banksia tree. A 30m belay rope is recommended unless the party is experienced. From the top, ascend directly to the summit.
On descent, this cliff break can be extremely difficult to find, even if you have climbed it before. The best written direction possible is to proceed north-west from the summit and investigate the cliffs below large banksia trees for signs of footworn erosion. Sometimes the tree is marked with coloured tape, or you may notice an old blaze. A belay is strongly recommended. If the break can’t be found, a time consuming alternative is by use of the western ridge, although this also has some difficulties. Another alternative is abseiling, but this would require a full length rope and considerable care.
There is a reasonably large camping area on top of Mt Huntley. The regrowth scrub immediately south of the summit was caused by surveyors clearing sight lines for a trig point in 1975.
Descent from Mt Huntley can be via the south-east crest, but most parties take the southern route through the water point in Tree Fern Gully. Descend immediately south from the summit into the rainforest, and proceed downhill for a considerable distance. Gradually tree ferns increase in number, this particular species (Dicksonia antarctica) being unique by their habit of winding along the ground in unusual shapes before growing upright. One has a trunk which loops in a complete circle. Please treat these gently, do not knock the fragile fronds or trunks, and in particular, do not compact the earth by treading around the trunks or inside the circular fern. This stand is one of the most unusual displays of this species in Queensland, although a section of the forest canopy was badly damaged in a storm a few years back.
The water point is reached after a long descent, just before a small cliff and waterfall. The water supply is permanent, although cups are needed to bail into water bottles. To regain the crest, contour eastwards for a considerable distance.
The crest between Huntley and Asplenium is mainly rainforest but there is one spectacular campsite. There are also several ridges of upjutting rock which regularly cause confusion to bushwalkers. The first major pinnacle should be climbed and the second bypassed on the western side.
Mt Asplenium and Panorama Point: To climb Asplenium, head upwards until the cliffs are reached, then traverse right to a cliff break. This cliff break is difficult to find on descent, although there is at least one other cliff break further west. The summit of Asplenium is rockstrewn rainforest and is not particularly suitable for camping.
Proceeding south-east from the summit, the ridge to Panorama Point, about 30 minutes away, soon becomes evident. It is actually possible for a very small party to camp on Panorama Point – a superb place on a clear dark night – but wood fires should not be used because of the fragile environment. A very large campsite where wood fires can be used lies Just before Lower Panorama Point.
To descend south-east from Upper Panorama Point, initially travel south-west on well-worn track, contouring right across the top of any cliffs. Eventually a fairly easy cliff break will be reached. Follow the base of the cliffs back around to the left for a considerable distance to regain the crest. The main ridge is again followed to Lower Panorama Point.
The descent to the saddle south from Lower Panorama Point is long and steep. On the final very steep slopes just before the rainforest, keep to the right since it is easy to allow the slope to divert you too far left. The ridge is now followed south over two knolls with good campsites to the foot of Mt Steamer. In between these two knolls is a very large thick patch of bracken which often obstructs progress.
Mt Steamer: Water is available in most cooler seasons 200m west of Mt Steamer’s northern saddle at 460 814 (this water point is not reliable in very dry seasons). This saddle is also a good campsite. Mt Steamer is ascended from the saddle by climbing the steep grass slopes to the south.
If travelling north, care must be taken to commence the north-westerly descent of Mt Steamer from the eastern summit. Note from the topographic map that the correct ridge is fairly narrow and mostly eucalypt. It is separated from a broader rainforest ridge in the west by a creek.
To descend Mt Steamer on the south, it is necessary to again contour westward to find a cliff break. After this, contour back east along the base of the cliffs to regain the crest. Watch your step from here on. From Mt Steamer to the unnamed peak west of Lizard Point (475 809 – sometimes called Mt Lizardback), there are several places where the ridge loosely overhangs 300m cliffs. Care is required at several places although there is no specific technical climbing difficulty.
Lizard Point is the name given to the spectacular rock shelf at 479 810. It is a reasonable campsite although wood fires should not be used, since the vegetation is fragile Leptospermum heath. Campsites are also available in the rainforest on the route just to the south.
