When Bernard O’Reilly left his family’s mountain-top guesthouse on 27th February 1937 he was looking for a wrecked plane and seven bodies. O’Reilly’s trek through the rainforest-clad McPherson Range in southern Queensland in post-cyclone rain, his discovery of the crashed Stinson aircraft 10 days after it vanished, and his heroic dash for medical help for two survivors is a famous Australian yarn. The Stinson Walk is a 35km guided adventure trek along O’Reilly’s route, to the wreck site and down the creek he followed to get help.
A tough 12-hour pilgrimage of sorts, the Stinson Walk leaves O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, in Lamington National Park, by torchlight before dawn. There are many more scenic Lamington walks, including the Border Track. But while clear weather gives you only occasional views over the Tweed River valley from the Stinson Walk, few Australian hikes have history as enthralling and inspiring.
The walk is offered twice a year as a 3-night package at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Part of your training for the hike should be reading Bernard O’Reilly’s biography Green Mountains, available online and from the retreat.