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Key to track standards
The classification system is based on Australian Standards. Please note that while each track is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be of an easier level.
Grade 3 track
- Formed track, some obstacles.
- May have short steep hills and many steps.
- Some experience recommended.
Grade 4 track
- Rough track.
- May be long and very steep with few directional signs.
- For experienced bushwalkers.
The following day walks cater for those who would like to explore sections of the Conondale Range Great Walk without the need for overnight camping.
Booloumba Creek day-use area to Gold Mine—5.2km return (allow 2hr 30mins) Grade 3
Booloumba Creek day-use area to Strangler Cairn©—6.5km return (2hr 30mins) Grade 3
Booloumba Creek day-use area to Artists Cascades—10.6km return (allow 4 hours) Grade 4
Booloumba Creek day-use area to Mount Allan—11km return (allow 4hr 30mins) Grade 4
Booloumba Falls car park to Booloumba Falls—3km return (allow 1hr 30mins) Grade 3
For more information on day walks, visit Things to do on the Conondale National Park webpage.
Great Walk track details
The Conondale Range Great Walk starts and finishes at the Booloumba Creek day-use area in Conondale National Park.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) has produced a Conondale Range Great Walk Topographic Map, which is essential for planning and undertaking your Great Walk. They can be purchased from a number of Great Walks topographic map sales outlets.
The four sections of the Great Walk are marked as S1 to S4 on the topographic map and described in detail in the following section.
Distances and times shown for each section of the Great Walk are approximate. Allow extra time for unexpected delays, rest stops, sightseeing and meal breaks. Always plan to reach your destination well before dark.
The Conondale Range Great Walk is a clearly marked track with a generally firm and stable surface. Some sections include very steep grades and creek crossings. This Great Walk track varies in width as its route follows new walking track, old forest roads and older snigging tracks.
The Conondale Range Great Walk is a Grade 4 track. Day walks within the Great Walk are classified as Grade 3 and Grade 4.
S1 Booloumba Creek day-use area to Wongai walkers’ camp—11km one way (allow 6 hours walking time)
Journey along Booloumba Creek through rainforest featuring bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), piccabeen palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) and notophyll vine forest.
Along the creek flats very tall flooded gums (Eucalyptus grandis) emerge from the rainforest. Black bean (Castanospermum australe), white booyong (Argyrodendron trifoliolatum), yellow carrabeen (Sloanea woollsii), blue quandong (Elaeocarpus grandis) and strangler figs (Ficus watkinsiana) dominate the upper canopy.
You will come across an intersection for the 800m gold mind detour. A variety of epiphytes and delicate Christmas orchids (Calanthe triplicata) feature here. Gold and manganese were the main commodities mined. Generally, gold was found in small quartz vein structures and alluvial deposits.
Further on, a side track leads to an impressive 3.7m high Strangler Cairn© sculpture by artist Andy Goldsworthy. It is made from many hand-cut granite and metamorphic blocks and includes a rainforest strangler fig sapling that is growing from the top of it. The artist’s intention being that over time the fig’s roots will grow to eventually cover and ‘strangle’ the cairn. Goldsworthy is internationally known for creating ephemeral works in natural environments around the world. Please do not climb on, damage or remove any part of the sculpture. View Arts Queensland Strangler Cairn video.
Closer to Artists Cascades, look for two distinctive rock types—phyllite and greenstone. Phyllite is bright pink or purple with a silver sheen created by small shiny flakes of mica. The colour is from traces of iron and manganese oxides deposited earlier in deep ocean mudstone. Greenstone (recrystallised basalt) is dark with a greenish tinge attributed to actinolite and chlorite minerals.
Enjoy a scenic rest at Artists Cascades, the turn-around point for day walkers. Rock-hop or get your feet wet and then start a steady climb out of Booloumba Gorge. The steps here are made from purple phyllite—its distinctive foliation layering makes it perfect for this purpose.
As you climb out of the gorge the forest changes from wet sclerophyll forest dominated by brush box (Lophostemon confertus) to open forest featuring grey ironbark (Eucalyptus siderophloia), small-fruited grey gum (Eucalyptus propinqua) and mountain bracken fern (Calochlaena dubia). Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys) and pink bloodwood (Corymbia intermedia) appear throughout. At the top of the gorge, before Kingfisher Falls viewpoint, there is a clear view back towards Mount Allan.
Epiphytes occur along the track in abundance. Birds nest fern (Asplenium australasicum), staghorn fern (Platycerium superbum), elkhorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) and king orchid (Dendrobium speciosum) can be seen. Hemi-epiphytes include candle plant (Pothos longipes), fragrant climbing fern (Microsorum scandens) and climbing fishbone fern (Arthropteris tenella).
