Thursday, 28 April 2011

New Zealand Snapshot

Not really in SE Qld I know, but I thought this was worth mentioning anyway. I recently got the chance to take a short trip to New Zealand. Of course we didn't let the opportunity to do some hiking and camping go past. We only had time to spend a few days doing these activities but it was well worth it.

Tongiraro National Park:
I had been really looking forward to going here. The park is the oldest National Park in NZ and is based around three volcano's one of which, Mt. Ruapehu, is the highest mountain in the North Island at 2797m and bigger than anything we have in Australia. We had been hoping to do the most popular walk in the park, the Tongiraro Alpine Crossing. However, on arrival it became fairly obvious that this wasn't going to be possible. The forecast for the weather was looking fairly bleak with a high chance of snow, high winds and low temperatures. So we decided that we'd play it by ear the next day and probably do one of the shorter walks.

Well the next day we awoke to freezing rain and wind at the campsite but by the time we packed up and reached the ski village this had turned to snow. We decided to head up the now closed road to where the ski lifts start and head back along the Silica Rapids track. This was a very memorable walk and was my first look at real snow. The weather did get pretty hairy with some very strong winds but it was all worth it. Here are a few photo's.

Bruce Road
Silica Rapids Walk

Silica Rapids Walk

Waihi Beach:
The next day we were in for a massive change in weather. We spent a day and a half at Waihi Beach on the North coast. We spent most of the day doing a walk along the cliffs above the water to Orokawa Bay and then up off the beach to William Wright Falls. This was a beautiful and fairly easy going walk with great views out to the Bay of Plenty from the cliffs. Orokawa Bay itself is only accessible by foot but there was still a handful of people relaxing on the beach.

The side track up to the falls went through rainforest with many creek crossings along the way. The falls were picturesque despite the small amount of water and we stopped for lunch here before heading back the way we'd come.

William Wright Falls

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Welcome to the all new and improved blog site. The move was done for a variety of reasons but mainly because of the more modern format. I've moved most posts over. Check the post body for the actual date of the walk.

Albert River Circuit

Date: 5 March 2011

Walkers: Kurt, Tom, Mary, Myself

Walk Description:
Now that Summer is finished, the heat is easing up (supposedly) and bush camping at Lamington NP is re-opened we thought it was about time to get out for an overnight walk again. This would be Kurt's friend Mary's first bushwalk so we decided to make it a completely on-track walk leaving from O'Reillys, walking the Albert River Circuit anti-clockwise, camping at Bithongabel and returning via the Tooloona Creek circuit or taking the shorter way back along the border track depending on how we felt.

The weather leading up to the weekend wasn't looking too promising with rain for most of the week. The forecast for the weekend indicated that the rain would ease on Saturday and probably clear up on Sunday. We also decided to call the ranger on Friday afternoon to see what the weather was like up on the plateau. Taking all this into account and checking the forecast one more time on Saturday morning we decided to go ahead with the walk. Tom and I arrived later than we had planned at around 9:40AM to see Kurt and Mary waiting for us. So we quickly geared up and headed off.

This was going to be a great opportunity for Tom and I to test some new gear. I was using my 36L Golite Peak which Tom had kindly retrofitted some hip belts from another pack on the car ride there in the morning. Tom was using his new BackPacking Light Absaroka Pack and it was the first time out using the Tarptent Scarp 2 tent. Combined with various other bits and by scrutinising our gear list Tom and I's total pack weights came in at 10KG and 8KG respectively.

As we set off along the border track there was a very fine misting of rain which was mostly blocked out by the thick rainforest canopy. After following the well trodden path for roughly 5KM we arrived at the first track junction for the Albert River Circuit. This lead us up and eventually over the ridge to the East before decending down the gully to the edge of Black Canyon where the Albert river runs. The rain had picked up during this time and each time we crossed a creek or came out from under the canopy it was heavy enough to warrant getting out our wet weather gear. For myself this was an opportunity to test out a new Golite Poncho Tarp.

