I am an Organiser of the Group Hiking South East Qld and More on Meetup. Visit the website at https://www.meetup.com/HikingInSEQLDandMore/ is free to join all the activities posted on the hiking group.
Published October 11th 2021
A walk in the rainforest
Lamington National Park has ancient rainforests that go back to the Jurassic Era. Magnificent trees, spectacular views at the lookouts, pristine waterfalls and rare fauna and flora make Lamington National Park a unique area, which protects the exceptional nature part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
Group Hiking South East Qld and More hikers on the Border Track at Binna Burra. Photo by Author. Photo by Author.
Lamington National Park is made of two sections, Binna Burra and Green Mountains. Araucaria Lookout Track is in Binna Burra section.
Araucaria Lookout Trail starts at Binna Burra, it is about 17.8 km return, allow about 6 hours walking time. The trail is classified grade 4 due to the length and uneven terrain. Some fitness is required for hiking this trail. Start the walk on the Border Track, turn left on Mount Hobwee Circuit and then turn left on Araucaria Trail. There are signs to help the hikers with directions.
At the beginning of the Border Tack, there a few informative signs about the trees on the trail. For example, the Purple Cherry, Syzygium crebrinerve Myrtaceae, is a tree of the rainforest. The purple fruits of this tree are dry and mealy but are still eaten by the topknot pigeons. Abundant fallen fruits can be seen on tracks from February to March.
Purple cherry tree along the Border Track. Photo by Author.
The Araucaria Trail then detaches from Mount Hobwee trail and goes to Orchid Bower Lookout. This lookout is incredibly beautiful, with moss covering the steps, beautiful rock orchids, and an old semi twisted tree and fantastic views over Springbrook and Mount Warning.
Orchid Bower Lookout is a splendid place to stop to have morning tea and taking time to admire the views from the lookout, and the orchids.
After Orchid Bower Lookout, keep walking until you arrive at the Araucaria Loop. Follow the direction of the sign. The track winds down towards Araucaria Lookout, where it is possible to see extensive rock construction in the park.
Araucaria Lookout is a rocky outcrop with many rock orchids. It is a fragile environment, please take care not to step on the orchids and on other delicate plants. Drink in the great views from the lookout and retrace your steps back to the intersection.
Not far from the Araucaria Lookout is a very old tree, a few hundred years old. The hikers have to pass under the tree to continue on the trail. The old tree is very big and it is home for many other plants like ferns.
I hiked Araucaria Lookout Track together with the Group Hiking South East Qld and More. In the rainforest, I heard many bird calls and I recognised the Wompoo Fruit Dove. On the floor of the forest, under vegetation, I spotted a couple of Logrunner birds, busy scratching the leaf mulch looking for invertebrates. Some hikers spotted a couple of snakes.
In Orchid Bower Lookout and Araucaria Lookout, there are many beautiful orchids and would be fantastic to see them when blooming with their spectacular flowers. The views from the lookouts are great, overlooking to Mount Warning caldera. Another highlight of the trail was the very old tree leaning on the trail. It is probably a few hundred years old tree and the hikers have to pass under it. The old tree has many brunches that help to support the trunk of the tree.
Once you have finished the hike, you can have coffee and refreshments at Binna Burra Tea House, which offers cold and hot drinks, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options. Two scones served with cream and jam for $5.00. There are many choices of meals.
Sit down and relax in the welcoming Tea House that has beautiful views from the large verandah.
On your way home, you can stop at the Information Centre, two km down from Binna Burra Tea House. The Information Centre is run by volunteers of the Lamington Natural History Association Inc. The Information Centre has boards with interesting facts about the Lamington National Park. It has also maps and sells useful books.
What to bring
Hiking gear: a hiking medium backpack, long trousers and shirt with long sleeve, light raincoat, very recommended hiking ankle supportive boots, first aid kit, insect repellent (it works for leeches, give preference to cream or roll-on that are more environmentally friendly than the spray), hat, sunscreen, gloves, walking poles if you like to use them, socks protectors or gaiters.
For this hike consider, carrying a map or download a good app on your smartphone that can help you to navigate in the bush.
Bring a medium day backpack with lots of water, especially if it's a hot day, 3.0 litres of water and snacks. During summer, you can bring electrolytes to dissolve in water to compensate for the loss through perspiration. You may consider packing sandwiches, fresh fruit, dry fruit, energy bars and small meals.
Walk with family, friends or in a group. Never alone!
The trail starts at Binna Burra Tea House, 1069 Binna Burra, Qld. From Brisbane, it takes about one hour and a half, 111km. Drive on the M1 Pacific Mwy. Take Exit 69 for Nerang, Drive on the Southport Nerang Road that becomes Beaudesert Nerang Road. Then follow Nerang Murwillumbah Road, turn right into Beechmont Road. Continue driving on Binna Burra Road and at the end of the road is Binna Burra Tea House.