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The Steamers Hike, Main Range National Park

Home > Brisbane > Walks | Outdoor | Nature | National Parks | Day Trips
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 June 12th 2021
Exploring The Steamers in Main Range National Park
The Steamers is considered one of the most iconic hike in South East Queensland. It is a great classic and beautiful hike and it is famous, especially for the stunning views from the Stern Lookout.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick,
The iconic view from the Stern Lookout over the Steamers. Photo by Author.


The Steamers are the remnants of lava erupted from the Main Range Volcano. They are located in a remote area of the Main Range National Park and their name is due to the fact they look like an old steamship - the Prow, Funnel, Mast and Stern.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout,
On Emu Creek Road there are three creek crossings, approachable with a 4WD or vehicle with high clearance. Photo by Author.


The hike is classified hard for the steepness, ruggedness, loose rocks, scrambling and exposed sections. The length is about 10 km return, allowed 8 hours walking time. The hike requires a good level of fitness and bushwalking experience. Wear hiking boots and carry with your a backpack with all the equipment. A tracker can help to navigate, especially in the bush.

There are a few trails to the Steamers and the head of the trails are at the end of Emu Creek Road and at the end of Old Mill Road.

All the trails to The Steamers are not contemplated by the Main Range National Park, meaning they are not official trails and there is not an official classification of the trails. Also, the trails are not maintained but they subsist because of continuous walking of the hikers.

In the grassy section before approaching the lava pinnacles, the trail is not clear and there are only a few sparse pink ribbons. Once at the base of the Funnel, the trail just continues along the side of the Mast and Stern.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout,
Along Emu Creek Road is all farmland, making it a scenic drive. Photo by Author.


The trail is recommended for experienced and well-prepared hikers equipped with a compass, maps and a tracker. I explored The Steamers with my family starting at the end of Old Mill Road. There are three creeks to cross on Emu Creek Road, therefore a 4WD or a vehicle with high clearance is strongly recommended.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout,
The gate marks the start of the hike. Please don't park in front of the gate to allow the passage of the emergency vehicles. Photo by Author.


When we arrived at Yangan Township, we travelled on Yangan Killarney Rd, then turned left into Emu Creek Road and Old Mill Road was on our left. When we arrived at the turn, the sign indicating Old Mill Road was missing.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout,
The trail runs on the grassy hill and often is not clear. Some ribbons on trees mark the track. Photo by Author.


We kept driving on Old Mill Road up to the carpark and we parked the car. The gate marks the start of the trail.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
The grass is high, it is better to wear gaiters. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout,
Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea). Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea)
The trail presents steep section with loose gravel. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea)
At the base of the Funnel. On the right there is a trail going to a razorback ridge. Photo by Author.


After hiking, the steep grassy section, we arrived at the base of the Funnel. The rock of the pinnacle is very red and there is a trail going onto the narrow razorback ridge. The views from the razorback are great, including awesome views of the Prow.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea)
Walking on the razorback ridge. Very thrilling and great views. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern,
View of the Prow from the razorback ridge. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
It's incredible how trees and vegetation manage to grow stretching their roots between the rocks. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern,
Master of disguise. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern,
Walking along the trail flanking the Mast. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern,
The tops of the stunning pinnacles. Photo by Author.


There are different flowers along the trail smiling with their beautiful colours and perfect shapes.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
The beautiful native paper flowers. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
Sometimes is necessary to scramble up to continue on the trail. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
Lunch under an overhang. Photo by Author.


Once arrived on the base of the Funnel, the trail skirts the pinnacles. In particular, we almost circumnavigate the Stern to climb up the Stern.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
The trail continues along the sides of the Mast and Stern. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
An aspect of the trail. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
Views from climbing the Stern. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
Almost at the top of the Stern. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
The last scramble before the top. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
The famous stunning views of The Prow, Funnel and Mast. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
Descending the Stern. Photo by Author.


The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife,
The trail is rugged and it requires lots of care not to dislodge the rocks. Photo by Author.


On the way back, my son was in front of the family group and he saw a wallaby, an owl and two snakes. It was getting late in the afternoon and the wildlife was starting to come out from the hideouts.

The Steamers hike is beautiful and it gives the possibility to be in close contact with nature. Everything in national parks is protected - leave only footprint and take only photos.

Coming from Brisbane the drive starts to be interesting on the Cunningham Hwy. Once approaching the Cunningham Gap, Mount Cordeaux stands as a sentinel with his prominent conical shape.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife, Mount Cordeaux, Mount Mitchell, Cunningham Gap,
Mount Cordeaux. Photo by Author.


The steam of the morning is rising on the farmland creating very suggestive landscapes.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife, Mount Cordeaux, Mount Mitchell, Cunningham Gap,
Morning mist. Photo by Author.


Along the roads in the countryside, some grass is gleaming in the sun. The grass is known as feathertop or white foxtail.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife, Mount Cordeaux, Mount Mitchell, Cunningham Gap, Feathertop or white foxtail,
Feathertop grass. Photo by Author.


The evening brings a beautiful sunset. We went through Warwick and we stopped to have dinner at Warwick RSL Services & Citizens Club. The food was nice and the service was very good. We celebrate the hike to The Steamers.

The Steamers Hike, The Steamers, Emu Vale, Emu Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Yangan Township in Qld, Warwick, Stern Lookout, Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), The Steamers: Prow Funnel Mast Stern, Wildlife, Mount Cordeaux, Mount Mitchell, Cunningham Gap, Feathertop or white foxtail,
Sunset at Emu Vale. Photo by Author.


What to bring

Hiking gear: a hiking medium backpack, long trousers and shirt with long sleeve, light raincoat, very recommended hiking ankle supportive boots, first aid kit, insect repellent (it works for leeches; give preference to cream or roll-on that are more environmentally friendly than the spray), sunscreen, gloves, walking poles if you like to use them; socks protectors or gaiters.

Consider packing some extra clothes and leave them in the car. Pack some clean footwear and socks.

For this hike, consider carrying a map or download 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, 4.0 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!

The days prior to the hike make sure to check:

Weather Website www.bom.gov.au

Park Alerts https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/main-range

Road Conditions https://qldtraffic.qld.gov.au


Directions

From Brisbane, take the Cunningham Hwy and head to Yangan. From here, drive onto Yangan Killarney Rd towards Emu Vale and then left into Emu Creek Road. Follow Emu Creek Rd and then turn left into Old Mill Road.

There are a few creek crossings and 4 WD is recommended or a vehicle with high clearance.


Reference

https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/main-range

https://weeds.brisbane.qld.gov.au/weeds/feathertop

www.warwickrsl.com.au


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www.weekendnotes.com/mt-greville-track/194977

Mount Edwards Hike, Moogerah Peaks National Park
www.weekendnotes.com/hike-mt-edwards-lake-moogerah/193026

Mount Barney South East Ridge and South Ridge
www.weekendnotes.com/hiking-mt-barney/194804

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www.weekendnotes.com/arthur-clives-bakery-cafe-aratula

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www.weekendnotes.com/hiking-gold-creek-reservoir/191314

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www.weekendnotes.com/toolona-creek-circuit-in-lamington-national-park/192792
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Where: Old Mill Road, Qld Emu Vale 4371
Your Comment
Beautiful photos with stunning scenery. I'd like to do this hike one day.
by Maria-MPG Narratives (score: 2|885) 41 days ago
Another very interesting article. A great story of adventure with beautiful pictures. Thanks and Cheers.
by telor (score: 2|124) 44 days ago
Great article and photos Cris
by Roz Glazebrook (score: 2|737) 44 days ago
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