Main Range National Park Brisbane | Southern Queensland Country

Impressive mountain peaks, escarpments and ridges offer breathtaking views. Photo credit: © Janette Asche

Things to do

    Well prepared, fit and experienced bushwalkers venture to the remoter locations within Main Range National Park. Photo: Peter Lehmann, Queensland Government.

    Well prepared, fit and experienced bushwalkers venture to the remoter locations within Main Range National Park. Photo: Peter Lehmann, Queensland Government.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Main Range National Park provides a range of camping experiences; both developed camping areas and remote area bushcamping sites.

    Developed camping areas are located at Spicers Gap and Goomburra sections of the park. These camping areas provide facilities, including composting toilets, tap-water and barbecues (Goomburra camping area only).

    Remote area bush camp sites are available in Main Range National Park and can only be reached by walking. There are no facilities at these sites.

    Read before you visit for information about essentials to bring with you when camping in Main Range National Park.

    A private caravan park, kiosk and camping area is located at Queen Mary Falls opposite the park’s day-use area.

    Other accommodation

    There are numerous privately-run bed and breakfasts, lodges, cabins and campgrounds in the Main Range area. Hotel, motel, bed and breakfast and caravan park accommodation is available at Boonah, Aratula, Allora, Killarney and Warwick. For more information see the tourism information links.

    Main Range National Park offers many opportunities for visitors to explore and enjoy the natural surrounds.

    Walking tracks

    Short, easy strolls are a great way to introduce the family to the natural wonders of this park. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

    Short, easy strolls are a great way to introduce the family to the natural wonders of this park. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

    View to Mount Mitchell. A high level of physical fitness, navigational skills and cliff-scrambling skills are essential to enjoy the remote areas of Main Range National Park. Photo: Kirstin O'Meley, Queensland Government.

    View to Mount Mitchell. A high level of physical fitness, navigational skills and cliff-scrambling skills are essential to enjoy the remote areas of Main Range National Park. Photo: Kirstin O'Meley, Queensland Government.

    The short walks through rainforest to Sylvesters and Mount Castle lookouts will reward you with expansive views of the Scenic Rim. Photo: Courtesy Lou Coles.

    The short walks through rainforest to Sylvesters and Mount Castle lookouts will reward you with expansive views of the Scenic Rim. Photo: Courtesy Lou Coles.

    Choose from a variety of walking tracks ranging from short easy strolls, to long physically-demanding hikes. Track gradings and surfaces vary widely, so please check track details before starting out.

    Allow 15 to 20min to walk 1km. This time is calculated for people of average fitness and bushwalking experience and who are wearing correct footwear. Allow more time to include rests and to return to your starting point if you are walking with small children or are an inexperienced bushwalker.

    Distances given are from the track entrance and return.

    Main Range National Park walking tracks:

    If you intend exploring more of Main Range National Park, ensure you download a copy of the 'Main Range National Park Guide'.

    Key to track standards

    The classification system is based on Australian Standards. Please note that each track is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be of an easier level.

    Class 2 walking trackClass 2 track (Australian Standards)

    • Easy level track, suitable for all fitness levels—no previous bushwalking experience necessary.
    • All junctions signposted and include interpretive signs.

    Class 3 walking trackClass 3 track (Australian Standards)

    • Well-defined, distinct tracks, variable in width. Muddy sections, steep grades and steps may be encountered. Some exposed roots and rocks.
    • All junctions signposted and may include interpretive signs.
    • May be partially overgrown; hazards such as fallen trees and rockfalls may be present.
    • No formed creek crossings; cliff edges and lookouts generally not fenced; appropriate caution required.
    • Reasonable level of fitness required and ankle-supporting footwear recommended.

    Class 4 walking trackClass 4 track (Australian Standards)

    • Distinct tracks, surface likely to be rough with exposed roots and rocks.
    • All junctions signposted. Markers may be used where necessary (e.g. at creek crossings).
    • Variable in width; muddy sections, steep grades and extensive steps likely to be encountered.
    • May be overgrown; hazards such as fallen trees and rockfalls likely to be present.
    • No formed creek crossings; no fences on cliff edges or lookouts; high level of caution required.
    • Moderate fitness level and ankle-supporting footwear strongly recommended.

    Walking tracks at a glance

    Matching experience and expectations—to make your planning easier, simply match your expectations and experience with the most suitable track or trail.

