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Mount Mitchell Hike, Cunninghams Gap

Home > Brisbane > Escape the City | Family | National Parks | Outdoor | Walks
by Cris (subscribe)
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 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, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds,
Mount Mitchell seen from Mount Cordeaux. It reminds me a horse laying down. Photo by Author.


When you drive on the Cunningham Highway and approach Cunninghams Gap, Mount Mitchell is just in front of you, with its jagged edges and the rocky slopes.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds,
The new trailhead, on the opposite side of Crest Carpark. 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.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds,
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.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds,
There are steps on the trail of Mount Mitchell. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds,
Views from the trail. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds,
Views from the trail. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea
Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea). This native Australian plant is very appreciated for gardens and fences. It produces many awesome flowers in winter and spring. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants,
The paper daisy along the trail. This flower is also a native Australian plant very appreciated for commercial use. Photo by Author.


When gaining altitude, it is possible to observe long moss growing on plants. There is lots of moisture in the air to keep the moss alive.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants,
The plants are covered by long moss. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants,
Trees along the trail. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants,
The moss is covering the rocks too. All the forest is green! Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest,
Fungi has colonized an old branch. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants,
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.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants,
Beautiful long and green moss. 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.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest,
A bush of nettles not far from the top of Mount Mitchell. These perennial plants prefer humid places. Photo by Author.


There are many Xanthorrhoea trees, more commonly known as grass trees, along the trail. In spring, they exhibit their long and sturdy flowers, generally attracting many insects, including native bees.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree,
Xanthorrhoea, known as a Grass tree. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree,
Views from the trail in a misty winter morning. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers,National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree,
Views over the mountains of the Main Range. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula,
You come across this sign just before an exposed area on the trail. Keep on the trail and keep away from the edges. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, , National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula,
On top of Mount Mitchell. 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.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula,
View of the loops of the Cunningham Highway climbing up to Cunninghams Gap. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula, Mount Maroon, Mount Moon, Mount Greville, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney,
Mount Maroon and Mount Barney just visible in the mist; Mount Moon and Mount Greville. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula, Mount Maroon, Mount Moon, Mount Greville, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney,
Views from the top of Mount Mitchell. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula, Mount Maroon, Mount Moon, Mount Greville, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney,
Mount Mitchell top with many Xanthorroea Trees. Photo by Author.


Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula, Mount Maroon, Mount Moon, Mount Greville, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney,
On top of Mount Mitchell. Photo by Author.


After spending some time admiring the views from the top and a snack, you can start to descend Mount Mitchell.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula, Mount Maroon, Mount Moon, Mount Greville, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney,
Plants growing between rocks. 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.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, and More, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula, Mount Maroon, Mount Moon, Mount Greville, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney, Stinging tree,
When an area is disturbed and exposed to the sun, generally it gets colonized by Stinging trees. Photo by Author.


Sometimes in the forest, you may encounter snakes. Give them plenty of space and don't disturb them.

Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Cunningham Gap, Cunningham Hwy, Aratula, Brisbane, Trail, Hike, Hikers, National Park, Main Range National Park, Coffee, Break, Gap Creek Falls, Cliffs, Stinging trees, Nettles, Moss, Mud, Clouds, Happy Wanderer plant, Hardenbergia violacea, Paper flowers, Australian native plants, Fungi in the forest, Xanthorrhoea, Grass tree, Warning signs, Outdoor, Family, Escape the City, Hiking, Walking, Café, Aratula, Mount Maroon, Mount Moon, Mount Greville, Lake Moogerah, Mount Barney, Stinging tree, Wildlife, Carpet python.
Carpet Python in the forest. Photo by Author.



After the hike

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.

The bakery is at 6746 Cunningham Hwy, Aratula QLD 4309.
Here is my article about Clive's Bakery Cafe:
www.weekendnotes.com/arthur-clives-bakery-cafe-aratula

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.

I wrote an article about Aratula Markets:
www.weekendnotes.com/aratula-markets

Aratula Hotel Motel offers lunch and dinner. The food is nice, the beer is cold, the place is family-friendly. Accommodation is also available.

Aratula Hotel is at 6841 Cunningham Hwy, Aratula QLD 4309. www.facebook.com/AratulaHotelMotel

What to bring

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!

The days prior to the hike make sure to check:

Weather Website: www.bom.gov.au
Map: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/main-range
Road Conditions: https://qldtraffic.qld.gov.au


Directions

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.

Reference

https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/main-range

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Mitchell_(Queensland)

www.dayliliesinaustralia.com.au/happy-wanderer-hardenbergia-violacea

www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/poisonous-plant-stinging-nettles-urtica-urens

www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/poisonous-plant-stinging-tree-dendrocnide-excelsa

www.lfwseq.org.au/stinging-trees-plants-that-make-you-go-hmmm



More articles by the Author

Mount Greville Hike, Moogerah Peaks National Park
www.weekendnotes.com/mt-greville-track/194977

Mount Edwards Hike, Moogerah Peaks National Park
www.weekendnotes.com/hike-mt-edwards-lake-moogerah/193026

Mount Barney South East Ridge and South Ridge
www.weekendnotes.com/hiking-mt-barney/194804

Arthur Clive's Bakery Cafe
www.weekendnotes.com/arthur-clives-bakery-cafe-aratula

Five Walks Near Brisbane Under 5 Kilometres
www.weekendnotes.com/six-walks-near-brisbane-under-5-kilometres

Aratula Markets
www.weekendnotes.com/aratula-markets

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Where: Top of Cunningham Gap, Crest Carpark
Your Comment
Cris, very informative article. Love the paper daisies along the way but may not have been happy to see the snake. Yeek!
Susan
by Susan J Bowes (score: 3|2180) 14 days ago
Loving your photos Cris
by May Cross (score: 3|7972) 13 days ago
It looks like some lovely bush land and the views are magnificent.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8320) 4 days ago
Looks like a wonderful hike. great shots!
by kent (score: 0|4) 13 days ago
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