DSCF1095By the time we got to the first waterfall along the Albert River it was time to stop for lunch. This was a reasonably stressful stop with no where dry to sit and no 2 seconds passing by without a leech reaching some section of unprotected skin. The falls however, had plenty of water and made for a good photo opportunity.

For the next couple of kilometres the track criss-crossed the river which, despite the amount of water, was negotiated without too many hassles. Eventually the track climbs up the other side of the gully towards Echo Point. As we approached Echo Point from the camp site it became abundantly clear that there wasn't going to be much of a view; which was confirmed upon arrival. On top of the cloud and rain we were exposed to the very strong Southerly wind, so we took a few photos and kept moving.

The next section of the track skirts along the top of the cliffs before heading back up towards the border track. By this stage the rain had most definitely set in and was not letting up. The poncho was working better that I had hoped. It was keeping my top half nice and dry while also providing plenty of ventilation to minimise discomfort from sweating. The bottom half wasn't kept as dry as it could have been though and the loose nature of the item meant that I was collecting leaches around my arms and neck.

By 4PM we had once again rejoined the border track and the decision was made to call it a day and head back the last 5KM to the cars. The campsite was going to be exposed to similar windy conditions as Echo Point and the rain wasn't looking like it would let up, so basically we chickened out. By the time we arrived back at the cars we were all fairly glad that we had made that decision. We pulled off the remaining leaches, got changed into whatever dry clothes we had, cranked the car heaters and headed for home.


As usual, the walking at O'reillys was beautiful despite the conditions and we were still glad we made the effort. We covered just under 21KM with overnight packs and it was great to get back out after the Summer break.

Mt. Barney Lower Portals

Date: 30 Dec 2010

Walkers: Tom, Tenelle, Maree, Myself

Photo Album

Walk Description:
Well the rain finally let up and we were all on holidays so we jumped at the chance to get out and do something outside for a change. We decided to head down to Mt. Barney again, however unlike previous visits opted for a more relaxing walk out to Lower Portals.

We arrived at the carpark and headed off by about 10:30 in the morning. The track was about 3.8KM each way and followed the base of the mountain dropping in and out of numerous gullies with creeks of varying sizes. At various points the cicada's were almost deafening and covered the sides of the trees spraying us as we went past.

We eventually arrived at Barney Creek to find the water rushing past. After investigating up and down the creek for a way to cross without getting wet we decided that it wasn't going to happen so got changed into our swimming gear. At the Lower Portals themselves the water was flowing slower because of the depth and the swimming was very nice on a humid day.

While sitting by the creek we spotted some brush tailed rock wallabies and after lazing around for the rest of the afternoon and avoiding the eels we eventually headed back to the car for the trip home.

Looking up towards the Lower Portals with Leaning Peak in the background
Barney Creek

Mt. Barney South-East Ridge

Date: 13 - 14 Nov 2010

Walkers: Drew, Myself

Photo Album

Walk Description:
After describing the challenges and rewards of Tom and I's recent walk up the South Ridge of Mt. Barney to our father we successfully implated the idea of doing another trip in his head who despite bushwalking and camping his whole life had surprisingly never made it to this park. We set aside a weekend to do an overnight trip camping in Rum Jungle and waited for the time to come. Not content to repeat the exact route from only two months ago I decided to try the South-East Ridge to ascend this time and return via the South Ridge again the next day. 

Day 1:
Dscf1034[1]We arrived at the Yellowpinch Carpark at around mid-day on Saturday. As we would later discover, this was probably a bit too late to be heading off. We set off along the road to the South as per my previous walk. We passed a troup of returning high school boys along with their supervising teacher who explained that they had just done a three day trip during which they ascended both the West and Eastern Peaks and camped in the saddle. By roughly 1 PM we had reached the start of the SE Ridge Track. This turns off the Cronan Creek track shortly after campsite 10 and is marked by a log across the track start with "SE" carved into a tree to the right.

