I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published October 25th 2017
Walking in the rain in the rainforest
The weather forecast was pretty grim. Heavy rain was predicted for Saturday. It was the day I was looking forward to going on a bushwalk from O'Reilly's to Binna Burra on the Border track with the Brisbane bushwalking club. I hoped the walk wasn't going to be cancelled.
Since my last wet walk at Dave's Creek Circuit at Binna Burra in the rain back in June, I had bought some more wet weather gear, including waterproof trousers and a pack cover. I had also dug out an old oilskin hat I've had for years and found an old pair of gaiters so I was ready for bad weather. I wrote about the Dave's Creek trip here.
I was in the group starting at O'Reilly's and was looking forward to it, as I hadn't been there for many years. We stopped to put on our wet weather gear under a shelter and were very lucky to get a lovely welcome from the local birds. There were lots of beautiful Regent bowerbirds perched in a tree near the shelter. As we were all taking photos of these birds, a male King parrot landed on Trevor's head as if to say "What about me?"
I didn't have a telephoto lens like some of the others, but I posted one of my photos on a bird site and some sharp-eyed birdos counted seven bowerbirds in one of my photos. I originally could only see four.
We eventually set off to walk the 21.4 kilometer track. It rained all day but we all really enjoyed the walk through the wet rainforest. I didn't see any more birds all day, so felt really privileged to see those ones at the start.
There were some lookouts along the way and I'm sure the views would be beautiful in fine weather, but we couldn't see anything. We passed the other group at about the half way mark and swapped car keys and arranged to meet up with them for coffee at Canungra.
Our group had a quick lunch. It got cold when we stopped and we didn't want to sit down in the rain and because of the leeches. I found the second half of the walk easier even though we did have to cross a few slippery areas. My poles helped a lot. There was beautiful orange fungi on fallen logs and half eaten red fruit on the ground. The rainforest looked very eerie through the mist. A few trees had come down in recent storms. We took photos and their position and let the rangers know.
Tom pointed out a memorial in the forest. I had heard the story of the two young girls who were killed by lightening on this track, but had never seen the plaque before. The girls, Lauren McColl and Belinda Ritchie were twelve years old. They were on a school trip from Upper Mount Gravatt State School in 1992. The group of forty left in fine weather to walk the Binna Burra to O'Reilly's track. The group was caught in a violent electrical storm and six students got struck by lightening. Four were resuscitated, but Lauren and Belinda did not respond to CPR. It's a bit hard to read the plaque in the forest now. Tom suggested the club should take some brasso next trip to polish it up. There is another memorial in the Discovey Forest at Binna Burra which reads "They were princesses on Earth needed as angels in Heaven. So much loved forever in our hearts".
Not far from the end of the walk, we came across a woman on her own who said she was suffering from hypothermia. Her hands were freezing and she asked me to help do up her trousers. She said her shoes were full of water. I helped her and then made sure she headed straight back to Binna Burra to shelter. She went ahead of us and must have got back before us as we didn't see her again.
There is something pretty magical about walking in rainforest in the rain, so if you get the chance to do it, as long as you have good waterproof clothing and boots you should do it. The track can get slippery after rain, so good tread on your boots and walking poles can help a lot. The highlight of the walk for me was seeing those magnificent rainforest birds before we began the walk.
That brings back memories, Roz! A few years ago I was in training for Oxfam - the 100km non-stop hike - and we hiked O'Reillys to Binna Burra and return in one twelve hour trip. Must say I loved the whole area, but it was pretty cold and damp!
This is a walk that I have intended to do for some time but as you pointed out, it takes some organising.
Many people walking between Binna Burra and O'Reilly's will make the walk longer by diverting onto the Toolona Creek Circuit at O'Reilly's or the Coomera Circuit at Binna Burra. Both are great for waterfalls, but make the walk longer.
Hiked this earlier this year in heavy rain, including descending into the Coomera Circuit. Very muddy and slippery, but another great day. That hike was with a Meetup hiking group. We did the Binna Burra to O'Reillys direction with some car shuffle.
It truly is one of the top 10 walks to do in a lifetime.
Completed this 3 times from OREILLY's to Binnaburra.
Yes, mystical in the rain and fog.
I regularly stay in a Cabin at Binnaburra.....worth having the breaKast & dinner package.