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Hiking Mt Barney

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published February 12th 2015
Mt Barney Guide
A bushwalking favourite

Mt Barney seems to have a special place in the hearts of South East Queensland's many hikers. One of the main appeals is its varied offerings for both hiking and camping.

Mt Barney is a popular location for all levels of hikers
Mt Barney is a popular location for all levels of hikers


Much of the area is open bushland with numerous creeks, waterfalls and swimming holes. There are also areas of rainforest on the mountain and of course there are the peaks themselves.

Lower Portals

One favourite locations for hikers, campers and families is the Lower Portals. It is an 8 km return hike to the portals through open bushland. It is not a difficult hike but the ridges that you have to ascend can be challenge for less fit walkers.

The Lower Portals Swimming Hole
The Lower Portals Swimming Hole


The swimming hole is accessible through the portals, that is a hole through which you need to climb. It is not difficult though shorter or less flexible people usually need a hand up. Don't tell anyone, but you can actually easily scramble around the portals, but that is far less fun.

Ascending through the portals is not as hard as it looks
Ascending through the portals is not as hard as it looks


One warm days the swimming hole is popular with families who come to cool down.

Cronan Creek (and secret falls and swimming hole)

There are numerous reasons I love this track. One is that you pass through open bushland, go past farm land, have views of the mountain from the track and pass into rain forest. The track is a wide fire trail but for most of the track is shaded.

The start of the Cronan Creek Track
The start of the Cronan Creek Track


There is also the fun of numerous creek crossing. There is at least one that you need to take you shoes off and wade across, while the others are suitable for people wearing waterproof boots or who don't mind rocking hopping.

One Cronan Creek Track's many crossings
One Cronan Creek Track's many crossings


I loved this track before I learnt about its little secret. The end of the track appears to just end at a creek, but is actually just above one of the most lovely waterfall swimming holes I have ever seen. This does require a little bush bashing to get to though.

Cronan Creek Falls
Cronan Creek Falls



Upper Portals

The upper portals at Mt Barney is a less accessible location. The start can only be reached by 4 wheel drive, though of course you can drive up the road as far as you feel comfortable and walk the rest of the way.

The 8 km return hike is not overly difficult but requires several creek crossings that could get your feet wet. It is a good idea to take spare socks.

The end of the track appears fairly disappointing, but if you follow the creek a little way you will find a swimming hole that makes the trip well worth it.

To the Top

Reaching the peaks of Mt Barney is the must do location for adventure hikers in South East Queensland. The most popular is South Ridge, commonly known as Peasants Ridge. The hike itself takes 6-8 hours and requires a high level of fitness, but doesn't require any particularly special climbing skills. However you wouldn't want to attempt it if heights make you nervous as you are tackling exposed ridges.

Mt Barney has a number of routes to the top
Mt Barney has a number of routes to the top


The are other routes up to the peaks but none are suitable for people without experience. Tackling East Peak via Logan's ridge takes 8-9 hours return.

The view from Logan's Ridge (Attribution: Flickr - Jussarian)
The view from Logan's Ridge


Many people choose to camp on the mountain. There is creek in the saddle between the two peaks which often has flowing water. Though it is recommended that you take all the water that you need.

Umarked tracks

Mt Barney has several unmarked tracks and locations that attract keen hikers. These include hiking or rock hopping up to the waterfall above the lower portals, hiking from the upper portals to the Montserrat Lookout or hiking between the upper and lower portals.

Getting off marked tracks at Mt Barney
Getting off marked tracks at Mt Barney


Note: Many of these trails are very rough, with no signage. Many of the trails don't even appear on topographical maps, so it is best not to attempt any of these if you are not carrying maps, a GPS and are well prepared. .

Staying at Mt Barney

There are a number of accommodation options at Mt Barney. One of the most popular is the Mt Barney Lodge which has Queenslander Homesteads, rustic cabins, camper trailers and camp sites. Not far away is Flanagan's reserve with full camping amenities.
Camping at Mt Barney Lodge
Camping at Mt Barney Lodge


There is also a number of bush camp sites. Including at the Lower Portals, Upper Portals and along the Cronan Creek Track. You will need to book these sites online through the national parks website. If you choose this option you will need to carry everything in with you and either carry all your water or bring water purification tablets with you.

There are also designated campsites at the top of Mt Barney. Space is obviously very limited and should book the campsite online through the National Park's website.

Mt Barney Lodge (Attribution: Flickr - Tatters)
Mt Barney Lodge (Attribution: Flickr - Tatters)


Cafes and Pubs

Most hikes start from near Upper Logan Road and so the nearest town is Rathdowney which features a friendly country pub and a rather disappointing General Store. The pub does meals during lunch and dinner hours, but at other times you are limited to packets of chips. There are some food options at the General Store.

Rathdowney Hotel
Rathdowney Hotel
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A great review, thank you
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1249) 1969 days ago
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