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 February 19th 2022
Off track hike
The hike to the Lincoln Bomber Wreck is classified very hard due to the difficulty of following the trail, the steepness of the second part of the track, the remote area and the necessary scrambling. This hike is for the most experienced bushwalkers with equipment and well developed navigational skill and with a high level of fitness. The trail runs in the heart of the Gondwana Forest, the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world.
The Group Hiking South East Qld and More at the creek along the trail. Photo by Author.
The trail is about 12 km return with steep and muddy sections, rugged terrain, stinging trees, with overgrown vegetation and no reception. Allow seven hours, including morning tea and spending some time at the wreck place. You must have topographic maps, compass and a tracker to hike this off track and remote trail.
The Lincoln Bomber Wreck Trail is a very special hike in the heart of the forest of the west side of Mount Superbus. Mount Superbus is the highest peak in South East Qld at 1,375 metres. The peak is in the Main Range National Park and it is what remains of a shield volcano that erupted 25-22 million years ago.
The wreck of a RAAF Lincoln Bomber lies on Mount Superbus, just below the summit of the southernmost peak of the mountain. The plane crashed on the mountain on 9 April 1955. The Lincoln Bomber was carrying a sick baby from Townsville to Brisbane. The two passengers, a newborn baby and a nurse, and the four crew were all killed in the crash. Parts of the plane are scattered in the rainforest and they are slowly getting covered with vegetation.
The fuselage of the Lincoln Bomber and other parts of the plane lay on the west side of Mount Superbus. Photo by Author.
The Lincoln Bomber wreck is not far from one of the highest campsites in the national park, at 1,284m elevation. The remote camping site is in the thick rainforest with trees covered in moss and lichens. The camping site is an open area without defined sites; it takes a maximum of 8 people. You have to be self-sufficient and have all the necessary water and food as there are no facilities.
When camping, it is recommended to take drinking water, extra food, first aid kit, topographic map, compass, torch, warm clothing, wet weather gear, rubbish bags, insect repellent, gas stove and a small trowel for burying faecal waste. There is no mobile phone coverage - the area is remote.
The moss grows at high altitudes where it is cool and always humid. Photo by Author.
I explored the Lincoln Wreck back in November 2017 and I went back with the group Hiking South East Qld and More in July 2018. I hiked the trail recently in February 2022 and each time I had a different experience. In particular, back in 2017 and 2018, the trail was easier to follow. There were many pink ribbons all along the track and it took us about 5 hours and 15 minutes, including spending about half an hour at the wreck.
The hike starts at the end of Emu Creek Road at the gate. Photo by Author.
The recent experience was different! It took the group about 6 hours and 45 minutes to complete the hike. The trail was difficult to follow, with section of the trail without ribbons. In particular, at about 2 km and from the start of the hike, we could not see anymore ribbons and we walked parallel to the trail for about one km completely off track. After walking for about a bit more than 1 km, we were able to cross through the thick bush to get over the original trail.
A sign of the National Park with information. Photo by Author.
The trail was much more overgrown, with the first part of the track running in a jungle. There were many stinging trees along the trail and the hikers kept brushing against them. There were also many brambles and raspberries that hurt the legs and the arms of the hikers.
There are many logs to contend along the trail. Photo by Author.
The first 3.6 km of the trail are practically flat. Then the trail arrives at the feet of a waterfall and there starts the difficult ascend on slippery mud. Probably the trail may be always damp because the rainforest but it may become more muddy after rains.
The steep ascent on the waterfall. Photo by Author.
The engine Rolls Royce Merlin V 12 of the Lincoln Bomber. I had wondered why it was so far from the wrecking site. The engine is just at the beginning of the waterfall, where the trail starts to get steep. Photo by Author.
Hiking gear: a hiking medium backpack, long trousers and shirt with long sleeves, light raincoat, very recommended hiking ankle supportive boots; first aid kit, torch, insect repellent (give preference to cream or roll-on as they are 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 this hike, 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, 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 bushwalking 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 that could create 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 always 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:
It's an adventure just to get to the starting point of the hike.
From Brisbane City, travel on the Cunningham Hwy in direction of Warwick. Pass the town of Aratula and the Cunningham Gap and keep going towards Warwick.
