Did you know you can hike to 3 different plane crash sites near Brisbane? Standing at each of these sites is a sombre experience, but the hikes to get to these plane wrecks are an interesting way to discover the outdoors near Queensland’s capital.
Each of these plane crashes ended in tragedy, but their wreckage tells a story — and you’re sure to have an adventurous hike in. Here’s where to find the wrecks of a Stinson airliner, RAAF Lincoln Bomber and Piper Comanche plane.
Stinson Wreck, Lamington National Park
The wreck of the Stinson airliner lies in a remote part of the Christmas Creek section of Lamington National Park — and it’s the most well known of the three wrecks.
The Stinson airliner crashed in a storm in February 1937. Seven people (2 pilots and 5 passengers) were on board. Two survivors were found by local legend Bernard O’Reilly, an excellent bushman who located the crash site after noticing a burnt tree many kilometres in the distance and tracking his way to it. A third man, Jim Westray, survived the crash, but sadly fell down a waterfall while going for help.
The hike to the Stinson airliner wreck starts from the end of Christmas Creek Road. You follow the picturesque Christmas Creek for about an hour until you see a small marker on a tree pointing to an obvious footpad on your right up a very steep hill. If you come across Westray’s Grave, you’ve gone too far and need to backtrack to the turnoff.
It’s uphill most of the way with some rock scrambling required. The terrain changes a couple of times during your ascent, from dry forest to very wet rainforest so make sure you have a warm jacket on hand and be prepared for a slippery, sometimes muddy trail. The trail is well marked with ribbons.
The plane wreck can be found to the left of the Stinson bush camp clearing — about a 5-10 minute walk downhill — however all that remains of the wreck these days are twisted fuselage pipe struts.
Lincoln Bomber Wreck, Main Range National Park
The wreck of the RAAF Avro Lincoln Bomber on Mt Superbus is the most impressive of the 3 crash sites.
The plane crashed in the early hours of 9 April, 1955 and to this day there still remains a large section of fuselage surrounded by big pieces of twisted metal, atop South East Queensland’s highest mountain.
The plane was en route from Townsville to Brisbane transporting a sick baby when it crashed into the side of Mt Superbus and exploded. Tragically, all 6 people on board were killed.
More than 60 years later, the southern peak of Mt Superbus still bears the scars of this tragedy.
Wreckage is strewn just below Superbus’ southern summit — and it’s a sombre scene standing at the scene of the crash. The hollow fuselage of the plane dominates the landscape. Twisted metal remains strung in trees and litters the forest floor, becoming one with the mountainside amid moss and fallen leaves. Trees have grown around some of the wreckage, while some sections remain untouched.
You can do the hike from Emu Vale Road (4WD access only) or from Head Road at Teviot Gap.
The most accessible route is via Teviot Gap as you won’t need a 4WD. To get to the plane wreck, you first traverse the summit of Mt Superbus. At 1,375m above sea level, Mt Superbus is South East Queensland’s highest mountain, but unfortunately there are no views at the summit due to thick tree cover.
The wreck lies just below the southern summit of Mt Superbus.
You’ll need good navigational skills to find the wreck as the route is trackless and the faint footpad is easy to lose.
Piper Comanche Wreck, D’Aguilar National Park
The wreck of the Piper Comanche plane is in D’Aguilar National Park, north of Brisbane, and is the most accessible of the plane crash sites.
The hike to the wreck of 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 the only person on board.
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.
When you reach a dead end up a steep hill, you’ll see a path to your right. Take this and from then on, take the left fork.
You’ll need some navigational savvy for this track to ensure you stay on the correct footpad as there are a number of footpads in the area.
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