Great adventurous hike and scramble to 2 peaks at Ipswich
Flinders Peak Hike & Scramble
You don't have to go far from Brisbane to find an interesting and challenging hike. Within the City of Ipswich is Flinders Peak. This is the highest mountain in the greater Brisbane area. It is clearly visible from Mt Coot-tha and many other places around South East Queenland. This hike includes 2 peaks with lookouts on the lower trail for anyone who is looking for a shorter and easier hike.
Flinders peak seen from the lower part of the hiking track
Note: Be aware there are some information about Flinders Peak that mistakenly only describes the walk to the lower peak. This is relatively easy compared with going to the second peak.
This hike is a long and challenging walk over rough tracks. Even the hike to the first peak is not for everyone, while the ascent to the main pick requires scrambling up a gap in the cliffs. To complete this walk you should have plenty of water, at least 6 hours to spare and a reasonable level of fitness. Of course if you are not rushing to the top, you don't need to be super fit. I recommend doing this hike though in cooler weather or take lots of water in the warmer months. Remember to stay safe in the Australian bush.
The start of the hike is at the Flinders Plum picnic area, which is a lovely place to visit where there is a barbecue, covered picnic area, toilets and walking tracks. The road in is a well maintained dirt road that is suitable for all types of vehicles. If it has been raining, there is a causeway that might flood, making the road impassable to some cars.
Flinders Peak is the clearly the highest peak in the area
There are several tracks from Flinders Plum. These include a track up to the Mt Blaine saddle (there may be an unofficial and unmaintained path up to the Mount Blaine Peak, but the word is that it is currently overgrown with lantana), the 3.5 km return Sandy Creek Track and the Flinders-Goolman Trail that runs 19 km through the Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate. There is of course the start of the Flinders Peak Hiking Track. Flinders plum has plenty of signage as well as maps you can take with you, so finding the start of the walk is very easy.
The complete hike is a 6 km return hike to both peaks. The hike ascends over 500 meters to the main peak. So it is not a casual stroll. You should give yourself at least 6 hours to complete the hike. Faster and fitter hikers can complete the hike in much less time, especially if they skip all the little lookouts. It is possible and still rewarding to do only part of the track, with the first lookout only 250 metres up the road. This is a flat grassy area with views of the surrounding mountains.
The first part of the track goes through the Filnders Plum Lookout and is relatively easy. If you don't want to do the complete hike it can can be worth following the track as far as you are comfortable to find some additional views beyond the first lookout.
As you progress up the mountain, the track becomes steep and rough. Some sections are covered in tree roots, others in slippery gravel and further up the track is not much more than boulders. You do see trail runners on this path but most people simply take their time on the track.
Much of the track up to the first peak is steep and rough
The path varies between open and shaded sections. While the open sections means you are you under the sun, you also have great views of the surrounding area, including some spectacular hills and mountains.
There are great views of the surrounding area on most of the track
The track is fairly easy to follow. You will see a number of side paths going to both the left and to the right. All of the ones I followed take you to little lookouts and so are worth wandering down. To stay on the main path, simply remember that you are following the ridge line up. Even when you encounter rocks, you should normally just keep going over those rocks. I have met a number of people who have wandered off the main path because a side path looked more promising and then kept going when the path had clearly ended.
Near the top of the first peak the track is a rocky scramble
There are some trail markers, but most of them are when you have already reached the first peak. Keep a lookout out for the orange ribbons and arrows. If you don't see any, then usually the best route is straight ahead.
After the first peak you will see a lot of trail markers
Many people go up the first peak and return. I do recommend walking just over the first peak where there is one more lookout on the far side. This will give you the best of views down the mountain and of the main Flinders Peak.
The view from the lookout on the far side of the first peak
Now comes the question of whether you should continue on to the main peak. While much of the path to the second peak is actually easier than to the first peak, you do have to climb up a section of cliff. It is a fairly easy scramble, but not something anyone with vertigo would want to attempt. You should also check how much time you have left in the day and, especially on hot days, how much water you still have with you.
The path heads down the peak and crosses the saddle. There are plenty of trail markers, more than is really needed on what is a clearly defined path. Though when diverting around rocks, check that there is a trail marker on what you think is the path.
The path ever the saddle is fairly easy with lots of trail markers
Now for what is called "The Chimney". This cleft in the cliff is not what rock climbers would call a chimney. Rather it is an angled section up the cliff with rock walls on both sides. You won't need any special climbing skills to ascend it, but parts are a bit of a challenge.
One note on the last part of The Chimney. The trail markers indicates that you should ascend the last near vertical section. This is not that difficult, but it is actually easier to skirt around to the left. Coming down it is also less scary to take this side route.
From both the base and the top, The Chimney can look a little intimidating, however there are plenty of hand and foot holds and much of it isn't particularly steep for a climb. Of course it is not recommended that you attempt it unless you have confidence.
The summit itself has beautiful views of the surrounding area. On a clear day you should be able to see all the way to Brisbane. Unfortunately the summit is fairly exposed which means most people stay only long enough to recover their breath before heading back down.
Overall an interesting hike within an hour of Brisbane. Certainly the first peak is something worth hiking up in itself and the scramble to the main peak should be on every hikers bucket list. This hike is often overlooked because of the other great peaks in the area, such as Mt Maroon, Mt Warning, Mt Greville and Mt Barney.