Swimming under Gheerulla Falls
This was my fourth walk on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. It is a wonderful walk and I hope to go back and do it many more times. I recently wrote about an overnight walk here
I was lucky to have the opportunity to go back two weeks after that trip for three days of walking and two nights camping in the area. 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 one or two day overnight walks. The whole walk is well signposted
Nine of us met up at Mapleton on a recent Friday afternoon. After a quick coffee, we headed off to the Linda Garrett car park and started our walk down to Ubajee Walkers Camp, where we planned to camp the first night.
View from Ubajee camp lookout
Walking through the forest
After setting up our tents and having dinner, we walked down to the Ubajee lookout. One of the women had brought her 31-year-old daughter who was visiting from Cairns. She had borrowed one of her mother's packs and had bought new boots, but unfortunately, the pack didn't fit well as she was taller than her mother and her boots hurt her feet. While we were looking at the beautiful view, she suddenly started screaming loudly. She had the biggest tiger leech I've ever seen on her ankle.
I had camped at Ubajee on my previous trip two weeks before. There were only three of us at the campsite that night. On this trip, the campsite was full. A few campers were having a pretty loud party but the noise stopped around 8.30pm.
Ubajee Walkers Camp is set within blackbutt Eucalyptus pilularis forest and situated at the eastern edge of the scenic Gheerulla Creek valley.
It rained overnight and we had to pack up wet tents and walk in the rain on Saturday. We walked 13.5 kilometres to Thilba Thalba campsite. There were a few creek crossings but they weren't deep and we didn't get our feet wet. It was pretty tough climbing up Gheerulla Bluff to the campsite, although the beautiful views along the way made it worthwhile.
Gheerulla Creek. Catherine Gates photo
Things got worse for the daughter. As well as the leech, the sore back from the pack and sore feet, she then hurt her ankle. She commented, "you call this fun!". She is very fit and sporty and does lots of sports including scuba diving and running. I think she would have been fine with her own gear which fitted her properly. She walked most of the third day in thongs.
Checking the map. Catherine Gates photo
We had a lovely communal meal on the large wooden tables and seats before heading to bed fairly early. There were fantastic views out over the valley from this campsite. The two campsites had good composting toilets and water tanks.
Thilba Thalba campsite
We did need to treat the water before drinking it. No fires are allowed so you need to take your own stove. Most of us had small gas stoves. A few people, including me, had problems with damp matches. I had kept mine in a waterproof container but they still got damp, so it is worth having some waterproof matches or a cigarette lighter. Luckily we had friends who lent us their lighters.
Resting on a log
On the last day, we walked about 9 kilometres to Cheerulla Falls where a few brave people went for a swim and sat like mermaids under the waterfall. hen we tackled the hill up to Ubajee Walkers Camp where we had a short rest before walking back out to our cars for coffee and cakes in Mapleton before the drive back to Brisbane.
This walk has everything including waterfalls, rainforest, wildlife and fantastic views with amazing scenery. I'm not sure if the daughter will do it again anytime soon though. I hope she won't be like my son. I took him on the four day walk on the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island when he was about 12 years old. He hasn't done any bushwalking since.
Good sign posts
Through the tall trees
I recommend the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk and encourage anyone to do it. You can book the campsites easily on the National Parks website and camping is only $6.85 per person per night.
Misty views. Catherine Gates photo