If you’re looking for a new adventure in Mt Barney National Park, head beyond the Lower Portals for spectacular ridgeline views across to Mt Barney, remote wild swimming, and rock hopping fun.


  • Choose your own adventure as you rock hop down the creek
  • Spectacular mountain views
  • Remote camping and swimming opportunities

Finding Barney Gorge Junction Camp

To reach the highlights of this adventure, first you have to walk the Lower Portals track. While the track itself isn’t too exciting, post-fires you do get the occasional good view of Mt Barney as you wind your way to the waterhole.


Just before you reach the Lower Portals, look for a rough footpad on your right leading steeply up to the top of the ridgeline above.

Head up this carefully as the loose dirt and grade of the hill might have you slipping and sliding in some places depending on how dry it is. On top of the hill, you’ll come to a junction with footpads leading off to your left and right.

Take the footpad to your right and follow the ridgeline. You’ll lose the footpad in some places as it traverses over the rocky terrain so make sure you stick to the ridgeline.  You’ll soon reach an epic viewpoint to see Mt Barney from a unique perspective. 


Looking for A Quick Overnighter?

After you’ve soaked up the views, continue following the footpad through the bush, paying attention when it heads into a shallow dry gully as long grass has grown over a small section of the rough track. 

The rough, often indistinct footpad will eventually lead onto a steep and loose downhill section bound for Barney Gorge Junction camp

If you want a short overnight adventure, this is the perfect place to set up camp and explore Mt Barney Creek to your heart’s content. The creek is located only a few steps from the campsite.


Onto Lone Palm Pool

Once you’ve explored the creek around the campsite, head downstream back towards the portals.

Travelling via the creek, it’s a fun rock hopping adventure back to the portals as you figure out the easiest way along slabs, over boulders, and rocks worn smooth by the water. There are a few tricky sections unless you want to get your feet wet, and plenty of places to stop for a swim along the way.

See if you can find what we’ve named Lone Palm Pool, owing to the solo palm tree on the pool’s edges. This is a great swimming spot on a hot day.



You’ll need some rock hopping, scrambling, and navigational ability to negotiate the creek as there’s no obvious track.

About 100 metres before you reach the back of the Lower Portals, there’s a footpad on your left returning you back to the ridgeline. You’ll have to keep a close eye out for it as it’s easily missed.

Once you reach the top of the ridgeline, you’re back at the junction you came to earlier and you can return the way you came, popping out near the Lower Portals entrance and then onwards along the graded track back to the car park.


Essential Gear

  • At least 3 litres of water (especially in summer)
  • Snacks and lunch
  • Camera
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Drybag 
  • First aid kit
  • Water purification tablets or a water filtration device may also come in handy if you get low on water

How To Get There

You can reach the Lower Portals car park in a 2WD vehicle.

The Lower Portals are located near the small rural town of Rathdowney, south of Beaudesert. Just after you pass through the town, head onto Boonah-Rathdowney Road and then take Upper Logan Road.

Follow the signs to Mt Barney Lodge, until you come to a sign heralding Lower Portals Road on your right. This is a dirt road. Then follow the Lower Portals signage to the car park.

Reaching the Lower Portals car park is about a two hour drive from Brisbane, and about an hour and 45 minutes from the Gold Coast.

Skill Level


You’ll need to have rock hopping and navigation skills to tackle this route with no formal track after the Lower Portals.

Distance / Duration

If your route finding skills are up to scratch, the hike should take about 5-6 hours return depending on swim and photo stops.

The total distance is around 12km return but progress is slow in parts due to rock hopping sections.