It’s been a long time coming, but this is the eighth post in the Aussie Hiking Bloggers guest post series for Bushwalking Blog. A couple of years back, I started asking all of the other Aussie hiking bloggers to tell us about a favourite home turf day-walk.
Jane, from Brisbane in Queensland, is the latest contributor. Here she tells us about a hike at Mount Cordeaux. She usually blogs at Mildly Extreme.
“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm,
making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
– John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
I have a PhD in indecisiveness, so when Neil kindly invited me to contribute to his blog I took an inordinate amount of time to make up my mind about what to offer him. Even as I write this, I’m still torn between a few options. Should I write about a short easy walk that has one of the most spectacular mountain views I’ve seen or a hard core slog through hot, dry, tick-infested bushland that tested my sanity?
Every walk I’ve done is special to me in some way, whether due to the diverse landscape, the interesting history, the wildlife, the glorious views, the company, or the sheer physical challenge. I can honestly say I haven’t regretted any of them. They are certainly preferable to being stuck in a traffic jam or facing the mind-numbing glare of a computer screen in a crowded noisy office.
In the end, I decided on the 6.8 km, 2.5 hr, Mount Cordeaux walk which I am sure would be enjoyed by beginners, families, and hard-core hikers. Although I prefer seeking new trails, I would do this one again and again just for the spectacular view and the chance to see and hear rainforest wildlife. It’s a walk I’ve fallen in love with.
The track to the summit of Mount Cordeaux begins at the top car park of Cunningham’s Gap, 116 km south-west of Brisbane and 50 km east of Warwick in Queensland. It’s part of Main Range National Park, which is included in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
Having a relative with limited mobility who loves the outdoors, I’m always conscious of track accessibility. Although Cordeaux is classified as a grade 4 walk, there is really only a small section close to the very top which has steep rocky steps and with enough support, less able-bodied people could be assisted past this. Most of the path is a gradual incline, which zig-zags slowly through rainforest for 3.4 km to a natural rocky platform at the top. If the last short section can’t be walked, there are still some beautiful views to be had along the way and the cool mossy forest can be enjoyed on its own.
While walking through the rainforest section of the track, you’ll hear lyrebirds and whipbirds and may spot paddymelons or even a carpet python, especially if you go early before the crowds arrive. In the wetter months, fungi and moss are abundant and small streams may be flowing down the mountain.
Once you’ve reached the rocky summit you’ll see entirely different flora. Grass trees and giant spear orchids grow from the rocky outcrop. There are no barriers at the summit, so young children need to be closely supervised as there are sheer cliff edges.
The Mount Cordeaux walk can also be extended by walking to the Bare Rock / Mount Morgan section, a total of 12.4 km return. Those with high fitness levels can choose to cross the highway from the car park on the same day and do the 10 km Mount Mitchell summit walk which offers another fantastic view of the Fassifern Valley. Another option is the 9.8km Gap Creek Falls walk which descends from the Cordeaux path and takes about 6 hours.
All of the following walks can be accessed from the car park at the top of Cunningham’s Gap so it’s certainly worth setting aside a whole day or making a few visits. Nearby Spicer’s Gap, Queen Mary Falls and Goomburra have many trails and camping facilities and also offer wild bush camping.
- Box Forest – Class 3 – 5 km – 2hr
- Rainforest Circuit – Class 3 – 1.6km – 25min
- Mount Cordeaux – Class 4 – 6.8km – 2.5 hrs
- Mount Mitchell – Class 4 – 10.2km – 3 hrs
- Gap Creek Falls – Class 4 – 9.8km – 6 hrs
- Palm Grove Circuit – Class 4 – 4.4km – 2hrs
- Bare Rock / Mount Morgan – Class 4 – 12.4km – 3.5 hrs
See the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service’s Main Range National Park brochure for more detailed information on these walks.
So if you are in this region of Queensland, Mt Cordeaux is definitely worth a visit. There is something really special about a mountain-top view which can be incredibly uplifting. David Stratton’s inspiring video, Wild Places, shows his sheer delight when assisted on a mountain trip after being confined with MS to a wheelchair. I also share his joy in wild places, particularly mountains, which is why I wanted to share Mt Cordeaux with you.
Need to Know
Length (km): 6.8 km
Time (hrs/min): 2 hrs 30 mins
Grade: 4 (Australian standard)
Maps: A rough map is available in Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service’s Main Range National Park brochure (Walk #5 on the map on page 7).
Return / Circuit / One-Way / Partial Circuit: Return
Park: Main Range National Park
Closest Town: Aratula
Car Access: It is situated 110 km south-west of Brisbane on the Cunningham Highway or from the other direction, 50 km east of Warwick on the Cunningham Highway. The car park is on the right just next to the highway at the top of Cunningham’s Gap as you are coming from the Brisbane direction.
Have you visited Mount Cordeaux? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.