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

Accessible by

  • Conventional vehicle

Journey facilities

  • Walking

We recommend walking this circuit clockwise.

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

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 along 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 Kooloobano lookout and it's a great spot to stop for lunch.

Enjoy more panorama views from several lookouts as the circuit continues through tall open forest along the eastern side of the Ships Stern Range. 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.

For more details on how to get to Lamington National Park, please see getting there and getting around.

Wheelchair accessibility

This circuit is not suitable for wheelchair access. There are wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and toilets at the Binna Burra upper day-use area. Wheelchair-accessible toilets are located at the national park’s Information Centre and picnic tables at the Binna Burra lower day-use area.

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.