Regardless of your level of fitness there are plenty of options for bushwalking in the Goomburra section of Main Range National Park on the Southern Downs. As with many National Parks, it is a privilege to be able to share in the natural wonders and history of the area. There are varying stories about the meaning of the word “Goomburra” taken from the local Aboriginal language. The European history of the Darling Downs area relates to transport routes between the east and west, the logging industry, and frequently violent conflict with the Traditional Custodians of the land.
About Main Range National Park
Main Range National Park covers over 30 000 hectares in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area in south east Queensland. With an amazing diversity of plants and animals and unique terrain, Main Range is a popular place for people to picnic, bushwalk, camp and venture into the more remote areas of the Park.
Main Range National Park is divided into 3 sections including Queens Mary Falls, Cunningham’s Gap, and Goomburra. Let’s take a closer look at the Goomburra section.
Are you new to bushwalking? Read some tips and hints on how to get started bushwalking.
The Goomburra section of Main Range National Park is about 170kms south west of Brisbane by road or about 55kms north east of Warwick. The Park offers spectacular scenery with rugged mountains, scenic lookouts, open dry forest, and rainforest. The Park habitats provide shelter to a variety of Australian flora and fauna including some endangered species.
Camp sites with composting toilets are provided in this section of the Park, and other private camp grounds and accommodation options are located nearby.
Hidden away from the highway, access to the Goomburra section of the Park is along Inverramsay Road. Travelling along here reminds you of where your food comes from. The road meanders along the beautiful Goomburra Valley, home to grazing, dairying, vegetable and crop farms, as well as recreational enterprises such as 4WD parks and private campgrounds – very popular destinations for long weekends and school holidays.
The final approach to the Park is unfenced and unpaved so be aware of cattle wandering across the road. At times you may need a high clearance vehicle to navigate the unpaved sections. After rain there can be several water crossings as you enter the Park.
Kurrajong Picnic Area is on your left near the intersection with Lookout Road and a nearby information sign. Driving straight ahead you’ll discover two campgrounds with toilets and access to some of the walks from the car park where the road terminates.
Driving along Lookout Road you’ll wind your way up a narrow unpaved road which gives access to more walking tracks.
There is a variety of walking tracks in the Park ranging from short and easy walks to steeper and more
challenging half-day walks.
Dalrymple Circuit (1.2kms return) is a Class 3 walk with interpretative signs which winds through the forest and creeks. This walk is suitable for families or anyone looking for a short walk that gives you a taste of what Goomburra has to offer.
Cascades Circuit (6.5kms return) is a Class 4 track that’s a bit longer and more challenging. Wind your way up through the rainforest crossing the creek numerous times to sit by the rocky pools at the upper reaches.
The Ridge Track (5kms return) is a Class 4 track that takes you through quite steep terrain with dry forest and rainforest. Take care on the steep fire road and walking tracks as the gravel can be quite slippery whichever direction you go.
North Branch Track (7kms return) is a Class 4 track that begins off Lookout Drive near the Kurrajong
picnic area. From the picnic area, walk to the other side of Lookout Drive and cross the creek. On your left you’ll see the start of the North Branch Track which takes you through mostly dry open forest until it reaches the edge of the rainforest which is a perfect spot to rest and have a snack before returning the same way you came.
Araucaria Falls (3.6kms return) is a Class 4 track that takes you through rainforest to the base of the falls. Access to this walk is along Lookout Road.
Sylvesters Lookout (940m return) is a short and beautiful Class 3 track that can be accessed from Lookout Road. The walk takes you to a spectacular lookout.
Mount Castle Lookout (960m return) is another short, beautiful Class 3 track that can be accessed from Lookout Road. Walk through rainforest and be rewarded with amazing views below.
Winder Track (12 kms return) is a Class 4 track that goes out-and-back from the end of Lookout Road. This track is vehicle-width leading you through the forest to ‘the winder’ which was used in the bygone days of logging and timber cutting in the area. Although listed as a Class 4 track, the walk undulates fairly gently and does not generally have much in the way of obstacles. At the start of the walk keep an eye open on your right for views across the valley.
The art of not-bushwalking
If you’re not feeling up to the challenge of bushwalking in Goomburra, or maybe you have young children to care for, simply have a wander or a quiet sit-down in the campgrounds or picnic area. There’s always so much to see right on the edge of the forest, with birds flitting in and out, echidnas, wallabies and kangaroos, reptiles, and frogs and other water-based creatures along the creek. Take a book or some binoculars or a pack of cards and enjoy the peaceful surrounds as you reconnect with the natural world around you.
Things to watch out for
There are the usual things to watch out for whilst bushwalking in Goomburra including snakes, ticks, leeches, flies and mosquitoes. You may also see some stinging trees depending where you walk, so be careful not to touch these. Check the parks site for ‘alerts’ of bushfires and park closures. As always the recommendation is to be prepared with first aid knowledge, a snake bandage, sun and insect protection, wear long sleeves and trousers, slip on a hat, and take plenty of water with you as it can be quite hot and humid on the walks. Let someone else know where you are planning to go and let them know when you’ve returned so they don’t unnecessarily send out a search party. Mobile service is very poor throughout the area.
It’s time to stop dreaming and start bushwalking in Goomburra!
So….. enough reading and dreaming about it! It’s time to get organised and get out there for real!
WHICH TRACK WILL YOU BE BUSHWALKING IN GOOMBURRA?
Walking Track Classifications
This article refers to the Australian Standard for classifying the level of difficulty of walking tracks. The Goomburra Section of Main Range National Park has Class 3 and 4 walking tracks which are defined below:
Class 3 Walking Tracks
- 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 Tracks
- 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.
Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Kathryn Walton shares information and reflections in ‘Daisy Spoke’ that inform, inspire and empower women to a healthy and active lifestyle.