Mt. Mathieson // Main Range National Park (QLD)

Hidden down a steep and bumpy gravel road in the Scenic Rim lies the lesser known peaks of the Main Range National Park, including Mt. Mathieson.


Highlights

  • Quiet and diverse trail in Main Range National Park
  • Picturesque views out to Mt Mitchell and Mt Cordeaux
  • 90 minute drive from Brisbane, and close to many hiking trails in the area as well as Lake Moogerah

The Lowdown

Spicer’s Peak and Mt Mathieson sit behind the more popular and accessible summits of Mt Mitchell and Mt Cordeaux in Cunningham’s Gap. But their hidden location means you can escape the rat race and head into your own peaceful part of the world for a few hours.

Together with my hiking buddy Courtney, I set out one Saturday afternoon intent on climbing Spicer’s Peak, but after taking a wrong turn and ending up in a full-on bush bash, we realised the weather was closing in fast on the peak and we aborted our plans and headed instead up the less exposed Mt Mathieson.

It was a fortunate turn of events because Spicer’s Peak was not the place I would want to be when the rain started coming down.

As the skies grew darker, we headed up the summit of Mt Mathieson, raincoats and drybags at the ready. The first stretch from the Pioneer picnic area is pretty unexciting, but the views from the first outlook of Mt Mitchell and Mt Cordeaux were impressive – and would have been even better had the sun graced us with its presence that afternoon.

After the first lookout you keep climbing and it gets a lot more interesting as you weave around boulders, and reach another lookout. And then suddenly you’re in thick rainforest once you start heading back down the mountain – a stark transformation from the mountain’s other side.

Rainy afternoons make for some moody shots in the rainforest and we made what we could of the gloomy weather that had by now socked us in.

Heading downhill, you then reach grassy paddocks and pass a random logging contraption – turns out this area was well traversed by loggers in times past and there’s lots of information signs noting the history.

Once out of the grassy field, turn onto the Heritage Trail, which is basically a fire trail and you’ll come to Governor’s Chair Lookout. The viewpoint is worth a look – luckily we’d had a look when we had sunny skies before our attempt up to Spicer’s Peak. You can see across to Lake Moogerah and Mt Greville from the lookout.

From Governor’s Chair lookout, head down the 4WD track back to the Pioneer picnic area. We did the trail clockwise, which is the recommended route so you return to your car by descending the 4WD track.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Photography

Essential Gear

  • Camera
  • Wet weather gear (weather changes quickly in this area and I’ve been soaked two out of three visits despite starting out to blue skies)
  • At least one litre of water

How To Get There

Spicer’s Gap Road can be reached via the Cunningham Highway. The road trip from Brisbane takes about 90 minutes. The gravel road up is only recommended for 4WD or 4×4 vehicles, it’s steep, slippery and washed out in some places.

Park at either Governor’s Chair Lookout or Pioneer Campground. Directly across from the Pioneer picnic area, you’ll see a sign indicating the start of the Mt Mathieson trail.

Skill Level

Beginner. Some steep sections but these are brief and the track is easy to follow.

Distance / Duration

About 7km including the walk down the 4WD drive track. Allow about 2.5 hours to complete the return circuit.

 


Check out some of Lisa‘s other Microadventures in the area…

COOMERA CIRCUIT // LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK (QLD)

PAGES PINNACLE // HINZE DAM (QLD)

BUSH BASH UP MT ERNEST // MT BARNEY NP (QLD)

FEELING A LITTLE TRAVERSE // BUNYA MOUNTAINS (QLD)