Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk Brisbane | Gold Coast

Photo credit: Robert Ashdown © Queensland Government

Frequently asked questions

    Are there any wheelchair-accessible sections on the walk?

    • The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk is a grade 4 track that does not accommodate wheelchair access. Shorter walks both in Springbrook and Lamington national parks are available (see below information).
    • Springbrook National Park has wheelchair-assisted access in the Mount Cougal section along the 800m bitumen Cascades track. On Springbrook plateau, wheelchair-assisted access is possible at the Goomoolahra and Gwongorella day-use areas. The Goomoolahra Falls and Canyon lookouts, which have superb views of waterfalls and the Gold Coast, and the Buliya-buliya jagun—land of many little birds boardwalk near Gauriemabah—place of stories, are suitable for wheelchairs with assistance.
    • Lamington National Park has a wheelchair-accessible track at Green Mountains section—Centenary track, and wheel chair-accessible toilets. A trail for people who are sight-impaired is located on Binna Burra Mountain Lodge land.

    Is there public transport to Green Mountains (O'Reilly), Binna Burra and Springbrook?

    • There is no public transport to and from Green Mountains (O’Reilly), Binna Burra or Springbrook plateau.

    Where was the ancient volcano?

    • The rugged mountains of the Gold Coast hinterland are the remnants of the northern flank of the ancient Tweed Volcano that erupted about 25 to 23 million years ago.
    • It was a broad dome or shield-shaped mountain about 2000m high, extending from Mount Tamborine in the north to Lismore in the south and centred over the present Mount Warning in New South Wales. It was built up from numerous flows of basalt, some of rhyolite, and some beds of tuff.
    • Once the volcano ceased erupting, streams radiating from the summit gradually eroded valleys and cliff-fringed gorges to form an 'erosion caldera'.
    • The east-flowing Tweed River in New South Wales has been the most active and has removed most of the eastern and central parts of the volcano making it hollow in the centre and creating an 'erosion caldera' (a caldera is a large circular depression beneath the summit of a volcanic mountain).

    What is Gondwana?

    • Gondwana is the name of an ancient super continent that existed in the south of the globe about 120 million years ago.
    • Gondwana once included the present-day continents of South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica, along with India, New Zealand, New Guinea, Madagascar, Arabia and other parts of the present Middle East.
    • Some 120 million years ago, Gondwana began to break up. The land masses of South America and Africa separated first. Madagascar and India followed. Australia remained attached to Antarctica until about 80 million years ago, after which it began to move northwards. Small fragments also moved eastwards to form the beginnings of New Zealand and New Caledonia.
    • The break-up of Gondwana, as a result of continental drift, played a major role in determining the present day distribution of southern hemisphere plants and animals.
    • Gondwana also forms part of the world heritage name for this area—Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. This area protects forests that once covered most of the southern supercontinent Gondwana that contain some of the most ancient plants in Australia. This area protects warm temperate, cool temperate, subtropical and dry rainforests as well as nearly all of the world’s Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest.
    • Rainforests of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, which extends to Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales, contain more frog, snake, bird and marsupial species than anywhere else in Australia. This site provides a home for many rare and threatened plants and animals and ancient life forms—many link back to the original landform of Gondwana.

    What is continental drift?

    • The Earth’s surface consists of crustal plates that move and jostle against each other as a consequence of large convection currents within the Earth’s mantle.
    • There are seven large plates and many smaller plates (5 to 50km thick) that drift around the Earth’s surface.

    What is rhyolite?

    • Rhyolite is a light-coloured, fine-grained volcanic or intrusive rock.
    • Some flows of rhyolite lava, inter-layered with the basalts, are more resistant to erosion and remain as spectacular light-coloured cliff lines, such as the ones found on Springbrook and near Binna Burra.
    • Rhyolite soils are less fertile and support only eucalypt forest or heath vegetation. You will see these as you walk from Binna Burra to the Woonoongoora walkers’ camp.
    • The Koolanbilba lookout on the Ships Stern circuit from Binna Burra is part of the rhyolite lava flow that makes up the Ships Stern Range.

    What is tuff?

    • Tuff is a rock composed of consolidated fine fragments from volcanic eruptions.
    • The isolated Turtle Rock is almost entirely tuff and Yangahla Lookout, on the Ships Stern circuit, is on top of beds of tuff.

    What is the geology of Egg Rock?

    • Egg Rock ('Kurraragin') is a plug of rhyolite that filled a subsidiary vent on the side of the Tweed Volcano.

    What are the white cliffs of Waterfall Creek valley?

    • Waterfall Creek valley is a great amphitheatre walled by spectacular white cliffs of a thick rhyolite flow from the Tweed Volcano.

    What is basalt?

    • Basalt is a dark grey or black, fine-grained rock usually erupted as lava flows from volcanoes, but can also occur in dykes, sills and plugs.
    • Deep weathering of the basalt lavas has produced fertile soils that support rainforest where rainfall is high.
    • The Border Track traverses some of the highest remaining basalt lavas from the Tweed Volcano.

    Where do I find more information about the geology of this area?

    What is phytophthora?

    • Phytophthora root rot is a plant disease caused by the soil fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi. The fungus was probably introduced into Australia through European settlement and has now spread to affect hundreds of thousands of hectares of native vegetation, especially in Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and coastal Queensland.
    • P. cinnamomi fungus grows through the root system (and sometimes the stem) of a plant, destroying it and preventing the plant from absorbing water and nutrients. The first symptom of a plant infected by phytophthora root rot is wilting and yellowing of the foliage. The foliage then dries out and the young feeder roots darken. Infected plants usually die from lack of water and nutrients, although some can survive the disease.
    • Once the fungus has spread through the root system of a plant, it releases zoospores (asexual spores) into the surrounding soil, if the conditions are warm and moist. The spores easily spread through stormwater and drainage water. During drought or when temperatures are cooler, P. cinnamomi produces two different types of spores—chlamydospores and oospores that can survive for long periods of time in soil or dead plant material. When conditions become more favourable for the spores they will germinate and infect new plants.
    • Major human activities that may spread phytophthora root rot include road building, timber harvesting, mine exploration, the nursery trade and bushwalking.

    What is myrtle rust?

    • Myrtle rust is a serious fungal disease, caused by Uredo rangelii or Puccinia psidii, that belongs to the eucalyptus or guava rust complex of rust fungi. It requires a living host and affects plants in the Myrtaceae family. It is spread by wind, human activity and animals.
    • The Myrtaceae family of plants dominate most Australian forests and woodlands, and are the second largest plant family in Queensland with 601 native species. This family includes eucalypts, bloodwoods, bottlebrushes, paperparks, tea trees, lilly pillies and water gums.
    • Myrtle rust is native to South America but was first detected in New South Wales in April 2010. By December, it was present in some areas of Queensland.
    • While the fungus and the spores are believed to be non-toxic to wildlife, it is likely to make foliage and fruits less palatable as well as affecting their nutritional values.
    • Myrtle rust poses no known threat to humans; however, visitors to national parks can help reduce its spread. Report all suspect plants immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.
    • Information is being gathered on myrtle rust’s host species range and disease distribution in Queensland environmental conditions. Laboratory host testing of a range of important commercial and ecological Australian species is also being undertaken by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and other research agencies.

    What is amphibian chytrid fungus?

    • Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease that affects amphibians worldwide. It is caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a fungus capable of causing sporadic deaths in some amphibian populations and 100% mortality in others.
    • The disease has been implicated in the mass die-offs and species extinctions of frogs since the 1990s, but its origin and true impact on frog populations remains uncertain and continues to be investigated.