We had lunch here before heading up the track. This initial section was moderately steep and erroded and continued North for 15 minutes before reaching the top of the ridge that would eventually lead us to the Eastern Peak. Once we reched the ridge the track took a noticable turn to the North-East and continued along fairly open and flat bushland before eventually starting the climb.  Almost immidiately we were greeted with the first of many large rocky formations that dominate the ridge the whole way up.

Dscf1065[1]Despite having various track notes for reference the track was easy to follow as it weaved in and around the large rocks. As promised by the notes I had read, this path provided more frequent and varied views than the South Ridge track with the panorama extending all the way from the North around to the South at some points. After climbing steadily for a bit over an hour we reached the first rocky section that provided some difficulty. At first look this section didn't seem too hard, however on closer inspection the rock was flat and rounded and provided no obvious hand holds. We decided to remove our overnight packs and we were able to pass them up without the need for rope. We managed to slide ourselves up the slightly less steep section just to the right. In the photo below we are putting our packs back on at the top of this bit.


Dscf1072[1]After another 30 min of climbing we reached the first of a number of very steep and slippery rock scrambles. Despite being reasonably well enclosed on the sides they can give the feeling of being exposed because the ridge is overall very narrow by this stage with very large drop offs to both sides. At times it was impossible to see where the track would progress past some sections until it was staring us in the face.

By this stage it was starting to get late and there was some dark clouds rolling in from the North. Luckily the clouds held out and so did the darkness for us to reach the Eastern Peak by roughly 5:30 PM. 4 hours after leaving the main track. Despite being a sunny day for the most part some steep sections towards the top were quite damp and I imagine proper rain would have made them very tricky to overcome.

We didn't hang around too long at the summit because the cloud had completely enveloped us and the light was fading quickly. We set off towards the West hoping to reach the Rum Jungle campsite before dark. Descending the rocky Eastern Peak was reasonably straight forward until we reached the lower sections. After ending up too far North down the creek on our last trip I overcompensated slightly this time and we ended up bush bashing our way in the dark the last 30m or so to the creek which we followed down to the Old Hut Site. There was already 2 or 3 tents set up here so we quickly found the track which lead up to the other site where we hope there would be some space left for our tent.

We eventually made it to the camp site by about 6:45 to the surprise of the other campers who already had 3 or 4 tents set up. Luckily we were still able to find a good spot and set up for the evening. The cloud by this time had lowered all the way to the saddle and was making everything wet without it actually raining.

Day 2:
DSCF1088The cloud made sure that everything was wet in the morning and provided a fairly miserable start to the walk back down the South Ridge. Unfortunately we were unable to get any good views of the impressive Western Peak on the way down. The decent was mostly trouble free apart from some muddy and slippery sections and one point where we somehow bypassed a section of the track and ended up doubling back on ourselves. Much to the amusement of the other two groups of walkers who chose that exact time to catch up to us. One who was on the way down and one who must have made very good time and was on the way up.

The two main tricky sections of rock were made more difficult than the previous time because of the wetness, however were still very doable. Especially compared to what we had encountered the day before. Eventually we made it back to the Cronan Creek track and then the carpark by 10:50 AM, 3 hours and 20 minutes after leaving the saddle.

Overall this was a harder but also more rewarding ascent route than the South Ridge. The views were breathtaking and the track was more consistantly interesting and provided what seemed like a more direct way to reach the Eastern Peak. This mountain is definitely living up to its reputation and there will almost certainly be more trips planned to this amazing place.

Download Mt Barney SE to S KMZ File (viewable in Google Earth)

Spicers Gap & Spicers Peak

Date: 6 - 7 Nov 2010

Walkers: Myself

Photo Album

Walk Description:
Day 1:
I arrived at Spicers Gap campground at around 5PM. The main purpose of staying out overnight was to give the new tent a test run. I had vague memories of the campsite from when I stayed there with family when I was young. It isn't huge but has space for a reasonable number of tents on nice grassy sites with plenty of trees for shade. There is a toilet but no showers or creek nearby.

