2 October 2023.
The Scenic Rim offers up countless hiking trails that take you from lush rainforest to rocky gorge. This guide covers six of the best Scenic Rim walks to explore during your visit.
The Scenic Rim is an absolute dream destination for hikers.
Encircling an ancient caldera which boasts rich volcanic soils and a patchwork of vibrant farmlands, the rugged mountains of the Scenic Rim, linked by six diverse national parks, play host to pristine rainforests, phenomenal viewpoints, vast lakes, abundant wildlife, waterfalls and hiking trails.
From epic rocky peaks to remote natural swimming holes, verdant jungle to spectacular lookouts, this stunning region in the hinterland of southeast Queensland simply begs to be explored and these are six incredible Scenic Rim walks that you shouldn’t miss.
Distance / Duration | 5.2km // 4 hours return
The hike up Mount Maroon was a definite highlight of my time in the Scenic Rim and rewards visitors with epic views across the entire region.
Rising dramatically from the lush plains that surround Mount Barney National Park, the iconic peak is unmistakable as you drive through the area.
Beginning along a dusty trail that weaves up a steep incline between bright eucalypt forest, you’ll eventually arrive at the rocky gully which marks the final stretch of the climb.
You’ll be grabbing onto twisted tree roots and hoisting yourself over large boulders, squeezing your feet into tiny crevices and scrambling over piles of rocks. Though it’s close to vertical in parts, it’s great fun and feels like something of an obstacle course.
Once on the plateau, a short forest trail and a short stretch of rock-hopping will guide you to the spectacular summit where vivid green farmlands extend to the horizon and the mountain peaks rise up on all sides – the hulking mass of Mount Barney, iconic Mount Lindesay and the endless ridgelines of the Main Range.
It may be a challenging scramble to the top, but this phenomenal view undoubtedly makes this one of the best Scenic Rim hikes.
Distance / Duration | 6.8km // 3 hours
Stay | Boonah Valley Motel
Home to a magical pocket of pristine rainforest that belongs to the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, Mount Cordeaux lies in the heart of the spectacular Main Range National Park which forms the western frontier of the Scenic Rim.
You’ll be immediately engulfed in the kind of atmospheric jungle that would be right at home in Middle Earth, where lush ferns and ancient trees are adorned with a colourful and curious array of moss, fungi and lichen.
Enormous trees soar overhead and as you climb gradually higher, the sounds of the forest quickly take over.
Arriving at the summit, the views are just as impressive and overlook the vast valley basin that stretches as far as the eye can see while the many peaks of Mount Barney National Park puncture the eastern horizon.
Not a bad reward for just an hour or so of easy walking.
Continue along the escarpment to Bare Rock, a detour that will add a further 6 km or 1.5 hours to your hike, where you’ll be welcomed with views across the rugged, emerald folds of the ‘Ramparts’ that mark the northern section of Main Range National Park.
For adventurous hikers eager to explore more of the area, it’s also possible to complete the Scenic Rim Trail, a 47km, 4-day independent hike through the region which reaches Bare Rock and Mount Cordeaux on its final day and finishes up at Cunningham Gap.
Distance / Duration | 7.4km // 3 hours return
Read More | A Complete Guide to the Lower Portals Hike
While the insane views are one of the biggest draw cards for many of these Scenic Rim walks, the Lower Portals hike offers up something rather different – a serene waterhole and a rare opportunity for a refreshing dip between the mountains.
Tucked away in the forests of Mount Barney National Park, the Lower Portals track is a wonderfully adventurous option that guides you along a dusty ochre trail, over two river crossings, up and down the hilly topography and ends with a tight squeeze through a gap in some boulders.
On the other side, you’ll find yourself before an impressive gorge that cradles a large natural pool – the Lower Portals.
Fed by the waters of Mount Barney Creek which trickle down from the mountain, this remote oasis is a marvellous place for a refreshing swim and makes a beautiful spot for a picnic beside the water.
For a trail that offers up very little in the way of shade, this is the perfect antidote, and if you manage to arrive early enough, you might just have it all to yourself.
Distance | 10km // 3 to 4 hours return
Read More | Soon to be published…
One of my favourite walks in Lamington National Park, the Box Forest Circuit guides you along a simply lovely woodland trail, through a spectacular pocket of World Heritage-listed rainforest and past several cascades before switching back and forth back up to the escarpment.
After a long, gradual descent into the valley through the well-preserved ancient rainforests that exist on this side of the mountain, you’ll arrive at Canungra Creek which feeds a number of small cascades and two beautiful waterfalls – Elabana Falls and Box Log Falls.
The trees here are some of the oldest in Australia, dating back over 1,000 years, and you’ll hike past towering red cedars, Antarctic beech and rose-tinted brush box, as well as an endless carpet of dewy green moss and rain-soaked foliage which seems to cling to every surface.
Once you enter the valley, much of the trail hugs the edge of the river and offers up several picturesque spots that make it all too easy to while away most of the day here in the rainforest.
The Box Forest Circuit is another fantastic Scenic Rim hike and an excellent option in Lamington National Park that’s easily accessible from the Rainforest Retreat.
The trail climbs steadily towards the summit in a long three-part switchback which passes through dense rainforest and scraggly scrubland, spiky grass trees and friendly yellow everlastings, before the final rocky zigzag which brings you to the summit.
The views from the compact peak are phenomenal and make the straightforward 90-minute climb well worth it.
Cliffs tumble away sharply on all sides, the incredible formation of the Main Range extends out in either direction and the entire Scenic Rim sprawls out before you.
The deep blue expanse of Lake Moogerah shimmers ahead while the peaks of Mount Cordeaux, Mount Maroon and Mount Barney pepper the verdant countryside.
Distance / Duration | 3km // 1 hour return
Read More | Soon to be published…
Tucked away between the beautiful rainforests of Lamington National Park, the Python Rock Track is short and sweet, weaving between a lovely patch of forest before arriving at a large viewing platform at the edge of the escarpment.
Gazing across the valley, the views are magnificent, taking in the endless ridge lines of the southern reaches of Lamington National Park which extends into the folds of the Border Ranges.
In the distance, the iconic silhouette of Mount Lindesay, a constant presence in the hinterland, towers above the surrounding mountains.
The vantage point makes Python Rock a beautiful spot to catch the sunset on the edge of the cliff, though keep in mind you’ll be in for a very dark walk back through the forest once the sun has slipped below the horizon so be sure to bring a head torch.
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