Ok, I was just kidding about my intentions to be a wannabe summit climber, (see my article on Wild Horse Mountain Scenic Lookout) but I promise you with my outdoor escapades, I'm really looking for the slow-but-steady routes - you've heard the one about the tortoise and the hare? Well, I'm definitely the tortoise…..slow but sure!
Blooming Poincianas en route - Image: Elaine de Wet
Our latest escapade took us to the Mt Tibrogargan Circuit - no summits here - well there are, but not that I had any intention of attempting them. We were going to do the circuitous route….around the bottom of Mt Tibrogargan - I promise you that this one is really available, perfectly signed and even with bridges and seating (allowing for photo opportunities) to make one's walk so much more pleasant.
Perhaps I'll try the Trachyte Circuit next time - Image: Elaine de Wet
Tibrogargan is one of the most easily recognised mountains in South East Queensland, bearing some resemblance to a gorilla or old man hunched over. In the mythology of the region, Tibrogargan was the father of all the other Glasshouse Mountains except Beerwah, his wife. It was said that Tibrogargan saw a rising of the waters from the sea and called to his son Cooonowrin to take his mother Beerwah to a safe place. However, Coonowrin failed to do so and in anger Tibrogargan clubbed Coonowrin and broke his neck. Tibrogargan is said to have turned his back to face Coonowrin. (This information courtesy of Wikipedia.org)
This whole area is steeped in Aboriginal history and folklore, which really makes for a very interesting walk. Judging by the amount of cars that were parked at eight in the morning, I can also surmise that this is a very popular walking trail, not that we passed anybody on the trail, more like the amount of walkers who passed us on their way back to their vehicles - perhaps they were out early to watch the summit sunrise?
Seating for those photo opportunities - Image: Elaine de Wet
Lieutenant Cook named the 'Glasshouse Mountains' while sailing past in 1770. Did you know that Mount Beerwah - Indigenous meaning 'mother' or 'eagle' - is the highest of the Glasshouse Mountain peaks? For generations, the Glasshouse Mountains have held great spiritual significance for the Aboriginal people. Their creation stories and beliefs are reflected in their strong cultural links today.
Mount Tunbubudla (The Twins) - Image: Elaine de Wet
Mount Coonowrin - Indigenous meaning 'crooked neck' - is the second highest mountain peak - when you get Mount Coonowrin in your line of vision, you can clearly see the 'plug' of the old volcano. Harry Mikalsen was the first European to climb Mount Coonowrin in 1910 - and no, I definitely have no intention of going into competition with 'old' Harry. I have now learned, much to my disappointment that public access today is not permitted to Mount Coonowrin due to the safety risks.
Mt Cooee, can you see the vertical cooling columns? - Image: Elaine de Wet
Mount Cooee - 'cooee, you can come and find me' - on the serious side though, Mount Cooee formed twenty-six million years ago and you can actually see the vertical 'cooling' columns on Mount Cooee. European folklore says that somewhere on this Mount, human footprints and the outline of a spear are set in rock - did a warrior rest here on his dreamtime journey?
Lieutenant Matthew Flinders was the first recorded European to climb to the top of Mount Beerburrum - Indigenous meaning 'rainbow lorikeet' - in July 1799. Flinders described the mountain as 'a pile of loose stones of many sizes which made the ascent difficult'. During the summer months grass trees, banksias and yellow peas, flower here.
The gently sloping 3.3km return trail takes you through the casuarina groves and open forests of this significant indigenous cultural landscape as the imposing, craggy peak towers above you - don't forget to look up! (One tends to be watching the trail for other creepies and could quite conceivably miss the dramatic scenes above). Listen for the yellow-tailed black cockatoos softly shelling casuarina seed pods and keep watch for peregrine falcons circling high above.
The views from the bottom looking up, really are amazing - Image: Elaine de Wet
To access the Mt Tibrogargan trail, via the Bruce Highway, take the Glasshouse Mountains tourist drive (exit 24) and follow the signs to the park off Barrs Road. Public toilets and picnic tables are available in the day-use area too. Unfortunately, our furry family members are not permitted in this area.
Wannabe Summit Climber Elaine's Tips:-
👍 Make sure you cover yourself from head to toe in Mozzi Repellant and don't stand still, not even for a minute, as these pesky little insects somehow sense this and before you know it, you'll start feeling like a Venus flytrap, attracting all and sundry;
👍 I would suggest walking the trail as early as possible in the day as there are not too many breezes to be felt around the perimeter of Mt Tibrogargan; and
👍 Don't forget to look up!
Magnificent Mt Tibrogargan, steeped in Aboriginal history and folk-lore - Image: Elaine de Wet