    • Platform lookout: this indicates a lookout with a built platform and handrails.
    • Natural lookout: this indicates a lookout with no built structure or handrails. Please keep away from the edge and supervise children at all times. Take extra care when using binoculars or cameras at these sites!
    Track nameClassification Distance return Platform lookout Natural lookout
    Box Forest trackClass 3 walking trackClass 3 5km - -
    Rainforest circuitClass 3 walking trackClass 3 1.6km Yes -
    Gap Creek Falls trackClass 4 walking trackClass 4 9.8km - Yes
    Palm Grove circuitClass 4 walking trackClass 4 4.4km - -
    Mount Cordeaux trackClass 4 walking trackClass 4 6.8km - Yes
    Bare Rock track / Morgans WalkClass 4 walking trackClass 4 12.4km - Yes
    Mount Mitchell trackClass 4 walking trackClass 4 10.2km - Yes
    Pioneer Graves trackClass 2 walking trackClass 2 260m - -
    Moss's Well trackClass 2 walking trackClass 2 120m - -
    Governors Chair lookoutClass 3 walking trackClass 3 300m - Yes
    Heritage trailClass 4 walking trackClass 4 3.2km - -
    Mount Mathieson trailClass 4 walking trackClass 4 8.1km - Yes
    North Branch trackClass 4 walking trackClass 4 7km - -
    Dalrymple circuitClass 3 walking trackClass 3 1.2km - -
    Cascades circuitClass 4 walking trackClass 4 6.5km - -
    Ridge trackClass 4 walking trackClass 4 5km - -
    Araucaria FallsClass 4 walking trackClass 4 3.6km - -
    Sylvesters lookoutClass 3 walking trackClass 3 940m Yes -
    Mount Castle lookoutClass 3 walking trackClass 3 960m Yes -
    Winder trackClass 4 walking trackClass 4 12km - Yes
    Cliff circuitClass 2 walking trackClass 2 400m Yes -
    Queen Mary Falls circuitClass 3 walking trackClass 3 2km Yes -

    Tracks from Cunninghams Gap

    The majority of walking tracks are located at the top of Cunninghams Gap. These tracks begin at The Crest car park. Several short, easy tracks start at Spicers Gap.

    Class 3 walking trackBox Forest track (Class 3)

    Distance: 5km return

    Time: Allow about 2hr walking time

    Details: Begin this walk at either the West Gap Creek picnic area or western end of The Crest car park. Passing through rainforest and open forest, the track is named after the brush box Lophostemon confertus, which line West Gap Creek. Birdlife is plentiful. Return to your starting point via the Box Forest track or arrange to be picked up at either end of the track. It is not advisable to return via the edge of the busy Cunningham Highway.

    Class 3 walking trackRainforest circuit (Class 3)

    Distance: 1.6km return

    Time: Allow about 25min walking time

    Details: The circuit commences at the eastern end of The Crest car park. It passes the Allan Cunningham monument and is the beginning of an extensive track system on the northern side of Cunninghams Gap. The Fassifern Valley lookout is on the eastern part of the circuit and can be reached by climbing the stairs at the first track junction. The lookout provides a spectacular view over distinctive volcanic peaks, the Fassifern Valley and Lake Moogerah.

    For an easier way round the circuit, turn left at the base of the stairs and walk the circuit in a clockwise direction.

    Class 4 walking trackGap Creek Falls track (Class 4)

    Distance: 9.8km return

    Time: Allow about 6hr walking time

    Details: The best time to see the falls is soon after rain, as there is little water over the 100m drop in dry weather. The track, mostly through open eucalypt forests, starts at The Crest car park via the stairs leading to the Fassifern Valley lookout. Descend the ridge below Mount Cordeaux to the top of the falls. The return trip is uphill and can be very tiring in hot weather. This track requires a high level of fitness and is not recommended for older or very young people or those in poor health.

    Class 4 walking trackPalm Grove circuit (Class 4)

    Distance: 4.4km return

    Time: Allow about 2hr walking time

    Details: Branching from the Rainforest circuit, this walk ends in a 1km circuit featuring a dense grove of piccabeen palms Archontophoenix cunninghamiana in rainforest and open eucalypt forest. A variety of birdlife can be seen. The track is suitable for all ages.

    Class 4 walking trackMount Cordeaux track (Class 4)

    DANGERDANGER! Sheer cliff edges. One slip could be fatal—serious injury or death may result from walking near the edge. Remain on the track, stay behind fences, away from cliff edges and supervise children at all times.

    Spear lily flower

    Flower of the giant spear lily. Photo: Courtesy Ross Patterson.

    Distance: 6.8km return

    Time: Allow about 2.5hr walking time

    Caution: Limited group access. For your safety, 10 people per group recommended on the Mount Cordeaux track and lookout.

