Combine these 2 walks for an easy walk with great views
This combination of 2 walks at O'Reilly's includes the official walk to Python Rock and the old track to Pat's Bluff which is not signposted. While the 2 walks can be done completely separately, they make a great combination walk of just over 5 kms. You can also easily do the Moran Falls Track as well if you want a slightly longer walk.
The Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park (which everyone call's O'Reilly's after the rainforest retreat) is famous for its walks through lush rainforest and numerous waterfalls. But most of the walks don't include many views. However, the Western Side includes a couple of easy tracks that give you great views down the valley.
The 2 tracks that make up this walk are Python Rock and Pat's Bluff. They are meant to be 2 separate tracks, but the Pat's Bluff track (also called West Cliff Track on some old maps) is no longer an official track and lacks signposts. The start of that track is just a gap in the underbrush on the side of the road, so it is not an easy walk to find on its own. Which is okay, because you can easily walk it in combination with the Python Rock track.
If you want to hike the Pat's Bluff Track by itself, this is where the track starts (good luck finding it)
While there is roadside parking at the start of the Python Rock Track, it is recommended that you drive up to the parking area for O'Reilly's Rainforest Cafe and walk down the Centenary Track to the start of the walk. This adds around 1 km in total to the walk, but it means you are parked near the cafe where you can go for food and drink afterwards.
The Centenary Track runs for the car park to the start of the walk
The Python Rock Track is clearly marked with one track running off in the direction of Moran Falls and the Python Rock Track heading to the right. Many people will combine the two walks together as they start at the same spot.
The walk is pretty straight forward, starting through the rainforest and ending up in a more open area with grass trees. After 1.6 kms of easy walking, you arrive at the Python Rock Lookout with great views down the valley.
To get onto the track for Pat's Bluff, you need to backtrack a little way until you come to a bench you saw while walking towards Python Rock. Behind this bench, unmarked, is the link to Pat's Bluff walk. Walk down this track, past a giant buttress rooted tree and then turn left.
This bench marks where the Python Rock Track links to the Pat's Bluff Track
This walk is unsigned but very easy to follow. After a short while, the track opens up and you will be walking along the side of the ridge. Much of this track is a service road, which I think is open to the public, as I have seen people drive up to Pat's Bluff. As a hiker, I think it is much more fun to walk there than drive.
The track keeps following the ridge and you will see the end because it will come to a pile of boulders, which is a perfect spot to enjoy the view. You may walk a little further but you'll come to where a canyon cuts off the ridge and you won't easily able to go much beyond the boulders.
I would recommend timing your walk to have lunch or just morning or afternoon tea here so that you can relax and enjoy the view. While it isn't the shadiest stop, there are enough trees to keep you out of the sun.
When returning, you backtrack and you can return via the Python Rock Track (with the linking track clearly visible here because of the buttressed tree that is hard to miss), but you can just keep going along the track until you break out of the rainforest and onto the road. You will need to walk on the shoulder of the road a little while before you get to the Centenary Track and then it is an easy stroll back to the car park.
After the hike, the obvious spot to go for drinks and food is O'Reilly's Mountain Cafe. My feeling is that it has improved in recent years, but it is not quite as great as it could be. With good food, okay service and great views, it is still a great place to end your day of walking.
O'Reilly's Mountain Cafe is a convenient place for coffee, cake, beer or a meal
Overall, this track is a nice little walk, and the extension to Pat's Bluff makes it is a bit of an easy adventure. Add on the walk to Moran Falls to make a walk of just over 10 kms. It is a combination of short tracks and great views that make these 3 tracks something different in this area.