To proceed south from Lizard point, walk back westwards for about 150m, then turn south and contour across the slope to regain the crest. A track is usually present. From here to Teviot Gap, the route is mainly rainforest, with no readily accessible views.
Water is usually available by descending west from the saddle south of Lizard point. near 479 808. Often a considerable descent is necessary.
Mt Roberts is easily ascended and descended on both the north and south ridges. There is a little scrambling and possibly some pack handling. Alertness is required at several places where the vegetation obscures your proximity to 300m cliffs, but there is no major technical climbing difficulty. Views from the summit are obscured by Vegetation.
Mt Superbus to Teviot Gap: From the Roberts-Superbus saddle, ascend south-west to the Superbus shoulder at 474 784. From here, an old broken-down rabbit fence is followed down the ridge south-east to Teviot Gap. The route is steep and will be slippery in wet weather. An old forestry road is found at the end of the fence – turn right and follow it the final 700m to Teviot Gap.
In ascent, follow the old road north from Teviot Gap until about 200m beyond the wooden bridge at 488 773. The rabbit fence can soon be found by ascending to the left from anywhere in this vicinity (see also page 211).
Swan Creek Valley
Western Access Routes
The following are the main routes between the Swan Creek valley and the Main Range crest. The creeks which lie just north and south of Swan Knoll have not been mentioned but would probably also provide feasible descent routes.
Spicers Peak by South-West Ridge (grade 3): This ridge is best ascended from Hell Hole valley via the major spur at 399 895. There is a good lookout on the knoll at the top of this spur. Allow considerable time for the traverse between the west and east summits of Spicers Peak (see earlier description). The ridge is useful for both ascent and descent.
Hell Hole Creek: Much of the upper section of Hell Hole Creek near the boundary of the rainforest and sclerophyll forest is infested with nettles, although this may ease higher up. Consequently, the route may be feasible in descent, although it presents some difficulty on ascent.
Mt Doubletop by West Ridge (grade 3): The ridge running west off the north peak of Doubletop is a good access route. It has one cliff to negotiate but this is not of major difficulty. The ridge is useful for both ascent and descent.
Mt Doubletop by South-West Ridge (grade 3½): This ridge is most easily found from the junction at 403 868, where a private vehicular track turns off the Swan Creek road near the State forest boundary and ascends the ridge to the north (the very steep and rough track eventually crosses the ridge and descends to Hell Hole Valley, but vehicular access is restricted). Walkers can follow the ridge to the south peak of Doubletop. This route is slightly harder than others in this vicinity, since the latter section is quite steep and has some moderate scrambling difficulties. It would be easier in ascent.
Swan Knoll by South-West Ridge (grade 2½): This is one of the quickest routes to the crest of the Main Range, starting at a creek Junction at 413 873, near a popular unofficial campsite in the state forest. There are no difficulties in ascent but some navigation care is required in descent.
Huntley Saddle (grade 2½ to 3): There is a reasonably easy descent route from Huntley saddle. Drop down a few metres below the lowest campsites, then contour to the south-west to the spur at 436 871, which leads down to the valley.
Mt Huntley by West Ridge (grade 3½): This is an excellent route. It is ascended via an old road up the spur at 417 870. The road reaches the ridge at the western saddle of Huntley (427 857), where there is a large camping area. From here there is a reasonably straight forward ascent of Mt Huntley, except for some cliffs which can be avoided by contouring along their southern base to a slippery cliff break. N.B. This cliff break can be difficult to find on descent.
Day Trip Features
There are a number of day trips possible for parties base camping at Swan Creek. Details of most of the following routes have been given in the preceding pages.
Mt Doubletop: This peak can be climbed by either its western ridge (grade 3 for the return trip) or its south-western ridge (grade 3½) or both can be used for an excellent circuit.
Mt Huntley via West Ridge (grade 3½). This provides a reasonably energetic day trip, although very fit walkers may also be able too include a visit to Sentinel Point (see below).
