Must Do: Explore Girraween National Park

Kookaburra Sits On The Old Gum Tree

Girraween National Park is located approximately 260km south-west of Brisbane and is home to numerous large granite boulders, many of which are precariously balancing on top of the granite covered landscape. Some of the more notorious balancing formations include the Granite Arch, The Sphinx, and Turtle Rock — all easily accessible by various length walking tracks.

The park covers 118 square kilometres (~45 square miles) and consists of 10 walking tracks, spanning a total of 17km, ranging from class 2 to class 4. The tracks that we decided to take were Dr Roberts’ Waterhole and Underground Creek. Both of the walks start a short drive from the main Information Centre and campgrounds — the start marked by a small car park. A couple of hundred metres down the track the path split into two, one direction leads to Dr Roberts’ Waterhole the other to Underground Creek.

Although there was plenty of water at Dr Roberts’ Waterhole, unfortunately, that is about all that was there — well that, trees, and granite boulders. The signs promised an abundance of wildlife, from frogs to birds… but all that we got was nothing except the distant call of birds. Perhaps all of the locals are hibernating during the colder winter months? Trying our luck with Underground Creek, we were once again slightly disappointed — with the “underground” creek merely being a section of the mountain where granite boulders have fallen over the creek creating an underground section. None-the-less the granite structures are still an amazing site.

For us, the best part of the park was the camping. Located a short walk/drive from the main Information Centre are two camping grounds; Castle Rock camping area and Bald Rock Creek camping area. Castle Rock camping area is an open, flat area with more of a communal tent placement suitable for larger groups. The only separation was for the caravans, with large trees and foliage separating the parking spaces, followed by another large area for additional tents. Wood-fired barbecue places were also available at various locations in the camping area. Bald Rock Creek camping area, on the other hand, is a hilly, segregated camping area with what appeared to be less area for caravans. This camping area also allowed for cars to be parked right next to the individual camp, which also had its own wood-fired barbecue available. A few of the large camp spots also sported a set of wooden park bench and table.

While not one of my favourite must do’s Girraween National Park is undoubtedly a good weekend away and worth a visit, although I would recommend choosing one of the different walking tracks during a warmer season. If you do decide to go during the colder months, then a warm sleeping bag and thick warm clothing is a must. As a bonus, the campgrounds do provide gas heated hot showers (which are on a timer system to conserve water consumption), toilets, and drinking water (must boil first).

For more information on Girraween National Park (and other parks) visit the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management page: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/girraween/

Fort Lytton

Fort Lytton, Brisbane, Australia
Fort Lytton, Brisbane, Australia

Fort Lytton is a pentagonal fortress, built near the mouth of the Brisbane River, erected in 1881 to aid the controlled river mines in defending the Port of Brisbane until the end of the Second World War. It was Brisbane’s front line of defence and is regarded as the birthplace of Queensland military history. The fort is surrounded by a water-filled moat and connected by underground passages (although these underground passages do not appear to be visible anymore). After the Second World War, the fort was no longer deemed ‘useful’ and as such fell into a state of disrepair until Ampol took over the site in 1963 and later became a national park in 1988.

By the turn of the century, the Fort consisted of six gun pits and two machine gun posts. The arsenal included (Most of which can be seen at the Fort either in their original placing or in the historical museum – some of the larger fixed emplacements are replicas now):

  • 2x 6 inch BL 5 tonne Armstrong guns
  • 2x 6 pounder QF Hotchkiss guns
  • 1x 4 barrel 1-inch Nordenfelt machine gun
  • 1x 10 barrel 0.45inch Nordenfelt machine gun
  • 2x 64 pounder RML guns

The Fort is open every Sunday and on public holidays from 10am until 4pm. Entry fee is $4.50 for adults (includes a tour or self-exploration if you wish) but is a small price to pay for a good afternoon of historical exploration. Additionally (unconfirmed if this is every Sunday or only during certain times throughout the year) they fire one of the cannons three times during the day. When I visit the site the times posted were 11am, 1pm and 3pm. If you’re a budding photographer I would suggest arriving just prior to 11 am to catch the first cannon firing and then after spending the next two hours wandering around and having a bite to eat (great spot for a picnic lunch – portable bbq’s are welcome) it will be time for the second firing. You might be surprised how quick the firing happens, I certainly was!

See additional photos from Fort Lytton.

Update: I’ve been told that they fire the cannons the first Sunday of every month.

Historical information from: http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/find_a_park_or_forest/fort_lytton_national_park Continue reading “Fort Lytton”

20 Brisbane Must Do’s

Queensland is turning 150 next year and the RACQ has started the 150 Campaign where they are promoting 150 great Queensland Experiences. Being a large state a vast portion of the 150 experiences are out of reach for a day trip or even a weekend trip, and others are just not that interesting. I have compiled a shortlist from the 150 to come up with 20 Brisbane (or close enough to be a day or weekend trip from Brisbane) must do’s and a few Queensland like to do’s.

Over time I am going to be creating a new post entry for each item, along with Flickr photos, in order to track what I have done and to give my opinion on each one. I will also update this list with links to the posts, striking out any completed items. Although I have already done several of the items I may do them again simply because they were that good or because I’m lacking photos of them.

20 Brisbane Must Do’s (no particular order):

  1. Australia Zoo, Beerwah
  2. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
  3. Dive The Great Barrier Reef
  4. Carnarvon Gorge
  5. Explore Girraween National Park
  6. Great Walk, Fraser Island / Take A Trip To Fraser Island
  7. Riverfire
  8. Discover The Natural Beauty At Springbrook
  9. Pumicestone Passage, Bribie Island
  10. Tuck Into A Steak At Brekky Creek Hotel
  11. Lamington National Park
  12. Workshops Rail Museum
  13. View The City Lights From Mt Coot-tha
  14. Glass House Mountains
  15. Underwater World, Mooloolabah
  16. Story Bridge Adventure Climb
  17. Lose Yourself In The Bunya Mountains
  18. Try Zorbing
  19. View The Coastline From The Deck Of Q1
  20. Shopping At The Queen Street Mall

Queensland Like To Do’s (no particular order):

  1. Tour Sirromet Winery
  2. Whitehaven Beach
  3. Sea Kayak Along The Whitsunday Islands
  4. Paronella Park
  5. Join A Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour At Cape Tribulation
  6. Mini Moke Around Magnetic Island
  7. Relax At A Result On The Great Barrier Reef
  8. White Water Rafting, Tully River