Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Binna Burra: Lower Belbird Circuit

Looking across to Ships Stern
Date: 28 Nov 2011


After having our Girraween trip cut short by rain the week before we wanted to get out for another walk while we were still on holidays. Trying to avoid the heat somewhat we headed for higher altitude and shady rainforest at Binna Burra. We decided on the Lower Belbird Circuit which I remembered as a highlight of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.


This track commences at the same point as the Ships Stern Circuit at the lower end of the Binna Burra camp ground. Being a weekday there wasn't many visitors and we hoped to have the track to ourselves. The walk spends most of its time under the cool canopy of the rainforest and starts by heading South and gradually down hill.

As is the case with most of the tracks in the park this one was well graded and maintained. In fact the only downside to the first half of the walk was the chainsaw noises coming from the rangers clearing a section of the track of a tree fall. As usual, they were all very friendly though and apologised for the noise. As the track made its first u-turn back down the hill a small off-shoot headed to the first of two lookouts providing views down the valley towards the East.

One of the most interesting features of the walk for me was the cliffs and rock formations beside the track which also pose as a reminder of how far you will eventually have to climb back up.

Panorama of the caves

Investigating the rock

Alien like rock formations in the caves
The track zig-zagged down crossing various gulleys and mostly dry creek beds before eventually making a more permenant turn towards the East where we eventually hit the junction where the rest of the circuit deviates from the Ships Stern walk. There are some amazing trees and beautiful water cascades through this section.

Giant trees

Rocky cascades
At one stage we came across a very stubborn goanna which really didn't want to get off the track and continued making hissing noises at us as we passed. After being on high snake alert the whole walk we also got a bit of a fright from a big black land mullet sitting next to the track.

Land Mullet
We eventually stopped for lunch at the top of a waterfall with cliffs behind us and a brilliant view across the valley towards Ships Stern. It was at this point that we also saw the rain heading right for us, so we quickly finished our food and continued on. The track eventually hits the junction where the Great Walk heads down off the plateau and where our circuit headed back towards the road. From here it was a steamy slog back up the road to the car.

Cliffs above our lunch spot