Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk Sunshine Coast

Photo credit: Adam Creed © Queensland Government

Be inspired: A taste of Queensland’s Great Walks—take a day hike!

Have you always wanted to have a sneak-peak of one of Queensland’s Great Walks? Photo credit: Greg Cartwright © Queensland Government

Be inspired: Explore the Sunshine and Fraser coasts—your go-to weekend escapes!

They’re renowned for surf and sun-drenched beaches, and deservedly-so, but take a closer look and you’ll find the Sunshine and Fraser coasts have so much more in store! Photo credit: Adam Creed © Queensland Government

Walking

    Image of the open forest along this Thilba Thalba section of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk track.

    Stroll through open forest along this Thilba Thalba section of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk track.

    Photo credit: © Ross Naumann, QPWS volunteer

    Walking options

    The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk traverses 58.8km through the Blackall Range and takes at least four days to complete. It traverses through three national parks and has three bush camp sites. Multiple access points allow you to choose from a range of shorter walks within the Great Walk route.

    The on-screen, low resolution Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk (PDF, 3.8MB) map can also be used as a guide to plan your walk—but do not use it while walking the entire Great Walk.

    Use online topographic maps that can be downloaded from websites such as QTopo to navigate on your walk. The graded walking tracks are covered in the following QldMapSheets at 1:25,000:

    QTopo map tip! - If you are unfamiliar with QTopo, there is a user guide that includes a tutorial to assist with the QTopo application and map features.

    Image of the view from Narrows lookout.

    View from Narrows lookout.

    Photo credit: © Ross Naumann, QPWS volunteer

    Image of walkers enjoying a steep climb in the fresh air up Gheerulla Bluff.

    Enjoy a steep climb in the fresh air up Gheerulla Bluff.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    Image of a portable fuel stove which are light and easy to carry.

    Portable fuel stoves are light and easy to carry.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    Please be aware of the track conditions and limits on group size:

    • The ideal group size is four. Do not exceed 12 people in a group. Do not walk alone.
    • A permit is required for a commercial activity or organised event (including a competitive and sporting event) that is held along the Great Walk. For more details see Permits and fees.

    Track conditions

    The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk area is rugged. Be aware of what to expect and how to deal with problems. The track:

    • traverses urban and rural land in between national parks
    • follows footpaths and roadsides in some sections; take care and be alert to vehicle traffic!
    • varies from standard walking-track width to narrow-road width where it follows old forest roads
    • is clearly marked
    • can have hazards such as fallen trees and rocks
    • has some very steep gradients
    • becomes muddy and slippery in parts
    • has creek crossings with rocks that are very slippery when wet.

    Do not attempt creek crossings during high rainfall; flash floods can occur without warning. If you are caught out unexpectedly, do not cross—wait it out. Check the weather forecast before setting out and do not attempt this walk when high rainfall or severe storm weather conditions are predicted.

    The Great Walk!

    The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk is identified by four main sections:

    1. Baroon Pocket Dam (M1) to Flaxton walkers’ camp
    2. Flaxton walkers’ camp to Ubajee walkers’ camp
    3. Ubajee walkers’ camp to Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp
    4. Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp to Delicia Road entrance (M4)

    Be aware!

    • Distances and times are estimates only—they do not include rest stops.
    • Winter days are shorter; always plan to reach your destination well before dark.
    • Mobile phone reception is not reliable in many places along the walk.
    • Ensure you use topographic maps and plan well before you visit.

    Track notes

    Section 1: Baroon Pocket Dam (M1) to Flaxton walkers’ camp—16.1km one way (allow 7hr)

    1st leg: Baroon Pocket Dam to Baroon Lookout

    Grade 3

    Distance: 2.2km one way
    Time: allow 1–2hr
    Details: The Great Walk track starts at the Baroon Pocket Dam. It passes through open woodland along ridges and crosses bridges and boardwalks over palm-lined streams. A short spur track, 265m from the start, leads to Obi Obi Creek. Another spur track, 225m long, leads to Narrows lookout, which provides a splendid view over the Narrows Gorge. The main track continues up a ridge to a large gully. Stay on the boardwalk, further up the track, to protect the habitat of the hip-pocket frog Assa darlingtoni from being trampled. Baroon lookout offers spectacular views of Obi Obi Gorge, Baroon Pocket Dam and its catchment.

