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Best Overnight Hiking Trips in South East Queensland

Home > Brisbane > Adventure | Camping | Lists | Outdoor | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published September 5th 2022
There are many great overnight hikes & camps in SEQ
Overnight Hikes

Camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and hiking and camping is a great way to get even further away from other people. There are lots of great overnight hikes in South East Queensland and here are some highly recommended options.

There are lots of great opportunities for an overnight hike in South East Queensland
There are lots of great opportunities for an overnight hike in South East Queensland


There are all walks on official tracks, rather than some of the remote bush hiking that is possible in the area and avoid anything with a scramble or climb. I have tried to cover a range of different hikes though, from easy ones that are good to give your gear a shakedown or just escape the city, through to some longer hikes.

Hiking Circuits

I have already written an article on some of the great overnight hiking circuits where you can hike in and out via different tracks. These include Gheerulla Valley's 21 km circuit, Albert Creek Circuit at O'Reilly's, another 21 km walk, the Illinbah Circuit at Binna Burra, how to do the Binna Burra to O'Reilly's Walk as mostly a circuit, and overnight circuits in the South D'Aguilar National Park.

There are lots of overnight circuits & hikes in South East Queensland
There are lots of overnight circuits & hikes in South East Queensland


Conondale: Booloumba Creek Camping Area to Wongai Walkers Camp

The Conondale Great Walk has one stunning section, which is the first section starting from the Booloumba Creek Camping Area and going 11 kms past Gold Mine, Strangler Cairn, Artists Cascades, Booloumba Falls and The Breadknife Lookout to the Wongai Walkers Camp. For anyone who has done the Conondale Great Walk, consider this section to be the best.

The best section of the Conondale Great Walk takes in the Artists Cascades & Booloumba Falls
The best section of the Conondale Great Walk takes in the Artists Cascades & Booloumba Falls


Yes, you can camp in the Booloumba Creek Camping area and do the walk as a day trip, but it is far more interesting to camp there overnight. You can also follow the four-wheel drive track back if you want to make it a circuit, but it is just nicer to follow the hiking track back.

If you don't have a 4WD for the creek crossings at Booloumba Creek, you will have to walk n little further in to get to the start of the hike
If you don't have a 4WD for the creek crossings at Booloumba Creek, you will have to walk a little further in to get to the start of the hike


One thing to remember, if you don't have a four-wheel drive, then you should park before the first creek crossing into the camping area. This adds another 1.5 kms to the walk, so the total distance to the campsite would be 12.5 kms.

Lower Portals

A lovely little walk is the Lower Portals Walk at Mount Barney. In the summer months, it is popular for families to take their kids on this walk for a swim. The walk gets its name because the main way to the swimming hole is to scramble through a hole between two giant boulders. I am not saying that it is a magic portal, but the first time we went there, we asked a mysterious stranger about the way to the swimming hole. He pointed to the gap between the boulders, and we went in, then turned around he was gone.

The popular swimming hole at Mt Barney's Lower Portals
The popular swimming hole at Mt Barney's Lower Portals


Don't worry, you don't have to take your camping gear through the portals, as the camping area is about 300 metres from the swimming hole. The walk is not hard and only 3.7 kms into the camping area, but you are going up and down a few ridges, which is not a challenge for the reasonably fit if you are not in a rush. Be aware, that it does get busy during the day, so it is a good place to go late in the afternoon and then leave earlier in the morning.

There are a few creek crossings on the way to the campsite
There are a few creek crossings on the way to the campsite


Flaxton Walkers Camp on the Sunshine Coast Great Walk

A lot of people are looking for a place they can hike overnight and look to what can be done as a single section on the Sunshine Coast Great Walk. I have mentioned the Gheerulla Valley Circuit which can also be done in shorter sections, but you might also consider the Flaxton Walkers Camp as a place for a lovely walk.

The Flaxton Walkers Camp is a nice place on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk to camp on an overnight hike
The Flaxton Walkers Camp is a nice place on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk to camp on an overnight hike


The best way to walk to this camp is from the Mapleton Falls end. If you walk from the other access point, it is only about 1 km in, which is hardly worth the hike. You can start at Mapleton Falls, which follows the road before becoming a proper hike. Or you can park on Suses Pocket Road and just start the walk on the hiking track proper.

The walk goes down to Baxter Falls and back up again. This is a fairly steep walk, but not that long, only 4.3 kms from Osborne Road and 5.9 kms from Mapleton Falls.