The tent took a bit of tweaking to set up properly and I was inside by around 8 because it got quite a bit cooler than I expected. Getting in and out of the Terraform is fairly simple and there is plenty of width in the bug shelter to store clothes and other things on both sides. The height can be a bit limiting and made getting out of clothes a bit tricky. I also noticed the slippery nature of a silnylon floor that I have read about. My Neo-air kept wandering down the very slight hill to one side all night. Overall though, I stayed dry despite the large amount of dew and well protected from the mozzies.

Day 2:
I set off for the Governors Chair car park by about 8 in the morning after packing up. The road had a few decent puddles but they didn't stop a few 2WD sedans that I saw from making the trip. I was following track notes from "Take a Walk in SE Queensland" for Spicers Peak. These instruct you to head out to the Governors Chair lookout then continue on from there. I discovered that the locked maintenance road that leaves the carpark to the South in fact ends up in the same place as long as you take the left branch at one point. This would be much quicker than trying to follow the old fenceline as the book instructs.

Mt. Mitchell
After heading over the first rise and down into a small gully there are some of the usual National Parks signs warning of the dangers of proceeding any further. From here you start heading up the NW ridge to the peak. After 5 minutes the remnants of the maintenance road turns into a narrow foot pad and the gradient increases further. Looking North from here provides the initial views of Mt. Mitchell. You can see the outcrop where the Mt. Mitchell walk ends.


Before long you arrive at a spot where the track runs close to the Eastern cliff face where there are more views in this direction. From here you can see all of the Moogerah Peaks including Mt. Edwards which we did a few weeks ago and Moogerah Damn. Continuing on I saw the first of many rocky outcrops along the cliff edge. The track bypasses this without deviating too far, before continuing steeply until I reached the first set of cliffs running perpendicular to the ridge.

The track notes I was following recommended contouring along the base of the cliffs until you get to a rocky slab that you can scramble up. This is the route I took and avoids the original track that requires a scramble up the edge of the main cliff face where there have apparently been fatalities. This route isn't without its difficulties though and requires bush bashing your way through some very thick vines that run down a small gully.

Once at the top of this line of cliffs the foliage became much more sparse and the number of grass trees increased as you ascend and head back towards the main ridge to avoid another set of cliffs. Once reaching the ridge I was greeted with a brilliant panoramic view from the South-East all the way around to the North-West. The grass trees were spectacular aswell.
View to the North
After following the ridge up to the final line of cliffs that surround the peak I detoured to the right towards a patch of rainforest. On the way up I ascended all the way to the base of the cliffs as I couldn't see the diagonal route that the track notes described. Either way has its tricky bits. Finally you reach the last haul up a steep and slippery section through the rainforest, keeping an eye out for stinging nettle which camouflages itself amongst the other shrubs.

The peak is mostly overgrown except for a clear lookout to the East round to the South where you can see further down the range. There is also a large rock cairn at the top. I stopped for lunch and a break in the shade here before turning around for the return trip. This was mostly straight forward and followed my ascent in reverse. The trickiest bit was locating the rock slab needed to detour the first set of cliffs again.
Overall, a tuff but very worthwhile little day walk.

View to the East from the summit
 Download Spicers Peak KMZ File

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Mt. Edwards

Date: 24 October 2010

Walkers: Maree, Myself

 Photo Album

Walk Description:
Mt. Edwards is located in the Moogerah Peaks National Park near Aratula. We arrived at the picnic area at the base of the mountain next to the Moogerah Damn at around 8:45 in the morning. Temperatures have been reasonably high over the last few days so we wanted to get going reasonably early. The track starts on the other side of the damn wall which is open to the public to walk across during the day.

The track starts up hill immediatly and heads up along the Reynolds Creek Gorge which runs between Mt. Edwards and Little Mt. Edwards. After walking for roughly 30 minutes we reached the Reynolds outlook, located on a rocky outcrop and provides views across to Little Mt. Edwards and up and down the gorge.