Sentinel Point (grade 3½): The western saddle of Huntley provides access to Sentinel Point, which is an excellent lookout. The cliffs at the east of Sentinel Point can be climbed via an awkward cliff break or you can follow around the base of the cliffs on their southern side. It is also possible to include Sentinel Point in throughwalk itineraries crossing Mt Guymer and ascending from Barney Creek (refer to the description of the Emu Creek region on page 209).
Hell Hole Gorge (grade 2): Hell Hole Valley and Gorge are both on private land and permission for access should be obtained. The gorge is at the lower end of the valley and is an interesting half day trip. There is a constructed cattle track which bypasses the gorge on the north. A good circuit is to take the cattle track up into the valley, then rockhop down the gorge. In spring, the track has spectacular wildflower displays. In the gorge, it is common to encounter red-bellied black snakes, which are among the most beautiful of snakes (but still need to be treated with respect).
Emu Creek Valley
Western Access Routes
The following are the main routes between the Emu Creek valley and the Main Range crest.
Sentinel point va Mt Guymer (grade 4 to 4½): Mt Guymer is an interesting eucalypt-forested mountain which can be visited on a day trip from Emu Creek, or on a throughwalking itinerary en route to either Mt Asplenium or Sentinel Point. It can be ascended from several ridges in the south but the ridge at 410 805 is likely to provide better glimpses of the Steamers. If walking to Sentinel Point, descent in the north is largely blocked by cliffs, but the very crest of the ridge north off the eastern summit (409 823) is possible. It is a long day (one way) from Emu Creek to the western saddle of Huntley, via Sentinel Point. The route from the saddle up the western ridge of Mt Huntley is described on page 208.
Barney Creek: Experienced parties could probably use this route for descent, although you would need to cross either Mt Guymer or Sentinel Point (both arduous climbs) to reach the main road access points in Emu or Swan Creeks.
Mt Asplenium by West Ridge (grade 3 to 4): This ridge extends out to Mt Guymer. Access to Mt Asplenium is blocked by cliffs at the top of the ridge, although the precise difficulty of these cliffs is uncertain. It is likely that a cliff break would be found by contouring around on the north side (at worse you would end up contouring to the normal cliff break used on ascent from the north). Do not be tempted to contour across the southern slope to Panorama Point, since this section is nettle-ridden and extremely slow.
Reedy Creek (grade 2½ to 3) is quite trafficable although disturbed by logging operations in its lower sections. It is mainly used as a descent route from panorama Point or the saddle to the south.
Davies Ridge (grade 2½ to 3) is a good quick ridge with a spectacular view of the Steamers not far from the Main Range crest. You can also camp at this lookout, located at 445 824.
Lophostemon Spur (grade 2½ to 3): The western ridge off the knoll at 456 815 has some superb box trees near the eastern end. It is disturbed by logging operations lower down the ridge but is readily trafficable.
Pinchgut Creek and Mt Steamer Creek: Experienced parties could probably use these routes for descent, but there is a possibility of logging disturbance.
The Steamer Range (grade 3 to 4) is a spectacular series of bluffs and pinnacles, named (from the west) the Prow, the Funnel, the Mast and the Stern. The range is normally ascended from Mt Steamer Creek. The best route is via a road to a small experimental pine plot at 428 800 (refer Emu Vale State Forest map). Aim to reach the ridge crest near the Funnel and contour on the north under the cliffs of the Funnel and Mast. Proceed further east under and to the north of the Stern, after which the ridge crest is regained at a small saddle. West of this saddle is the famous Steamers Lookout. which has excellent views but requires care. From here, journey east up and over Mt Steamer to its eastern summit. This latter section often takes longer than expected.
Menura Creek, which flows west from the Lizard Point – Mt Robers saddle, is likely to be far steeper and rougher than other routes around Emu Creek, although parts are reportedly very pretty.
Mt Superbus Routes: There are two main routes between Emu Creek and Mt Superbus, See page 211 for full details.
Day Trip Features
There are a number of day trips possible for parties base camping at Emu Creek.
Mt Guymer: This mountain could provide a variety of interesting day trips from Emu Creek. Details of the route have been given on page 209.
