Writer and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Redcliffe, Queensland.
Published December 9th 2013
Enjoy a walk/bike ride/horse ride through a scenic setting
Dularcha National Park was a pleasant surprise on the map for me. My sister and I were at the Glasshouse Mountains townships wondering what our next conquest would be. We'd already climbed Mt Ngungun, Mt Beerburrum and even Mt Tibrogargan. It appeared there was nothing left to do until Dularcha caught my eye on the map. What we found was a new favourite walk between two hinterland townships with historical significance.
It looks pretty ominous but there's nothing to be afraid of here.
The park's located between Landsborough to Mooloolah - you can start at either end. There are various trails and circuits in the park but the straight walk which we did was about 3km one way, almost running parallel to the nearby train track. We started at the Landsborough end. As we set out on the walk I got the feeling this might be one of those tracks known to the locals and no one else - I certainly hadn't heard about it prior. My car was the only once in the car park and we only crossed paths with one other group on mountain bikes.
The area was gazetted as a national park in 1921 to provide steam train passengers with views of Queensland's forests. The old narrow-guage North Coast Line route passed through the park and featured a tunnel - which is a part of the walk (more on that later).
Our walk was a peaceful one - even with the train track nearby we only saw it pass by once or twice. It's quite easy as well - a couple of elevations and rough patches every now and again but nothing like any of the mountain climbs around. Something I did noticed was plenty of tree branches scattered across parts of the path - we almost tripped once or twice. It was also very scenic - our track passed through open eucalypt forest and riparian areas where flooded gum, cabbage tree palm, piccabeen palm and rainforest plants grow.
Now the tunnel. This is probably the coolest thing on the walk. It's closer to the Mooloolah end of the walk than the Landsborough one. It's an old railway tunnel, one of only two built along the old North Coast Line between Brisbane and Gympie (according to the information boards). The tunnel was built in the early 1890s. Travel through the tunnel ceased in 1932 when the railway line was moved east to its present day location.
Keep an eye out for all the tree branches across the path.
It was quite intimidating walking up to the tunnel entrance - there was no light at the end of the tunnel! The closer we got though the more our eyes adjusted to the darkness, and we could see that there was a slight bend in the tunnel and it wasn't all that long. It was quite a marvel inside - we could hear a bat colony in the ceiling but couldn't see them. Disappointingly there was a fair bit of graffiti on the walls inside.
One of the two trains that passed us on this otherwise peaceful walk.
Soon after clearing the tunnel we came to the end of the walk. Another 10 minutes up the road and we were in the Mooloolah township ready for lunch. After a feed we were back on our feet for the walk back to the car. All up our walk (tunnel track) was 6km. As mentioned trains run through the park - you could quite easily park at either Landsborough or Mooloolah train stations, catch the train to the other station and then make your way back through the forest.
You don't have to do it on foot either - this is a shared trail for walkers, mountain bike riders and horse riders. The Roses circuit is an 8.8km return would be ideal for a weekend ride through the bush. It passes though dry sclerophyll forest and rainforest gullies and includes some views south to the mountains. Check out this link here for more information on the other tracks.
Dularacha National Park was a great little find for my sister and I! If you're ever in the market for a quiet stroll through the forest this is the one to do!
Mooloolah Public Hall is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast with an exhibition of local groups and surroundings to bring attention to the community of what our area offers. I often do the walk through the tunnel to Landsborough but these photos are super! Could I possibly use them, with permission from the photographer, for our exhibition.
Thanking you, Bev Smith (Secretary) Mooloolah Public Hall Assn. Inc.
Heath Hewitt .. May I use your article for a display in the Mooloolah Public Hall on 4/5th August. We often walk through the tunnel to Landsborough but your article is tops. Thanks Bev Smith (Secretary Mooloolah Public Hall)