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Published October 30th 2021
Lamington National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. It features luscious forests, ancient Antarctic Beeches, great views and extensive walking tracks.
Lamington National Park includes the most extensive areas of subtropical forest in the world, littoral and dry rainforests. The park provides habitat and refuge for many rare plants and animals, as well as ancient life forms. The park provides the opportunity to be in contact with nature by camping and hiking.
Elabana Falls, Box Circuit Trail, Green Mountains. Photo by Author.
The family tribes that lived closest to Lamington National Park are the Birinburra, Kombumerri, Wangerriburra and Migunberri people. The Yugambeh people had a deep connection with their environment. They knew the cycle of seasons, plants and animals. They could source food by fishing, collecting nuts & honey and hunting.
Fungi in the forest, Box Forest Circuit, Green Mountains. Photo by Author.
Many Australian people in the past fought to protect the fauna, flora and mountains of Lamington. Robert Collins travelled overseas to learn about the world's first national park, Yellowstone, in the United States. In 1906, the Queensland Parliament passed the State Forests and National Parks Act 1906. In 1911, Romeo Lahey joined the campaign to protect the lands.
Drosera, commonly knowns as sundews, is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, Daves Creek Circuit, Binna Burra. Photo by Author.
Today Lamington National Park is the second-largest national park in the Scenic Rim. It is part of the McPherson Range. The highest point is Mount Bithongabel at 1,199 m above sea level.
Lamington National Park is what remains of an ancient volcano that was active millions of years ago. The volcano is still visible today and it is called Wollumbin, Mount Warning. The volcano erupted many times, spewing lava all around, what is now Lismore and Tamborine.
In the background is Mount Warning, as seen from Ship Stern Circuit, Binna Burra. Photo by Author.
When the volcano quietened down, water took over, forming waterfalls, gorges, peaks and rugged cliffs. Lamington National Park is extremely important for supporting many species of animals and plants. There are earthworms found only in the Lamington National Park, butterflies, the spiny crayfish, birds and mammals, like the tailed quoll. Among the birds, there are bristlebirds, satin bowerbird, rufous scrub bird, red browed treecreeper and Albert lyrebird.
When Lamington National Park was gazetted in 1915, the park wasn't surveyed and unfortunately illegal logging and poaching were still occurring. In 1918, Lamington National Park was declared a reserve for the protection of native birds and animals. In same year, the Queensland Naturalist explored the area, collecting and recording flora and fauna. Because of that visit, the west area of Lamington National Park was named Green Mountains.
The park remained unpatrolled, when in 1919, the O'Reilly brothers and cousins, along with Mr George Rankin were appointed as unpaid honorary rangers. Later in the year, Micky O'Reilly was made the first paid ranger, with the role of protecting the park against illegal logging and poaching.
Border Track, Binna Burra, Joalah Lookout. Photo by Author.
In particular, a member of the O'Reilly family, Bernard O'Reilly, joined his brothers in the Green Mountain to run the lodge, which introduced many people to the beautiful park.
When the Stinson plane disappeared on 19th February 1937, Bernard O'Reilly set off into the mountains to search for the plane. On the 28th February, he found the body of James Westray and two survivors, Joseph Binstead and John Proud.
What remains today of the Stinson Wreck on the site of the crash. Photo by Author.
The best way to explore the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia World Heritage Area is by walking the many beautiful tracks. Green Mountains and Binna Burra offer a range of walks for all levels of fitness and experience. The Border Track is the main trail, where most of the walks start, both at Binna Burra and Green Mountains. The Border Track connects Binna Burra and Green Mountains and can be done in one day for people with the right fitness.
Green Mountains features Centenary Walk, Rainforest Return, Python Rock Track, Morans Falls Track, Box Forest Circuit, West Canungra Circuit, Toolona Creek Circuit, Albert River Circuit, Border Track and Mount Merino Track.
Waterfall on Coomera Circuit, Binna Burra. Photo by Author.
Hiking gear: a hiking medium backpack, long trousers and shirt with long sleeves, light raincoat, hiking ankle supportive boots, first aid kit, insect repellent (it works for leeches - give preference to cream or roll on as it is more environmentally friendly than the spray); hat, sunscreen, gloves, walking poles, if you like to use them, and sock protectors or gaiters. Consider packing some extra clothes and leaving them in the car. Pack some clean footwear and socks.
For these hikes, consider carrying a map or downloading a good app on your smartphone that can help you to navigate in the forest.
Bring a medium day backpack with lots of water, especially if it's a hot day, 3.0 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!
Binna Burra Lodge features a Rainforest Campsite, including camping sites for up to four people. There are also a limited number of powered sites suitable for campervans. There are camping sites suitable for pitching a tent, tent and gears must be carried a short distance from the loading bay. There are free showers and toilet facilities. There are already tents in site; what you have to do is book them.
The nearby Tea House provides coffee, meals and features a small shop with basic supplies and retail goods.
Stinson plane replica at O'Reilly's. Photo by Author.
Over the years, I have been hiking many times both at Binna Burra and at Green Mountains. Every time it is a great experience walking on the trails inside the rainforest. There is a positive feeling when hiking in the mist of the mountains and spotting wildlife. Depending on the season, there are beautiful flowers along the trails. There are also spectacular waterfalls and refreshing creeks.
Generally, it is difficult to spot wildlife during the day, since most Australian wildlife is nocturnal. Sometimes it is possible to see wallabies and birds, in particular, the fantail birds fly low on the tracks, maybe to say hello to the hikers. Well camouflaged in the rainforest floor is where the Logrunners scratch in the leaf mulch to find food. Snakes are sometimes spotted on the trail and most of the time they slither away very quickly. Carpet pythons are the ones not so quick to move away. Give enough space to the snakes to move away.
Leeches are common in the rainforest, especially if raining or humid. The best way to prevent leeches to attach themselves is to apply some insect repellent cream on the skin before setting off for the walks.
Make sure to be prepared for the walks and have the right level of fitness.
Lamington National Park encompasses two sections: the west part is called Green Mountains, or commonly O'Reilly, and the east part is called Binna Burra.
To reach Binna Burra, follow the directions for Binna Burra Teahouse, 1069 Binna Burra Road, Beechmont Qld 4211. From Brisbane, it is about one hour and a half drive, 106 km, via M1. Exit at Nerang and follow Beechmont Road.
To reach Green Mountains, follow the directions for O'Reilly Rainforest Retreat, 3582 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra Qld 4275, via Lamington National Park Road. From Brisbane it takes about two hours, 114 km drive. From Canungra, it is a steep, winding and narrow road. It takes about one hour to drive from Canungra to the top carpark.
Ancient tree on the Albert River Circuit, Green Mountains. Photo by Author.