I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published December 7th 2016
On a hot Brisbane day, people can head to the cool rainforest at Springbrook. I recently went on an eighteen-kilometre bushwalk around the Warrie Circuit with a detour to Twin Falls. The walk is well named as Warrie is the Aboriginal word for "rushing water". We saw lots of rushing water as we walked under waterfalls and had lunch at the Meeting of the Waters.
Warrie Circuit is part of Springbrook National Park, situated approximately 100km South of Brisbane in the Gold Coast Hinterland. It is classified as a class 4 walk by the Queensland Government Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing (NPRSR).
Class 4 tracks are described as:
Distinct tracks with junctions signposted. Rough track surfaces with exposed roots and rocks.
Variable in width. Muddy sections and steep grades likely to be encountered.
Maybe extensively overgrown; hazards such as fallen trees and rock falls likely to be present.
Caution needed at creek crossings, cliff edges and naturally occurring lookouts.
Moderate fitness level with bushwalking experience and ankle-supporting footwear recommended. Your text goes here
We started our walk at the Tallanbana picnic area. There are toilets and picnic shelters here. The walk takes around 4-5 hours but can be shorter or longer depending on how many rest stops you have and how fit you are. Some creek crossings can be impassable after heavy rain.
The walk was up and down but fairly gentle and anyone with reasonable fitness could do it. You do need to wear good shoes with sole grip or boots as after rain the track can become very slippery. The track is well marked. You need to carry at least 2-3 litres of water and lunch and snacks. We needed a raincoat for a short time when it began raining heavily and it's a good idea to take a warm thermal or jumper as it can get cool.
As I walked along, I could hear the wailing call of a green catbird. I didn't see the bird but recognised the sound like a cat meowing. I have seen these beautiful green birds in North Queensland rainforests.
Print off a map from the Springbrook National Park website to take with you. A few spots can be tricky where there are several options.
The walk reminded me of many beautiful rainforest walks I had done in North Queensland, especially when I saw a Gympie stinging tree. Many years ago I suffered from grabbing one of these infamous trees. I was running down a steep track near the Beatrice River outside Millaa Millaa on the Atherton Tableland to see a Lumholtz tree kangaroo high up in the canopy. I grabbed the stinging tree to stop myself falling and still remember the pain, which lasted a long time and extended right up into the lymph nodes under my arm.
Although I was in a lot of pain, I stayed watching that tree kangaroo until it got dark.
Gympie stinging trees grow beside cleared tracks in the rainforest. They are opportunistic and their seeds germinate in disturbed areas caused by cyclones or cleared areas of forest. They like sunny areas protected from wind and are often found along the edges of streams, walking tracks and roadways through forests.
Luckily the Gympie trees I saw on the Warrie circuit were off the main track. The tree has broad, oval or heart-shaped leaves (which appear furry due to a dense covering of stinging hairs) with saw-tooth edges, and white or purple-red fruit. The stems and fruit are also covered in stinging hairs.
Back when I was stung I'd heard the Cunjevoi plant was an antidote to the pain because they grow nearby. I did try rubbing the sap onto my hand, but it didn't work and probably made it worse. They say now if you're stung, the most important thing is not to rub the area, as this can break off the hairs and make them difficult to remove. The current recommended treatment is to apply diluted hydrochloric acid (1:10 by volume) to neutralise the hair's peptide coating, followed by waxing strips to remove the stinging hairs. This is supposed to relieve pain in around one and a half hours.
Near the end of the walk I saw a creature I'd never heard of. It was a land mullet (Egernia major). Land Mullet are lizards and one of the largest members of the skink family (Scincidae). I was lucky to see it because I read they are usually shy and nervous.
On the way home to Brisbane one of my fellow walkers found a tick on her chest. I removed it with tweezers, but that was probably not the best way as ticks can inject toxins when squeezed. It is probably better to kill it first with something like Wartoff which will freeze it.
Rainforest areas are also well known for leeches but we didn't get any on this trip.