Lamington National Park: It is the perfect time to experience World Heritage Under Your Feet. The Silver team went to O’Reilly’s at Canungra, just on our doorstep. It’s hard to believe that this nature paradise is so close. Here are our favourite walks!
We have had numerous requests here at Silver to suggest the best bushwalks for the over 50s. So we went to investigate the utterly stunning O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. It’s a tough job but we fell on the sword for you. You are welcome!
The Scenic Rim was just named in the top 10 regions to visit in 2022 for Lonely Planet. And with good reason, it’s achingly beautiful. So here we are!
Lamington National Park Location
For those of you who are new to the Gold Coast, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is only around 90 minutes from the Gold Coast, and it is just so beautiful it’s hard to put into words how lucky we are to have this just so close to us. You can stay in a lot of different types of accommodation at O’Reilly’s. You can also camp at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. The campground just took out bronze in the Queensland Tourism Awards.
And, the Vineyard (which is a whole other 6-page story in itself) just took out the silver medal!
Located in the Lamington National Park, it is the most drop-dead gorgeous bushwalking destination in Queensland. It contains over 320 kms of walking tracks that lead to spectacular lookouts, waterfalls and some of Queensland’s most significant wilderness areas.
Lamington National Park is nearly 1000 metres above sea level which means that the temperature is 5-8 degrees cooler than Brisbane or the Gold Coast. 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, and wraps around O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
Below are self-guided walks, but there are more. Plus, you can actually book yourself or your group on a private guided walk. These are utterly fascinating, and the O’Reilly’s guides really know their stuff.
Lamington National Park: SHORT WALKS
The Tree Top Walk – Return Distance 800 metres The Booyong Walk is clearly signposted. It starts opposite the entrance to the O’Reilly’s Reception. This walk is an iconic part of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. It’s great for a daytrip for the active over 50s – it has 9 suspension bridges up to 16 metres above ground. You get a bird’s eye view from a deck in a fig tree over the walkway. The best time to see birdlife is early morning or late afternoon. The Tree Top Walk is free to experience at your own leisure, and it is open all day every day.
Mick’s Tower – Return Distance 1 km
This walk shares the same entrance as the Wishing Tree Track, except you turn right at the 330m mark. This rainforest observation tower is 18 metres high. Information signs on the various decks refer to the surrounding rainforest and in particular to a large Red Carabeen growing close by. This is an ideal spot to enjoy the tranquillity of a rainforest canopy with the birds for company.
Centenary Track – 1.8 km return
This universal access track leaves from the northern end of the Green Mountains carpark, 150 m from the national park information centre. The track passes by a tall hoop pine at the entrance and slowly descends through subtropical rainforest for 900m. It then joins the Python Rock and Morans Falls tracks. Bench seating spaced along the track offers excellent birdwatching opportunities. Watch for regent and satin bowerbirds darting through the branches, logrunners foraging on fallen tree trunks and Albert’s lyrebirds scratching in the leaf litter.
Lamington National Park: HALF DAY WALKS
Moonlight Crag – Return Distance 7km
For the more fit and feisty over 50s who would prefer to stay at O’Reilly’s rather than do a day trip (do it, it’s gorgeous) these are most vigorous walks and involve some hill climbing. On this walk, you can swing by Moran’s Falls and see Balancing Rock.
Elabana Falls – Return Distance 7.6 km
The Elabana Falls Track descends through a stand of Antarctic Beech and then past the largest Brush Box trees in the National Park. Turn right at the Box Forest turn-off for Picnic Rock, a favourite lunch spot, but be sure to continue to Elabana Falls 400 metres further on.
Pat’s Bluff – Return Distance 5.4km
Pat’s Bluff affords a view over the Albert and Logan River valleys to the Great Dividing Range. Pat O’Reilly’s log cabin is 70 metres in from this spot. Peregrine Falcons nest in caves in these cliffs and often rest in the dead trees above the cliff line.
Lamington National Park: FULL DAY WALKS
Box Forest – Return Distance 10.9km
This circuit leads directly to Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls. It leads you through rainforest, past impressive stands of smooth, pink-barked brush box Lophostemon confertus, before reaching the falls. Similar brush box in other parts of the World Heritage area have been radiocarbon-dated at 1500 years, making these giants the oldest ever carbon-dated trees on Australia’s mainland. If you intend walking this entire circuit, walk in a clockwise direction and exit via Elabana Falls and Picnic Rock.
Yerralahla (Blue Pool) – Return Distance 10km This is for the feistiest over 50s. There is a 400m drop in elevation from O’Reilly’s to Blue Pool. The track winds down through outstanding sub- tropical rainforest. The track passes through stands of Red Cedar, booyong, Giant Stinging Trees and Hoop Pine, often supporting large staghorns. This walk lets you soak up the waterfalls and rainforest, and to negotiate the numerous creek crossings.
Border Track – 21.4km one way only
This is a really fun walk if you are fit and well. This track connects Binna Burra and O’Reilly’s, and there is a shuttle that takes you from O’Reilly’s to Binna Burra in the morning (check O’Reilly’s Discovery Program for days and times or speak to Reservations to book – cost is $33 per person), so you can walk back to O’Reilly’s and look forward to your swim and a wine at the end! The track passes through stunning rainforest and you’ll enjoy every step. The Border track is the backbone of this World Heritage-listed area and part of the longer Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. On a clear day, lookouts provide spectacular views.
DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN TRACK MAP
Lamington National Park walking track maps are available from O’Reilly’s gift shop or O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. You can also download a map from the website www.oreillys.com.au
GUIDED FULL DAY WALK – STINSON WALK
Looking for a challenge? Recount Australian history and celebrate the life of Bernard O’Reilly, who heroically saved the lives of two plane crash survivors over 80 years ago. This all happened in World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park. Following in Bernard’s footsteps, you’ll traverse 37 kms in one day from O’Reilly’s to the historic Stinson crash site. The walk goes through stunning landscape surrounded by the incredibly diverse and wonderful flora and fauna of Lamington National Park. Register your interest for the next Stinson Walk on the website!
Python Rock – 3.4 km
The sealed track to Python Rock has even grades, suitable for older people and those confined to wheelchairs. The booyongs and figs near the West Cliff turn off are impressive. So are the large New England Blackbutt as you enter the open forest for the first time. The view from Python Rock overlooks Castle Crag to the Lost World with Mount Throakban on the left and Moran’s Falls. You can proceed up the hill from the lookout on a tough track and turn left for West Cliff.
To stay at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat Call: 1800 688 722 or log on to www.oreillys.com.au
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast