Girraween National Park, Castle Rock, The Sphinx, Turtle Rock, QLD

Girraween, indigenous for ‘Place of Flowers’, is mind bogglingly stunning. 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 natural elements and time. This is a unique nature experience, one that hopefully will stay with you long after heading for home.

Quick Info

Location: Girraween National Park, 20 minute drive south of Stanthorpe, 3 hours from Brisbane

Walking Distance: 8.5km

Elevation: approximately 100m

Time: Allow 3 to 5 hours

Difficulty: High – due to the rock scrambling required to reach the top of Castle Rock (not as difficult as 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


Starting from the Bald Rock Creek day-use area, Castle Rock, The Sphinx, and Turtle Rock can all be reached from the southern walking tracks. For the first 2km the track has a gentle incline.

Castle Rock Ascent

Castle Rock deviates from the main track after about 2km, and it is a further 580m to the top. The climb to the top is significantly easier than climbing The Pyramid. Only one small section, about 10m, may require hands and feet. When you reach a narrow crevice, you have made it to the top. It takes a fair amount of imagination to see a “castle” in this rock formation.

Entry to the summit of Castle Rock

Average sized people will have no problem fitting through the crevice. Above average sized people may need to remove backpacks and traverse through sideways. Views from the top are suitably stunning. There is space at the top to explore and soak in the views from many directions.

The Sphinx

1.7km further along from the Castle Rock deviation is The Sphinx. This rock formation doesn’t require any imagination to see where it gets its name.

Turtle Rock as viewed from The Sphinx

Further along the track is Turtle Rock, which you can climb.

Most amazing rock – beside The Sphinx

One of the most amazing rocks, that wasn’t specially named, was found beside The Sphinx. The rock had a flat surface about the same size as an Olympic swimming pool. Mind boggling!

There are many other tracks and rock formations to be discovered in Girraween National Park. One day is not long 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.

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