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/