There’s nothing worse than waking up on Saturday with a hoppy headache from Friday’s slippery after work beers — particularly when there are sunrise hikes like Queensland’s Flinders Peak to ascend! A climb with a golden reward that’s worth the early morning rise; put some balance back into your weekend by forgetting the brews, setting the alarm and getting out there with your hiking buddy.
- Only a 90 minute drive from Brisbane
- Choose from two peaks for a sunrise photo shoot
- Hike and rock scramble
Is it really a weekend without a sunrise hike?
If you follow my adventures, you’ll know I love a good sunrise hike. If there’s a sunny weekend on the cards, I’m planning which mountain to ascend in the dark, to kick-start my next day with a good view.
To catch the sunrise at Flinders Peak, I was awake at 2.00am to get out the door – by 4.30am, accompanied by my hiking buddy Steve – we had arrived at the carpark.
Because it was so early, the gate leading to the main carpark was locked – but that was ok, it was simply a flat 15 minute walk in to get to the trailhead.
The first half of the hike is a fairly steady trudge with some short flat sections. In a race against time to reach the summit for sunrise, we didn’t stop moving.
While Steve’s head torch died about 20 minutes in, the night was bright enough to hike up by the light of just my headtorch.
Up we went and hit the ridgeline about 45 minutes in. This is one of my favourite parts of the hike as you scramble and hop over the rocky ridgeline before making the push for the summit of the first peak.
After you negotiate the ridgelines there’s a fair bit of up and down as you come around the backside of the first peak before a steep scramble up.
After 80 minutes of non-stop hiking, we reached the top of the first peak, which is where we decided to set up for our mountain photo shoot. You get a great view of the mountains surrounding Flinders Peak here, and you can see the ridgeline you came up as well the higher second peak.
While the actual sunrise was blocked by the second peak, we were pretty happy to set up here to grab some mountain silhouettes.
Unfortunately, a freak dust cloud created an intense haze this particular morning, so we didn’t get the sunrise colours we were hoping for – but it was still worth the 2.00am wake up call.
On a clear day, you can see the city skyline.
After we’d grabbed a few photos before and after sunrise, we made the final five-minute push to the second summit.
The summit itself has a helicopter pad and telecommunications sheds, so it’s not the remote peak you might be hoping for, but in front of the equipment you can find a small lookout area for a killer view of the surrounding area.
- Rock scrambling
- 2 litres of water
- Warm jacket for the summit in cold and windy weather
- Hiking shoes
How To Get There
From Brisbane, take the Western Freeway towards Ipswich. Take the exit onto Ipswich-Boonah Road and continue along here until you see a sign on your left pointing to Flinders Plum Picnic Area. This takes you down Mt Flinders Road to the picnic area and the start of the track. The road turns to gravel a short way down but it’s suitable for 2WD vehicles. The drive from Brisbane will take about 90 minutes. If you’re doing sunrise, you’ll have to park at the gate and walk an additional 15 minutes to the trailhead.
Intermediate – An easy mountain to navigate even in the dark as there’s a distinct footpad and sporadic Queensland National Parks signage along the way. Once you get onto the ridge, follow the markers on the rocks as you will be rock hopping along here and there’s not much of a path.
There are some steep uphill sections but they are not technical – you might feel the burn. Take care as you approach the first peak as there is a short rock scrambling section. If you’re unsure about the navigation, climb the peak first during daylight hours before attempting sunrise.
Overall Distance – 9km (from the first gate)
Duration – 3-4 hours
Elevation – 677 metres
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