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Three Off-the-Beaten Track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast

Home > Sunshine Coast > Lists | Australian Native Food | Day Trips | Free | Places of Interest | Unusual Things to do
by Elaine (subscribe)
Impromptu adventuring, exploring our backyard and then putting pen to paper, hoping to entice you to try one, if not all, of our escapades, is my true reward!
Published April 8th 2020
Etching a glimpse into days of old
Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
The didgeridoo is an Indigenous musical instrument! Image: Didgeman to Pixabay License


I have discovered three off-the-beaten track Indigenous sites, on the Sunshine Coast, that are culturally significant to different groups of Indigenous Australians. The Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) are the recognised traditional owners of two of these sites, with a third location being recognised as traditional country of the Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, the determined native title holders and mountain people of South East Queensland.

1. Little Rocky Creek : Axe Grinding Grooves
Old Gympie Road, Landsborough


The Kabi Kabi First Nation People welcome you to the Axe Grinding Grooves in Little Rocky Creek!

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
An interesting read ...


How to get to Little Rocky Creek

Travel along Steve Irwin Way towards Landsborough. Turn off into Landsborough and travel along Maleny Street to the roundabout, where you take a left into Gympie Street South. Travel for approximately one and a half kilometres down this road, in a southerly direction, when the road name changes to Old Gympie Road. Look out for the easy-to-miss signage indicating the Indigenous site 100 metres ahead.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Signage on Old Gympie Road


Park your car on the side of Old Gympie Road - the car park is big enough to accommodate six cars and on the day of our visit, we were the only visitors. Take a minute to read the interesting signage at the entrance, before following the path along a fifty metre gravel track down to the creek, which is accessed by ten steps. Have a look around you, there are at least six well-defined grooves, worn to the shape of the stone axes.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Follow the pathway to the steps ...


The 200 million year old sandstone and water flow at the Little Rocky Creek created the perfect spot for grinding tools such as axe heads, spearheads and cutting stones, etching a glimpse into days of old. Both the Kabi Kabi and the Jinibara people used this location to make and sharpen their tools as well as to build canoes and to find and crush their food.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Steps leading down to the creek


This Indigenous Stone Grinding Site showcases the creativity of the Gubbi Gubbi people in creating the tools they required to live and hunt.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Axe-grinding grooves


The rock in the creek area provided a natural bridge to cross the creek when this was the route between Brisbane and Gympie Goldfields in the mid 1800's. The exposed rock contains marks made by the wheels of the famous Cobb & Co coaches that used to make this trip.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Take time out to explore the tranquil creek and its surrounds


Take some time out to enjoy exploring around this very picturesque little creek and be on the lookout for goannas roaming about and bird nesting boxes up in the trees.

2. Baroon Pocket
Narrows Road, Montville


Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Baroon Pocket Dam was built in the late 80's, so was still a twinkle in the eye during the early Bunya Nut Festivals


Baroon Pocket is in the traditional country of the Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People. The Jinibara People proudly showcased their connection to the forested hills of their country by using symbolic fern designs in their body paint. The Baroon Pocket indigenous location is much easier to access than the other two sites on this list.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Bunya Pines, tall and strong! Image: LeaOz to Pixabay License


Baroon Pocket was the focal point for one of the best known gatherings of Indigenous people in South East Queensland, the Bunya Nut Festival. Every three years or so, there would be a bumper crop yield from the Bunya Pine, which would herald clan gatherings of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of Indigenous Australians. Travellers to Baroon Pocket came from all over South East Queensland and northern New South Wales, using pathways that provided safe passage through the traditional countries of other groups. Mill Hill Road and Obi Obi Creek were such pathways that were utilised for this purpose.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Colourful, edible and nutritious! Image: Bunya Nuts Pip Courtney to Landline www.abc.net.au


Traditionally, the 'Bunya' nuts would be roasted on hot stones on camp fires, the flavour being likened to that of a roasted Sweet Chestnut. Today, ground roasted Bunya nuts are used to make hummus, biscuits and bread. A word of warning: be careful to pierce the nut before cooking, otherwise they may explode!



Secrets on the Lake overlooks Lake Baroon and is located right next to the campfire circle stones that were used in bygone days at the traditional Baroon Pocket gatherings for local tribes. When visiting the magical Secrets on the Lake for breakfast, lunch or high tea, check-in with reception to learn more interesting stories about the First Nation People. Why not make a day of it and try out a couple of scenic walks in the area - there's the Narrows and Baroon Lookouts walk, which is part of the Kondalilla National Park; the Kondalilla Falls Circuit and the Martin Williams Nature Walk.

3. Bora Ring
Rapkins Road, off Johnston Road, Glass House Mountains


The Kabi Kabi First Nation People welcome you to the Bora Ring in the Glass House Mountains!

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Turn at the Bora Ring signage to travel down a dirt track...


How to get to the Bora Ring in the Glass House Mountains

Another historical Indigenous site can be visited at Johnston Road, just south of the Glass House Mountains township. Keep your eyes peeled for the 'Bora Ring' signage as it can quite easily be missed. This site is about 2.8km off the road, down a dirt track, between Mt Cooee and a pineapple farm.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Please stay outside the 'external' ring to help preserve this cultural site


People gathered here for business, dancing and ceremonies. In this region, boras are called durns. The durn is a large raised circle of earth made by the women within an Indigenous clan. A smaller circle, known as a kippa was usually located about sixty metres away and connected to the durn by a pathway. Male initiates used the kippa for learning and ceremony. People would gather at the Bora Ring and together, with a Bora Council, would make important decisions on behalf of their mob.

Allow the silence of the Bora grounds to envelop you, where they once echoed with the sounds and colour of traditional Indigenous gatherings.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Allow the silence of the Bora grounds to envelop you ...


The fragile earth works of Bora grounds are easily damaged. Please stay outside the ring to help preserve these important cultural sites.

Indigenous sites are scattered throughout the Sunshine Coast region, with the region being highly sought after by First Nations People, for the natural resources to be found. Have you discovered any off the beaten track locations that are rich in indigenous cultural heritage and have proudly withstood the test of time? If you have, please drop me a note in the 'comments' section, I would love to hear about them for a future journey into the past.

Three off-the-beaten track Indigenous Sites on the Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi, traditional owners, Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, Little Rocky Creek, Axe Grinding Grooves, Landsborough, Baroon Pocket, Montville, Bunya Nut Festival, Obi Obi Creek, Secrets on the Lake, Lake Baroon, Narrows and Baroon Lookouts, Kondalilla Falls Circuit, Martin Williams Nature Walk, Bora Ring, Glass House Mountains, ceremonies, First Nations People, journey into the past
Mt Tibrogargan, the father of all the other Glass House Mountains, except for his wife, Beerwah


Images courtesy of author unless otherwise indicated
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Why? To learn about sites that are rich in Indigenous cultural heritage
When: Anytime is a good time to take a trip into days of old
Where: Scattered all over the Sunshine Coast region
Cost: FREE to visit
Your Comment
Wondering if Bunya nuts are sold commercially. Interesting article.
by Barry (score: 3|1717) 125 days ago
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