In 1828 Allan Cunningham, a botanist and explorer trekked around this area coming across the gap that would allow the traders to make their way from the Darling Downs through to Ipswich and Brisbane.
The World Heritage venue is 116 kilometers from Brisbane, off the highway that bears his name. Main Range National Park is the home of Cunninghams Gap. Stop for a rest or spend the day hiking any number of trails and walking tracks. Go here to get a copy of the walking tracks and more information.
Choosing the Rainforest circuit that ultimately brings you out to Palm Grove circuit will not disappoint. This shorter hike, 2 hours round trip, has a different feel right from the beginning.
You will pass by thick tracks of ground dwelling ferns, those gnarly vines that you are never quite sure if they are growing up or down, they wind their way so freely through the trees. Birds Nest ferns and orchids love these types of forests and thrive here. Eucalypts come with a vast assortment of small birds buzzing around making the forest so much more alive.
The track winds you in and out of dark, shaded areas into lighter more sun filled patches where openings to the distant mountains tease you with a peek of what is to come.
You do need to be careful though as great swaths have been cut out of the forest by an excess of running water causing erosion to parts of this track. Pick your way along carefully and you get to see the depths of Mother Nature's strength.
You are rewarded with an amazing amount of Grass trees, many over 2 meters, making them very old. Their flower spikes now turning to seed and being dined upon by the birds is a great photo op if you can catch them at it.
When you come around the corner to the Fassifern Valley lookout you can marvel at the 300 million year old formations that make up the Great Dividing Range.
Once done your hike, there is a picnic area a couple kilometres farther along the highway. Here you can enjoy a sunny spot and have lunch with no shortage of birds to keep you company. Bellbirds, so beautiful, common black birds, and a lovely green fellow the size of a robin though we are not sure if that is what he was.