Lincoln Wreck: This would be a long day trip for experienced walkers (grade 4), or it can be visited on a throughwalk en route to Mt Superbus. Refer to page 211 for full details.
The Steamer Range: The trip to the Steamers Lookout would be about grade 3½ when undertaken as a day trip from Emu Creek. Details of the route have been given on page 209.
Mt Superbus Region
Mt Superbus (pronounced Superb-us. not Super-bus) is 1375m high, making it the highest peak in Queensland south of Innisfail. However, there are no views readily available and the main reason for climbing the summit is simply for the record. Much of the massif has been heavily logged.
The main summit actually lies about 400m west of the Great Divide crest, and so technically this particular summit is not the highest peak in south-east Queensland. The north summit of Superbus claims this honour. It is located on the Great Divide crest and is a few metres higher than the west peak of Mt Barney.
Mt Superbus Summit: The top of Mt Superbus is really a small plateau with a collection of high points, rather than one prominent peak. It is useful to identify a number of features before describing the various routes to the mountain. The main features are:
- The main summit (465 779).
- The summit saddle (467 780).
- The northern summit (470 784).
- The north-east shoulder (474 784).
- The southern summit (455 760).
- The southern spur, which extends out some 2½km between the main summit and the southern summit.
Careful navigation is required on the summit plateau since there is a confusing combination of rainforest and old forestry roads. One old road crosses the summit saddle at 467 780, just east of the main peak. The south fork of this road eventually leads down into Emu Creek valley, although it is often overgrown (see the description of the Emu Creek route). Another old road lies just to the east of the main plateau, and initially takes a course along the southern spur before descending off down the eastern side (468 775).
Teviot Gap Route (grade 3 to 3½): This is the quickest route to Mt Superbus. In ascent, follow the old road north from Teviot Gap until about 200m beyond the wooden bridge at 488 773. You can ascend to the left from anywhere in this vicinity. An old broken-down rabbit fence will soon be found, leading up the ridge to the north-east shoulder of Mt Superbus.
In descent, carefully locate the Superbus shoulder at 474 784 (it is possible to miss it), then follow the ridge down to the south-east. The old rabbit fence will appear after a very short distance. The route is steep and will be slippery in wet weather. An old forestry road is found near the end of the fence – turn right and follow it the final 700m to Teviot Gap.
Mt Bell Route: The route between Mt Roberts and the Bell-Roberts saddle provides some unusual variations to throughwalk itineraries around Mt Superbus. It is described on page 213.
Emu Creek Route (grade 3½): It is possible to descend from the main summit of Superbus to Emu Creek, by following the old forest track which descends south from the summit saddle (467 780). The route is often overgrown with raspberry nettles, so gloves and long gaiters are recommended. Because of the unpredictable nature of the regrowth, the route is not recommended for ascent unless you have travelled it recently (regrowth is easier to push through in descent). This road eventually joins the Lincoln Wreck route, which is a preferred ascent route from Emu Creek.
Lincoln Route (grade 3½ to 4): The Lincoln Wreck is the remains of an R.A.A.F. Lincoln bomber, which crashed on the southern summit of Mt Superbus on April 9th, 1955. Tragically, the plane was flying on a medical evacuation from Townsville to Brisbane, with a sick baby aboard, when it strayed off course in bad weather. The baby, a nurse and four crew lost their lives. It seems especially tragic that the plane crashed only about 50m below the crest of the highest mountain within hundreds of kilometres of their flight path.
To ascend this route, start walking from the road closure at the end of the Emu Creek road (see road directions). It soon starts to climb steeply and narrows to a forestry track. After climbing for perhaps 1½ hours, the track divides. The left hand track goes to the main summit of Mt Superbus (this is often overgrown – see the previous description of the Emu Creek Route), while the right hand fork contours across the slopes towards the Lincoln Wreck.
