Lamington National Park Brisbane | Gold Coast

You can't miss the beautiful Nagarigoon Falls. Photo credit: Nicholas Hill © Queensland Government

Lush rainforest, ancient trees and stunning waterfalls make Lamington National Park an outstanding place to visit! Photo credit: Nick Hill © Queensland Government

Ships Stern circuit

With endless views, cascading waterfalls, mighty ranges and plunging valleys, this is one of the most magnificent walks in the park.

Journey type
Walk
Distance
21km circuit The same start and finish point, but the traveller doesn’t return along the same path
Time suggested
Allow about 8hrs walking time
Grade
Grade 4 walking track

Accessible by

  • Conventional vehicle
  • Bicycle

Journey facilities

  • Walking

We recommend walking this circuit clockwise.

Descend along the Lower Bellbird circuit past Koolanbilba and Yangahla lookouts before branching off onto the Ships Stern circuit track.

Pass through a fine stand of piccabeen palm Archontophoenix cunninghamii to the floor of Nixon Valley where red cedar Toona ciliatae and the majestic flooded gum Eucalyptus grandis thrive. Take the short Lower Ballunji Falls side track (an additional 1.2km return) to the bottom of Ballunjui Falls.

Continuing on the circuit, cross Nixon Creek and ascend through Hidden Valley past Charraboomba Rock to the top of Ships Stern range and into open eucalypt forest. This is one of the few places within the park where scribbly gum Eucalyptus racemosa can be seen. The views are impressive at the end of from Kooloonbano lookout and it's a great spot to stop for lunch.

Enjoy more panorama views from a number of lookouts as the circuit continues through rainforest and open forest. The Upper Ballunjui side track (an additional 2.6km return) leads to Guraigumai Rock and Upper Ballunjui Falls.

Continue past Nagarigoon Falls to the junction with Daves Creek circuit, turn right to head along the Border Track and complete the circuit back to the Saddle trailhead.

For the very energetic, Daves Creek circuit can be added to this walk, making it a total of 23km.

This park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, famed for its ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history, and diversity (especially of rare, threatened and endemic species).

Getting there and getting around

The Ships Stern circuit is in the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park, 110km south of Brisbane.

  • The circuit starts at the Saddle trailhead opposite the road entrance to Binna Burra Lodge.

Getting to Lamington

Lamington National Park is made up of two sections—Green Mountains and Binna Burra. Green Mountains section is located on the western side of the Lamington Plateau. The Binna Burra section encompasses the rest of the park to the east.

Getting to Green Mountains section

From Broadbeach, drive 40km to Canungra via Nerang. From the north, take Pacific Motorway exit 34 to Beenleigh, route 92 to Tamborine, and route 90 to Canungra. The 36km winding and often narrow bitumen road from Canungra requires care and takes at least 50min. This road is unsuitable for recreational vehicles (RVs) longer than 4m and vehicles towing caravans and camper trailers.

Getting to Binna Burra section

Allow 70min from Broadbeach. Drive 38km to Beechmont via Nerang. From the north, take Pacific Motorway exit 69 and follow the signs west to Lamington National Park—Binna Burra section. The final 1.8km of the drive is very narrow and winding.

There are many commercial tour operators that conduct tours to Lamington National Park. See the tourism information links for further details.

There is no public transport to the park and getting taxis and ride share operators to pick up from the park can be difficult.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities at the day-use area in both the Green Mountains and Binna Burra sections of Lamington National Park. Binna Burra section also has wheelchair-accessible picnic tables.

At Green Mountains section there are two wheelchair-accessible walking tracks. The Centenary track is a 900m universal access track, and the first 700m of the Border Track is accessible for wheelchairs with assistance.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Ships Stern circuit is open 24 hours a day.

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Lamington safely and Walk with care.