Further along, a track spurs off to Booloumba Falls and The Breadknife. Above the falls, rock slabs comprised of greenstone are visible. The water here flows over phyllite and quartzite with vertical foliation. A lookout offers spectacular views of The Breadknife—a rock formation carved by water at the junction of Booloumba and Peters Creeks.
Back on the Great Walk track, head toward Wongai walkers’ camp. Watch out for vehicles when crossing Booloumba Creek Road. The walkers’ camp is bordered by tall open forest and set amongst a grass, herb and fern understorey.
S2 Wongai walkers’ camp to Tallowwood walkers’ camp—17km one way (allow 8 hours walking time)
The walk from Wongai walkers’ camp to Mount Gerald is the longest section of the Great Walk, so start your day early! The walk begins on undulating ground and slowly climbs in elevation.
The sheer size of the bunya pines (Araucaria bidwillii), strangler figs (Ficus watkinsiana) and yellow carrabeens (Sloanea woollsii) are an impressive feature of this area. Numerous vines (Carronia multisepalea) occur here—the host plant of the little known, giant pink underwing moth. Watch for noisy pittas and rufous fantails darting through the forest.
Picturesque gullies and creeks here provide important habitat for endangered giant barred frogs, vulnerable tusked frogs and cascade treefrogs.
Rainforest gives way to open forest and the track widens as it joins an old logging track and management roads. The track traverses South Goods Fire Management Trail—pay close attention to your map and track signs to ensure you stay on route, especially where the Great Walk track leaves the fire trail and continues on purpose-built walking track.
The rose myrtle (Archirhodomyrtus beckleri) is a common understorey shrub with glossy green leaves, pink flowers and orange berries. Large felled logs and the occasional log-loading ramp can be seen. Many old snigging tracks disappear into the forest. The short-nosed echidna may be spotted in this area.
As you walk you will notice that the rocks are deeply weathered and there are few outcrops. In the higher, wetter country, above 600m elevation, red and yellow-red soils are common. This possibly relates to the ancient plateau surface and a period of deep weathering.
The walk climbs steadily beside trickling streams and along forested ridges to Mount Gerald. This area is the watershed for both the Mary River and Brisbane River Catchments. Regent bowerbirds may be seen here.
The track follows Mount Gerald Fire Management Trail. Expansive views of the surrounding rainforest and canopy feature here. There are glimpses of the distant coastline and on a clear day the Cooloola Sandpatch can be seen. You will pass a number of peaks including Mount Langley—at 868m, it is the highest peak in the Conondale Range and Sunshine Coast region.
Now in the uppermost part of the Mary River catchment, the track skirts the headwaters of three major waterways—Booloumba, Bundaroo and Peters Creeks.
Past Mount Gerald Fire Management Trail the vegetation changes to wet sclerophyll forest. Surrounding Tallowwood walkers’ camp are blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis), brush box (Lophostemon confertus), flooded gum (Eucalyptus grandis) and mighty tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys).
S3 Tallowwood walkers’ camp to Summer Falls walkers’ camp—
15.2km one way (allow 7 hours walking time)
Approximately 500m past the walkers’ camp, beside the track, is an old disused logging arch. During the forestry era this was attached to a bulldozer and used to drag logs away for processing.
The track descends gradually through rainforest and brush box (Lophostemon confertus) dominated wet sclerophyll forest to Peters Creek. Look out for the short spur track which leads to the top of Peters Falls, providing views down Peters Creek.
On the higher knolls there are thick stands of black wattle (Acacia melanoxylon)—regrowth after past logging disturbance. You may notice trees with 'photo' painted on their trunk. The area around the 'photo' tree was photographed every few years to record regrowth after logging.
Look out for vehicles where the track crosses Sunday Creek Road. You will descend through open forest along Summer Creek. Sections of track allow for brilliant views along the creek. The banks are abundant with grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea latifolia). Rock pools are a prominent feature.
Here, and along many sections of the walk, you will see native brambles or raspberries including rose leaved brambles (Rubus rosifolius) and molucca raspberries (Rubus moluccanus). Scrambling lily (Geitonoplesium cymosum), snake vine (Stephania japonica), native yam (Dioscorea transversa), pointed-leaf hovea (Hovea acutifolia) and wombat berry (Eustrephus latifolius) also occur here.
A rush of water flows down Summer Falls plunging over hard phyllites with a vertical foliation. Thin white bands running through the rock are former sandy layers. They show the intensity of compression which has affected these rocks.
Summer Falls walkers’ camp, the final overnight destination within the Great Walk, is located in a picturesque setting bordered by brush box (Lophostemon confertus), tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys) and white mahogany (Eucalyptus acmenoides). It is within easy access to the dramatic Summer Falls.