Follow the right hand fork, crossing one creek, and then meeting a second creek. This second creek is marked by an old engine from the plane. At this point the route diverges from the road and follows the creek directly uphill. There may be remnants of a track but it is not essential to follow a particular course. Any route directly uphill from this point will lead to the southern summit, which is more like a broad plateau than a definite peak. The wreck lies just below a campsite on the extreme western end of the plateau. If camping in this locality, you will need to carry your own water. it takes between 1 and 1½ hours to travel from the Lincoln Wreck to the main summit of Mt Superbus.
This is a confusing region. The difficulty is caused by a profusion of logging regrowth in the upper parts of Teviot Brook, overgrown logging roads, the absence of views due to the rainforest canopy, the precipitous nature of some terrain and the apparent erroneous marking of the location of Teviot Falls on virtually all maps. Some older bushwalking guidebooks also give misleading information for this area.
The main day trip features in the region are Teviot Falls and Mt Bell. In addition, some bushwalkers visit the area on throughwalking itineraries in the Roberts/Superbus region.
General Terrain: It is worthwhile providing a general description of this region prior to giving specific route directions. Note that the Forestry Department’s Teviot Falls map has a critical part of the creek obscured by printed information and is not recommended for trips in this area.
From Teviot Gap, a road travels north for about 700m until it crosses the south branch of Teviot Brook at about 488 773, on an easily recognisable wooden bridge. The south branch is an easterly flowing creek which drains the slopes of Mt Superbus. However, this is not the main tributary of Teviot Brook. The main tributary flows south from the Bell-Roberts saddle. For descriptive purposes this is called the north branch.
The majority of the catchment of the north branch, including the western slopes of Mt Bell, has been heavily logged and is badly infested with regrowth. The old logging road previously mentioned continues north from where it crosses the south branch (488 773), and eventually crosses the two north branch tributaries at 488 781 and 493 784 respectively. Although old bushwalking guidebooks recommend using this road, it is often badly overgrown with raspberry and nettles.
Teviot Falls: On all recent maps to the date of writing, Teviot Falls are marked on the south branch at 491 773. There is a waterfall at this point, but it is not the main waterfall, nor that evident from the popular lookout on the Teviot Gap road. These falls are on the north branch at 492 775. The falls on the south branch are barely visible from the lookout, but if you move downwards and to the right they can be seen originating from a narrow crevice, usually with a considerably lesser flow than the main falls.
To reach the south branch falls, follow the old forestry road until about 50m past the wooden bridge, where there is a left hand bend. At this point leave the road on the right and descend south-easterly, trying to stay parallel with the creek. At one point you may cross a side gully. It is best to keep high on the banks but if necessary you can descend along the creek. Eventually the cliff will be seen ahead, and you can descend to the creek and the falls.
From the south branch falls, you can traverse across to the north branch falls. Ascend to the north of the south branch and then contour across the steep slopes. A good instinct for bush navigation will help on this section. The aim is to traverse parallel with the cliff line, while remaining well to the west of it. If in doubt, stay high and follow a compass course in a general north-north-easterly direction. Descend when you either hear the falls or meet the northern creek.
There is a superb bathtub pool situated just in from the lip of the falls, with an impressive window view of Wilsons Peak. For reasons which will be obvious when you get there, swimming is not recommended after any sort of heavy rain or if you think further landslides are imminent.
The return journey is the reverse of these directions, ascending to the forestry road after traversing within sight of the south branch. Don’t be tempted to ascend up the slope south of the southern falls, since this terrain becomes extremely precipitous.
Mt Bell by South-West Ridge: This is an underrated peak. While the rainforest on the western slopes is infested with regrowth due to past logging operations, the eastern slopes are eucalypt forest with multiheaded grasstrees. The division between the forest types is very sudden, the line running a few metres east of the summit. It is possible to obtain some views from the peak. The main route to the summit is the south-west ridge from Teviot Falls (north branch).
The ascent to Mt Bell from the northern falls is reasonably straightforward, although there are several patches of logging regrowth. The worst regrowth can be avoided by contouring down on to the steep south-eastern flanks. Surprisingly, the ridge offers several good views through windows in the vegetation.
If descending from Mt Bell towards the northern falls, it is necessary to follow compass bearings in several places, since the ridge changes direction at least three times. One point of confusion is where the south-eastern ridge diverges off just down from the summit. Another area is in the final descent towards Teviot Falls.
