Walk through shady gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes on this lovely 17 km track in the Green Mountains (O'Reilly's) Section of Lamington National Park. A definite must do hike for anyone looking for slightly longer hikes.
The is the Green Mountains Section of the Lamington National park which is usually referred to as O'Reilly's as the hikes all start at the O'Reilly's Rain Forest Retreat at the end of Lamington National Park Road.
It is recommended that you follow the track in a clockwise fashion. The track starts on the Border Track and then you take the turn off for the Box Forest Circuit but then branch off just past Elabana Falls. This is a creek and falls circuit with numerous falls to stop and linger by. While you will have probably only covered less than half the track by the time you reach Toolona Falls this is the best place to stop and have lunch before joining the border track.
This hike is classified as an Australian Standard 4 hike only because of the rocky nature of the path along Toolona creek rather than difficulty of the track. This will slow you down a little and the numerous creek crossings are slippery, as are some parts of the track if it is raining. However no part of the track feels in any way dangerous and we were able to do the circuit in just over 4 hours, though the National Parks website suggests it could take up to 6 hours.
The border track itself is smooth and flat, which means you finish the last half of the hike in far less time that you took to walk to Toolona Creek part of the track. There are a few lookouts on the way that give you views down across New South Wales, including Mt Warning, and on a clear day, you may be able to see as far as Byron Bay.
As you approach the end of the hike you will see a sign for the Boardwalk. This is the track designed for tourists who flock in tourist buses to O'Reilly's. It is worth diverting onto the Boardwalk as it is no further than taking the Border Track and it passes the free Tree Top Walk (please make a donation in the box provided if you decide to choose to do the Tree Top Walk).
As an alternative you can do the track in a clockwise manner stopping at Picnic Rock near the end of the hike for a picnic. Definitely the nicest place to relax if you are with a larger group.
After the hike you can relax at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat Cafe. As it is a bit of a tourist trap the prices are a little high and the quality of the food and service is a little bit low, however it is the best place to relax with a coffee before driving down the mountain and the impression I have is that they are improving their service.
a personal question: we are new in the area, and I want to take my 14-year old daughter for a first hike + sleep in tent + hike back. Would you be able to suggest a nice walk - about 3-4 hours each way, with a nice camping site - possibly with water, like a creek. Nothing flash, as long as we have water to freshen up and a place to put the tent.
As you seem to know all the tracks around here...