Plan your bushwalking adventure in Queensland.
Queensland has, over many years, been promoted as a travel destination by a string of catchy slogans that ask questions – where else but Queensland? – and boast – beautiful one day, perfect the next. And the Sunshine State, as many still call it long after that number plate tag was superseded, has appeal aplenty, whether your passion is lazing on beaches, snorkelling, hunting dinosaurs, or bushwalking Queensland.
Awaiting you are tangled tropical rainforest, rugged gorges, balancing boulders, tumbling waterfalls, birdlife beyond imagining and beaches beyond compare. Think twice, though, if anyone suggests hiking in Queensland during summer (November to March), because up north it can be like working out in a sauna, while inland and outback temperatures sap your energy. Winter, in contrast, can be heavenly, although night-time highland temperatures drop to freezing.
Starting in the more temperate – everything is relative – river-side capital, Brisbane, head south to the mountains bordering New South Wales.
Lamington National Park shares its name with a square of sponge cake rolled in chocolate and desiccated coconut, the classic Aussie lamington, but this is a very different sort of treat. Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage region, it protects 150km of walking trails penetrating deep into prehistoric forest to Cointreau-clear creeks and tumbling cascades. Step out on the Border Track or test your fitness and stamina on the memorial Stinson Walk.
Follow the border southwest from here to Girraween National Park for encounters with massive granite boulders and multi-coloured carpets of spring wildflowers. A 4.5 hour drive north then brings you up into the Blackall Range to walk from mossy plunge pool to dry cliff edge on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, one of the ten Queensland Great Walks.
Another Great Walk, through towering timbers and around pristine perched lakes, awaits you three hours up the coast on Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. You’re looking at a whole day at the wheel to visit Carnarvon Gorge, sliced through the state’s inland sandstone belt, but prehistoric palms, abundant birds, and galleries of aboriginal art reward your efforts.
There’s no escaping long journeys in Australia so it’s back in the car – flights from other centres land you close – and further north again to explore World Heritage Hinchinbrook Island’s assorted habitats and environments. The four-day Thorsborne Trail on this tropical jewel is not the last of our Queensland walks, however.
Way over near the Northern Territory border, you can stroll around Lawn Hill Gorge, an oasis of red rock and green water in the rugged Gulf Country.
Still more? Then there’s only one thing for you. Join Tim Daniels on a three-week pack-donkey trek in the footsteps of explorer Edmund Kennedy, through the rugged Walsh River country, west of the Atherton Tableland. There is no more unusual and inspiring hike in Queensland, perhaps in Australia, than this remarkable journey.
Check out my other state-by-state itineraries which include lots of specific walks:
For a general introduction to bushwalking Down Under, please see my ‘Bushwalking in Australia: everything you need to know.’