After leaving the outlook the track becomes less formed and significantly steeper with plenty of large rocky steps cut out of the track by erosion. Once reaching the southern ridge the track follows this to the top. The foliage was unusual with the occasional hoop pine amongst the eucalypts. There were plenty of grass trees along the higher ridges.

We reached the peak roughly 2 hours after leaving the car. This allowed for plenty of rest breaks along the way. There are plenty of unobstructed views to the North from the peak across to Mt. French. A small track leads around to the West to provide some views to the South towards the range. The descent took about 1 hour with minimal stoppages. Overall, a very enjoyable and reasonably challenging walk.

Example of the track past the lookout
Moogerah Dam

Mt. Barney South Ridge

Date: 28 - 29 August 2010

Walkers: Tom, Myself

Photo Album

Walk Description:
This walk was planned as a further test of some new gear and to investigate the very well known Mt. Barney national park, which by the end of the weekend we were amazed we'd never been to before.

Day 1:
To get to the the park I drove out the Cunningham Highway before turning left to head towards Boonah. I then headed towards Rathdowney, turning right into Upper Logan Rd. before reaching the Mt. Lindsay Highway. This leads straight into the Yellow Pinch Picnic area where I began my walk. The first day I was on my own and knowing that I wasn't planning on walking too far on the Saturday I didn't head off until about 11 in the morning.

I set off along the only track out of the picnic area which starts on a forestry road straight up Yellow Pinch. At the peak there is another gate and there is a distinct track leading up to the right along the ridge. I left that to be investigated another day and kept to the road which headed down off the ridge and through some flat and open farmland before reaching Cronan Creek. This is where the national park started, marked by a sign, and the road became narrower.

View of Mt. Barney from the East
 The plan for the day was to head out and back along the Cronan Creek track and camp at site 10 for the night. The walk stayed on an old forestry road however it became more overgrown the further it went. After passing Site 10 I noted the starts of the South-East Ridge and South "Peasants" Ridge tracks heading off to the right up the mountain from the main track. The terrain along my route was mainly flat with a slight uphill gradient the whole way. After crossing the creek a number of times I reached the end of the road and stopped for lunch at a small creek in a patch of rainforest.

The return trip was fairly quick and I arrived back at Site 10 at about 2 O'Clock. The campsite was well shaded and right next to the creek. The only downside was how exposed it was to the walking track. Arriving so early meant there was plenty of time for lazing around and exploring the area.

Day 2:
I woke up with a very stiff neck on Day 2. Not sure what is to blame for this. I was trying out Maree's Therma-Rest Neo Air for the first time but I think my pillow is probably the main culprit. Tom arrived earlier than I was expecting. He had left home just after 5 am and reached Site 10 by 8:15. I quickly packed up camp and we headed for the start of the South Ridge track.

The start of the track where it leaves the Cronan Creek track is marked with a sign and is fairly obvious. It starts along an old logging road and heads uphill immediately. Soon after the road narrows to a track where it winds around the edge of the hill to reach the South Ridge. This section of the track is well trodden but a bit overgrown. Once the track reaches the ridge it once again heads up hill and doesn't stop until it reaches the saddle.

The infamous rock slab. No trouble in the dry
The track is very steep with many large rocky steps making progress fairly slow. There is noticable errosion along the track which is being combatted by National Parks trying to direct people along some alternative routes in some sections. About two-thirds of the way up to the saddle I decided to ditch my pack. This gave me an opportunity to try out one of my packs features where you can disconnect the top cover and it turns into a bum bag.This was surprisingly comfortable and I was still able to carry probably 1.5kg. Although the buckles kept sliding loose a bit.
Western Peak

Just before reaching the saddle we were struck with our first views of the Western Peak. Very impressive piece of rock. We soon arrived in the Rum Jungle campsite which was quite large and well protected under a think canopy. We were pretty dissapointed with the amount of rubbish left in the area. From here we headed North-East along a track that soon exited the small patch of rainforest to the second campsite on the saddle; the Old Hut Site.