    Details: Mount Cordeaux (1135m above sea level) is known to Aboriginal people as 'Niamboyoo'. Branching off the Rainforest circuit, the track zigzags through rainforest to the exposed upper slopes, ending at a lookout on the southern side. The cliff face of Mount Cordeaux is spectacular in spring when the giant spear lilies Doryanthes palmeri are in flower.

    Class 4 walking trackBare Rock track/Morgans Walk (Class 4)

    Distance: 12.4km return

    Time: Allow about 4.5hr walking time

    Details: Detouring west of the peak of Mount Cordeaux, the track to Bare Rock (1168m above sea level) crosses a rocky saddle north of the peak and re-enters rainforest before ending with a brief scramble to a rocky outcrop. From here there are spectacular views over the northern section of the park. Two varieties of tree fern grow near the track and Albert's lyrebirds can be heard in the winter months.

    The 350m Morgans Walk track leaves the Bare Rock track 680m before Bare Rock and ends in a grove of montane heath.

    Class 4 walking trackMount Mitchell track (Class 4)

    DANGERDANGER! Sheer cliff edges. Remain on the track, stay behind fences, away from cliff edges and supervise children at all times.

    Distance: 10.2km return

    Time: Allow about 3hr walking time

    Details: A graded walking track to the twin peaks of Mount Mitchell begins on the southern side of the Cunningham Highway. Take care when crossing the highway or preferably park on the southern side of the highway. Rainforest and open eucalypt forest will be encountered on this track, which ends on a knife-edge ridge above a sheer cliff on the east peak of Mount Mitchell (1175m above sea level). This peak is known as 'Cooyinnirra' to the Aboriginal people. Care must be taken at the cliff edge.

    Tracks around Spicers Gap

    Class 2 walking trackPioneer Graves track (Class 2)

    Distance: 260m return

    Time: Allow about 15min walking time

    Details: Adjacent to the camping area is a picnic area that takes its name from a local landmark, Pioneer Graves. A short walk from the picnic area leads to a small cemetery where at least 13 people are buried.

    Class 2 walking trackMoss's Well track (Class 2)

    Distance: 120m return

    Time: Allow about 10min walking time

    Details: Moss's Well, in tall open forest, is a haven for many species of birds. The well is believed to take its name from Edward Moss, the first road contractor. This was the only water for travellers and their teams making their way over the range. The well water is now unsuitable for drinking.

    Class 3 walking trackGovernors Chair lookout (Class 3)

    Distance: 300m return

    Time: Allow about 15min walking time

    Caution: Care must be taken near the cliff edge

    Details: A 150m walking track links the Governors Chair car park with the lookout over the Fassifern Valley. Governors Chair, the large rock on the edge of the cliff face, was so named as it was reportedly a popular resting spot for early governors of Queensland when their journeys took them through Spicers Gap.

    Class 4 walking trackHeritage trail (Class 4)

    Distance: 3.2km return

    Time: Allow about 1hr walking time

    Details: From the Governors Chair car park an interesting self-guiding walk, showing various road construction methods, follows the historic road.

    Class 4 walking trackMount Mathieson trail (Class 4)

    Distance: 8.1km return

    Time: Allow about 3hr walking time

    Details: This rough trail (not a graded walking track) commences opposite the Pioneer picnic area. The walk takes you through open eucalypt and rainforest and provides opportunities for views north of Cunninghams Gap. The trail returns via the Heritage trail and Spicers Gap Road in Main Range National Park.

    Walking tracks in Goomburra

    Class 4 walking trackNorth Branch track (Class 4)

    Distance: 7km return

    Time: Allow about 3.5hr walking time

    Details: Commencing opposite the Kurrajong picnic area, this trail follows the north branch of Dalrymple Creek, before ending just inside the rainforest edge.

    Class 3 walking trackDalrymple circuit (Class 3)

    Distance: 1.2km return

    Time: Allow about 30min walking time

    Details: Starting at the eastern end of the Manna Gum camping area, this circuit features self-guiding signs, which explore the rich history and natural values of the forest—ideal for young family groups (see other things to do for more information). The track forms the first section of the Cascades circuit. Several bridges and platforms are a feature of this circuit.

    Class 4 walking trackCascades circuit (Class 4)

    Distance: 6.5km return

    Time: Allow about 3hr walking time

    Details: This circuit commences at the eastern end of the Manna Gum camping area and winds through sections of rainforest, featuring a series of cascades and rocky pools on the upper reaches of Dalrymple Creek. Look for signs of early timber logging.

