Girraween National Park Things to Do

  • Setting out
    Setting out
    by iandsmith
  • All sorts of shapes taunt the eye
    All sorts of shapes taunt the eye
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  • Making headway up the slope
    Making headway up the slope
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Most Recent Things to Do in Girraween National Park

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    Granite Arch

    by iandsmith Updated Feb 15, 2014
    Inside the Granite Arch
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    After much to-ing and fro-ing we finally opted for The Pyramid via Granite Arch, a part easy but part hard 2 ½ hour trek that seemed to offer some scenic points.
    We hadn’t gone far when the reflected heat off the baked granite made it clear that this was not a cool climate stroll. The still air wasn’t of any help either as we eased up the incline to the Granite Arch.
    It lived up to its name, three very large boulders set in formidable array. One could clearly imagine the aborigines using this for shelter in times of wild weather all those millennia ago.
    If you are just going to do the arch then it's an easy walk and you don't need to take anything special.
    Further on in the loop there's another arch that doesn't get much publicity because it's hard to photograph, but none the less interesting.
    Frankly, I would include it as part of the Pyramid track.

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    Castle Rock continued

    by iandsmith Written Feb 15, 2014
    Getting there is not for the agoraphobic....
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    We flitted through the shadows and began the climb on the well-made path with numerous photo stops to capture some of the variety that entertained us the whole way up.
    Just as we were about to split off the Mount Norman track we heard a quick clack-clack behind. No sooner had we heard it than a German expat strode purposefully up to our position. I remarked what good time he was making; to which he replied, unsmilingly, “I have to, I have a heart condition”.
    While I stood somewhat bemused he went on to explain that he had a stint and needed the exercise to keep his heart working. He was about to do the 5 hour 12 km walk on his own because he hadn’t been able to find anyone to share his walks with. At his pace, I, for one, was not surprised. He also related how he’d walked to Bald Rock (in N.S.W.) and back in 10 hours and had done every walk in Girraween multiple times; even tried to climb the second pyramid twice, but had failed, which proved he was human after all.
    We had a drink and moved on, eventually through a couple of tight cuttings and then out onto the rock face below the top. From here you had to traverse 100 metres with the rest of the face falling sharply away from you. Vertigo was a word I heard used here.
    Then you had to do a U-turn into the most difficult bit, scrambling up a crevice with granite debris sticking up that you had to negotiate. One slip could well have been painful and speed was not of the essence.
    Then, the summit; a broad affair with the promised vistas across much of the park. We paused to eat a pear each and soak up the atmosphere that destinations such as this afford. The cooling breeze played across our sweat laden necks and you couldn’t take the smiles off our faces. It was walks like these that make you realise why you go bushwalking.
    The return was covered in jaunty style as we looked forward to a swim in the pool that we now knew the whereabouts of. About 80 metres long with a ladder for convenient entry/exit and a clear view to The Pyramid; what more could you ask for after a sweaty walk?

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    Castle Rock

    by iandsmith Written Feb 15, 2014
    Early morning light on the Castle Rock track
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    After a day enjoying Stanthorpe and its numerous wineries, lurching from air conditioned premises to air conditioned premises as we tendered our artworks for competitions surrounding the annual Apple and Grape Festival, we’d finally bunked down again at Girraween, keen to sample more of what the place had to offer, including a hot water shower, such a rarity at a national park.
    We planned to have a crack at Castle Rock, another famous outcrop. Though not as dramatic as some others, it promised the best panoramic views when you reached the summit. With the summer temperatures predominant, we aimed for a seven o’clock start and, for once, were on time.
    The 6 km walk started through the main camp site that was closed for refurbishment and soon after that we came upon almost continuous outcrops of granite in a myriad of assorted shapes, with the accent on round.
    Stanthorpe Adamellite (pink orthoclase feldspar, white plagioclase feldspar, black biotite mica and clear quartz) is what the rock really is. I knew you’d all want to know that! That’s why it has a mixture of colours as distinct from pure granite.
    “The finest workers of stone are not copper and steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.” – David Henry Thoreau
    The weathering achieved by a combination of lichen growth, water and the occasional lightning strike beggar’s belief. Then there’s the vegetation; the occasional tree hugging a rock, ferns growing in seemingly impossible places, tiny flowers sprouting from the minutest amount of soil; this was nature on the edge.
    (continued)

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    DR. ROBERT'S WATERHOLE

    by balhannah Updated Nov 24, 2012

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    Dr. Robert's Waterhole
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    The track to Dr. Robert's Waterhole veers to the right after about 300metres of walking along the main track from the Eastern Girraween Car park.
    Once again, there were many wildflowers, the really beauty though, was the waterhole. A lovely waterhole surrounding by the bush, so quiet and pleasant, there was even a seat to sit on and dream! This is the area where you just might hear some Lyrebird's singing. Wombats also inhabit this area.
    The waterhole is on Bald Rock Creek and I read it is usually has still, dark waters that are a natural mirror to the surrounding bushland. I was unfortunate to experience a slightly windy day which wrecked some reflection photos.
    The Waterhole was named after Dr Spencer Roberts who was fundamental in the creation of this national park.