This area is home to a variety of nocturnal animals including the mountain brushtail possum and three species of micro bat—chocolate wattled bat, eastern long-eared bat and eastern horseshoe bat.
S4 Summer Falls walkers’ camp to Booloumba Creek day-use area—
12km one way (allow 6.5 hours walking time, including Mt Allan fire tower walk—1.5km return)
Begin with a steady climb through open forest to the top of the ridge. This section follows old management roads connected with new track. There is a stark transition from dry open forest to wet sclerophyll forest.
A short section of track is shared with horse riders and mountain bike riders—watch out for other users as you walk. This shared track crosses Sunday Creek Road—watch out for vehicles.
On the way to Mount Allan, there is a clear view back toward Booloumba Gorge. Pay close attention to your map and track signs for the turn off to Mount Allan fire tower.
The track winds across the eastern side of Mount Allan showcasing views of the surrounding landscape. Rock formations and a wide diversity of plant species feature here including epiphytes such as the autumn bulbophyllum orchid (Bulbophyllum exiguum).
The peak of Mount Allan is formed by bands of pinkish quartzite. It stands high as it has resisted erosion more than the surrounding phyllite and greenstone.
Walkers can climb Mount Allan fire tower for extensive views over the Conondale Range and beyond. This provides a unique opportunity to visually retrace the Great Walk route and place the walking experience in perspective within the broader landscape.
The fire tower, originally built in 1954, was restored in 2008 with further repairs in 2014. An example of fire tower evolution, it features design elements from the 1930s, 1950s and 1990s.
From here, follow the track as it winds its way down the mountain past picturesque gullies to Booloumba Creek day-use area. Filtered views are possible as the track descends. Nearer to the final destination, the vegetation changes from wet sclerophyll forest to rainforest.
Expect the best but prepare for the worst—you are responsible for your own safety.
Sections of the Great Walk are remote and isolated. Accidents do happen, even to experienced bushwalkers. Nature can be unpredictable—storms, fires and floods can happen in a flash. Be aware of your surroundings, stay alert, use your senses and exercise sound judgement.
General safety guidelines
While out on the track follow the guidelines below for a safe and enjoyable walk.
Obey all safety and warning signs.
- Never walk alone. Small groups of four are ideal.
- Ensure experienced adults accompany children.
- Know your exit points—follow your progress on the map and know your nearest road crossings or track exit points in case you need to get out quickly.
- Avoid creek crossings during floods or after heavy rain.
- Avoid walking at night. Plan to complete your walk well before sunset.
- Watch your head! High winds can cause branches to fall.
- Don’t overheat—avoid walking in extreme heat or during periods of high fire danger.
- Be surefooted. Wear sturdy, enclosed boots or shoes.
- Stay on track!
Don’t forget to take the Conondale Range Great Walk topographic map and a compass with you. A GPS (Global Positioning System) device is a useful optional extra however make sure you pack extra batteries. Check your map regularly to mark your progress against features on the track. Plan to reach camp well before dark and before bad weather sets in. Keep your group together. If someone becomes ill or difficult weather sets in, make camp and wait for conditions to improve or help to arrive. Know your group’s limitations and change your plans as necessary.
Tank water is available at all walkers’ camps. Treat all water before use. Carry enough water for each day’s walk. It is recommended that each walker carry a minimum of four to six litres of water per day.
Where the wild things are
The Conondale Range is home to an enormous diversity of plants and animals.
Stinging trees including shiny-leaved stinging tree (Dendrocnide photinophylla) and giant stinging tree (Dendrocnide excelsa) are common along some sections of the Great Walk. Some vines such as lawyer vine (Calamus muelleri) have sharp spines and grow rapidly, sometimes overhanging the track. Avoid stings and scratches—wear protective clothing and keep away from stinging leaves and thorned vines along the track.
Animals you encounter are wild and should be treated with respect. You may encounter wild pigs, dogs and dingoes—do not approach, encourage or excite them in any way. For more information see the be dingo-safe web page.
Like most of our national parks, the Conondale Range is home to a range of snake species. Snakes prefer to avoid humans and are rarely seen. Take action to prevent snake bite—always wear shoes, watch where you walk and at night, use a torch. If you encounter a snake, calmly walk away.
Regularly check yourself for ticks throughout the day and before you go to sleep. Remove ticks immediately—refer to your first-aid book for instructions.
Bushfires can occur without warning. Early reporting can avoid disaster. Not every fire is a wildfire. Rangers carry out planned burning—usually in late autumn and winter. Affected tracks are closed and emergency authorities are notified.
Phone 000 to report a bushfire and acts of arson.