Mt Bell from Mt Roberts: This ridge starts on the southern shoulder of Mt Roberts, where the Main Range crest makes a distinct south-westerly turn (482 797). It is initially very steep, thereby requiring careful compass work to descend the ridge (there are several parallel ridges, not all shown on the map, which can confuse you on descent). Otherwise the route is straightforward.
Other Features: There is some magnificent rainforest in the upper parts of the north branch of Teviot Brook, down from the Bell-Roberts saddle. In the past there has sometimes been a taped trail leading south off the ridge at about 491 794. It went up and down slopes without any apparent logic, before leading into a massive stinging tree forest with many trees several metres in diameter. This forest would be roughly at 491 789, although the trail may now be disused. Note that exit from this area would necessitate either use of the old Teviot Brook forestry road, which will probably be very overgrown, or a retreat back to the Mt Bell ridge.
The main routes on the east of the Main Range are Panorama Ridge, Lizard Ridge and the ridge extending from Mt Bangalore to Mt Bell. These are discussed here. In addition, it s apparently possible to travel on several spurs running between Coulson Creek and the Spicers-Doubletop and Doubletop-Huntley saddles, but no information is available at the time of writing.
While Mt Bangalore offers day trip opportunities, Panorama Ridge, Lizard Ridge and the route from Mt Bangalore to Mt Bell are mainly used by throughwalkers. Only very experienced parties should attempt these throughwalking routes, since the terrain is extremely precipitous. Cliffs over 200m are common in some locations. Mt Bangalore is the only feature suitable for less experienced bushwalkers on the east of the range.
All routes pass through private grazing lands, and permission from landowners is essential. Landholders around wild Cattle Creek in particular are likely to prosecute for trespass if bushwalkers do not obtain prior permission to cross their lands.
This ridge extends north-east from Lower Panorama Point, and is the easiest of the three main routes which run from the eastern grazing country to the Main Range crest. There are no cliffs on the correct route although the ridge is often narrow and, at one point, forms a razorback bounded by extremely steep grass slopes.
On descent, considerable care is required with navigation, since it is very easy to confuse the correct ridge with a parallel ridge just to the north at 458 847. The latter leads to a large precipitous buttress. To find the correct route, proceed north-west from Lower Panorama Point for several hundred metres, until an easy cliff break is found leading down to the right (north-east). Follow the base of the cliffs back under Lower Panorama Point, resisting the temptation to descend when the Point is initially sighted. Note that the correct ridge initially runs directly east from Lower Panorama Point and then turns north-east. This is important because it is easy lo descend too early on the wrong ridge and become cliff-bound. Once the descent is commenced, traversing between the two ridges is extremely steep and difficult.
On ascent, the ridge is easily followed, provided you start on the appropriate spur in the north branch of Wild Cattle Creek. When the final cliffs of Lower Panorama Point are encountered, simply contour right (north) for several hundred metres to an easy cliff break.
Lizard Ridge (grade 6½)
This is sometimes called Glucose Ridge because it is very long and tiring. The ascent can be tackled by any very experienced party but the descent definitely requires a leader who knows the route well. Otherwise the cliff breaks may be impossible to find.
The ridge can be climbed initially at Mt Neilson, but most people prefer to climb one of the spurs just west of this point. There are two precipitous areas on ascent. The first is only of moderate technical difficulty, but has some exposure and a great number of very large loose rocks. The second point is the ascent at the final cliffs.
At the base of the final cliffs, contour along to the north for perhaps fifteen minutes. Ascent is made at a cliff break just before an indistinct gully. There is a short section of cliff, some spear lilies and thick scrub, and another short pitch of cliff. A good belay rope is recommended. Once above the second pitch of cliff, the crest is easily gained. It may also be possible to ascend via the steep grass slopes further west from this ascent point, but the route appears exposed and dangerous.
