Discover The Piper Comanche Plane Wreck // D’Aguilar National Park (QLD)

Are you looking to test your navigation skills in a location close to Brisbane? Lisa has found just the hike. It only takes a morning and will have you tracking down an historical Piper Comanche plane wreck in D’Aguilar National Park.


Highlights

  • A quick and dirty hike close to Brisbane
  • Test your navigational skills following a footpad
  • Check out the site of a 41-year-old plane crash

Remembering D’Aguilar National Park

On yet another cloudless winter’s morning in Brisbane, I set out on the trails with seven other enthusiastic hikers to go find a hidden plane crash site.

This particular adventure took me to D’Aguilar National Park, only a 45 minute drive north of Brisbane.

I always forget how close these mountains are to Brisbane — I’m often distracted by the higher and more dramatic peaks lying south of the city.

For more info and microadventure ideas in D’Aguilar National Park see An Adventurous Brisbane Escape // D’Aguilar National Park (QLD).

This hike to the wreck of a Piper Comanche aircraft is located off a fire trail in the Mt Glorious section of D’Aguilar National Park. The plane crashed on 2 March 1977 below the summit of Mt D’Aguilar, killing the pilot — who was the only person on board.

Finding The Trailhead — Lepidozamia Break

To reach the trailhead, park in the carpark at Lepidozamia Break (a maintained fire trail). Make sure you don’t block the gate. The fire trail is located on your right off Mt Glorious Road — about a 10 minute drive from the Maiala carpark.

The trail to the wreck is not marked but cross the gate, walk about 50m and you’ll see a distinct footpad veering off into the forest on your right.

Head down this and you’ll be on a very clear footpad, which is quite wide for a few hundred metres.

This trail is diverse with lots of fallen tree trunks to jump over, a couple of steep hills, and you’ll need to pay attention to ensure you’re staying on the footpad.

Be aware that there are some other small tracks leading off the main trail that may cause confusion. If you lose the footpad at any point or haven’t seen pink tape for a while, you’re most likely going the wrong way.

After coming up the first significant slope on the trail, you’ll reach a clearing and a dead end, but there’s a path leading off to the right. From here on in, you need to take the left trail at any crossroads you reach.

Nearing The Plane Wreck

After about 45 minutes of winding along the footpad, you’ll reach a rock cairn at a tree on your left and a junction. Take the distinct left turn here and follow the worn trail over the rocky path and between tall palms — We all considered this section to be the most beautiful part of the trail.

From here, keep taking the left trail. Shortly after, you’ll start going down a steep descent. After about 20 minutes of downhill, you’ll end up right in front of the wreck, just before you hit a creek.

The wreck is compacted into a small clearing and there’s part of the fuselage, a wing and a few other plane parts to see at the crash site.  After taking a few photos (and seeing if you spot any wild pigs in the area) head back the way you came.

Remember not to touch the plane in order to leave it intact for others to discover.

This is a great quick and dirty hike to do on a weekend morning and then you can be back in Brisbane by midday.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Navigation

Essential Gear

  • About 1L of water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Hiking shoes
  • Maps.me app
  • Insect repellent for leeches if there’s been rain in the area recently

How To Get There

From Brisbane, head onto Samford Road. At the town of Samford, you’ll head up the mountain range along Mt Glorious Road. When you get to an intersection, turn right to continue along Mt Glorious Road. You can park at Maiala Picnic Area (just after Mt Glorious Café) if you plan to carpool to the trailhead, or simply continue past Maiala for another 10 minutes and turn right onto the road marked Lepidozamia Break on Google Maps.

Skill Level

Intermediate. The hike has a couple of steep sections requiring some agility, especially going downhill. You’ll also need to be familiar with following a footpad and recognising quickly if you lose the trail. Best to take someone with you who’s done the trail before. In some areas, there’s a few footpads veering off the main trail which could cause confusion. Some sections are marked with pink tape but this cannot be relied on as they are sporadic in several places.

Distance / Duration

7.5km return/3-4 hours

 


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An Adventurous Brisbane Escape // D’Aguilar National Park (QLD)