    1.2 km
    30 minutes return from Dr Roberts' carpark

    Dr Roberts Waterhole—1.2 km (30 min return) Class 2

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    UNDERGROUND CREEK

    by balhannah Written Nov 24, 2012

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    Underground Creek
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    This track starts at a small carpark just off the side of Pyramids Road, 4 km east of the information centre. After the first 300 metres, the track splits into two, so I took the one to the left which led to Wave Rock and then went further to the Underground Creek. The track follows Bald Rock Creek upstream to where it disappears beneath a tumble of granite boulders that have fallen from an overhanging cliff. Underground Creek was quite a sight! Not much water in October, but I could see that a large quantity had come with such force over the granite, that it had worn a deep cavern and formed many potholes. From there, it went under many boulders and under Wave rock, coming out the other end.
    I found it an interesting area. There were many more boulders lying around the places, wildflowers and Birds.

    Underground Creek—2.8 km (1–1.5 hr return) Classes 2 and 3

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    EASTERN TRAIL

    by balhannah Updated Nov 24, 2012

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    Wave Rock
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    I decided to take the trail to the Underground Creek first. This was quite an easy walk that took me past different varieties of wildflowers and many rock formations. I could see a small creek to the right of me.
    Coming around a bend was a huge worn away granite rock which reminded me of a giant ocean wave. Time to do some scrambling and soon I was high enough to be under the rock, fabulous!
    Information on how it was formed is on my photo.

    This walk is a class 2/3, is about 2kms and about an hour return

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    EASTERN SECTION WILDFLOWERS

    by balhannah Updated Nov 22, 2012

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    Girraween wildflowers
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    After deciding what I was going to do, I headed off on the dirt trail. I hadn't gone far, when I was taken back by some beautiful purple flowered native bushes, they were gorgeous!
    The further I went, the more I saw, once again, different to where I had been previous. One area here was full of Banksia bushes, all in flower.

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    EASTERN SECTION OF GIRRAWEEN

    by balhannah Written Nov 22, 2012

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    We arrived by car at the Eastern section of Girraween National Park. There was a small dirt carpark, some Toilets and a notice board with pictures of what was expected to be seen here and information on the trails. What is good, is they tell you the distance, expected time and the grade of the track, so you know if you are capable of completing the walk.

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    CAMPING @ BALD CREEK

    by balhannah Updated Nov 22, 2012

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    As I followed the trail along Bald Creek back to the day area, I saw a notice pointing to the Bald Creek Campground. I decided to go and have a look. We weren't able to come here and camp as we had a Caravan, only Tents and Camper Trailers allowed.

    I can see why, as the drive in is bumpy and narrow. Each campsite has been levelled out, and there is a fireplace.. Gas-operated hot showers, toilets, picnic tables, water (treat before drinking) and wood barbecues are all here. It is best to use a gas cooker as in summer there will be fire ban days when you are not allowed to light a fire. The only thing that is missing, is power [electricity]. There are no powered sites at Girraween and Generators and compressors are not permitted.
    Rubbish bins are not provided, so all rubbish must be taken home with you.

    There isn't a shop in the national park, so you must bring supplies with you.
    There is a public telephone in the Visitor Information Centre car park as Mobile phone coverage is generally not available throughout the park.

    Pets aren't allowed in Australian National Parks.
    If you do camp here, then there is a good chance Eastern Grey Kangaroo's and Common Brushtail Possum, Kookaburras, Magpies, Red Wattlebirds and Currawongs will be around the campsite at some point of your stay.

    Remember, in Winter it is cold here, usually has snow each year, and in Summer, it is quite hot.
    Come prepared for all kinds of weather!

    The other camp area is Castle Rock, more of the same.
    Book in holiday periods as it is a very popular park.

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    BALD CREEK TRAIL WILDFLOWERS

    by balhannah Updated Nov 22, 2012

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    Girraween wildflowers
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    Something I noticed while walking around Girraween, was the pockets of different wildflowers.
    I had previously been to Pyramid Mountain, and saw quite a few Pea bushes in flower amongst many other types.
    Now, on this trail, I was seeing different wildflowers to growing in "that" area.
    The one in my first photo was very different, one I had never seen it before that reminded me of cotton. There was quite a bit growing in this area.
    Then I saw a smallish shrub which was laden with clumps of lemon flowers, pretty too!
    I saw bright yellow flowers, apricot colours, and red spindly ones, no wonder the Birds are prolific in this area.