Mt Bangalore is variously spelled “Bangalore” and “Bangalora”, but is known by most bushwalkers by the former name. Together with Mt Bell, it is part of a long ridge off Mt Roberts. Mt Bangalore offers a variety of day trip opportunities, or the two peaks can be used to travel between the Main Range crest and the eastern grazing lands. However, the full route is only suitable for very experienced parties.
Routes to the west of Mt Bell – i.e. in the triangle between Mt Bell, Teviot Gap and Mt Roberts – have already been discussed in the Mt Superbus section. The following notes describe Mt Bangalore and the route to Mt Bell.
Ascent Routes: This peak offers a range of bushwalking opportunities, from day trips of only modest difficulty (grade 2½ to 3) to far harder ventures. It is approached over private land, although to the date of writing gaining permission for access has not been difficult. The mountain is entirely eucalypt forest.
A road runs in near the foot of Mt Bangalore. Although not shown on most maps as a road, its rough path is marked by cadastral lines on the Teviot 1:25 000 sheet. It leaves the Teviot Gap road at 551 813, opposite a house 1.1km from the intersection with the main White Swamp road. It then proceeds in a slightly circular path to a locked gate at 531 807. Permission must be acquired to use this access route from the landowners who live opposite the gate, as well as those who live in a house located 500m back towards the White Swamp road junction (at about 554 817).
Access is apparently also possible via an old timber track which leaves the Teviot Gap road at 527 782. From this track you walk cross country to the southern part of the mountain.
The easiest route to climb the peak is from the north, leaving cars at about 538 814 and travelling north-westerly across grazing lands for about 2km before climbing the ridges. Crossing the foothill lands is time consuming because of the many gullies. However, after you cross the creek at 521 825, the ascent is straightforward.
Alternatively, small experienced groups can climb the very steep eastern slopes of the peak. Start out from the gate at 531 806 and initially contour north-westerly, then head straight up. The more northerly spurs are easier. On all these eastern spurs, great care must be taken not to dislodge rocks, because rocks would quickly reach lethal speeds on the extremely steep slopes. These routes are definitely not suitable for large groups.
Bangalore Gorge: This is an interesting dry weather route for descending the mountain. It is reached by taking the ridge south of the summit to the creek at 511 805. Descending this creek leads to a short but spectacular chasm. When the gorge is blocked by a sheer cliff, walk up the short ramp on the left. From the top of this ramp, a scrambling descent is made through scrub and loose rock, with considerable contouring to the left. You can then drop into the creek and walk upstream to the bottom of the gorge, where a small waterfall may be found after rain. Although this route is not particularly difficult, it is only recommended for experienced bushwalkers since any navigational errors could lead to very precipitous terrain.
Mt Bangalore to Mt Bell: This route should only be tackled by experienced scramblers, since there is a section of climbing as you start to ascend from the Bangalore-Bell saddle towards Mt Bell. The exact difficulty of the climb is unclear, although it appears very steep when viewed from a distance. Belay ropes are recommended as a safety precaution.
Be careful to follow the correct ridge if descending from the summit of Bangalore to the Bell-Bangalore saddle. The correct ridge will be found by descending in a west-south-west direction, although initially there may be little sign of a crest. It is easy to take the more prominent southern ridge by mistake, leading to the Bangalore Gorge.
Apparently it is also possible to ascend Mt Bell by its eastern ridge (510 788).
Wilsons Peak is the classically shaped three-sided peak situated south of Teviot Gap, marking the junction of the McPherson Range and the Great Divide. It is a popular day trip venue, with some interesting circuit walks, and three ridge routes providing a variety of ascent options. Disappointingly, the peak provides few views, and border or rabbit fences must be followed on all three ridges. Nevertheless, the mountain has plenty of attractive forest and other features of interest.
Ascent Routes: The three ascent ridges are from the east (starting from the Boonah Border gate on the White Swamp road), north (ascending from Teviot Gap) and west (starting from the Teviot Gap road west of Teviot Gap). All are about grade 3 to 3½. In all cases the ridges are followed to the upper cliff line, and then the base of the cliff is followed to a cliff break which lies a few metres west of the northern ridge. Although all routes are steep, none are of great difficulty unless rain makes the final cliff break slippery. Otherwise the greatest danger is tearing yourself on the barbed wire fence.
