Home to Araucaria Falls and the beautiful Cascades circuit, Main Range National Park Goomburra Section is an unexpected rainforest oasis. With over half a dozen tracks to choose from, many fitness levels are catered to. The walks vary in length from 1km to 12km.
Location: Lookout Road, Goomburra QLD 4362 (2.5 hours SW Brisbane)
Walking Distance: 1km to 12km
Elevation: Varies (Dalrymple circuit mostly flat, Cascades circuit 250m elevation)
Time: 30 minutes to all day.
Difficulty: Easy (Dalrymple circuit) to Moderate (Araucaria Falls track and Cascades circuit).
Costs/Permit: No cost, no permit required for bushwalking. Fees apply to camping.
Opening Times: only closed occasionally for maintenance or natural disaster.
Facilities: 2 National Park managed camping grounds, toilets (at Poplar Flat and Manna Gum camping areas), picnic area, information board (near Poplar Flat camping area), 8 different walking tracks.
What to take: Water, camera, insect repellant, picnic
Handy hint: navigate to Manna Gum Camping area, not just Main Range National Park. Main Range National Park is so vast you could be directed to somewhere 50km away from where you actually want to be (learn from my mistake!)
Before arriving at the national park, Forestry Reserve Rd will take you through ‘Gordon Country”, an extensive property for camping and 4WDriving. Unless you are camping or 4WDriving in Gordon Country, you do not need to sign in with their administration (signs at the gate didn’t make that clear). People just wanting to access the national park are free to drive through. If in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to pop in and say hi and get an update on current conditions.
Over half the bushwalks in Goomburra Section are accessed from Lookout Road. Lookout Rd is about 5km long, very hilly and windy with lots of potholes. Lookout Rd is a no through road. It ends where Mount Castle Lookout and Winder Tracks begin. Here there is sufficent room to park and easily turn around. The road is a mix of dirt and gravel and small patches of bitumen. Some spots are only wide enough for one car, however there is room to pull over to the side in most places.
While the approaching terrain is typical Aussie bush – eucalyptus trees and dry – the tracks are predominately in rainforest. Tracks accessed from Lookout Rd include: North Branch, Araucaria Falls, Sylvesters Lookout, Mount Castle Lookout and Winder Tracks.
A creek crossing at the begining of Lookout Rd is the most adventerous part of the drive. When crossing Dalrumple Creek , do be discerning as to whether or not your vehicle is up to the job. If it is dry enough a 2WD is sufficent to cross, in wetter weather a 4WD is recommended. If your vehicle isn’t up to the job, don’t dispare. There are bushwalks starting from Manna Gum camping area that don’t require this crossing. There are plenty of little gems to spot on your adventure, most of them naturally occuring; but occasionally a man made one will catch your eye. Notice the clever rock stack on the right of the crossing.
Located next to Dalrumple Creek, the Kurrajong picnic area has half a dozen picnic tables and lots of space. The nearest toilets are 200m away at the Poplar Flat camping area. All toilets in the Goomburra Section are pit toilets. While they can get a bit on the nose in the hottest part of the day, they are well serviced. All water needs to be treated before drinking.
You know you’ve gone rural when you share the road with cows! For the most part the cows are happy to ignore you, just don’t get between a mother and her calf. While fires are permitted in designated areas, bring your own firewood. There are many properties along Inverramsay Rd (turns into Forestry Reserve Rd) that sell firewood by the bag at their gate.
One property along Inverramsay Rd that is sure to catch your eye, has a fantastic collection of eclectic metal sculptures. Be sure to pull over and marvel at the collection.
If you started early enough, it might be possible to complete all the tracks in one day. Better still, book online to camp at Poplar Flats or Manna Gum camping areas, and give yourself a couple of days to truly experience all the wonders the Goomburra Section of Main Range National Park has to offer.