I'm not going to lie - climbing Mount Cooroora in Pomona is a challenge. If you're looking for an easy activity, this is most certainly not it. But if you're up for a good, hard walk and the visual rewards to suit, then you've come to the right place.
Whatever you do - don't forget the camera
Mount Cooroora casts a rather imposing figure over hinterland town Pomona at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast. When you're driving into town, don't be shocked at the sight of the mountain looming almost on top of everyone. It's certainly no Mount Coolum
, but this 439 metre steep and sometimes difficult climb is worth it, trust me.
The fun starts here
If Mount Cooroora sounds familiar, here's why. This is the home to the world famous Pomona King of the Mountain Festival
, held every year around July. The main attraction is the Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge, which sees runners run from Pomona to the summit and back. The race began all the way back in 1979
and has only gotten bigger. Besides the mountain challenge, there are plenty of other (and easier) competitions to enter on the day
The rather large Mount Cooroora
Right from the get go it's obvious that Mount Cooroora isn't for the couch potatoes. Even the fittest of us were puffing for air after just a couple of minutes into the steep climb. Make sure you're paying attention to which way you're walking, our group came to a fork in the road at one point and ended up walking a hundred metres in the wrong direction before we realised our mistake.
After a few ups and downs in the walking track, we finally reached the real test –a steep, rocky and eroded climb to the top. Several steps have been carved out of the mountain or placed into the rock face. Some sections even had steel steps planted on top to make it that much safer and easier. This entire part of the climb also comes with the aid of a chain fence for you to hold on to should you need it. It you're worried about cutting your hands, bring some gloves. You might not need the chain too much on the way up, but you'll be thanking it for the climb down.
If you think this is steep... just wait until the real climb begins
This is the most taxing part of the trip. Be sure you pack enough water because you're going to need it here. Don't forget to stop and enjoy the scenery on your climb up as well, you'll get some great views once you clear the forest. This part of the track may feel like it's never going to end but trust me when I say the hard work pays off. Eventually, you'll notice the chain fence disappear and you'll have to almost pull yourself up those last few vertical metres to reach the summit.
Safety is paramount - stay clear from the edges
The peak has some of the best views of the Coast. Don't just stop when you hit flat land, keep walking up another 50 metres to get to the true summit. It's a bit of a clearing with some rocks. This is the best spot for some photographs and to test out the binoculars if you brought them. From up here we had views all the way down the tallest buildings in Caloundra, as well as Buderim, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. Besides from the odd faint sound of the train from Pomona, it will feel like just you and Mother Nature alone up top of Mount Cooroora.
Take your time here - this is one of the toughest parts of the climb down
Best idea is to pack a lunch or at the very least a snack. I'd recommend on spending a good hour resting at the summit before climbing back down. You'll need that time just to take in all the sights.
The chain fence will help you out a lot
The climb down the rock face can be a bit tedious at first. You won't be as exhausted as the climb up, but it will take longer. Be sure to plan your every step and be careful or slipping. It can look scary but it's not that hard.
The view makes it all worthwhile
Keep an eye out for the all Glossy Black-Cockatoo
around this trek, you might seem them nibbling on casuarinas seeds. They are unique birds, who choose one partner for life and only lay one egg every two years. If you're interested in finding out more about bird lists and information about local groups, look up the Noosa Parks Association
Take plenty of pictures
Mount Cooroora is a physical test as much as it is a natural asset to the region. It's one of the toughest climbs you could hope to do on the Sunshine Coast but you certainly get out what you put in. Make sure you've got plenty of room on your camera's memory card for this one.