    Class 4 walking trackRidge track (Class 4)

    Distance: 5km return

    Time: Allow about 2.5hr walking time

    Details: Located in hilly open forest, this circuit track provides views down into Dalrymple Creek valley and takes you through sections of New England ash Eucalyptus campanulata. This walk commences from the eastern end of the Manna Gum camping area and contains moderate grades with some steeper sections. Please take care as loose gravel may make the steep sections slippery.

    The southern section of the Ridge track and the northern section of the Cascades circuit can be linked to form a longer 7.6km walk, taking around 3.5hr to complete.

    Class 4 walking trackAraucaria Falls (Class 4)

    Distance: 3.6km return

    Time: Allow about 1.5hr walking time

    Details: This track commences 3.8km along Lookout Road beyond the Kurrajong picnic area and leads to the base of a small but spectacular waterfall surrounded by rainforest. The waterfall is named after the hoop pine Araucaria cunninghamii.

    Class 3 walking trackSylvesters lookout (Class 3)

    Distance: 940m return

    Time: Allow about 30min walking time

    Details: Sylvesters lookout offers magnificent views over the coastal plains below, including the southern tip of Lake Moogerah and the rugged border ranges to the south. The track to the lookout can be challenging in places and requires some steady footwork. The track starts from Lookout Road—a 4.7km drive from the Kurrajong picnic area. This road may be closed following wet weather.

    Class 3 walking trackMount Castle lookout (Class 3)

    Distance: 960m return

    Time: Allow about 30min walking time

    Details: Mount Castle lookout is a natural viewpoint that offers views over the Laidley Valley and the Little Liverpool Range (Mount Castle is directly in front of the lookout). The 480m walking track, which starts from Lookout Road (a 6.3km drive from Kurrajong picnic area), has moderate to steep grades and passes through lush rainforest scattered with magnificent hoop pines.

    Class 4 walking trackWinder track (Class 4)

    Distance: 12km return

    Time: Allow about 4hr walking time

    Details: The Winder track starts at the north-east end of Lookout Road, 6.3km beyond Kurrajong picnic area. This track passes through rainforest along the crest of the Mistake Range before ending at the 'winder', a piece of relic machinery from the early days of timber cutting.

    Walking around Queen Mary Falls

    Class 2 walking trackCliff circuit (Class 2)

    Distance: 400m return

    Time: Allow about 20min walking time

    Details: This walk takes you to the top of Queen Mary Falls, which is part of the headwaters of one of Australia's longest river systems, the Murray–Darling. Great care should be taken when viewing the gorge below. Supervise children closely.

    Class 3 walking trackQueen Mary Falls circuit (Class 3)

    DANGERDANGER! Sheer cliffs and waterfall. One slip could be fatal—serious injury or death may result from walking near the edge or swimming in the creek above the waterfall. Keep to the track and supervise children closely.

    Queen Mary Falls
    The spectacular Queen Mary Falls. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

    Distance: 2km return

    Time: Allow about 40min walking time

    Details: A leisurely stroll along the walking track reveals changes in vegetation from the eucalypt-covered ridge top to the rainforest gorge. From the Queen Mary Falls lookout, watch Spring Creek plunge over the 40m Queen Mary Falls to continue its twisting journey down the valley floor to join the Condamine River's upper reaches. Continue on the track to view the falls from creek level. On a summer's day, take time to pause for a moment to feel the waterfall's cool spray. Take care on the causeway as the surface can become slippery when wet. Do not attempt to cross when in flood or if water covers the causeway.

    For your safety the track will be closed following periods of heavy rainfall due to the possibility of rockfall from cliff areas above the track. Gates are located near the track entrance on the western side of the picnic area and just west of Queen Mary Falls lookout.

    Remote area bushwalking

    Main Range National Park offers some of the most spectacular remote area bushwalking opportunities in southern Queensland. However, the extremely rugged mountain terrain can be hazardous for inexperienced or poorly-prepared walkers. A high level of physical fitness, navigational skills and cliff-scrambling skills are essential.

    Walkers should familiarise themselves with the area before attempting an extended walk. Contact us for assistance with route advice and other detailed information. Established tourism operators and bushwalking clubs with experienced off-track walkers regularly organise trips to Main Range National Park. Guidebooks covering most walks are available from specialist camping stores and some bookshops.

    Remote area bushwalking is only advised in the cooler weather, usually April to September. Walking during summer can be very hazardous due to high temperatures and lack of surface water.

    All remote area bushwalkers are expected to follow minimal impact bushwalking and bush camping practices, such as observing proper sanitation and hygiene methods and avoiding polluting water in any way.

