IMPORTANT UPDATE: Be aware that the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park is currently closed (November 2019) due to a recent wildfire. You can keep up to date with Queensland National Park alerts here. The Green Mountains (O’Reilly’s) section of Lamington National Park is open.
If you’ve ever looked at a map of Queensland’s Lamington National Park, you may be bewildered by the sheer amount of hiking options.
Spread across the park’s 20,000 hectares, there’s more than 14 hikes on graded tracks (and many more off track but that’s for another blog!). Along these unique Aussie trails, you’ll discover creeks, waterholes, waterfalls, rainforest and basalt lava columns. There’s gullies filled with glow worms, spectacular lookouts and even a tree top walk.
I’ve trekked all across the Lamington plateau multiple times and come up with the best hikes in Lamington National Park. So what are you waiting for? Grab those hiking boots, get in the car and go exploring!
Don’t listen to TLC. When visiting Lamington National Park, you MUST go chasing waterfalls. One of the best waterfall hikes is the Tooloona Circuit. It’s a 17.4km circuit that passes a whopping 13 waterfalls as well as magnificent groves of ancient Antarctic Beech trees.
This hiking trail starts and ends on the Border Track in the Green Mountains section of the park.
The Border Track is the “spine” of Lamington National Park, with most trails starting and ending on the Border Track.
About 15 minutes along the Border Track, take a fork to your left which goes onto the Box Forest Circuit and then follow the signs to head onto the Tooloona Circuit.
The Tooloona Creek Circuit follows the creek upstream to its headwaters before entering the Antarctic Beech forest on the Border Track. Take a break at the Tooloona Lookout on the Border Track for views of Mt Warning.
The Coomera Circuit is another waterfall viewing opportunity where you can escape the buzz of the city and find some solitude.
Along the route, you’ll first get a breathtaking view of Coomera Falls and Yarrabilgong Falls flowing into the bottom of a deep gorge. Continuing along the trail, you’ll pass another 14 waterfalls, walk alongside the Coomera Crevice, and rockhop across the crystal clear Coomera River eight times.
This 17.4km return hike starts and ends on the Border Track in the Binna Burra section of the park.
I’m sure you’ve seen many an Instagram photo of this popular west-facing spot at sunset. The Morans Falls track ends at the top of the 80-metre falls and looks out onto the Lost World Valley and the mountains of the Scenic Rim.
The hike to the top of the falls is 4.6km return from the trailhead.
Want to go for a swim in a wild waterhole? Then the Blue Pool (Yerralahla) is the perfect spot. You’ll likely be the only one in this picturesque location enjoying the clear water and trickle of nearby cascades.
The 10km return hike to the Blue Pool is along the West Canungra Creek Circuit track, which starts 230m along the Border Track in the Green Mountains section of the park.
If you’re looking for a fabulous lookout that’s only a short walk away, head along to Moonlight Crag.
The lookout has a spectacular view of the Lost World Plateau including Mt Worendo and Mt Razorback and down to the Albert River valley.
It’s a popular spot for sunset due to its western lookout – and you might even spot wedding parties getting their photos taken here.
You can get there on the Red Road leading from Moran’s Falls lookout. The return hike is 7km.
The Caves Circuit is a short but sweet 5km return hike passing overhanging caves and views into the Coomera Valley.
One of my favourite spots in Lamington National Park is the lookout at Mt Merino. There’s a vertigo-inducing view as well as a magical grove of ancient Antarctic Beech trees. This one will take a little effort to get to though – it’s located roughly halfway along the Border Track between the Binna Burra and Green Mountains section of the park. The return hike is 24km – and will take about 8 hours.
How to get there
There are two sections of Lamington National Park featuring graded tracks.
The Binna Burra side is closest to Brisbane and accessible with a 90 minute drive. It’s located at the end of Binna Burra Road, accessible off Beechmont Road via Lower Beechmont.
The Green Mountains or O’Reilly’s side of Lamington National Park is a two-hour drive from Brisbane via Canungra. Tracks start near O’Reilly’s Guesthouse at the end of Lamington National Park Road. Be aware that Lamington National Park Road is very narrow in parts and you’ll need to take it slow and give way to oncoming traffic in some places. It is a beautiful drive though as you wind up to the top of the plateau. It’s best to head up there early so you don’t have to deal with many cars coming down the road as you’re going up.
Both sections of Lamington National Park are only accessible by car. There’s no public transport.
Navigating the tracks
All graded tracks are well signed in both sections of Lamington National Park, but it’s a good idea to grab an official track map. You can get one from the O’Reilly’s Guesthouse gift shop in the Green Mountains section. Maps are $2 and serve both as a good guide and a souvenir.
You can also take a look at track maps online before you go on the Queensland National Park website here.
As with any hike, there’s a list of essentials you should carry in your backpack when taking on one of the Lamington National Park trails. Here’s what I recommend you bring with you.
- Insect repellent and cover up as much as possible (especially on your legs) due to leeches
- Hat and sunscreen (while the rainforest canopy in the park is quite dense, you can still get sunburnt on a hot day)
- Rainjacket (you’re in the mountains so the weather can change quickly)
- At least 1L of water
- Snacks (and lunch if attempting a hike longer than 3 hours)
- Hiking buddies
- First aid kit