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 January 9th 2022
Exploring the Forest Looking for the Piper Comanche Wreck
A remote trail in D'Aguilar National Park that goes to the Piper Comanche Wreck. Your navigational skills get tested in finding the plane wreck and the way back. Follow the footpad and look around you to discover the forest and the ancient plants.
The hike starts at Lepidozamia carpark, just 6.8 km, 7 minutes drive north of Maiala carpark, off Mount Glorious Road. The hike is about 8.5 km return, allow three hours. The walk is classified hard due to the remote area and the steepness of some sections of the trail. There are logs, overgrown vegetation and roots on the track. You need a certain level of fitness to hike this trail and good navigation skills. Recently, the National Park has added a few new signs to mark the trail but despite the new signs, it is still possible to get lost in the forest.
The trail takes you to a Piper Comanche Wreck in the D'Aguilar National Park. The plane crashed on the 2nd of March 1977, below the summit of Mount D'Aguilar. The pilot, Paul Pavletich, was the only person on board and did not survive the crash.
Once you have crossed the gate, walk about 50 metres and turn right where there is a distinct footpath entering the forest. Now there is also a new sign with information about the hike. Take a minute to read the informative sign.
On the 2nd March 1977, the pilot Paul Pavletich left Archerfield Airport Brisbane for Bundaberg. But the weather conditions started to worsen during his return to Brisbane. He flew very low on Mount Glorious and then crashed on the mountain. The pilot was found on the 6th March by a group of bushwalkers with the specific mission to look for the Piper Comanche plane. The plane crashed on a tree and the pilot did not survive.
I have done this trail a few times with the Group Hiking South East Qld and More. In the past, the trail was marked with a few sporadic pink ribbons. Recently the pink ribbons have been removed and there are now new signposts to indicate the directions.
However, there is an area where the footpath is very faint and there are no signs. Make sure to turn right when you come up from the steep hill, - there is the risk to get disorientated. In that area, there are no ribbons and there are no signs.
The few times I hiked the Piper Comanche Trail, I spotted a few snakes: a brown snake, a tiger snake and a carpet python. Wear gaiters to protect you from a possible encounter with snakes and also wear sturdy hiking boots.
The hike is very good also for families and beginners, following the trodden path. Sometimes the path is difficult to see in places, therefore, it is better to have an app with the trail.
I have noticed that a few items keep disappearing from the site of the wreck. Originally there was a laminated "Aircraft Accident Investigation Summary Report" to provide information on the wreck but now is missing. Parts of the plane seem also not to be in place anymore. The wreck place should be left undisturbed for others to see and not to collect souvenirs.
After the hike generally the group Hiking South East Qld and More meet at the Mount Glorious Cafe, 1850 Mount Glorious Rd, Mount Glorious QLD 4520. Another venue is Elm House Cafe, Crn Browns Road and Mount Glorious Road, Mount Glorious QLD 4520. Cafe Lagarto is at 225 Mount Glorious Rd, Samford Valley QLD 4520.
Park your car at Lepidozamia carpark, just 7 minutes, 6.8 km north from Maiala carpark, off Mount Glorious Road.
What to bring.
Hiking gear: a hiking medium backpack, long trousers and shirt with long sleeves, light raincoat, recommended hiking ankle supportive boots, first aid kit, torch, insect repellent (give preference to cream or roll-on as they are more environmentally friendly than the spray), hat, sunscreen, gloves, walking poles if you like to use them and sock protectors or gaiters. Consider packing some extra clothes and leaving them in the car. Pack some clean footwear and socks.
For this hike, consider carrying a map or downloading 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!
Practice minimal impact bushwalking taking great care to avoid leaving any rubbish. Remember - pack it in, pack it out. This includes all food scraps, scraps of foil and sweet's wrappers.
Take all your rubbish with you, including used tissues, apple cores, eggshells, orange and banana peels. If you see rubbish on the trail please collect it and dispose of it responsibly. Do not disturb or interfere with wildlife. Do not disturb rocks. Do not remove plants or anything from National Parks or Natural Reserves. Stay on track all time. Do not use shortcuts that could create erosion.
Please follow directions on all safety and legislative signs, this protects you and the numerous threatened and endangered species in the park.
Use toilets when available. Away from toilets, take care with sanitation and hygiene and don't pollute natural water supplies. Ensure all faecal matter and toilet paper is properly buried 15cm deep well away from tracks, campsites and 100m from all watercourses and drainage channels. Carry with you a small trowel for this purpose. Bag and carry out disposable nappies and sanitary products.
Make sure your boots are always clean, avoid the spread of pathogens, disease-producing organisms such as phytophthora, myrtle rust and amphibian chytrid fungus. Soil and detritus can contain pathogens such as fungal spores that are harmful to the forest and frogs.
For more information, read the website of the Qld Government Parks and Forests Department of Environment and Science.