    To enjoy your remote area bushwalking and camping experience, please:

    • Familiarise yourself with the area by doing shorter walks before attempting an extended walk. Guidebooks covering most walks are available from bushwalking equipment stores and some bookshops.
    • Prepare yourself before you leave. Even accomplished bushwalkers can experience difficulties. Every year some walkers become lost, injured or overdue. Search and rescue operations are costly, endanger searchers' lives and can damage the environment. Minimise your risk. Remember that your safety is your responsibility.
    • Leave a copy of your bushwalking plans with a friend, relative or other reliable person. This person has responsibility for contacting police if you are overdue. Your plan should include:
      • your name, address, number of people in your party, ages and any medical conditions
      • vehicle registration, make, model, colour and parking location
      • the route you are taking, expected times of departure and return.
    • Walk with a recognised bushwalking club. This is a good way to gain experience.
    • Walk with one or more friends. At least one member of each party should be a competent map-reader and bushwalker.
    • Learn map and compass skills. Recommended maps for bushwalking are 1:25,000 topographic maps. It is also advisable to carry a recognised bushwalking guidebook for the area.
    • Carry sufficient food, water and protective clothing. Rapid changes in temperature and weather are common.
    • Leave plenty of time to reach your destination.
    • A first-aid kit and torch should be carried. Learn first-aid procedures.
    • It is advisable to boil or chemically-treat creek water before drinking.
    • Take care near cliff edges.
    • Remember to book a bush camp site if planning to camp in a remote area.

    To sum up—be prepared and use sound judgement.

    Kurrajong picnic area, near Dalrymple Creek, is a tranquil place to take a break while exploring the Goomburra's many walks and lookouts. Photo: Courtesy Lou Coles.

    Kurrajong picnic area, near Dalrymple Creek, is a tranquil place to take a break while exploring the Goomburra's many walks and lookouts. Photo: Courtesy Lou Coles.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Cunninghams Gap and Spicers Gap

    Picnic areas are located at both Cunninghams Gap and Spicers Gap but barbecues are located at Spicers Gap only. Limited firewood is supplied for barbecue cooking. To avoid disappointment, please supply your own firewood or use a fuel stove. Firewood must not be collected from the park or roadside—fines apply. Toilets are available at Spicers Gap camping area, next to the picnic area, and at West Gap Creek picnic area at Cunninghams Gap. Tap-water is provided at both locations—boil or chemically-treat all tap-water before drinking. No bins are provided; visitors are asked to take their rubbish with them.

    Queen Mary Falls

    Queen Mary Falls is a day-use area only. Tables, wood-fired barbecues and free electric barbecues, toilets and tap-water are provided in a spacious picnic area set among eucalypt forest. Boil or chemically-treat all tap-water before drinking. Please supply your own firewood for wood-fired barbecues or use an electric barbecue or fuel stove. Firewood must not be collected from the park or roadside—fines apply. Visitors are asked to take their rubbish away with them.

    Goomburra

    The small Kurrajong picnic area, containing barbecues facilities and tables, is located adjacent to Dalrymple Creek. Please supply your own firewood for barbecue cooking, or alternatively use a fuel stove. Firewood must not be collected from the park or roadside—fines apply. There are no toilets or tap-water available at Kurrajong picnic area—please visit Poplar Flats camping area for these amenities. No bins are provided; visitors are asked to take their rubbish with them.

    Viewing wildlife

    The park's numerous habitats provide homes for over 59 mammal, 204 bird, 54 reptile and 31 frog species as well as countless insects and other invertebrates. Six species, including the eastern bristlebird and the Coxen's fig-parrot, are listed as endangered, while as many as 12 species of animals are regarded as near threatened. Many animals are considered vulnerable. This means that any major impact on their habitat will endanger the future of these species.

    • See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Main Range's diverse wildlife.

    Guided tours and talks

    The Connect with Nature program offers a range of nature-based activities and events every season for adults, children and families in and around parks and forests throughout Brisbane, the Western Scenic Rim and the Gold Coast and hinterland.

    Other things to do

    Have fun and learn more while exploring Goomburra's Dalrymple circuit by doing the activity sheet (PDF, 339.7KB) . Use your powers of observation to find answers within the self-guiding signs. Matching pictures are clues to locate information.

    Note for teachers or parents and carers

    The activity sheet is designed for Year 4 (nine years old) or above. All the answers to the activity questions are found in the signs (except the meaning of the words in the 'match the word with the statement' activity). You might like to assist younger children with the word matching activity before walking the circuit. It may help enhance their understanding when reading these words on the signs.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.