    2nd leg: Baroon lookout to Kondalilla National Park day-use area (M2)

    Grade 3 and Grade 4

    Distance: 9.2km one way
    Time: allow 5–6hr
    Details: This challenging section takes in the beauty of Kondalilla Falls and patches of rainforest in the deeper valleys. The track leads from Baroon lookout down a steep slope to the banks of Obi Obi Creek. The track crosses many of the creek's feeder gullies as it winds alongside 'The Obi' to the junction with Skene Creek. This section of track ends at the day-use area and is a good place to arrange for your transport to pick you up after a day's walk.

    3rd leg: Kondalilla National Park (M2) to Flaxton walkers’ camp

    Grade 3

    Distance: 4.7km one way
    Time: allow 2–3hr
    Details: This leg of the walk follows the road system connecting Kondalilla National Park to Flaxton walkers’ camp. Walk east along the footpath on Falls Road to the intersection with Montville–Mapleton Road, which is the main road across the Blackall Range. Head north along the road to Flaxton Mill Road and follow this road to the Great Walks entrance. Then follow the Great Walk track for 1.2km to the Flaxton walkers’ camp.

    • The closest road access to Flaxton Walkers camp is 1.2km at Flaxton Mill trailhead on Flaxton Mill Road.

    Section 2: Flaxton walkers’ camp to Ubajee walkers’ camp—13.1km one way (allow 7hr)

    1st leg: Flaxton walkers’ camp to Mapleton Falls National Park (M3)

    Grade 3 and Grade 4

    Distance: 5.9km one way
    Time: allow 2–3hr
    Details: Leave the Flaxton walkers’ camp and head north on the fire management trail for about 250m. The track heads north down a very steep slope with many rocky outcrops. The walking track veers off the fire management trail and continues down into the valley via a very steep slope with many rocky outcrops. Be careful, here, to stay on the track to avoid loose rocks and steep drop-offs.

    The track passes from open forest to rainforest on the lower slopes before entering a piccabeen palm forest on Baxter Creek’s banks. You'll see many epiphytes such as staghorns, elkhorns and crow's nest ferns. These plants grow on other plants without taking nutrients or water from them. Follow the track to the rock-strewn creek where there's another short track leading to the waterfall’s base.

    Cross the creek via the suspension bridge, then head back up the steep slope out of the park onto Suses Pocket Road. At the T junction, continue west along the footpath on Obi Obi Road and then along the footpath of Mapleton Falls Road to get to Mapleton Falls National Park.

    2nd leg: Mapleton Falls National Park (M3) to Mapleton National Park (M4: Delicia Road entrance)

    Grade 3 and Grade 4

    Distance: 2.1km one way
    Time: allow 1.5hr
    Details: Take the Wompoo circuit track from the lookout at Mapleton Falls National Park. Look for and take the Great Walk track at the upper end of the circuit. Head north, out of the park for 400m along Daymar Road. Walk straight across Delicia Road and enter the open sclerophyll forest of Mapleton National Park. The M4 meeting point (Delicia Road entrance) is only 500m from the road crossing.

    3rd leg: Mapleton National Park (M4: Delicia Road entrance) to Ubajee walkers’ camp

    Grade 3 and Grade 4

    Distance: 5.1km one way
    Time: allow 2–3hr
    Details: Follow the Linda Garrett track along the headwaters of Gheerulla Creek. The track joins the firebreak network and a multi-use track network. Walkers need to follow the Great Walk signs, but be aware that you'll share the first 2.3km of this track with mountain-bike riders and horseriders. The Great Walk leaves the multi-use track to access Ubajee walkers’ camp that is situated at the Gheerulla valley’s edge. There are impressive views down the Gheerulla valley from the nearby Ubajee viewpoint.

    • the closest road access to Ubajee walkers’ camp is 2.9km at Leafy Lane trailhead on Mapleton Forest Road.

    Section 3: Ubajee walkers’ camp to Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp—13.5km one way (allow 7hr)

    1st leg: Ubajee walkers’ camp to Gheerulla Bluff

    Grade 4

    Distance: 11.2km one way
    Time: allow 5–6hr
    Details: Leave Ubajee walkers’ camp and head north along the track that winds south again to the track junction. At the track junction, head north to Thilba Thalba. There are several creek crossings on this leg.

    Take care!

    Flash floods can wash you away.

    • Don't attempt to cross Gheerulla Creek during or after heavy rain as it is prone to flash flooding.
    • Don't attempt to cross it if heavy rainfall is expected in the area.
    • Expect to get your footwear wet crossing the creeks, even in normal conditions.

    You'll notice the Great Walk track eventually joins an old logging road at the base of the slope. This gradually leads uphill and over a ridge. This is a pleasant walk with lots of bird song, often heard near the creeks.

