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Ships Stern Circuit, Lamington National Park

Home > Brisbane > Animals and Wildlife | National Parks | Nature | Outdoor | Walks
by Roz Glazebrook (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published February 11th 2021
It was my second Ship Stern Circuit walk. I did the first one two years ago in 2019. We had some drama on that one with one of our walkers getting heat stress and bad leg cramps. This time the walk was pretty uneventful although it was still very hot and we needed to drink lots of water and take electrolytes. I wrote about the previous walk here.

View Mt Warning
Mt Warning in distance

The Ship Stern walk is a 21 kilometre Class 4 walk at Binna Burra in Lamington National Park. The return sidetrack to Lower Ballenjui Falls adds another 1.2. kilometres.

Lower Ballanjui Falls
Lower Ballanjui Falls

There was a lot more water in the waterfalls than last time after the recent heavy rains. It is a beautiful walk with a wide variety of habitats from rainforest, caves, waterfalls, creeks and wonderful views from lots of lookouts. It is a long day though. Last time we camped the night before and the night after at the Binna Burra campground. This time we drove down and back from Brisbane. That meant a 5.15am start from Brisbane.

Caves on the track
Caves beside track

We walked the circuit in a clockwise direction starting at the lower car park at Binna Burra and finishing at the upper car park near the café.

There are fantastic views on this walk over the Numinbah Valley with views of Egg Rock, Turtle Rock and Ship's Stern. Further around the track, we had views all the way to Mt Warning.
We stopped for morning tea at Lower Ballanjui Falls. It is a magnificent waterfall and well worth the short detour.

Creek crossing
Creek crossing

We passed a few other walkers going the opposite way and some fast walkers passed us going our way.

Creek and rainforest
Creek and rainforest

Last time we had to jump over a huge python curled up in the middle of the track.

This time we were very lucky to see a Stephens' Banded snake (Hoplocephalus stephensii). This snake is a highly venomous tree snake in the family Elapidae.

Stephens' Banded Snakes are grey to black with brown or cream crossbands. They grow to 1.2 metres and are found in coastal southeastern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales. They live in rainforests, moist forests, heaths and vine thickets. We were lucky to see one, as they are largely nocturnal and rare in some areas. They are good climbers and spend most of their time up in trees.

Stephens Banded Snake
Stephens Banded Snake

This species is potentially dangerous and a ready biter. Its venom affects blood clotting. If bitten, you need to apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention. These snakes feed mainly on frogs, reptiles and small mammals.

The one we saw was a young one and it was right in the middle of the track. Luckily the people ahead of me were watching their feet ahead and saw it before potentially stepping on it. By the time I caught up, the snake had moved off the track to the side of the path. I managed to get a photo of its body as it moved into the trees.

We had heard there were some big trees across the track, but National Parks must have cut them because the track was pretty clear. We'd also heard there were lots of ticks on this walk, so we all sprayed ourselves before starting our walk. No one got any on this walk.

Some of the creek crossings were slippery, so you do need boots or shoes with good grip. You also need to take lots of water and electrolytes, especially in summer, as it can be a very hot walk.

There is another sidetrack to Upper Ballunjui Falls and Guraigumai Rock, which is an additional 2.6 kilometre return detour. We didn't do that track this time. We also didn't climb Charraboomba Rock on this walk. Most of us had done it previously. There are some great views from the top of the rock but we decided to give it a miss because of the heat.

Nice track
Nice track

I had bought a cooling towel at Aldi the day before my walk for $5 and it was wonderful. I just kept dipping it in water, in the waterfall and creeks we crossed and snapped it to become icy cold. It kept me very cool.

Morning tea by the waterfall
Morning tea by the waterfall

After drinks and snacks at the cafe, we headed home arriving back in Brisbane about 7pm.

It was a wonderful walk in beautiful Lamington National Park. The Stephens Banded snake, the waterfall and views were highlights for me. It was the longest walk I had done for awhile. I was tired after the walk, but surprisingly I didn't get stiff.

I even went for another walk at Enoggera Reservoir the following day.

Nice View
Nice View
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Why? A beautiful rainforest walk
When: Anytime
Where: Ship Stern Circuit, Binna Burra
Cost: Free
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