I am an Organiser of the Group Hiking South East Qld and More on Meetup. Visit the website at https://www.meetup.com/HikingInSEQLDandMore/ is free to join all the activities posted on the hiking group.
Published November 23rd 2021
Adventurous hike in the forest
Illinbah Circuit starts at the Binna Burra Information Centre, on Binna Burra Road, about two km before the Binna Burra Tea House.
It is a beautiful and challenging hike in the Lamington National Park, Binna Burra section. The hike is about 18 km long, including the walk down to Gwongoorool Pool. Allow six hours walking time. The trail is classified 5, meaning the terrain is rough, there are twelve creek crossings, and you need to cope with the length of the hike.
The circuit requires a high degree of fitness and experience. The trail has a few orange triangles to indicate the directions and a few old pink ribbons. Sometimes the directions are not completely clear. There are a couple of sections where scrambling is required; there are ropes in place to help scrambling up.
It is recommended to walk the circuit clockwise. Start the walk at the Information Centre and descend to Gwongoorool Track.
There are many creek crossings on the trail, take great care when crossing. It may be easier to wade the water than try to rock hop on the rocks. Do not cross the river after heavy rains or during floods. Heavy rains can cause the river to flash flooding, where a huge volume of water can suddenly wash down the river and gullies.
There are twelve creeks to wade while following the Old Cedar Road, once used by timber loggers in the early 1900s.
Xylaria polymorpha is commonly known as dead man's fingers. It is a saprobic fungus, a common inhabitant of forest and woodland areas, usually growing from the bases of rotting or injured tree stumps and decaying wood.
Xylaria polymorpha, commonly known as dead man's fingers. Photo by Author.
Passiflora herbertiana is an Australian native passionfruit species with beautiful flowers typical of the Passiflora genus. Rare edible passion fruit with large and succulent fruits which are white fleshed with a tasty flavour.
With the many creeks to wade, the walk in the forest and with the overgrown trail, Illinbah Circuit is certainly one of the most adventurous trails in the Lamington National Park.
Binna Burra is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, important for its ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history, and diversity. Rare, threatened and endemic species find refuge in the park. Giant red cedar trees in the endangered lowland subtropical rainforest are a feature on this walk.
After the hike, it is possible to have refreshment at Binna Burra Tea House. Just drive on Binna Burra Road to the top carpark.
The Group Hiking South East Qld and More hiked the Illinbah Circuit in a late spring weekend. It has been raining all week and the Coomera River was expected to flow well.
The sky was cloudy but it wasn't raining, which was good! On the trail, we encountered a few leeches but not so many as expected considering the high level of wetness.
Illinbah Circuit is certainly a wild trail, with many sections of the trail overgrown and having to cross many times the Coomera River. The rainforest is beautiful with piccabeen palms and giant strangler figs. There were many birds singing around in the trees, often impossible to spot them. I recognised the call of the Wompoo Fruit Dove.
A couple of times we had to scramble up parts of the trail which very steep and muddy. There are ropes in place that help to scramble up those sections.
After walking for about 8 km, we arrived at Illinbah clearing, an area where camping is possible. We had morning tea at the clearing and then we set off to walk again. The second part of the hike was very different, since the rainforest gave way to different vegetation with less canopy. Fortunately, the sky was cloudy and we weren't exposed to direct sun.
Along the trail, there were many beautiful flowers and fungi. The hikers walking in front of the group managed to see a small blackish snake with a white crown on its head. It was most certainly a Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake. This snake, as their name suggests, is tiny. It is mildly venomous but reluctant to bite and have small fangs. It prefers to bluff and put on a defensive display instead.
We returned to the carpark at the Information Centre and then most of the hikers drove up to Binna Burra Tea House for coffee and refreshments.
From Brisbane drive on the Pacific Mwy and exit at Nerang -exit 69. It is about one hour and forty minutes drive,104 km.
The address is: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Information Centre, 890 Binna Burra Rd, Binna Burra QLD 4211
What to bring.
Hiking gear: a hiking medium backpack, long trousers and shirt with long sleeves, light raincoat, recommended hiking ankle supportive boots, first aid kit, insect repellent (give preference to cream or roll on that are more environmentally friendly than the spray), hat, sunscreen, gloves, walking poles if you like to use them, sock protectors or gaiters. Consider packing some extra clothes and leaving them in the car. Pack some clean footwear and socks.
For this hike, consider carrying a map or downloading a good app on your smartphone that can help you to navigate in the bush.
Bring a medium day backpack with lots of water, especially if it's a hot day, 2.0 litres of water and snacks. During summer, you can bring electrolytes to dissolve in water to compensate for the loss through perspiration. You may consider packing sandwiches, fresh fruit, dry fruit, energy bars and small meals.
Walk with family, friends or in a group. Never alone!
Practice minimal impact bushwalkers taking great care to avoid leaving any rubbish. Remember - pack it in, pack it out. This includes all food scraps, scraps of foil and sweet's wrappers.
Take all your rubbish with you, including used tissues, apple cores, eggshells, orange and banana peels. If you see rubbish on the trail, please collect it and dispose it responsibly.
Do not disturb or interfere with wildlife. Do not disturb rocks. Do not remove plants or anything from National Parks or Natural Reserves. Stay on tracks all time. Do not use shortcut to avoid erosion.
Please follow directions on all safety and legislative signs, this protects you and the numerous threatened and endangered species in the park.
Use toilets when available. Away from toilets, take care with sanitation and hygiene and don't pollute natural water supplies. Ensure all faecal matter and toilet paper is properly buried 15cm deep well away from tracks, campsites and 100m from all watercourses and drainage channels. Carry with you a small trowel for this purpose. Bag and carry out disposable nappies and sanitary products.
Make sure your boots are clean, avoid the spread of pathogens, disease producing organisms such as phytophthora, myrtle rust and amphibian chytrid fungus. Soil and detritus can contain pathogens such as fungal spores that are harmful to the forest and frogs.
For more information, read the website of the Qld Government Parks and Forests Department of Environment and Science: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/lamington/about.html