From here we began the climb up to the Eastern Peak. The way up was roughly marked with pink ribbons and required lots of rock scrambling and pushing through some extremely defient shrubbery. There are a couple of "false" peaks that give you some hope that you have reached the top. However if you try and gauge where you are in relation to the other peak which is roughly the same height you can get a better idea as to how far you have climbed.
View of the Western Peak from half way up the Eastern Peak
We reached the peak at about 12:30, roughly 4 hours after leaving Site 10. The view was an amazing 360 degrees and well worth the climb. We went down the same way we came up and the time back to the car was about 3.5 hours.
View South towards Mt. Ernest and Mt. Lindsay
View to the North towards the North peak and Eagle's Ridge (??)
The video below was taken from the top. It starts facing North-West where you can see the North Peak of Barney. Next is Mt. Maroon, before swinging around to the East. To the south is Mt. Ernest and Mt. Lindsay. Finally is the West Peak of Barney.

Spot and Aether

SPOT Personal Tracker and Emergency Beacon:
Two weeks ago Michael from Pivotel was kind enough to loan me a SPOT to test its capabilities in conditions typical of hiking in S.E. Queensland. As you can see from the link the unit I was given was the first generation unit.

You can get all the information from the link above, however the general idea is that this unit provides emergency and non-emergency messaging over the Globalstar satellite phone network. This enables you to request emergency help or even just let people know that you are ok in areas without any mobile phone coverage. The device has a in built GPS receiver and transmitter and runs off two AA batteries.
My first impressions were that the unit itself seems fairly rugged and it survived a couple of falls from the top of my pack without any problems. However, this ruggedness definitely adds to its weight and bulk. It isn't small. The only interface options are 4 small buttons with corresponding LED's on the front. The LED's can take a bit of deciphering to figure out what the device is doing.

My first test was to send a single "OK" message from my office window at work. Michael had configured it to send an email to my address in this case. The email arrived within 10 min of pressing the button and contained the GPS coordinates and street address. The main test was done yesterday on our walk to Mt. Mitchell. This walked passed through a wide variety of foliage and was a good test on the receiving and transmitting capabilites of the SPOT.

To obtain a correct position the unit first has to acquire a GPS position and then be able to transmit this back to the Satellites. For this test I put the device in tracking mode whereby it sends a location message back to the SPOT server every 10 minutes for anyone to view on Google maps. The screen shot below is taken from this server after my trip with the locations received displayed as the blue pins. I have added red rectangles around the areas where the reception was poor.

Mt. Mitchell Track

The map below is taken from the National Parks track map and shows the general track route that should correspond to the map above.

Mt. Mitchell Map

The areas marked in the satellite image above showing areas of poor performance of the SPOT correspond remarkably with the areas of moderate to high density rainforest on the walk. The best performance was obtained at the peak where the foliage was low and sparse. This leads me to believe that in areas of total rainforest such as Lamington Plateau the SPOT would be lucky to get a single position out. Perhaps the newer SPOT 2 with an updated GPS chip would perform better.

Osprey Aether 60:
I loaded up the new pack with an overnight trips worth of stuff. All that was missing was a tent and a bit of extra food. Weight was just over 9kg including 2L of water. I was happy with this weight and already shows an improvement since my last walk.

Any fears I had of the new pack not being big enough were shattered. There was plenty of room for lots more gear as I had all the compression straps pulled in a fair way. Despite there being more room available the straps brought the size down well and the load was very stable.

Balance was very good with a high position that clung to my back very well. This allowed me to walk with a much better posture. Despite all the positives my back still started to hurt in similar places as with my old Mont. However, I will continue to fiddle with the harness and the real test will be on a multi day walk. Stay tuned.

Mt. Mitchell

Date: 22 August 2010

Walkers: Maree, Myself

Photo Album

Walk Description:
After considering a few options south of Brisbane for a day walk we decided on something starting at Cunningham's Gap in the Main Range National Park. The drive took about 1 hour from Ipswich to Cunningham's Gap where we parked then crossed the highway to start the walk to the twin peaks of Mt. Mitchell.

