Visiting the Sunshine Coast Great Walk safely
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk winds through the scenic Blackall Range, approximately 90km north of Brisbane.
Travel on the Bruce Highway (M1) and take the Blackall Range tourist drive (23) turnoff. There are scenic views of mountains and valleys to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east.
This Great Walk was constructed with multiple access points to give visitors different walking experiences along the top of the Blackall Range meandering through three reserves. You can walk the whole track (58.8km) and camp in beautiful settings or do shorter sections as half-day and full-day options.
Doing the whole walk?
Start at the Baroon Pocket entrance near Montville and finish at the Delicia Road entrance.
Purchase the detailed Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk Topographic Map brochure to carry with you on your walk.
There are four major access points
Drive from Montville and follow the signs towards Baroon Pocket Dam via Western Avenue and Narrows Road. Turn right into the Great Walk (GW) entrance car park just before the Baroon Pocket Dam picnic area.
Refer to Baroon Section map (access guide only).
Kondalilla National Park
Access is via the Montville–Mapleton Road, turn west into Kondalilla Falls Road.
Refer to Baroon Section map (access guide only).
Mapleton Falls National Park
From Mapleton township turn west onto Obi Obi road and turn right into Mapleton Falls Road.
Refer to Mapleton Falls Section map (access guide only).
Mapleton National Park (Delicia Road entrance)
From Mapleton township take the Obi Obi Road and turn right into Delicia Road. From here the Great Walk entrance is approximately 2km on the right-hand side of the road.
Refer to Mapleton Section (Delicia Road entrance) map (access guide only).
Other minor access points
Car parks and toilets are available at the Mapleton day-use area along Mapleton Forest Road. There is limited space for car parking and no facilities at these minor access points:
- Mapleton Forest Drive
- Flaxton Mill Road
- Leafy Lane trailhead.
You could park a vehicle at each end of the walk and when your group finishes the walk, drive someone back to the starting point to pick up the other car.
Arrange for a friend or taxi to collect you when you finish the walk and return you to your vehicle which you've parked at the starting point.
Make sure to remove any valuables, including garage door remotes and house keys, if leaving your car.
If you are concerned about vehicle security while you're on the walk, consider arranging to be dropped off and collected when you finish the walk. Arrange this with family or friends or use a local taxi service.
Travelling by public transport
Catch a bus or train to Nambour—see Translink website—and then take a Sunshine Coast Hinterland bus to Montville, which is approximately 5.5km from the Baroon Pocket entrance point, or hop off at Flaxton Barn, which is part way along Great Walk route.
- Assess your groups’ abilities
- Prepare an emergency plan
- Check conditions before heading off
- Essentials to bring
- Emergency beacon devices
- Permits and fees
- Climate and weather
- Severe weather
- Fuel and supplies
The Great Walk is rugged in places and natural hazards exist. To enjoy a safe and memorable experience you'll need to be:
- safety conscious; trained in 'remote area' first-aid
- properly prepared; emergency plan in place
- able to navigate using a topographic map and compass
- aware of track conditions, weather, possible hazards (bushfires, floods)
- physically fit
- an experienced bushwalker
- with at least one other experienced bushwalker; never walk alone!
You can use the online copy of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk topographic map to plan your trip with your group.
Never walk alone. Small groups of four people are ideal; no more than 12. Consider:
- everyone’s bushwalking experience
- fitness levels
- special needs
- contingencies—bad weather, illness, injury
- sharing equipment to lighten backpacks.
This should include:
- each walker's name and their next-of-kin or best-contact details for each person in your group
- any medical conditions your walkers may have
- detailed walking itinerary
- entry and exit points
- contingency plan
- mobile/satellite phone numbers of each walker in the group.
- are prepared to postpone or cancel the walk if conditions are too dangerous
- leave a copy of the emergency plan with each walker's best-contact person
- tell them about any last minute changes to your walking plans
- call them as soon as you have completed the walk
- tell them to call Queensland Police Service, if you are overdue and they suspect you need rescuing.
- Check RACQ for the latest road conditions
- Bureau of Meteorology for weather conditions and forecasts
- Check the park alerts for:
You must be fully self-sufficient. Local shops and facilities may not carry everything you need. Your camping equipment should include the following:
- navigation equipment, topographic map, compass and whistle
- remote area first-aid kit—and know how to use it. At least one person in your group should be first-aid trained.
- enough compression bandages for injury or snake bite
- a compass and topographic map
- your camping permit
- enough drinking water for your entire walk
- water treatment tablets or purification kit or a container for boiling water before use
- nourishing lightweight food and high-energy snacks
- clothes for all conditions—hot, cold, wet, dry
- strong, lightweight tent—no shelters are provided at walkers’ camps
- lightweight sleeping bag and sleeping mat
- sturdy enclosed footwear
- a hat
- insect repellent
- waterproof bags for clothes and bedding
- sealable containers for food and rubbish
- small hand trowel, spade and toilet paper for bush toiletting or human waste disposal kit
- torch, extra batteries and pocket knife
- lightweight cooking and eating utensils and a washing up container
- fuel stove and fuel
- waterproof matches or lighter for your fuel stove—remember fires are not permitted
- a satellite phone, as mobile phone reception is very limited and, in most sections, non-existent
- Global Positioning System (GPS) device (reception unreliable) and extra batteries.
Remember that battery powered devices cannot be recharged anywhere on the Great Walk. Don't rely only on them.
You should carry at least one type of emergency communication device. A hand-held EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is recommended, however coverage may be variable. These devices can be hired from various outlets. Before you leave, ensure you register your EPIRB or PLB. For more information on how to obtain and register an EPIRB or PLB contact the Australian Maritime Safety Authority by phone 1800 406 406 (business hours), or email: email@example.com.
Permits are required for camping in all Queensland national parks and reserves. You may be sharing with a few other walkers in the remote camping areas. Camp sites may be limited—book early. Bookings can be made up to 12 months in advance.
Hot days and warm nights grace Blackall Range summers, while winter months bring mild sunny days and cool nights. Choose the best time of year to walk, but be aware that weather conditions can change suddenly.
- March – October: best time for walking
- September – February: hot, and can get stormy, especially in the afternoon
- December – March: the plateau's wet season, so expect damp to wet track conditions
- Temperatures can rise above 30ºC in summer and drop to 0ºC overnight in winter.
Be aware: Fire season! Tracks may be closed.
- September – February is wildfire season, so tracks may be closed for safety, due to the danger caused by wildfires or severe fire conditions.
- May – August is time for QPWS planned burns and tracks affected by the operations will be closed for safety.
Rangers may have to close walking tracks, roads and walkers' camps during extreme weather events. As much notice as possible is given, when closures are put in place, to Great Walkers who have booked their camping. When booking, leave your best-contact details. Before you leave home:
Check weather forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Check park alerts for current access, closures and conditions before you go.
Also check park alerts for:
Fuel and supplies are available in Montville, Mapleton and Maleny. For more information see the tourism information links.