    The vegetation soon changes to a drier, open woodland as you get higher on the slopes of the lower Gheerulla valley. Get ready for a steep climb! The track heads away from the creek to a rocky ridge that leads up to Gheerulla Bluff.

    2nd leg: Gheerulla Bluff to Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp

    Grade 4

    Distance: 2.3km one way
    Time: allow 1–2hr
    Details: Walk along the ridge through dry, scribbly gum forest that offers views over the Mary Valley to Kenilworth, Conondale Range, Gympie and north to the Cooloola sand blow.

    A spur track leads up to a knoll—Thilba Thalba viewpoint—with views over the lower Gheerulla valley to Mapleton National Park’s western section. Continue on the track to Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp.

    Section 4: Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp to Delicia Road entrance (M4)—16.1 km one way (allow 9–10hr)

    OR a shorter option: Thilba Thalba walkers' camp to Mapleton Forest Road—13.7km one way (allow 8hr)

    • Exit sooner at the Leafy Lane trailhead onto Mapleton Forest Road. Car parking is very limited.
    1st leg: Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp to Gheerulla Falls

    Grade 4

    Distance: 8.8km one way
    Time: allow 4hr
    Details: The wide natural surface of this track section follows easy grades over dry woodland ridges and moister forests of the valley heads. You'll see brilliant views of the Gheerulla valley and beyond. The legacy of logging and land clearing is evident along the track.

    Keep following the ridgeline. The track takes you along a section of Delicia Road. Cross over the road and head east along the fence-line track which follows the cutting of the original pioneers’ road, known locally as the Hindu Track.

    The track crosses Delicia Road again at a gate and continues down through wet sclerophyll forest to a small clearing on the banks of Gheerulla Creek. From here, a 100m spur track leads up to Gheerulla Falls.

    2nd leg: Gheerulla Falls to Delicia Road entrance

    Grade 4

    Distance: 7.3km one way
    Time: allow 4–5hr
    Details: Take the main track from the clearing and cross the creek. From here, head up the ridge to the track junction, taking the north-east track to the exit at Leafy Lane trailhead on the Mapleton Forest Road or further on to exit at Delicia Road entrance (M4).

    • The closest road access to Thilba Thalba walkers’ camp is 400m at Delicia Road.

    Before setting out, please read below:

    Walk safely

    Sections of the Great Walk are remote and isolated. Be prepared, even on short walks, and judge your ability and conditions carefully before setting out. Do not expect to be warned of every possible danger. Accidents have happened, even to experienced bushwalkers. Plan your walk before you go.

    Be prepared

    • Have an emergency plan.
    • Carry topographic maps, compass and whistle.
    • Carry communication equipment, a first-aid kit and other essentials.
    • Check weather conditions a day or two before starting your walk.
    • Check for fire danger, track closures and other park alerts before you leave on your walk.
    • Before you start your walk always tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return. Have an emergency plan in place if you fail to contact them by an agreed time.

    Be familiar with first aid procedures for:

    • blisters
    • heat exhaustion
    • hyperthermia
    • snakebite
    • sprained or strained ankles.

    Read the general safety guidelines under staying safe.

    In an emergency

    • Call Triple Zero (000) for all emergencies. Download the Triple Zero emergency app before leaving home—it will help identify your location.
    • Call 106 for a text-only message for deaf or speech or hearing-impaired callers.
    • Advise the nature of the emergency and your location. Stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.
    • If communication by phone is not possible—activate your emergency beacon device.

    For more information, please read the General safety in parks and forests guidelines.

    Fire safety

    Bushfires can pose a threat to walkers. They can occur without warning so be aware of and prepared for the dangers.

    • If there is a bushfire, follow the track to the nearest road, firebreak or waterway for refuge.
    • Burnt ground, large logs or a ditch can also provide protection.
    • Avoid areas of heavy fuel, such as deep leaf litter, and stay low to the ground where the air is coolest and contains the least smoke.
    • In extreme conditions, the walking track may be closed for your safety. Please observe all signs.

    Rangers carry out planned hazard reduction burning so check park alerts for updates on scheduled burning before you go.

    If you see a fire, please phone Triple Zero (000).

    Flood safety

    • 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.
    • In extreme wet conditions, the walking track will be closed for your safety. Please observe all signs.

    Road safety

    Sections of the Great Walk are outside of the national parks—use existing roads—take care and be alert to vehicle traffic!

    For more information watch the Creek and road crossing safety web clip.

