I’m a great believer in slow travel –
Both when on the road, and when at home!
I get a real thrill discovering what’s in my back yard and seeing it through travellers’ eyes –
So I’m always taken aback when meeting up with local folk, and the topic of recreation comes up and I can’t help myself from enthusing…
“Isn’t the rainforest up in the Lamington National Park and the Border Range (that separates Queensland from NSW) absolutely stunning!”
And you get a blank face in response –
“Rainforest?” they say, “here on our doorstep in south east Queensland? You mean do-able in a day from Brissie (colloquialism for Brisbane!)?”
Yes – and not only that – Its the most ancient remaining vegetation in Australia dating back to when Australia was part of Gondwanaland.
Binna Burra Walk
Daves Creek Circuit is a walk that starts out from the Binna Burra end of Lamington National Park (100 km south of Brisbane) is touted as having the most varied vegetation throughout its 13km (8mile) path out of the mixed bag of walks – long and short – at this end of the Park –
So, as a tree-hugger and lover of plants, a walker (not a hiker!) this was without a doubt the most obvious choice for a weekend outing.
It was also going to be a test –
Five years earlier my husband and I had done the Box Forest track – that starts at the other end of Lamington National Park at O’Reilleys – and as we headed down the home straight on the last couple of km of that 10.6 km bushwalk my husband’s limp and pained expression got progressively worse –
He finally succumbed to a hip replacement operation earlier this year – and hey presto here we were about to set out on our first 10 km+ bushwalk together since that poignant day!
To get an early start, we stayed at an AirBnB just 7 minutes drive from Binna Burra in a small enclave of houses called Beechmont. So shortly after 8am our boots were laced, the picnic was packed and we were making our way under the stone archway declaring Lamington National Park (just beyond the Binna Burra Lodge and tearooms) and were soaking up the beauty of this rich sub-tropical rainforest.
Daves Creek Circuit
The first 2 km (1.25 miles) follows the Border Track – a 20km (12.5 mile) hike that connects Binna Burra to O’Reilleys at the other end of the National Park – Huge root structures at the bases of the trees and swirling vines twist their way anti-clockwise ever upward in search of the light and even corkscrewed across our trail (see photo above).
After about half an hour we left the Border Track, taking the left hand path at the signposted Y junction and started a gentle descent.
Natural Vegetation on the Binna Burra Walk
As the path got closer to the edge of the escarpment that would finally give us views of the Numinbah valley the vegetation certainly did begin to change.
After passing a massive upturned tree, with seriously the most massive roots –
The woodland became more scraggly as mallee and heath took over until the path hugged the edge of the rocky cliff face adorned with grasses on one side and opened up to the cleared open farmland of the Numinbah valley below on the other.
Lamington National Park – Numinbah Lookout
As we approached Numinbah lookout – our halfway point, we stopped for a picnic lunch of sour dough spelt bread with cashew cheese and salad, followed by a piece of date and walnut loaf – Gosh food tastes soooooo delicious in the great outdoors, especially after a couple of hours on the move – and what a glorious view over the valley below.
We even had some company – A Grey Shrike-Thrush joined us and was game enough to take a few crumbs from our hands!
The variety of vegetation did not disappoint on the way back either ~
Both in the tree department – with brushbox, grass trees and the amazing bark of the corkwood –
And the wildflowers which included one of my favourites – Banksia.
And chomping away at the decaying fallen wood some magnificent fungi.
Australian Rainforest Animals
Oh, and did I mention the rainforest wildlife?
Brush turkeys and log runners scratching in the leaf litter, the grey strike thrush who joined us for lunch – and whose cousins flitted from tree to tree at times along the track and also in the she oaks at Surprise Rock.
The whip birds who are small and shy so tricky to see among the foliage, but whose distinctive rising crescendo of a whoooiiiiipppppp sound made by the male – responded immediately by the female if she is nearby with two shrill tweets pierce the air.
Skinks and land mullets are literally under foot –
And little pademelons – a miniature wallaby – nervously skip about in the undergrowth.
We nearly trod on the skink he was lying so still – But the little Australian Logrunner was madly scratching and scrapping in the leafy compost looking for dinner and was quite unperturbed by us walking past – Not so the pademelon who barely stood still long enough to take the photo, before fleeing into the bush
And if the video above is not showing click here to see some Australian rainforest, a log runner and a pademelon.
So if you live in south east Queensland – or you are visiting Brisbane consider a day up in the rainforest –
In the hot summer the higher altitude is a perfect respite from the heat down on the coast –
And in the winter it is perfect for an invigorating walk –
Even if you’ve not long had a hip operation!
This 13 km (8 mile) Binna Burra walk called Daves Creek Circuit –
took us 4 hours of actual walking –
allowing (as you can see) for lots of photos and video stops!
