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Frequently asked questions

Are there any wheelchair-accessible sections on the walk?

  • The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk is a class 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 walking 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 information centre lookout and boardwalk, are suitable for wheelchairs with assistance.
  • Lamington National Park has a wheelchair-accessible track at Green Mountains section—Centenary track, and 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) or Binna Burra, or to 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 Woonoongoora?

  • The name 'Woonoongoora' is the phonetic spelling for 'Wanungra' and refers to the Yugambeh legend of how the rivers were born.
  • Naming a section of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk 'Woonoongoora section' acknowledges the significant value and meaning of the area to the Yugambeh people and also pays respect to the original intentions of Romeo Lahey, who successfully lobbied government in 1915 for the creation of Lamington National Park. Lahey initially wanted Lamington Plateau to be known by its Aboriginal name, 'Wanungara' (Woonoongoora).
  • The Woonoongoora story tells that long ago, Mount Woonoongoora (Wanungra), Queen of the Mountains had twin daughters—the silver streams, Princesses 'Tooloona' and 'Caningera' (Canungra). They planned to flow to the ocean northwards by young Mount 'Jamborin' (Tamborine) then eastwards overtaking the waters of the 'Koomooroo' (Coomera) Princesses, daughters of 'Illinbah' and 'Hobwee', who were betrothed to 'Jamborin'.
  • But Queen Woonoongoora was sad as her daughters had defied her wishes. For centuries, she had watched across a great valley to lonely, isolated Mount Nimbin and wished her daughters would go that way to the ocean. In her wrath and despair she sent rain, wind and flood. The frightened Princesses ran wildly trying vainly to cross the hills where the 'Koomooroo' Princesses were flooding the foothills of 'Jamborin'.
  • Drenched by the fury of Mount Woonoongoora’s wrath, Mount 'Jamborin' sent his flood waters down to the loyal 'Koomooroo' Princesses, down past 'Illinbah' and 'Hobwee', eastward to the ocean.
  • The mountains, rivers and valleys have grown very old. You may stand on old 'Jamborin’s' southern shoulder and see the valleys of the 'Koomooroo' and 'Caningera' carved so deep that there can be no turning back or joining together.
  • This story was translated by Arthur Groom in the late 1930s.

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 is the legend of Kurraragin?

  • 'Kurraragin' has its own legend. 'Gurilabo'—A long time ago, it was told that 'Kurraragin' was a giant who engaged in battle with enormous neighbouring landforms. Standing tall and towering over them, 'Kurraragin' was able to defeat them all and maintain his position of glory as king of all the mountains and a landmark of great significance to Yugambeh people.

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?

  • See the Geological Society of Australia Queensland Division website
  • To purchase the booklet ‘Rocks and Landscapes of the National Parks of Southern Queensland’ contact:
    Geological Society of Australia Queensland Division
    GPO Box 1820, Brisbane Qld 4001
    ph (07) 3368 2066
    fax (07) 3367 1011

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 planning occurred for the Great Walk?

  • The Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities declared the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk proposal a 'controlled action' under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This means it must meet the highest standards of environmental legislation and stewardship.
  • Consultants Parsons-Brinckerhoff, with the assistance of the then Environmental Protection Agency, co-ordinated a scientific assessment of all potential environmental impacts of the proposal. The impact assessment report brought together information from a wide range of sources and public comment.
  • The Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture completed a cultural heritage assessment of the Great Walk proposal. The assessment team researched cultural heritage sites and artifacts along the length of the track and made recommendations about managing potential visitor impacts to significant sites.
  • A comprehensive environmental management plan and a cultural heritage management plan were prepared to guide building, maintaining, operating and monitoring the proposed Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
  • Tracks are maintained in accordance with the Australian Standards for track construction, which set best-practice standards.
  • Queensland Parks and Wlidlife Service is committed to protecting the area’s internationally significant natural and cultural values.
Last updated
17 March 2017