Baxter Falls is the highlight of the walk to and from Flaxton Walkers Camp
Baxter Falls is the highlight of the walk to and from Flaxton Walkers Camp


Of course, you can also walk the 17 kms from Baroon Pocket Dam to the campsite if you are looking for a longer walk. Don't forget to stop for a swim at Kondalilla Falls on the way.

Cronan Creek Falls

One of the loveliest little walks to what used to be the perfect secret waterfall, but now has a signed track, there is camping on the track on the way to the falls. The walk overall is a pleasant 12 kms return walk to and from the falls, with plenty of creek crossings on the way and a little bit of rock hopping to get to the falls themselves.

The Cronan Creek follows an old logging trail at the base of Mt Barney
The Cronan Creek follows an old logging trail at the base of Mt Barney


There are 2 camping spots on the path, roughly halfway in. Both are right next to the creek, so water is easy to get. There are no facilities, so bring a trowel if you need to go number 2. There are some log chairs created by hikers. My preference is for the Forestry Bush Camp further in over the Burbank Bush Camp. It is bigger with better creek access. Both campsites can hold up to 12 people.

Burbank camping area along the Cronan Creek Track
Burbank camping area along the Cronan Creek Track


It is a nice place to spend a night out in the bush where few people are likely to be camping. It is a pity that the campsites are not closer to the waterfall, but still late in the afternoon or early in the morning, you should be able to visit the falls without seeing anyone else.

The reason to hike or camp on the Cronan Creek track is the Cronan Creek Falls
The reason to hike or camp on the Cronan Creek track is the Cronan Creek Falls


Bunya Mountains

The beautiful Bunya Mountains has a 20 km track from runs through it with a campsite at either end and another one in the middle. All campsites have toilets, while the one at Burton's Well has showers, and the one at Dandabah also has WiFi, a shop, cafe, bar and bistro. Oh, and a road connects all 3 as well.

Camping at Burton's Well in the Bunya Mountains
Camping at Burton's Well in the Bunya Mountains


Some people choose to hike the track with all their gear, tackling the whole e 20 kms in one day or maybe doing it in 10 km sections. From Dandabah the track heads uphill at a fairly steady slope, which increases as you approach the end at Burton's Well. So it can be a long tiring day. Or you could walk it in the other direction, which is mostly downhill. You have the option of returning down the road, which is much easier and shorter than the tracks.

Views from the track at Bunya Mountains
Views from the track at Bunya Mountains


To be honest, while it is a nice pack walk, you can just camp at one of the campsites and do circuits with a day pack, walking out on the track and returning by the road. However, it does make for a nice beginner's hike to try out your gear.

Northbrook Mountain

South D'Aguilar National Park is popular as a place to go for people to shakedown any new gear. There are a number of walks into bush camping spots. One of the most popular is Northbrook Mountain.

Photo of the sunset view from Northbrook Mountain courtesy of teejaybee @ Flickr
Photo of the sunset view from Northbrook Mountain courtesy of teejaybee @ Flickr


There is some debate among hikes as to whether this is an easy or hard hike. It is on Forest Trails, which tends to be well maintained even if the gradient is a little steep, so for a beginner pack hiker, you are likely to feel it. But it is only about 5 kms into the campsite and another 10 or 15 minutes walk to the peak of Northbrook Mountain. There is also a side track near the top of the mountain that you can follow instead of the trail.

Photo of the forest trail up Northbrook Mountain courtesy of teejaybee @ Flickr
Photo of the forest trail up Northbrook Mountain courtesy of teejaybee @ Flickr


If you are looking for a short local hike with views and nice remote bush camping facilities, then Northbrook Mountain is the walk to do. But also consider the numerous other bush camping spots that are nearby as well.

Photo courtesy of teejaybee @ Flickr
Photo courtesy of teejaybee @ Flickr


Scenic Rim Trail

Created by Spicer's Retreat in National Park land using mostly existing trails, this is a 4 day 3 night walk. By that, it means, unlike other trails, you are only allowed to book it as a continuous trail in one direction for 3 nights, and you can't stay at the campsite more than one night and other rules that don't apply to any of the other multi-day walking trails in the area. I guess this is what happens when a private company creates a walk in a national park rather than the national parks service creating one. I mean, they did clear areas of the national park to build their private cabins with all the luxuries for their paid hikers, but it is okay, there are ways to do parts of the hike your way if you know how.