Testing the new pack and Spot
Today's walk had two secondary purposes for myself. Firstly was to test out the Spot personal tracking and emergency beacon and secondly was to test out the new rucksack mentioned in my previous post. Both of these will be reviewed in a post to come soon including results from the Spot.

Grass trees in bloom

View to the East with Cunningham Hwy

As mentioned, the track starts on the southern side of the highway and is the only one heading in this direction from the car park. The foliage starts out as fairly sparse rainforest as the track immediately heads up-hill at an easy gradient. The track is very well graded the whole way up.

Spectacular views are available to the East at first then to the West and eventually the South at various places along the track. The bush also transitions between open scrub dotted with Grass Trees and quite soggy and dense rainforest depending on the aspect of the hill. The Grass Trees were flowering and were attracting lots of birds.

Overall this walk was well worth the 10km or so round trip.
Mt. Mitchell summit from the end of the trail

Conondale Range Great Walk

Date: 17 - 20 July 2010

Walkers: Tom, Myself

Photo Album

Walk Description:
We had 4 days to do a walk this time. We had been considering the Cooloola Great Walk but the length and areas that it covered put us off a bit. Plus we didn't want to deal with taking two cars. So when we looked up this one, saw that it was 4 days and a circuit it was perfect.

Day 1:
The walk starts and finishes at the Booloumba Creek Day Use Area. We left Brisbane northside at roughly 5:30AM and it took about 2 hours to reach our destination despite Google's directions taking us on a bit of a pre-adventure through the forestry areas near Landsborough. There was three knee deep creek crossings on the road into the day use area. I imagine these could get quite deep after more rain. But they didn't give the Maverick any problems.

The track started on the day walk system and followed the creek for a while before leaving it below to head higher up the side of the valley. The first point of interest was a small detour to see the entrance to an old gold mine. Not much to see here really except a big hole in the rock and a small sign giving a few bits of information and telling you not to breath in the bat poo.

After rejoining the main track we proceeded further up the valley catching glimpses of the creek below. There were a few small stinging trees beside the track to be careful of. Often cleverly disguised next to Macaranga trees. By morning tee time we had reached the Artists Cascades. The creek was easy to get across here. One thing we noticed was that the little Great Walk arrow sign posts also had little plaques giving distances to the next points of interest. This would have been nice on the Gold Coast walk from earlier in the year.
Looking down the Artists Cascades
From here the track headed steeply up the side of the valley before eventually reaching Booloumba Falls and The Breadknife. The falls, although not as spectacular as Purling Brook at Springbrook, were beautiful and The Breadknife was very impressive. It has been formed at the tip of a ridge where two creeks meet. The valley's in the area have very steep sides. We stopped for lunch here and realising that we only had another 2km to the campsite hung around taking photos and scrambling on the rocks.
The Breadknife
Tom on top of the breadknife
The final section of track crosses Booloumba Creek Road before eventually reaching the campsite for the night. The toilet block and water tank were very nice and the campsites were all isolated well from each other. Each one had at least one tent pad and a wooden platform. This was great for sitting on and storing gear at the end of each day. The temperature got fairly low on this night and despite some sort of animal sniffing around outside the tent all night we got a reasonable nights sleep.
Campsite on Day 1

Day 2
Day 2 was the longest of the walk at 17km so we were keen to get going pretty early. We managed to haul ourselves onto the track by about 8:30 (this is early for us). The first hour of walking was great. It followed a tight track through thick bush and rainforest. Eventually this ended when we reached the first of what would eventually be a long line of forestry and fire management tracks.

As far as fire tracks go these weren't too bad. Still quite narrow and still picturesque. Eventually we got to a gate and a T-Intersection with a sign post saying Grigors Road. This didn't make sense so we checked our map and took some bearings and decided that we'd missed a track turn off about 1.5km's back. Fortunately there was a convenient loop in the roads that led back to the track so we didn't have to backtrack, although we were still annoyed that we'd added probably 1.5km's to an already long day.

