Pretty handy out wild with a map and compass? Here’s a challenge that’ll whet your wits. Nav your way up the side of Mt Superbus, South East Queensland’s highest mountain, and find the Lincoln Bomber plane wreck hidden in the rainforest. It crashed there in 1955.
- Walk through beautiful rainforest and listen out for lyrebird calls
- Stand on the summit of South East Queensland’s highest mountain
- Practice your navigation skills
- Explore a plane crash-site dating back to 1955
The Wreck Of The Lincoln Bomber
In the early hours of April 9, 1955 an RAAF Avro Lincoln Bomber crashed into the side of 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.
The wreckage is strewn just below the 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.
A lone teddy bear dressed in blue sits inside the fuselage beside a ribbon emblazoned with Lest We Forget. Names of hikers who have come before are scratched into the metal. The fuselage still bears its distinctive red, blue and white insignia.
Two plaques – one inside the fuselage and one on a rock adjacent to the main wreckage site – remember those who sadly lost their lives.
Under a thick canopy, which blocks any views of the surrounding mountains, the wreckage has remained remarkably well-preserved, despite taking on yellow-green hue, blending with its surroundings in its final resting place on the forest floor.
This wreckage site is one of two plane crash scenes in the Scenic Rim that hikers can visit. The wreck of the Stinson Airliner — which crashed in 1937 — is better known and is located in the remote Christmas Creek section of Lamington National Park. The wreckage has sadly been souvenired over the years and little remains, so it was surprising to see how much of the Lincoln Bomber still lay at the crash site.
Navigating To The Crash Site
The hike to the Lincoln Bomber site is through trackless, steep terrain in one of the lesser visited sections of Main Range National Park. It’s a remote part of the Scenic Rim region where only the most experienced hikers are likely to venture.
The terrain is unforgiving. It’s steep and slippery. There are many vines to trip you up and mossy rocks to slip on. The Gympie Gympie plants wait for a stray hand to brush past and inflict their vicious sting. Stray off the footpad only a few metres and you’ll be wading through disorientating forest.
But there are many beautiful aspects of this hike. There are huge vines swinging in the wind. There are moss-covered rocks and tree trunks, and vibrant green ferns. If you look hard enough, you’ll be rewarded with glimpses of the surrounding mountains. And it’s quiet. You’ll likely be the only hikers here.
The most accessible route to the site is from the Teviot Gap side of Mt Superbus as it doesn’t require a 4WD to get to the trailhead and it’s also closer to Brisbane (the other route is via Emu Vale Road).
The starting point is at 790m elevation just past a pull off for Teviot Falls. There’s space for about 4 cars on the grassy area on your right near a locked gate, just make sure you don’t block it.
From here, you cross the gate, head up the trail past a Queensland National Parks sign (named Brett Road on the Queensland Government topographic maps), take the path veering to the right, and cross over a wooden bridge and turn left.
You’ll be needing your navigational skills at this point – and preferably someone who has done the hike before.
This is a trackless hike and you’re relying on a footpad and sporadic pink marking tape tied around tree branches.
The footpad is extremely easy to lose – myself and some others in my group have traversed this area before and we lost the footpad about 4 times over the course of the day – before rejoining it using a compass and topographic map. The tape markers are very sporadic and can’t be relied on.
The hike first traverses steep terrain on its way to the Mt Superbus summit at 1,375m. Don’t expect any views up here though as the summit is densely covered with trees and tangled vines.
Some of the uphill sections are extremely steep and you’ll be grabbing for vines and tree roots to pull yourself up – and slow your slip n’ slide on the way down.
There are a couple of routes leading from the Mt Superbus summit. One goes to Mt Roberts and the Lizard Point lookout, some lead around the summit area, and the other goes to the Lincoln Bomber Wreck.
This is where you’ll need a compass and topographic map to make sure you take the right route off the summit as it’s easy to get disoriented and head off in the wrong direction.
From the summit, the footpad is distinct in some areas but easily lost. You don’t want to get lost in this environment, the thick canopy makes it hard to orientate back using visual references.
You can identify the summit of the southern peak by a clearing, and then a track leading steeply downwards about 80m before arriving at the wreck.
Take care around the wreckage as there are lots of sharp edges on the twisted pieces of metal and the hill is very steep. Please don’t souvenir or damage the site in any way.
Due to the nature of this hike and the need for navigational skills I’ve left the directions sparse. You’ll need to rely on a compass for some sections to ensure you’re on the right course.
- Insect repellent (ticks are possible in this area)
- Long pants and shirt for bush bashing adventures
- Down jacket or fleece (it’s often windy and cold in this area)
- Rain jacket & pants
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- At least 1.5 litres of water
- Lunch and snacks
- Hiking buddies and at least one person with strong navigational skills
- Topographic map and compass
How To Get There
The most accessible route to Mt Superbus, due to its proximity to Brisbane and no requirement for a 4WD, is from Head Road at Teviot Gap.
The trailhead is located about a 2 hour drive from Brisbane. Take the Western Freeway heading towards Ipswich, and then continue onto the Centenary Highway. At Flinders View, head onto Ipswich-Boonah Road towards Boonah. At the roundabout at Boonah, turn left onto Boonah-Rathdowney Road.
From Boonah-Rathdowney Road, turn right onto Carney Creek Road following the signs to Queen Mary Falls.
The trailhead starts just after a pulloff for the Teviot Falls lookout. The lookout is unmarked so you’ll need to refer to a map (Maps.me has Teviot Falls marked on it) to figure out when you drive past the falls (the waterfall may not be running). Immediately past the lookout, you’ll drive over a cattle grid and see a grassy area and road, and a locked gate on your right immediately after the cattle grid.
Advanced. This is a remote area and the terrain is rough, trackless and requires navigational skills.
There are some very steep sections requiring agility and a good level of fitness to maintain momentum uphill. Downhill is just as tricky, and you’ll feel like a monkey swinging off trees and vines, and doing the odd butt slide to get back down the mountain.
Do not attempt this hike in the wet as the steep sections will be extremely hard and dangerous to traverse. Bad weather may also result in disorientation.
At least one member of your group must possess strong navigational skills and be able to read a topographic map and compass.
The hike is trackless and follows a rough footpad only. The footpad is very easy to lose in the dense rainforest.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
12km / 585m (Starting at about 790m above sea level and climbing to a maximum height of 1,375m) / 6-8 hours depending on your time at the wreck and your navigational skills.