    Bites, stings and scratches

    • You may encounter wild pigs, dogs and dingoes—do not approach, encourage or excite them in any way.
    • Detour around snakes; never provoke them.
    • Wear protective clothing and insect repellent to protect yourself from bites and stings from ticks, leeches and other insects, and to avoid skin contact with stinging plants.
    • Regularly check yourself for ticks and leeches throughout the day and before you go to sleep. Remove them immediately following Queensland Health first aid advice.
    • Stinging and scratching plants to beware of include:

    For more tips on staying safe in national parks see be wildlife aware and stay safe and visit with care.

    Walk softly

    You are visiting one of Queensland's natural treasures. Help to look after the hinterland parks: tread softly and leave no trace!

    Camping

    • Only use existing sites at walkers’ camps.
    • Do not dig trenches or flatten or break any vegetation.
    • Leave your site in the same or better condition than when you found it
    • Check your site thoroughly before leaving to ensure nothing is left behind.

    Rubbish

    • Reduce your rubbish by bringing as little packaging as possible. There are no rubbish bins on the Great Walk.
    • All rubbish (including food scraps and bagged sanitary products) must be carried out. Carry a small rubbish bag so that even tiny scraps of tin foil, sweet wrappers and cigarette butts can be carried out.
    • You can help the park by bringing out any other rubbish you find.

    For more information watch the Rubbish: take it home web clip.

    Use fuel stoves only

    • No open fires are permitted along the Great Walk. Penalties apply.
    • Carry gas or liquid spirit stoves for cooking. Test equipment before you go and never cook in your tent.
    • Do not leave stoves unattended when lit.

    For more information watch the Fire and fuel stoves web clip.

    Toilets

    • Use toilets where provided. All three walkers' camps have hybrid toilets, that use a specialised treatment process to decompose the waste.
      • They can only decompose faecal waste, urine and toilet paper.
      • Do not place any rubbish, tissues, wet wipes, plastics or sanitary items into toilets.
      • Always close the lid after use.
    • Where there are no toilets, bury human waste and toilet paper at least 100m from camp sites, tracks and waterways, and about 15 to 20cm deep.
    • Take all sanitary items with you—they do not decompose. Clip seal bags are handy storage until you can dispose of the waste responsibly.
    • Use a human waste disposal kit and take it out with you when you have completed your walk. Kits are available from some camping stores. Please follow manufacturer’s directions on the packet and dispose of waste responsibly.

    For more information watch the Bush toileting and washing web clip.

    Keep waterways clean

    Obi Obi Creek flows into the Mary River—the main water source for Kenilworth, Gympie and Maryborough. Please don't pollute their drinking water with soap, detergent, skin creams, repellents, toothpaste, urine and food scraps.

    • Do not let detergent, soap, shampoo and toothpaste get into the creeks.
    • Don't wash in the creeks; the sunscreen or insect repellent you're wearing will kill aquatic life.
    • Use hot water and a scourer to clean dishes instead of detergents.
    • Wash dishes and clothes at least 100m from waterways.
    • Do not toilet in or within 100m of waterways.

    Pathogen control

    Don’t let your walk destroy the forest—stop the spread of phytophthora (a root fungus that causes dieback in trees) and other pathogens such as myrtle rust and amphibian chytrid fungus .

    • Please clean and disinfect your footwear and camping equipment either at home using a disinfectant or before starting your walk. Watch the Stop the spread of weeds and pathogens web clip for more information.
    • Keep all gear as clean and free from soil as possible during the walk.
    • Keep to designated roads and walking tracks at all times.

    Be frog friendly

    A significant number  of frog species depend on this area for survival, including the endangered Fleay’s barred frog and giant barred frog, the vulnerable cascade treefrog and tusked frog, and the hip-pocket 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.

    • Please do not disturb, handle or remove frogs, their eggs or tadpoles.
    • Do not use or discard soap, detergent, shampoo, sunscreen, insect repellent or any other potential pollutant in creeks or along the banks.
    • Keep to walking tracks and when the track traverses a creek, cross directly where the track enters and exits the creek.
    • Please do not disturb or remove rocks or trample vegetation in or directly adjacent to creeks.

    Keep wildlife wild

    • Do not feed any native wildlife. Human food is often harmful.
    • Some animals can quickly become reliant on human food and become aggressive to people, especially children.
    • Kookaburras, currawongs, brush turkeys, magpies, butcherbirds, wild dogs and goannas are especially vulnerable to scrounging food from you, your backpack or your rubbish container.
    • Keep food and rubbish in well-secured containers and hidden in your pack or tent.
    • Take all rubbish out with you.

    Also see the short video clip do not feed wildlife and read be wildlife aware.

    Remember, this area and everything that lives here is totally protected by law.

    For more information about protecting our parks and wildlife, see caring for parks.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.