Writer and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Redcliffe, Queensland.
Published October 8th 2012
Climb to the summit of a beautiful Glasshouse Mountain
It's not the tallest or most challenging of the Glasshouse Mountains climbs, but Mount Ngungun is certainly one of the most rewarding. The climb to the summit is a 1.1km track offering many visual highlights, capped off by the interrupted 360 degree views of the surrounding landscapes.
Mount Ngungun, as one of the most impressive of the Glasshouse Mountains, was discovered by Captain James Cook during his epic voyage along Australia's east coast. The word 'Ngungun' is actually an Aboriginal word believed to mean 'black'. Like the other Glasshouse Mountain peaks, Ngungun is held sacred by the Aboriginal people. The area was actually a special meeting place to the Gubbi Gubbi Aboriginal people. The mountains themselves are rhyolitic volcanic plugs left by volcanic activity millions of years ago.
You'll need to have a decent level of fitness to make this one. The walk to the summit has some steep, exposed slopes and plenty of steps. While you do need to be cautious in some parts of loose gravel surfaces and exposed outlooks, it's nothing to worry about. I saw children under 10 make it to the summit on my most recent climb.
There's also plenty to see on the way to the peak. Mount Ngungun vegetation is the most varied of the Glasshouse Mountain peaks. Of the 178 plant species found in the mountains, 126 of them are found in Mount Ngungun's forest. There's also plenty of wildlife to see. Tree hollows high in the older trees are favoured nest sites for scaly-breasted and rainbow lorikeets. If you're lucky enough you may also come across a koala snoozing in a pink bloodwood or tallowwood.
Looking towards Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah behind it
The track itself isn't too challenging - it's a bit of a zig zag to begin with but it does get harder. The tall trees offer great shade the entire way up, but you'll feel the full force of the sun until you're at the summit. When you reach the halfway mark you'll come up to one of the most impressive feats of the climb - the steep, rocky climb.
Sure enough you'll going to need your hands to assist you with this scenic section of the trek. The ground here is sturdy enough but there could be a few loose rocks around or tree roots to watch out for. This section of the climb is one of the most beautiful, either side you'll spot these cave entries in the side of the mountain. Looking up ahead and down behind, you'll get a great scope of just how far up you are.
This is perhaps the toughest part of the climb - and it's only the half way mark
From here on the climb remains pretty steep - that gentle, slightly elevated ziz zag path is no where to be seen now. Just keep using those leg muscles and power on - you're almost there. Once you reach the top, grab a seat and take in the sights and sounds. Be sure to walk along the entire summit to get the greatest views. You'll have a beautiful view of all the other Glasshouse Mountains from up here. Besides the amazing landscape views, you'll also see a special protected area of a rare mat grass, Micraria sp, growing just below the summit.
Heath, I loved your article until you omitted to mention that the track has 2 assents, one of them continuing the gradual zig zag to the summit. What wasn't mentioned in this article about Mt Ngungun is that the last half of the track does not have to be done as a scramble up rocks. The steep "scramble" is actually the old track which is very much eroded. It is still used as an alternative, rather than the regular track. At the cave, the new track continues to zig zag up the mountain. It is a little longer but this new section makes it far more accessible to far more people. To omit such a fundamental direction is misleading. I know that there will be many people who will not attempt it due to this glaring omission. I know the climb very well. I have climbed it 10 times this past month. I have taken both the old & new tracks, but prefer the new one...hands down. I would not have climbed it so often if I had to use the eroded climb. I've seen lots of little kids on Ngungun, and all of the ones I saw had taken the new track. During one of my assents, I saw some teenagers hurling large rocks down the steep "old scramble" If anyone had been climbing up that way, they could have been seriously injured. Also, they assisted in further eroding the climb. Therefore, there are many reasons why I wouldn't take that assent. Please give the full picture when writing up ypur track notes...I loved your photos though.