Hike the edge of the scenic rim on an overnighter on the Scenic Rim Trail
Hike the edge of the scenic rim on an overnighter on the Scenic Rim Trail


There are multiple points where you can join the hike, but the best one would be to walk from Cunninghams Gap. You can book the public walkers camps if you want. To do this for an overnighter, you would have to book all 3 nights but only use one of them for one night. But actually, you can just walk maybe 2 kms past the walkers camp to the Manna Gum Camping Area in the Goomburra section of the Main Range National Park. This is a comfortable campground in a wide open area next to Dalrymple Creek.

On this walk, you have the option to camp with car campers at the Manna Gum Camping Area, Goomburra
On this walk, you have the option to camp with car campers at the Manna Gum Camping Area, Goomburra


This walk will feature attractions such as Mt Cordeaux and Bare Rock, as well as the some of the waterfalls as cascades of the Cascades Circuit at Goomburra. You could also do the other section of the walk that lies entirely in the Goomburra Section of the Main Range National Park, which also has some spectacular lookouts but they may be better accessed as short walks from the road.

Mulgumpin/Moreton Island Walks

It is possible to do a number of overnight hikes in Gheebulum Kunungai National Park on Mulgumpin, also known as Moreton Island. The island is a popular camping spot for four wheel drivers, and while it is not a hiker's paradise, it has some interesting hiking options.

The best way to get to Mulgumpin/Moreton Island is on the MICAT ferry
The best way to get to Mulgumpin/Moreton Island is on the MICAT ferry


The main campsites have toilets and some have showers but they have little in the way of other facilities as they were designed for people in four wheel drives, who bring everything with them. But this is better than the beach campsites, where there isn't even a toilet, and only one of the beaches has a tap for water. But most hikers don't need much.

Campsite on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island
Campsite on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island


The most common hike that people attempt is the Rous Battery Walking Track which starts near where the ferry drops you off and ends on the far side of the island. It is worth taking the detour to cross the giant sand dunes area known as The Desert, just watch out for sand tobogganers coming down the dunes. The main issue is that you are hiking to a spot where the only facility is a water tap. You will need to take a wag bag if you need to poop, as digging a hole for waste is not permitted on the island.

Photo of hiker crossing across the desert on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island courtesy of Phillip Long @ Flickr
Photo of hiker crossing across the desert on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island courtesy of Phillip Long @ Flickr


Another walk is from the ferry up past Cowan Cowan to Bulwer. Along with the campsite with showers and toilets, there is also a cafe and shop. The main feature of the walk would be the old WWII bunkers at Cowan Cowan, as well as beers and ice cream from the cafe.

On the way to Bulwer you will pass the old WW2 forts at Cowan Cowan
On the way to Bulwer you will pass the old WW2 forts at Cowan Cowan


The most interesting areas, other than The Wrecks where the ferry drops you off, are on the North East side of the island. You can walk from The Wrecks to North Point in one day, as it is 20 kms, but you are walking on sand on the beach, so not everyone will be keen to walk so far in a single day. The issue is that when walking on sand with a pack, your feet dig into the soft sand, giving your calves a workout that they might not be ready for. Instead, you can have the Moreton Island Taxi service drop you off anywhere on the island. For example, you can get dropped off at Blue Lagoon, then hike up to North Point to camp, then on the next day, hike back to Bulwer and book a taxi to take you back to the ferry.

Photo of Blue Lagoon on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island courtesy of blue lagoon David @ flickr
Photo of Blue Lagoon on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island courtesy of blue lagoon David @ flickr


Cooloola Great Walk

The Cooloola Great Walk in the Great Sandy National Park is a popular beachside hike that goes from Rainbow Beach in the north down to Noosa in the south. But it is also pretty good for overnight hikes as well. You can start from the south and walk up to the Brahimy campsite and then back out again. The southern end of the park is in many ways more beautiful than the north.

But I would say that the best overnight walk is from the north down to the Kauri campsite. The northern option means that you can walk this as a loop, maybe heading in via the inland route and walking back out along the coast via the Double Island Point Lighthouse.
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Why? There are many great overnight hikes & camps in SEQ
Your Comment
What a list!!! But might be better to do this during winter?
by Mindo Koerber (score: 2|375) 7 days ago
Some great options here Roy to connect with nature and take to the tracks
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5378) 22 days ago
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