Inspired by the movie “Wild”, starring Reese Witherspoon, hubster and I recently set out on a (significantly shorter) hike: part of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk – it was my Bear’s birthday treat.
The full trail is 54 kilometres, from Green Mountain (O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat) to Springbrook, through the heart of Lamington National Park. Realising we were pretty much novices we gave the full walk a miss – besides, spending two nights in the great outdoors, in the middle of winter, with no toilet or shower didn’t really appeal 😉 .
Instead, we did the hike from O’Reilly’s to Binna Burra – which still covers a perfectly respectable 22km, and is said to take 7 hours. Well, either we are slow walkers or we took longer breaks than we realised, because we set off at 8.20am, arriving at our destination at 5pm – which is 8 hours 40 minutes by my calculations.
Before I dish the dirt, I thought you might get a giggle out of these pics which show the “dream” – what I was expecting – versus the reality …
Leisurely tea breaks:
I’ve gotta be honest – I don’t think the hubster and I had ever been hiking before this trip, so we’re not exactly experienced.
However, I do go for morning walks of about 3-4 km each weekday, and we did do a couple of shakedown runs in our local area which helped us to break in our boots, and work out exactly what we needed in our backpacks.
On the big day we set off in temperatures of around 10 degrees – quite chilly. However once we were under way we soon ditched the jackets, although they came in handy whenever we stopped and sat down for a while, it’s amazing how quickly you cool down.
Being mid winter it was very dry. I’m told that if you do the walk during the rainy season (summer), the track is covered with a moving carpet of leeches, so I’m very thankful we didn’t encounter any!
We heard plenty of beautiful birdsong – whip birds, bell birds, and parrots, and we saw some rather large scats (that’s a polite way of saying poo!) on the path and rocks. We couldn’t help but wonder what sort of animal had left them behind, definitely not one we’d like to encounter after dark! Wild pigs? Drop bears?!
There was no sign of the platypus, bandicoots, wallabies, pademelon, possums or snakes we’d been told we might see; we must have been making too much noise chatting away. It never ceases to amaze me how hubster and I still find so much to talk about even after 30 years together!
It was only as we neared Binna Burra that we saw some pretty little rock pools, creeks and waterfalls, and my one regret is that I didn’t get any photos of them. I did try to take one as I crossed the largest creek, but very nearly ended up in the drink!
Also, by that stage it was already growing quite dark in the rainforest and we were anxious to arrive at Binna Burra. “Never mind,” we told each other, “we’ll be sure to get photos on the way back” …
If it’s impressive mountain views you’re after, then this is probably not the hike for you. Most of the walk is through dense rainforest, and we were too busy concentrating on our path so we didn’t trip over tree roots, to really take note of our surroundings. There were also a few trees down across the track which necessitated a bit of “off roading”.
There were only a couple of places that offered a bit of a lookout, which is where I took these pics.
I also thought there might be places worth camping, but there was only one spot that I can remember that had a clearing large enough.
Benches were also scarce – I think we saw two all day. Maybe I’m a spoilt princess, but I would definitely have made use of them if there’d been a few more available! Thankfully hubster packed a tarp so at least we had something dry to sit on.
We weren’t the only ones doing the hike that day – we were overtaken by a youth group of about 20 as we ate lunch, and encountered quite a few doing the walk in the opposite direction.
It seems most people do the walk from Binna Burra to O’Reilly’s rather than the other way around, and now I think I understand why. At O’Reilly’s, as soon as you step out of the bush you are at the hotel reception, which is exactly what you want after a long hike, rather than having to walk another 500m to check in!
Also, the good people at O’Reilly’s transport hikers to Binna Burra via mini bus for just $33. We ended up making arrangements to get the mini bus back again, as right at the end of our walk my knee got really sore. It was better after a good night’s sleep but I knew I wasn’t up to the return trip.
I thought that was all our injuries, until about a week later when I noticed a couple of my smaller toes were sore. Upon closer inspection I realised there was a blister underneath two of my toe nails – ouch!
I’m so proud of us for actually doing it, even if I did wuss out on the return trip.
Since then, Miss 21 and her man have done (shorter!) walks around Springbrook which look absolutely amazing … seems like this hiking thing could become a bit of a regular!
Is a 22km hike a yay or a nay for you?!