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    BALD CREEK TRAIL

    by balhannah Updated Nov 22, 2012

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    Bald Creek
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    As you most probably guessed, the trail is along Bald Creek. It was "bald," bare granite, quite wide, and in October, fairly well dry, only some small streams running in the cracks between the granite and then into some large ponds.
    It was pretty! The force of the water had carved out wonderful shapes in the granite, some had water and even tadpoles in the water.....I wonder what type of Frog this would be?
    In this area, was where I saw my first Lizard, I imagine there would be plenty around.
    Remember, at different times of the year, this will become a different scene, probaly completely covered in water after rain. I could see by the way the shrubs were bent over, that sometimes during the year, there must be quite a rush of water.
    I guess I will have to come back another day.

    The Bald Creek Circuit is a 4kms walk and you need to allow approx 1hour.
    It is a class 3 track which I found very easy to walk. Have fun with the stepping stones!

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    THE JUNCTION / BALD CREEK-FEATHERED FRIENDS

    by balhannah Written Nov 22, 2012

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    Kookaburra's
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    Coming back along the trail from Granite Arch, I came across a meeting of tracks, one back to the day area, or another to the "junction," a further 2.7 kms. As I still had time, I took the track to the Junction.
    Walking along here was where I saw quite a variety of Birds. Kookaburra's, Crimson Rosella's, Honeyeaters, Blue Wrens, Thornbills and Red-browed Firetails, Magpies, Currawongs, Pigeons and a Eastern Yellow Robin, pretty good for just walking along!

    This is the ideal place for the smaller Birds, they love the flowering shrubs and others the insects that come around these areas.
    I was a long way short of seeing the 150 bird species recorded here!
    I wished I had more time to sit and watch as there are some very interesting Birds here. Wonga pigeons, Tree Creepers, Flycatchers and Warblers live among the eucalypts and flowering heaths and shrubs. The Robins, thornbills, wrens and firetails are found in dense undergrowth, while birds of prey such as the little eagle, wedge-tailed eagle and the brown goshawk search for a meal in open grassy areas.

    The one which I think is the hardest to find and see, it the Superb lyrebird. This Bird likes the moist gullies, scratching through leaf litter for grubs and insects. If one is around, you will here it mimic other Birds and sounds of the bush in their song, it's quite a clever Bird and hard one to see.
    Another of interest, is the southern emu-wren and the rare turquoise parrot and the diamond firetail.
    Birdwatcher's paradise!

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    WILDFLOWERS IN GIRRAWEEN

    by balhannah Written Nov 21, 2012

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    Girraween wildflowers
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    Girraween is an Aboriginal word meaning 'place of flowers'. What a great choice of name for this park!

    It was October when I was in Girraween, one of the best months to see the wildflowers. September and October are the most spectacular months to visit.
    Wildflowers begin to bloom in late July with golden wattle and pea flowers bursting into bloom, then white heath bells, pea flowers, yellow Billy buttons, native bluebells and daisiies, finally finishing with summer-flowering flannel flowers, wattles, bottlebrushes, paperbarks and eucalypts.

    On exposed granite summits, grasses, mat rushes and low shrubs seem to grow without soil out of the granite rocks, incredilble! What a rock garden! In the Swamp areas of the park, I found Sedges, rushes and sphagnum moss which have adapted to the waterlogged conditions.
    Trees are sparsely scattered throughout these swamps,and on the edges are terrestrial orchids.
    I found many varieties that I didn't know the name of, it was quite exciting seeing something new for the first time!

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    GRANITE ARCH TRAIL

    by balhannah Written Nov 21, 2012

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    Granite Arch
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    Coming back from the Pyramid, I reached a junction of tracks, one of them leading to the Granite Arch.
    This trail led me past more amazing shapes. One, was a huge boulder being held by two others that I was able to walk under. I originally thought it was the granite Arch, but no, this was further on.
    Then I came across it, a perfect natural Arch.
    Some signs nearby explained that it probably came about millions of years ago, when lots of these huge boulders had come together making large piles of rock. Over the years the rocks have weathered, and some that had been balancing rocks, have rolled from there perches and landed on others, thus making a natural arch.

    If you only have time for one walk in this park, this is the one I would choose.
    The trail to Granite Arch is1.4 km circuit (35 min return) Class 3, quite an easy walk to do

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    PEA FLOWERS

    by balhannah Written Nov 21, 2012

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    Pea Flower
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    It was along the track to the Pyramid that I saw quite a few native Pea flower bushes.
    It was October and this when the bold yellow, purple and red pea flowers make a colourful splash of colour in this granite-strewn area. It is in the low, dense heaths where you find these and a diverse array of flowering shrubs, including Wattles, mint, daisy bushes and rock roses found beneath scattered eucalypt and cypress trees.

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