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Published July 15th 2021
A great hike with magnificent views
Mount Mitchell is an ancient volcanic peak located in the Main Range National Park. Mount Mitchell has two peaks, connected by a saddle. The mountain is called Cooyinnirra by the Aboriginal people.
Together with Mount Cordeaux, Mount Mitchell is the sentinel of the Cunninghams Gap.
Mount Mitchell seen from Mount Cordeaux. It reminds me a horse laying down. Photo by Author.
The starting point is on the opposite side of the Crest carpark. Park your car and the trailhead is on the other side of the Cunningham Hwy. Take care crossing the road! Recently the kick off point has been moved away from the sharp corner, making it easier to see the coming traffic from both directions.
The trail on Mount Mitchell is well graded. Photo by Author.
Mount Mitchell Trail is classified Grade 4 by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife. It means the track is well-formed and may be rough with exposed roots and rocks. The trail may be muddy and there are steps. Cliffs don't have fences and a high level of caution is required in the exposed sections and on the top. A moderate level of fitness is required and ankle supportive boots are recommended.
There are steps on the trail of Mount Mitchell. Photo by Author.
Just before the top of Mount Mitchell you come across a sign warning about unfenced cliffs. Supervise the children, don't let them run ahead, stay on the walking trail, stay well back from the cliff edges. Photo by Author.
Along the trail, nearly on the top of Mount Mitchell, there is a bush of nettles. These native plants have stinging hairs and when touched can result in an intense burning pain, local reddening and swelling.
A bush of nettles not far from the top of Mount Mitchell. These perennial plants prefer humid places. Photo by Author.
On top of Mount Mitchell, there are 360-degree views. There are views of the Fassifern, Millar Vale Creek valleys, Mount Maroon, Mount Lindesay, Mount Barney and Mount Ballow. Also, you can see Mt Edwards, Mount Greville, Mount Moon and Lake Moogerah.
View of the loops of the Cunningham Highway climbing up to Cunninghams Gap. Photo by Author.
The Stinging trees are pioneer trees in the rainforest. Generally, they start to germinate where a big tree has fallen due to a storm. In this way, the sunlight manages to get through and stimulates the germination of the seeds. The trees can grow very high and become part of the rainforest canopy.
Make sure not to touch or brush against the Stinging tree. Contact with the plant causes the hollow silica hairs to penetrate into the skin causing a severe burning sensation. A gentle brush may resolve with just some pain for few hours. If the contact with the plant is for a prolonged time and in many parts of the body, the stinging pain and the burning can last for months.
Despite the terrible stinging hairs, many animals rely on the stinging tree for food. The large leaves are often to be seen shriveled because they get eaten by the larvae of some butterflies.
When an area is disturbed and exposed to the sun, generally it gets colonized by Stinging trees. Photo by Author.
After the hike, you may like to consider stopping somewhere to have something to eat while enjoying a day out with your family, your friends or with your group.
The closest town is Aratula, offering a few great options. Arthur Clive's Bakery Cafe has amazing pies and pastries baked on the premises. Coffee is awesome and there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Next door to the bakery is Aratula Markets with local produce, fresh juices made on order, fantastic cakes, snacks and coffee.
Aratula Markets is at 6744 Cunningham Highway Aratula, QLD, Australia 4309.
Hiking gear: a hiking medium backpack, long trousers and shirt with long sleeve, light raincoat, very recommended hiking ankle supportive boots, first aid kit, insect repellent (it works for leeches; give preference to cream or roll-on that are more environmentally friendly than the spray), sunscreen, gloves, walking poles if you like to use them, socks protectors or gaiters.
Consider packing some extra clothes and leave them in the car. Pack some clean footwear and socks.
For this hike, consider carrying a map or download 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!
Mount Mitchell is about 120 km from Brisbane, travelling on the Cunningham Hwy. Not far from the Cunningham Gap is the rural town of Aratula. Pass through Aratula and continue driving to the top of the Cunningham Gap. The carpark is called Crest carpark.
Sometimes the carpark can fill up very quickly and you may have to park the car on the side of the road.