The eastern route is the longest but gives the greatest variation of forest types. It passes through about 4km of superb open forest before reaching the steep rainforest ridge which leads to the summit cliffs. When the cliffs are reached, contour right until you reach the cliff break.
The other two ridges are almost entirely rainforest. If you wish, you can use both to provide a circuit walk. The north ridge is the easiest, and is found by ascending from Teviot Gap. Just after the start, there is a short patch of regrowth scrub at the national park boundary (496 760), before the ridge swings left towards a eucalypt knoll (502 755). This can be a little confusing. Simply make your way as best you can to the top of the knoll, then follow the ridge as it descends to the south-west. The rabbit fence will soon become evident when you re-enter the rainforest.
The western ridge can be ascended by following up the fence line where it leaves the road, about 3½km west of Teviot Gap. It has more scrambling than the other ridges and for that reason may be easier in ascent. At the top, contour left to find the cliff break.
Killarney Gate Throughwalk: A good weekend throughwalk in this region is the trip between the Boonah and Killarney border gates, traversing the eastern and western ridges of Wilsons Peak. This would require a long car shuttle and follows the border fence most of the way, but has some inspiring sections.
Wilsons Creek Circuit: This day trip circuit is about grade 3½. It ascends the north ridge from Teviot Gap, then descends back to the road at the base of Teviot Gap via the east ridge and Wilsons Creek, which flows to the mountain’s north-east.
After ascending the peak from the north, descend the eastern ridge until at the bottom of the steep rainforest slopes, where the first saddle is found (510 746). Wilsons Creek can be reached by walking about a hundred metres east of the saddle and descending to the north. The creek is a little scrubby initially, but soon opens up with several slabby sections and some impressive cascades. You need to pass the cascades via an open ridge on the east of the creek.
Keep descending the creek on the east until a short way below the junction at 515 759, then cross and find a ridge crest on the west bank, running parallel with the creek and initially about 50m in elevation above it (514 762). Follow this north-easterly to the Kinnanes Falls region. Descend back to the creek when you hear the falls. Care is required to get any sort of reasonable view.
To descend from Kinnanes Falls to the road, walk north-north-west over the ridge, then descend to the east when the cliffs are passed. Soon after you begin descending, you will notice “the Verandah” on your right (competent scramblers can explore this feature – see below). After descending to the Teviot road, the circuit is completed by following the road up to the Gap.
The Verandah and Kinnanes Falls: “The Verandah” is a narrow ledge which traverses all the way across the large cliff face to the north-west of Kinnanes Falls. It is particularly impressive when viewed from just below (refer to the route in the last paragraph). The feature is also visible from the foot of Teviot Gap just before the road climbs, from where both the Verandah and Kinnanes Falls can be visited on a short day trip.
Good scramblers with a head for heights can negotiate the Verandah, although it is very narrow and precipitous and requires considerable care. Any exploration should be from the northern end of the ledge, nearest the road. Do not try to locate the southern entrance from the ridge near Kinnanes Falls, since the terrain is loose and precipitous and the entrance is very difficult to find without knowledge of its location.
In the past, a few bushwalkers have crossed the creek above Kinnanes Falls, climbing the bluff to the east and then descending the ridge at 526 766. However, the exact nature of this terrain is unknown.
Queen Mary Falls
This national park is mentioned briefly, since it has a pleasant picnic area and two interesting short track circuits. The falls are particularly impressive after autumn rains. A private camping park and kiosk is situated across the road.
|Queensland National Parks And Wildlife Service|
|Cunninghams Gap:||MS 394, Warwick. Q. 4370. Telephone: (076) 66 1133.|
|Warwick:||P.O. Box 58, Warwick. Q. 4370. (Guy Street, Warwick).|
|Telephone: (076) 61 2411.|
|Private Camping Parks|
|Queen Mary Falls||P.O. Box 102, Killarney. Q. 4373.|
|Caravan Park:||Telephone: (076) 64 7151.|