Goomburra Valley offers a world of unspoiled natural beauty for bush walkers who like to get off the beaten track. There are several walks of varied difficulty to be had in the Goomburra section of the park, and each provides a different perspective on this picturesque part of south-east Queensland.
Dalrymple Circuit - 1.2km return, Class 3
This is an easy walk along Dalrymple Creek, starting just past Manna Gum campsite. It is mostly flat and easy, suitable for families with small children. This is a self-guided walk with informative signs along the track that tell of the logging history, the rock formations and the diverse wildlife that lives in the eco-system of the creek. Keep an eye out for cheeky robins bobbing and weaving on the track as you walk along.
Mt Castle Lookout Walk – 960m return, Class 3
To get to the start of this walk, you cross Dalrymple Creek near the Day-Use Picnic Area and then follow Lookout Road, the old logging road, right up to the top of the ridgeline, approximately 5 or 6 km. The road is suitable for 2WD in dry weather. This is a beautiful drive up into the rainforest, worth the trip even if you don’t choose to do a walk.
As you leave the road to start the hike, you quickly enter a magical rainforest. It’s cool and damp and you feel like you are entering another world – an ancient, green mystical world of ancient trees with buttress roots, vines and massive pine trees. The ground is uneven, as you walk over exposed roots from the beautiful trees close to the path.
The path becomes steeper as you get closer to the lookout, but it’s still not difficult. Stepping out to the lookout, you are looking down on the pink cliffs of Mt Castle and the view north is of the Great Divining Range and the valley below. This is a lovely short walk with an interesting view, very rewarding.
Sylvester’s Lookout – 940m return, Class 3
This walk also starts from Lookout Road, and while this walk and the Mt Castle Lookout walk are in similar locations, they are both worth doing as they have very different views. This walk also takes you through rainforest and at the right time of year, you will be treated to many and varied displays of colourful fungi that grow on fallen timber close to the track. The sound of bellbirds keep you company as you walk, and if you look up you can see strangler vines making strange patterns in the treetops.
This lookout faces further south and is a panoramic view north and south along the Great Dividing Range, east to Lake Moogerah and the peaks of the Scenic Rim, and beyond that you can see Mt Barney and the Macpherson Range, right to Lamington Plateau. On a clear day, you can see to Brisbane - another lovely short walk with an amazing view at the lookout!
Winder track - 12km return, Class 4
Starting at the north-east end of Lookout Road, this track passes through rainforest along the ridge of the Mistake Range before ending at the 'winder', a relic of the mining era – a piece of machinery from the early days of timber cutting. While this walk doesn’t have the magnificent views of some others in the area, it still takes you through a variety of forest types. Keep an eye out for goannas, lyrebirds, pademelons and other forest creatures.
Araucaria Falls - 3.6km return, Class 4
Allow about 1.5hr walking time for this hike, which starts 3.8km along Lookout Road beyond the Kurrajong Picnic area and leads to the base of a small but spectacular waterfall surrounded by rainforest. The first kilometre is level then you start to descend to the base of the falls. When you reach the top of the falls, continue across the falls and up the stairs to appreciate the view, then descending quickly to the base of the falls. This track is beautiful – like entering a fairytale, but take care after rain as the track is muddy and slippery when wet.
Ridge Track - 5km return, Class 4
This walk leaves from the eastern end of the Manna Gum camping area and has some steep sections which can be slippery with loose gravel. The circuit track gives views down into Dalrymple Creek valley and takes you through Eucalyptus Forest. Part of the Ridge track can be linked with the northern section of the Cascades circuit to form a longer walk.
Cascades Circuit - 6.5km return, Class 4
Commencing at the eastern end of the Manna Gum camping area, this track features a series of cascades and rock pools. It can be muddy and slippery when wet as it winds through sections of rainforest.
North Branch Track - 7km return, Class 4
Enjoy a walk with the bellbirds on this hike along the north branch of Dalrymple Creek, from the Kurrajong picnic area to the edge of the rainforest. This track would be muddy and difficult after rain.
By Kate Bennie, Sons of Adventure