Hiking Girraween National Park –
A journey into the heart of the park in 14 photos
A heart of stone and so much more!
Girraween National Park is a hiking paradise, famous for dramatic rock formations and stunning spring wildflowers. And it’s just 260kms from Brisbane. The hiking trails near the Girraween Day Use Area are well used and perfect for families hiking with kids. But away from the day use areas, the park is remote and isolated.
We spent 3 days hiking in Girraween National Park, including exploring the Pyramid, Castle Rock, Mt Norman and Twin Peaks. We even traversed across the state border through to the nearby Bald Rock National Park. The rocks came to life as we ventured further into the heart of the park.
These photos will convince you that Girraween is home to some of the best hiking near Brisbane from 2 hour hikes to multi-day hikes.
① Islands of rock amongst seas of eucalyptus trees
Massive granite rocks appear as islands amongst seas of eucalypt woodlands. On the summit, it feels like you’re on top of the world surrounded by remote landscapes as far as the eye can see. Including the adjacent Bald Rock National Park, this area is home to 17,000 hectares of uninterrupted wilderness.
② Dramatic rock formations
Girraween’s dramatic rock formations have been sculpted by the ravages of time. The ‘Eye of the Needle’ is a remnant of volcanic activity harking back 225 million years. The granite is still fracturing and weathering away. These are two distinct pillars, formed side by side, weathered on all sides.
③ Rocks balance precariously on steep slopes
This rock is barely holding on, connected only by the narrowest sliver of granite. It feels like the rock should tumble straight down the steep slopes of the Pyramid.
Apparently the boulders will eventually become unstable and roll off, or otherwise remain and disintegrate into smaller boulder. So maybe I shouldn’t have stood this close!
④ Boulders atop the Pyramid
The shape of the rocks has led to some creative names. Elsewhere in the park there’s also the sphinx, turtle rock and the Aztec Temple.
⑤ Scaling Mt Norman
The peak of Mt Norman is the highest point in Girraween National Park. Summiting involves a challenging rock scramble and requires nerves of steel. Even at these heights, plant life thrives on the precariously balanced rocks.
⑥ Vibrant colours
Wave rock, crashing over the Underground Creek, feels like a moment frozen in time. It’s not just the shape of the rocks that defies belief, it’s also the water-streaked colours.
Each of the rocks has its own unique colours that change throughout the day with the changing angles of the sun’s rays.
⑦ Bald Rock, one of the largest monoliths in the Southern Hemisphere
We traversed across the state border into New South Wales, unsure of the time with daylight savings time zone differences. But it didn’t matter amongst the serenity of rocks whose movements are measured in millions of years, not hours or days.
After Uluru, Bald Rock is one of the largest monoliths, or single rocks, in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s granite dome towers 200 metres above the surrounding wilderness.
⑧ Remote Australian wilderness
Once out in the heart of the park we barely saw anyone else. We were surrounded by uniquely Australian scenery: Seas of eucalytus forests and fields of kangaroos grazing in the sun.
⑨ Eucalyptus trees glow as sunset approaches
On our first night, we climbed South Bald rock to watch the sunset. The tips of the eucalypts reflected a brilliant light as we clambered above the forest.
⑩ Atop South Bald Rock
The rock faces come to life, radiating yellow and orange in the warm rays of the setting sun.
⑪ The changing hues of the rocks at sunset
These pictures show the changing hues of the rock as the sun lowers on the horizon. There’s nothing like dinner at sunset atop of a rock in the middle of nowhere. Even freeze-dried camp food tastes amazing with this as your entertainment.
⑫ The sun setting over the granite belt
Gazing off into the eucalypt sea, green as far as the eye can see, we felt like intruders in this wilderness. A sense of peace encompassed the world as the nocturnal animals took reign.
Under starlight, aided by torches, we make our way back to our tent at the base of South Bald Rock.
⑬ Camping on top of Twin Peaks
On the second night, we camped atop Twin Peaks. This is an adventure not for the feint-hearted, it requires scrambling up steep rocks and navigating sheer cliffs, while weighed down with heavy packs.
⑭ The seasons of Girraween
Another unique feature of Girraween, compared with the rest of Queensland, is its expression of the four seasons. We went in summer, when water was a precious resource. The water holes were dried up and we whiled away hours filtering pond scum. The famous turtles were nowhere to be seen. But in summer, the rewards are the warm sunsets.
Girraween is most famous for its spring wildflower extravaganza. But lesser known is that reds and yellows highlight the park in autumn, and frosts are common with occasional snow in winter. Apparently snow covered the ground for three days in July 1984! Hard to imagine in the height of summer.