Plus 45 mins for our picnic lunch break – So for a relaxing outing, allow 5 hours 🙂
The drive down from Brisbane (100km – 1.5hrs), or up from the Gold Coast (45km – 1hr) is along a very easy road with lovely views so can comfortably be achieved in a day.
And if you want to record all your walks for the year on one sheet –
Tell me – Have you been on a Binna Burra walk?
And if so – which trail(s) have you explored?
Looks great will have to check it out!
The range between NSW and QLD holds some magical pockets of woodland including this area of ancient rainforest –
We’re certainly planning on going back for more! 😀
Nice one Linda 🙂 Lovely pics. Such an adventure wonderland up there. Even though people are aware of the area many haven’t discovered those magical little pockets.
To visit this pocket of rainforest certainly has to be an intentional visit as both Binna Burra and O’Reilleys are on No Through roads –
Maybe that is part of their wonder – the awe of entering a lost world hidden up in the cooler air of the range ~ and that tucked away secret feeling is part of its magic 😀
A lovely reminder of our wanderings in the Queensland rainforests many years ago. I remember being surprised at how few people we met in the forests -perhaps as you say, people don’t know what’s on their doorsteps.
On this walk, we passed just one couple heading out as we were on the homeward straight!
I’m sure a lot of locals are unaware that this rich rainforest exists higher up the range, when the lower surrounding landscape is covered with the more classic scrubby Aussie bushland… who would have thought that this gem lies waiting to be discovered just an hour and a half out of Brisbane 😀
Wow – And all this is right in your neighborhood! I can understand your observation that you love seeing your own back yard through traveler’s eyes as we experience the same feeling each time we return to the US for a visit and enjoy exploring new places that we never took the time to see while we lived there. Australia and the Brisbane area has long been on our bucket list and I’d love to visit Lamington National and walk the Binna Burra – Daves Creek Circuit using your cleverly drawn map!
Yes – It is lovely going home and seeing that familiar landscape with fresh eyes –
That Marcel Proust quote does ring somewhat true – doesn’t it?!!
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
What a lovely place to hike. I never knew rainforests could look like this. I guess I always thought it would simply be a mess of trees, but your pictures showed so much more. Your lunch sounded delicious and the map you drew was wonderful!
Lamington NP is a sub-tropical rainforest, so maybe not quite as dense as the Amazon!!
Picnics can rarely fail – don’t you think? Although I must say I am partial to my homemade Cashew ‘cheese’ 😀
What a great outing. It’s funny how often people don’t know about treasures right at their doorsteps. Binna Burra looks beautiful. I too am a walker (not a hiker). I think I’d enjoy this day. Are there any biting insects one needs to be careful of?
In Australia I think there’s always the risk of “something” biting you – But nothing here that is so dangerous that it should deter you!
It is possible to see snakes on the side of the track warming up in shafts of sunshine – Although we saw none –
And in the wetter humid summer months due to the dampness of rainforests there is the chance of picking up leaches – which for the squeamish a sprinkle of salt can rectify.
But there are no big predatory animals to fear –
So come and enjoy! 😀
What an extremely well set out website and I love your header. The photos of the walks are brilliant and just about ‘take me there’. Makes me want to get fit and go exploring!
Thanks for the compliments re the site Ruth 😀
To be honest – it was improving fitness that was the instigator to us venturing forth – but it was the thought of the beauty of the rainforest that got us actually up and out and doing it LOL
Although I’ve been to Binna Burra a few times I have only done a couple of short walks. You have now inspired me to undertake this 13 K walk with your wonderful photos, map and commentary. Aren’t the views from Numinbah absolutely stunning? We are so lucky to have this in our backyard.
We are indeed – from the Gold Coast its easily do-able in a day!
The opening up to the view of the Numinbah valley is such a perfect contrast to the dark green of the rainforest –
It all goes to make for a perfectly complemented range of vegetation in one walking experience 😀
So glad your hubby’s hip held up.You really did make the most of tbe walk and I so enjoyed your informative post. I can just here the whip birds, do love that sound. It reminds me of Africa but not sure they occur in Africa? The fungus is so pretty too. A beautiful area that ykur fortunate to have close-ish to home.
I adore the varied vegetation you get in the rainforest –
Everything seems bigger and greener and richer and the contrasting light from deep dark shadows to precious glints of sunlight that shimmer down through the foliage make me tingle with delight –
And it was such fun to be able to set off on an adventure together again 😀
Greap post. Someday Ill visit this place 🙂
It looks like you are out and about exploring the world…
I’m sure you’ll see Australia, and this spot on the east coast just an hour or so south of Brisbane some day 🙂
Wow, travelling from one end to another end of Lamington National park.
Seems like you had lot of fun.
I love watching the videos, and your small session with the wildlife.
Lamington National Park is a rainforest treasure being so close to both Brisbane and the Gold Coast –
Well worth the drive up even if you don’t want to do a long walk, just to step in under the canopy and breath in the fresh air 🙂