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Ships Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra

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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 February 25th 2021
As one of the most magnificent walks in the park, Ships Stern Circuit offers spectacular lookouts, plunging cliffs, mighty ranges, sparkling waterfalls, luscious vegetation and unique wildlife.

Binna Burra Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforest World Heritage Area. An ancient land that broke up about 180 million years ago, it is rich in evolutionary history and biodiversity.

The trail is 21 kilometres circuit. Allow about eight hours of walking time. The National Park classifies the walking trail as Grade 4, which means rough track, long, steep sections and few directional signs; it may have fallen trees and slippery rocks.

Moderate fitness level is required, previous hiking experience and ankle supporting boots are strongly recommended. It is recommended to hike in a clockwise direction. Walk with family, friends or in a group. Never alone!

Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
It is a tremendous experience hiking in a group. Photo by Author.


Bring a medium day backpack with 2-3 litres of water, lunch and snacks. Long sleeves and long trousers are preferable. Put in your backpack first aid kit, insect repellent in form of cream; please avoid the spray since the aerosol created during the spray may spread everywhere in the environment and may harm different forms of life. Pack a raincoat, torch, tissues and phone.
The trail starts at the Saddle Trailhead, opposite the road to Binna Burra Lodge.

Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Photo by Author.


Hiking this trail is a fantastic experience because you are walking under the canopy of the forest immersed in a different world and it seems like going back in time. Stop at Koolanbilba and Yangahla Lookouts for tremendous views and adrenaline cliffs.

Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
The breathtaking views from Koolanbilba Lookout. In the background are Egg Rock and Turtle Rock. Photo by Author.


Convoluted lianas, piccabeen palms, huge old red cedars and majestic flooded gums are some of the native vegetation to be seen. There are strangler figs taking over their host trees and there are stinging trees and "wait a while" vines!

Photo by Author.


Take the Lower Ballanjui Falls trail and descend into the valley where the Nixon Creek flows along the track. The banks of the creek are green, the rocks are covered in moss and lichens and there are logs, possibly carried in stormy times.

Photo by Author.


Intricate pattern of roots looking for nutrients and water. photo by Author.


The inside of an old strangler fig. The host tree is gone and where the roots are not sealed the sunlight filters through. Photo by Author.


The Ballanjui Falls are an excellent spot to have morning tea. Then return to the main trail. Past Charraboomba Rock there are scribbly gums.

The distinctive features of the eucalypt are scribbles made by moth larva when feeding between the layers of bark. The caterpillars eat the nutritious cells and when the bark comes off, the iconic scribbles beneath are exposed. The moths are called Ogmograptis racemosa. Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Nixon Creek. Photo by Author.


Photo by Author.


Nagarigoon Waterfall is just before the intersection with Daves Creek Circuit. It is a very graceful waterfall which flow depends on the rains.

Photo by Author.


Kooloonbano Lookout has spectacular views over Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley and Hinze Dam. Along the trail, there are more lookouts where is possible to see Mount Warning.

Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Turtle Rock , view from Kooloobano Lookout. Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Photo by Author.


Mount Warning is the remnant central vent of an ancient volcano. The peak can be viewed from different points in the surrounding well preserved massive crater, or caldera how is usually called.

Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Mount Warning in the background. Photo by Author.


The trail is exquisite in every season! It is also beautiful in light rain, if you can cope with the wet, some mud, biting midges and leeches! After the summer rains, the creeks and the waterfalls flow full of energy. In spring, there is an unbelievable display of flowers and native bees and bugs busying themselves around the bushes in bloom.

Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Beauty in the forest. Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café.
Photo by Author.


Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café, Scribbly gum
Photo by Author.

Photo by Author.


After the hike, Binna Burra Tea House may still be open for some great refreshments. If you have started the hike very early and finish early enough, you may drive to the Flying Bean Cafe at Beechmont.

To complete an extraordinary day out, stop at Rosin Lookout, 1684 Beechmont Rd, Beechmont QLD 4211. The stunning lookout offers fantastic views of the valley and Mount Warning in the background. It is used by parasails and hang-gliders. It is just opposite The Flying Bean Cafe.

Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café, Scribbly gum Biting midges Rosin Lookout Gliding
Rosin Lookout at Beechmont. Photo by Author.


Photo by Author.


Directions

From Brisbane city taking the M1 is about one hour and half drive, about 106 kilometres.

Take Nerang exit and drive on the Beaudesert Nerang Rd, then on Nerang Murwillumbah Rd. Turn sharp on the right to Beechmont Rd and enjoy an impressive scenic drive. Take care driving since the road is steep and narrow.

Turn left into Binna Burra Rd, for an incredible drive on a road with great views, but again it is steep and winding.

Park the car at the Saddle carpark and wear your hiking boots and put your backpack on the shoulders.

Prior the day of the hike, check the Park Alert on the Qld Park website.

Biting Midges.

If you have been hiking and a few hours later you are itchy and the skin around the bites start to be swollen and be very irritated, most likely you have been under attack by some minuscule monsters called biting midges or sandflies.

Biting midges thrive in environments with moisture, such as damp soil, mud, wet leaves. The moisture and the temperature are paramount conditions for the hatching of the eggs of these insects.

Usually, you don't realise when the midges bite you. Only a few hours later, you are going to have all the symptoms. The female bites on the skin to get the necessary blood to develop a batch of eggs. The skin swollen, gets red, irritate, itchy.

Prevent midges attack applying some insect repellent in form or cream. Wear long well button up sleeved shirts, long trousers and long socks.


Stinging tree.

Along the trail is common to encounter stinging trees. They are covered with stinging hairs and when touched, the hairs deliver potent neurotoxins which are very painful.

Indigenous people used the long fibres of the stinging trees to make nets and lines, ate the fruit and used it as a medication to relieve the pain from arthritis and rheumatism.

Ship Stern Circuit Hike, Binna Burra, Ballanjui Falls, Lower Ballanjui Falls, Kooloonban Lookout, Mount Warning, Turtle Rock, Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam, Lamington National Park, vent of an ancient volcano, leeches, wait a while, stinging tree, Beechmont, Binna Burra Tea House, gliding, Flying Bean Café, Scribbly gum Biting midges Rosin Lookout Gliding Stinging tree Nagarigoon Falls
Stinging tree along the trail. It is unbelievable some animals feed on it. Photo by Author.


The stinging tree needs lots of sunlight and usually grows in the forest where a big tree has fallen.

Despite the venomous hairs, the stinging tree is an important source of food for caterpillars, insects and pademelons.
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