If phones don’t work and the situation is life-threatening, critical or serious—activate your emergency beacon device.
Find an appropriate area for refuge according to the conditions, such as a road, firebreak, waterway or already-cooled, burnt ground. Avoid areas with deep leaf litter. Stay low to the ground if it appears less smoky.
Do not cross creeks during floods or after heavy rain. If caught during a flash flood, stay on higher ground and wait until the waters have receded. Continue your walk only when you can cross the creeks safely.
If you think you are lost
Sit down and stay calm. Use your map and compass or GPS. Do not continue travelling until you know where you are. If you are lost, stay in one place, ration your water and food and try to contact help.
Emergency contact information
- Telephone triple zero (000) for critical, serious or life-threatening situations only.
- If communication by phone is not possible—activate your emergency beacon device.
balooruman dyungunggoo nga goong nga murang
Care for the land and the water and the animals
baloorumanu mukaran yirili giver nga yiran
Care for the white people and the black men and women
—from the Kabi Kabi people.
Our natural and cultural heritage is under constant threat from growing human pressures. Being aware of potential threats and how to minimise your impact will help you to keep this place special.
Feel privileged—you are visiting an area of high conservation and cultural significance. You can help look after this area by staying on the tracks and practising minimal impact walking. Tread softly and leave no trace!
Minimise your impact—set up camp only at the designated walkers’ camps. Use the campsites provided to protect the surrounding plants from damage. Do not dig trenches as this can cause erosion over time. Check your site thoroughly before leaving to ensure it is clean and nothing is left behind.
Rubbish—carry it out
When packing, remove unnecessary packaging to reduce what you’ll have to carry. Keep a small bag handy for disposing food scraps and rubbish as you walk.
Solid waste and litter is unsightly and can injure or kill wildlife. You must not bury rubbish because this alters nutrient levels in the soil, leaves man-made waste that may take years to decompose and can be dug up by wildlife.
Bins are not provided along the Great Walk—all rubbish must be carried out of the park for appropriate disposal.
For more information watch the 'Rubbish: take it home' video.
Campfires are prohibited on the walk and at walkers' camps—use fuel stoves.
Open fires increase the risk of wildfires; collecting firewood tramples plants and removes habitat; and firewood carried in can introduce pathogens, fire ants, toads and other pests. Carry a fuel stove for cooking. Use manufactured fuel appropriate for the appliance. Test your fuel stove before you leave home. Avoid causing a fire—don’t leave fuel stoves unattended and never use them inside your tent.
Bush hygiene—keep it clean!
Toilets are located at all walkers’ camps. Away from toilets, avoid polluting waterways by using a small trowel to bury all faecal waste and toilet paper at least 100 metres from creeks and 15 centimetres deep. Tread carefully to avoid damaging plants and small animals.
Consider using a human waste disposal kit to pack your waste out. Kits are available from camping stores. Wash away from waterways and use hot water and scourers to clean dishes. Detergent, soap, skin cream, insect repellent, sunscreen and toothpaste pollute water and damage aquatic life.
For more information watch the 'Bush toileting and washing' video.
Do the frogs and forest a favour
Soil and detritus can contain fungal spores that are harmful to the frogs and the forest. Be frog friendly and help to stop the spread of amphibian chytrid fungus and phytophthora:
- Clean and disinfect your footwear and camping equipment before entering the park. Watch the 'Stop the spread of weeds and pathogens' video for more information.
- Remove soil from your footwear and camping gear before leaving an area.
- Keep to designated roads and tracks and creek crossings.
- Keep waterways clean.
- Avoid disturbing rocks or trampling plants.
If you are lucky enough to encounter a frog, do not touch it. If it is unusual, take a photograph; note its approximate size and where you saw it on your map for later identification.
A significant number of frog species depend on this area for survival, including the endangered Fleay’s barred frog, giant barred frog and vulnerable cascade treefrog and tusked frog. The southern dayfrog and southern gastric brooding frog are thought to be extinct, as despite considerable research, neither species have been sighted since 1981.
Walk quietly for the birds
Birdcall mimicry can cause distress and may disrupt bird feeding and breeding activity. Many birds live here including species that are struggling for survival such as the endangered eastern bristlebird, vulnerable plumed frogmouth and threatened powerful owl.
Walk quietly—you’ll hear many birds and might be lucky enough to experience some close encounters.
Keep wildlife wild
Human food is bad for wildlife—keep food hidden in your pack or tent and leave no rubbish behind. Wildlife can become ill on an unnatural diet and can exhibit aggressive behaviour when seeking food.
Remember, this area is totally protected. It is illegal to remove or damage anything—living or non-living.
See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.
- Great Sandy Information Centre to reopen from Friday 10 July 10 July to 10 August 2020