Not only does turning your favourite hike into an overnighter give you the chance to catch an epic sunset and sunrise, you get to turn the bush into your home for a couple of days. Lisa Owen found this cracker of a campsite, in the lesser-hiked Goomburra section of the Main Range National Park, with a ‘bush loungeroom’ view that can’t be beat.
- Enjoy the serenity at the Laidley Creek Falls Bush Camp
- Set up your bush kitchen overlooking mountains, stars and city lights at the nearby lookout
- Tackle the razorback ridgeline to Boar’s Head
Staying The Night In The Main Range National Park
As I steadily knock more and more mountains off my to do list, I’ve started trying to experience the outdoors in a different way – first by visiting familiar places at sunrise, and then by camping.
This time my hiking buddies and I were off for a weekend microadventure bush camping and hiking in the Main Range National Park.
A few weeks back I’d taken a recce down to this part of the world on a day hike and found an awesome camping spot. Today we were returning to test it out. It passed the test with flying colours!
I set off with Adrian, Andy and Sarah from the Sylvester’s Lookout carpark with our overnight packs strapped to our backs.
From there we were going off-track into the remote Goomburra section of the Main Range National Park. The terrain is pretty diverse here, ranging from temperate rainforest with moss covered rocks, to fern-filled grassy slopes.
We clambered over fallen tree trunks, traversed rocky hills, ducked vines, wove through knee high ferns, and got glimpses of the farmland and valleys below. The trail was distinct in some places, but others had us bush-bashing through the forest until we found the footpadding again.
It took us a bit over an hour with our overnight packs to reach the Laidley Creek Falls Bush Camp, a small clearing just big enough for our four tents.
Hole In The Wall
We ditched our hefty packs at the campsite, took out our day bags, and then headed west aiming for the Hole In The Wall feature in the ridgeline.
We crossed the dry creek bed, and then got down to the cliffline. We wound along the cliffline, past grass trees, over a snake skin, and then ended up at the Hole In The Wall which is now more a Gap In The Wall after the top of the ridgeline caved in a few years back.
We sat for a while admiring the view of nearby Mt Castle and the valleys and mountains appearing through the Hole In The Wall, before continuing along the razorback ridge to reach Boar’s Head.
The ridge was narrow in some places, and had us scrambling on all fours to negotiate.
The track to Boar’s Head is made up of a short but sharp incline with impressive views over Mt Castle and to the distinctive Ramparts landscape. Mt Castle lies further beyond Boar’s Head but requires landowner permission to reach as its access traverses private property.
Back to the campsite we went to set up our tents and get ready for dinner with a view. About 50m from the campsite lies a beautiful open lookout serving as our viewpoint for sunset and sunrise, as well as our kitchen and loungeroom.
Sunset and Sunrise At Laidley Creek Falls Bush Camp
After prepping our sleeping quarters, we retreated to the lookout point with our dinner, cooking equipment and cameras. While sadly the sunset was a bust with cloud obscuring the view, shortly after night fell, the sky cleared revealing a starry night above us and a clear view to the lights of Ipswich and Brisbane.
We cooked up simple meals of soup and noodles, indulged on strawberries, crackers and Camembert cheese (we can be a little fancy!), and roasted marshmallows over Andy’s fuel stove. We even downed a couple of glasses of port filled from a goon bag, trying to keep ourselves warm on the frosty night. After some animated chat and stargazing, we retreated to our warm sleeping bags and set our alarms for 5.00am.
The dawn air the next morning was frigid, but I coaxed everyone out eventually and we went back to the lookout to watch a banger of a sunrise. The morning light was especially magical over the ridgeline, The Ramparts and Mt Castle.
After a light breakfast, we packed up camp and made our way back to the car, having a few chuckles about Adrian’s struggle with the low hanging vines and branches catching his tall frame, and then drove onto Aratula to refuel with meat pies, potato wedges, eggs and bacon. Another weekend done right!
- Bush bashing
- Camping permit (available from the Queensland Parks website)
- At least 5L of water if staying overnight (most of the year the creek is dry)
- Insect repellent (there’s lots of ticks in this area)
- Cream, spray or pointed tweezers for tick extraction (remember, household tweezers are tick squeezers!)
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Food and snacks
- Personal Locator Beacon
- Hat and sunscreen
- Fuel stove (no fires allowed) and utensils
- Warm clothing
- Head for heights
Expert. The hike itself isn’t too strenuous as you start above 1000m elevation, however the expert grading is due to the technical elements of this hike. You’ll need sound navigational skills as it’s easy to lose the footpad in this part of the Main Range National Park. You also must be comfortable bush-bashing and negotiating narrow razorback ridgelines.
Given the remote location, having first aid skills are recommended with snakes and falls being your biggest threats. Bring a Personal Locator Beacon as you can’t rely on mobile reception in the forest. Read up on how to remove ticks before you go.
The Laidley Creek Falls Bush Camp sits at around 850m elevation, however this hike starts at around 1040m elevation. Due to the elevation of the starting point, ascents and descents are steep but short.
Due to the terrain and potential for navigational challenges on your way to the bush camp, this microadventure is best measured in duration rather than distance.
Allow one to two hours from Sylvester’s Lookout to the Laidley Creek Falls bush camp. It will take another forty-five minutes to an hour to reach the top of Boar’s Head depending how nimble you are on the razorback ridge.
Where else will you spend the night?