Girraween, Aboriginal for ‘Place of Flowers’, is a mind boggling stunner. One could be excused for mistaking it for a giants playground. Enormous boulders balanced precariously will leave you wondering HOW!!! Girraween National Park is a testament to the power of the natural elements and time. This is a unique nature experience, one that hopefully will stay with you long after heading for home.
Location: Girraween National Park, 20 minute drive south of Stanthorpe, 3 hours from Brisbane
Walking Distance: various, The Granite Arch 1.6km return, The Pyramid 3.6km return
Elevation: approximately 200m to the summit of The Pyramid
Time: Allow 1 – 3 hours
Difficulty: High – due to the rock scrambling required to reach the top of The Pyramid
Costs/Permit: No cost, no permit required, unless camping
Opening Times: Only closed occasionally for maintenance
Facilities: Gas BBQs, toilets, information centre, camp grounds, picnic tables
What to take: Camera, water, shoes with lots of grip, insect repellent, jelly beans
Mind boggling, epic and vast are a few of the words that come to mind when describing Girraween National Park. Located on the granite belt in South East Queensland, just north of the NSW border, Girraween National Park is home to The Pyramids and the Granite Arch. Walks to the Granite Arch and The Pyramid start from the Girraween Day Use Area. This is a great place for a picnic or BBQ before or after your walk. Watch out for wildlife – an Eastern Grey Kangaroo or two might want to share your picnic. There are toilets and an information centre in this area also.
The walk to the Granite Arch provides photo opportunities galore. At every turn of the head there is another astounding rock formation to be ogled at. This area has a very otherworldly feel to it. Raw and exposing. This part of the track is an easy walk.
The last 800m of the walk to The Pyramid is not easy, but it is so worth the effort. After making it up the 100 plus stairs to above the treeline, the walk takes you across the steep, bare granite rock-face to the summit. This should not be attempted in the wet; areas of the track were slippery enough in the dry. Well gripping shoes are a must. Windy weather would also significantly increase the riskiness. There are white dashes painted onto the surface indicating the way to go, however this didn’t always seem like the easiest way.
Views from the top make every ounce of effort getting there worth it. The Balancing Rock, just short of the summit, is astounding and a great opportunity for fabulous photos. Views of the second pyramid, that has no path and requires considerable rock climbing skills to summit, are to the north.
There are many other tracks and rock formations to be discovered in Girraween National Park. One day is not enough to explore them all. If possible plan to spend a weekend, or even better a week! There are many accommodation options to be found in and around Stanthorpe, and of course camping is available in the national park. Make sure you pack plenty of warm clothing as nights get especially cold, even in the warmer months. King Storm Dam is worth a look see, as is popping over the border to check out Bald Rock. One day was not long enough to spend at Girraween. My time here just wet my appetite for more.