Massive Strangler Fig

We felt some minor relief when we did eventually meet back up with the track and saw the familiar great walk sign post pointing us in the right direction. The track stayed on the South Goods Fire Management trail and once reaching it, followed the ridge directly for the next couple of hours. The only excitement during this section was when we came across some (what we assumed were) hunters in a 4wd. We didn't think too much of it except to hope that we didn't get shot in the back.

After stopping for lunch in the side of the road we walked for another 30 min before finally turning off the fire trail. The track alternated between new connecting tracks and old logging roads. The biggest surprise came when a big dog walked up behind Tom wearing a breast plate. After deciding that it didn't want to eat us we figured that the hunters had probably lost their dog and had been looking for it. We weren't sure how to get rid of it but eventually it left without too much fuss when Tom yelled at it.

Campsite for Day 2
The campsite for the night was much the same as the first night except for being in significantly denser forest. The water tank sounded very empty and we were lucky to get what we needed out of it. The only other hiccup  came in the morning when Tom's collapsible silicone cup that he'd left out to drain overnight had a hole eaten out of it. Hope they had a stomach ache.

Day 3
The third day of walking promised more creek crossings and waterfalls and we hoped it would be more exciting than the second. The track followed more logging roads and passed by the remnants of an old logging arch. This was apparently towed behind bulldozers and was attached to logs to pull them out of the forest. It was still mostly in one piece and still had rubber on the tyres. Shortly after, the track narrowed and went down-hill before reaching Peters falls. Not all that spectacular but still nicer than fire trails.

The track continued further before crossing Peters creek further upstream. We filled up water here and had a quick bird bath before the track headed up hill out of the valley we had just descended into. The track followed the ridge up where there was ample evidence of the past logging era. Eventually the track crossed Sunday Creek Road. The remainder of the track for the day was very nice, with a few creek crossings and no more fire trails. About lunch time it started raining quite heavily so we broke out the rain gear which is always a pain. Luckily this only continued for an hour or so and we were able to strip back the clothes and dry off a bit before arriving at the campsite for the night.

Campsite for Day 3
The final campsite for the walk was located only 100m or so from the top of Summer Creek Falls. These were the biggest falls of the whole walk and the cliffs around them provided some great views. The campsite itself was also very nice. It was surrounded by rainforest and had been cleared of lantana and replanted. It stayed dry for the rest of the evening however rained quite heavily on and off during the night. Luckily this cleared up by the morning and we were able to let the sun dry off the tent a bit before heading off.
Summer Falls

Day 4
The final day of walking started off uphill as we wound our way around the ridge to the top where we met up with some more roads. We passed a national parks sign indicating bees in the area. Not sure what we were supposed to do with this information. Some of the roads we were travelling on doubled as horse and mountain bike trails. The horses had tore up the tracks significantly. Continuing on the roads for the next hour or so made the walking quick. This continued until we reached the bottom of the spur track that lead to the top of Mt. Allen.

After making good time in the morning we decided to continue up to the top of Mt. Allen before stopping for lunch. This was a moderately steep climb but was over fairly quickly as we only needed to ascend a couple of hundred metres. At the top was the refurbished fire tower. In the past this was used to spot fires during the logging periods. The view from the top was amazing and let you retrace parts of the walk. We stopped here for lunch before continuing back down the mountain for the final leg of the journey.

Posing at the end of the walk

From here it was all down hill. We tried to keep an easy pace so as not to destroy our already aching feet and legs but as always when you are near the end of a walk it is hard to stop accelerating. This section did stretch on for longer than I expected and would be a descent day walk starting from the day use area and heading to the fire tower and back again. We eventually made it back and were relieved to see the car in one piece waiting patiently for us. We took off our boots and soaked our feet in the creek for a while before heading back home.