When nearing Warwick turn left onto Freestone Road. Travel on Freestone Road for about 6.5 km, five minutes and turn left onto Freestone Creek Road, turn right onto Jack Smith Gully Road and then turn left onto Warwick Yangan Road to arrive in the township of Yangan.
From Yangan, take Yangan Killarney Road and then turn left onto Emu Creek Road.
The hike starts at the end of Emu Creek Road, at the camping site. To reach the starting point of the hike, it is necessary to have a 4WD to be able to pass the many creeks and some very rough sections of the road.
Emu Creek Road is a quite long dirt road. Often there are horses and cattle roaming free. Drive carefully and give space to the animals.
The cattle on Emu Creek Road. Slow down and wait for the cattle to move away. Photo by Author.
After the private property, there are two more gates to open along Emu Creek Road. The gates must then be closed each time.
There are still three creek crossings before arriving at the end of Emu Creek Road. Here there is a small camping site where you can park the car and there is a locked gate into the national park.
One of the many creek crossings on Emu Creek Road. Photo by Author.
Hikers most commonly hike to the site of the Lincoln Bomber Wreck from the western side of the Mount Superbus. There is a visible footpad and ribbons on the vegetation along the trail. The hike should be done only by experienced bushwalkers and it takes about seven hours.
The hike starts at the end of Emu Creek Road. Travel to Warwick and then to Yangan. Emu Creek Road terminates just inside the boundary of the national park, approximately 20 km from Yangan.
Emu Creek Road is a dirt road with seven creek crossings and it should be avoided in wet weather. A high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle is necessary to negotiate the creek crossings.
Access from the East.
The wreck can also be reached from the eastern side of the Main Range, via the north peak of Mt Superbus. Again, there is no official marked or maintained walking track to the site and although a footpad may be visible in places on the walk to the north peak of Mt Superbus, beyond the navigation will be required. This route is regarded as more difficult than the western route.
The hike starts at the end of Brett Road, off Head Road that is the continuation of Spring Creek Road.
After the hike.
After the hike, you can stop at Warwick to have dinner. Warwick offers many very nice dinner venues. The Condamine Sports Club is at 133 Palmerin St, Warwick QLD 4370, phone: (07) 4661 1911. Condamine Sports Club has something for everyone. Their Bistro & Bars are open 7 days a week, offering daily meal deals and a large range of hot and cold drinks. The Condamine Sports Club also run the Warwick Golf Club. The dinner menu includes specialties, salads, pasta, rice and seafood. The address is Hawker Rd, Warwick QLD 4370, phone: (07) 4661 5905.
Otherwise, you can drive to Aratula and stop at the Scenic Rim Aratula Tavern, 6841 Cunningham Hwy, Aratula QLD 4309, phone: (07) 5463 8100. Aratula Tavern has choices of beers and cold drinks and a large menu at very reasonable prices. Highly recommended!
Avro Lincoln Bomber crashed into Mount Superbus on 9 April 1955.
Late on the 8 April 1955, 10 Squadron RAAF received a telephone call from the Townsville hospital because the necessity to take urgently a sick baby to Brisbane. The crew of the Lincoln consisted of Commanding Officer Costello, Senior Navigation Officer Finley, Lieutenant Cater and Squadron Leader Mason.
The baby Robyn Huxley and the nurse Mafalda Gray were positioned in the long now of the section of the Lincoln Bomber.
The aircraft took off from Garbutt airfield in Townsville at 00:30am on Saturday 9 April 1955. It intended to land at Eagle Farm airfield in Brisbane.
Due to the rain and instruments not working properly, the Lincoln Bomber went off course and crashed on Mount Superbus causing a large explosion.
The noise was heard by a small group of the Bushwalking Club. A group of hikers was sent to notify the authorities at Emu Vale. A Canberra Bomber from Amberley airbase confirmed the location of the still burning wreckage of the Lincoln, just below the summit of Mount Superbus. Unfortunately, the two passengers and the four members of the crew did not survive.
The Lincoln wreck has been on the site of Mount Superbus since the crash.
An article of great interest to me Cris. For over 40 years I have been recording Australia's aviation memorials and monuments and have over 2000 recorded. I knew about the Lincoln crash site and your article adds to my information on it.