A lot of the group pulled out because of the change and expected wet weather. In the end, there were just three of us. I was keen because it was an area of the Great Walk I hadn't done before. On this trip, we planned to start from Flaxton Mill Road, walk down to Baxter Creek and Falls, then to Mapleton Falls and onto Ubajee Walkers Camp where we planned to camp overnight. We would retrace our steps on our return trip the next day.
The 58 kilometre Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk is 90 kilometres north of Brisbane in the Blackall Range. It takes about 4 days to complete the whole walk but it is possible to do sections of the walk as day walks or short 1 or 2 day overnight walks. The whole walk is well signposted and is shaped like a P.
My first trip was a bit of a disaster in 2017 where I got lost.
On this trip, we set off from Flaxton Mill Road. We passed the Flaxton Walkers Camp a short walk from the road, then headed down to Baxter Creek and the Baxton Creek Falls where we stopped for a snack. It was a fairly steep track down to the Falls, with lots of steps and some muddy parts after recent rain. The short track to the bottom of the Falls leads off to the right.
The track on the other side of the creek was long and steep. I found it a bit hard because I hadn't carried a full pack for about nine months, and my fitness wasn't great due to lots of walks being cancelled due to recent wet weather, floods and Covid. We eventually reached the top and came out onto Suses Pocket Road, then we walked along the road about 2 kilometres to Mapleton Falls.
It was a lovely walk through a variety of habitats with birds singing and one snake sunning itself on the track. We stopped to look at the information boards at the Linda Garrett car park. The last 6 or 7 kilometres seemed very long and we were pleased to finally reach the campsite, as we were all tired after walking about 14 kilometres in the heat. The forecasted rain didn't come and I was sweating a lot. I almost wished it would rain to cool me down.
We were the only campers at the campsite. After setting up camp and having a cup of tea, we walked down to the lookout, which was very close with beautiful views over the Gheerulla Valley and hills. I walked down to the lookout again early the next morning to watch the sunrise.
The campsite had a drop toilet, water tank and wooden platform seats. Each site can accommodate 2 tents. We did need to treat the water. I boiled some for the next day and also used some tablets to treat water for carrying out the next day.
On our return walk, we did the very short detour to the Peregrine Lookout. It is only a few metres down this track to the lookout where there are nice views of the valley. We ran into a group of adventurous young people who were planning to climb down to the bottom of the waterfall.
I'm glad we went and didn't let the threat of rain put us off. Over the whole weekend, we only had some very light rain for a short time after reaching camp We had our tents set up and just resting in our tents until the rain stopped.
I realised I need to do more regular training walks and more walks carrying a full pack. I was stiff for days after I got home. The other two were fine, but they do a lot more walks than me and train with heavy packs too.
I'm looking forward to going back this weekend to do some more walking and camping two nights. We plan to camp the first night at Ubajee Walkers campsite and the second night at Thilba Thalba campsite. After that trip, I will have almost completed the whole walk apart from the section from Baroon Pocket Dam to Flaxton Mill Road (about 14.5 kilometres). I've heard there is a fair bit of road walking on this part so I'm not too keen to do that section.
I finally got back to do the section from Ubajee to Mapleton Falls which I missed on my first visit after I got lost.