Best Bush Walks in the Southern Great Barrier Reef

Best Bush Walks in the Southern Great Barrier Reef

Carnarvon Gorge

If you prefer your ‘adventure on the rocks’, then a hiking holiday through Carnarvon Gorge should be the next stop on your travel to-do list, where you’ll discover the west is still plenty wild… but very welcoming!

Visitors are spoiled for choice with 27km of hiking trails snaking their way through golden sandstone, crystal clear pools and prehistoric plant life. The Aboriginal Rock Art Gallery is arguably the jewel in the crown, featuring exquisite indigenous artwork dating back to the Dreamtime and beautifully preserved from the elements by an overhanging rock face. The trail stretches 5.6km (one way) from the Park Headquarters and is best explored as an all-day trip, combining connecting walks to Aljon Falls and the stunning natural Amphitheatre, where the outback acoustics of the sheer sandstone walls are beyond belief.

For a shorter stroll, make your way 3.6km (one way) to soak up the stunning green serenity of the Moss Garden, where a continuous flow of water seeping through the sandstone makes for a stunning natural oasis. Be sure to bring the camera; nearby waterfalls and a majestic deciduous fig tree en route to the Garden are sure to be the #envy of your Instagram followers. #wishyouwerehere!

Traditional indigenous stone axe and hand stenciling can be found at the Baloon Cave via a picturesque 3km walk from the Carnarvon Lodge, linking to Mickey and Warrumbah Creeks and the surrounding gorges, which boast unbelievably ‘natural air conditioning’ on warm summer days and a unique microclimate all of their own.

Bluff Point

If you like your hiking a little closer to the coast, Yeppoon is home to possibly the coolest trail you’ve never heard of. At the Capricorn Coast National Park, the partially-paved Bluff Point Track winds its way from the beach front to the best view in CQ in under an hour… give or take a few photos of curious kangaroos and rock wallabies you’re sure to meet along the way.

But it’s from the aptly named Turtle Lookout viewing platform that the trail garners its glowing reputation. Large leatherbacks can be seen in the surf below, while the stunning panoramic view stretches all the way to the Keppel Islands and beyond. And the entire circuit is only 2.3km long so it’s perfect for the entire family.

Trip Advisor says ‘Yeppoon is fantastic family fun’. We say ‘happiness is a hiking trail'. Now it’s up to you to put the two together!

Mt Larcom

The trip to the top of Mt Larcom is so sought after, local hikers have created their own Facebook page for other summit seekers to upload their own happy snaps from the top. And once you’ve made the 632m trek for yourself, you’ll understand why!

From the carpark, the surrounding foothills give way to rugged bushland, rocky outcrops and stunning 360 degree views that are well worth the workout to tag the summit. Mt Larcom is often referred to as the ‘Lion Mountain’ due to its fantastic feline-like profile, but be warned, this kitten has claws… so to speak.

The track can be quite steep in places and is more suitable for adults than the youngsters.
Set aside a few hours (each way) if you’re planning a trip to the top, and if possible aim for the cooler winter months when the Southern Great Barrier Reef serves up some of the most beautiful weather anywhere in the world.

Agnes Water and 1770

In the coastal bushland bordering Agnes Water and the Town of 1770, the hiking is a little less laborious than the surrounding summits, but no less impressive.

Every year, from March through to June, hundreds of thousands of butterflies flock to the Town of 1770, and there is no better way to enjoy the spectacle than the gentle, 20-minute Butterfly Trail,starting at the Captain Cook Monument and sweeping through the local she-oak and wattle trees to the sturdy timber lookouts at trail’s end.

Opposite the Spring Beach Access, the aptly named Paperbark Trail is a photographers’ dream. The easy 15-minute walk winds through thousands of paper bark trees and creeping vines which provide rustic natural frames for hikers and happy snappers to take the perfect shot.

There are a number of gentle trails taking in the lookouts and 1770 headland, while low tide is also the perfect time to hit the sand and explore more than 5km of coastline along the Agnes Water Beach. But for those looking for more of a challenge, hitch up the hiking boots and trek the hour-long Red Rock Trail, which combines purpose-built timber boardwalks with steep climbs and magnificent coastal views.

Mt Walsh

Biggenden is best known as a mining town – an integral cog of the early resources industry, where visitors were more interested in drilling through mountains than climbing them. Ah how times have changed! Today, it’s a quaint country village sitting in the quiet shadow of Mt Walsh, one of the best bushwalking destinations in the Bundaberg and North Burnett Region.

Hikers have their choice of a 300m trail from the picnic area, through an open eucalypt forest to the lookout and some stunning photo opportunities overlooking the Central Queensland countryside. Or for the more adventurous, take the two and half hour hike (unmarked) onwards and upwards to the summit, where the views are second to none.

So, what are you waiting for? The mountains are calling and now you must go!

Cania Gorge

Monto's Cania Gorge offers visiting hikers the travellers’ trifecta; accessibility, adventure, and an intimate connection with the natural environment. No less than eight hiking trails wind their way through the stark sandstone cliffs and lush green plant life, starting with the Castle Mountain Trail – a legitimate 22km return trek through rugged Central Queensland bushland, taking in two lookouts overlooking the Gorge and Lake Cania.

If you’re after something a little closer to camp, the Fern Tree Pool and Giant Chair Lookout (5.6km circuit) are the perfect way to spend a couple of hours exploring the stunning sandstone escarpments, while the Two Storey Cave (1.3km circuit), Dripping Rock (2.2km circuit) and The Overhang (3.2km circuit) take in the unique native flora and fauna of the Southern Great Barrier Reef including king orchids, silver elkhorns and tiny insectivorous bats.

Not to be outdone, the Dragon Cave (1.8km return) and Bloodwood Cave (2.6km) offer bushwalkers a steep climb to explore some natural curiosities, while the Shamrock Mine (1.4km return) is a gentle walk with uninterrupted views of Castle Mountain and the remains of gold diggings from days’ past.

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