Saphira is pretty much our local expert on hikes in the Glasshouse Mountains. So when she recommends a new track, you best pay attention.
The Yul-Yan-Man track is less than a year old, and a sparkling new addition to the Glasshouse Mountains hiking repertoire. It’s a total change of pace from the existing hiking tracks in the area which all either summit or circumnavigate the peaks. Instead, the Yul-Yan-Man track transects the park past Mt Beerburrum to give you an unparalleled view of Mt Tibrogargan, Mt Coonowrin, Mt Tibberoowucum, and Mt Beerwah side by side on the horizon.
The views from this track are totally different to those from the summits of Mt Tibrogargan or Mt Beerwah, or even the views from White Horse Mountain lookout. By virtue of not being on one of the summits, you get to see a classic view of all of the peaks together.
The Yul-Yan-Man track also offers a more respectful way to enjoy the area compared to standing on top of culturally significant mountains. Here, you can vividly imagine the story of this family of mountains, as told by the Traditional Custodians, the Kabi Kabi and Jinibarra people.
The Dramatic Story of the Glasshouse Mountains
The Kabi Kabi (aka Gubbi Gubbi) and Jinibara people have a legend about the Glasshouse Mountains. In the story, Tibrogargan is the father of a large family. His wife, Beerwah, is pregnant. They have many children, and Tibrogargan’s faithful dingo Ngungun lies at his feet. When you look at Tibrogargan, you can see he is forever facing away from Coonowrin, the eldest of their children.
Tibrogargan is angry at his son Coonwrin. When Tibrogargan had noticed the seas rising some time ago, he had instructed Coonwrin to take his mother to safety. But Coonwrin had become scared and ran off, leaving his mother to the rising seas.
Angry, his father cracked him with a stick, giving Coonwrin his crooked neck. Coonowrin was ashamed and asked for his parent’s forgiveness, but they could not forgive him. The many creeks running through the Glasshouse Mountains show the tears of the family.
An Absolute Wildflower Bonanza
Yul-Yan-Man means ‘walk slowly’ in the Kabi Kabi language – and it’s good advice. There’s no better track to marvel at the great story of the Glasshouse Mountains, and to admire the bountiful nature of the park.
Winter and spring will leave you dizzy with a colourful array of wildflowers; the soft yellow globes of the wattle tree are everywhere, but you’ll have to look hard for the Glasshouse Mountains Tea Tree, which is found nowhere else (if you’re looking for it, it has five distinct white-yellow lobes with a very round centre).
Then there’s the yellow Wallum Wedge Pea, whose yellow flowers sit like a kaleidoscope of butterflies on waist-high shrubs. The gold and maroon colours of the Chaffy Swamp Pea are also a common sight.
Walk too quickly and you’ll miss them!
All this is the cherry on the pie to the sweeping views of the mountains. The peaks will continually come into view from all angles. Around the middle of the walk you’ll get to see Beerwah, Coonwrin, Tibberoowuccum and Tibrogargan side by side – a totally different perspective from either White Horse Mountain Lookout or the summits of any of the peaks.
Towards the end of the track, the vegetation opens up for a dramatic view of Mt Beerwah looking forlornly away from the rest of her family. You’ll also see a massive rocky outcrop ahead of you, (the cliffs make up the crag ‘Dwarfland’) with the lookout at the top the best place for a spot of lunch.
Soon after, a steep descent links up to the Trachyte Circuit, and then the Soldiers Settlers’ Trail.
A Sometimes Steep and Challenging Track – With a Spot of Rock Scrambling
The Yul-Yan-Man Track is a grade 5 track. It can either be done as a 6.7km one-way car shuffle from Beerburrum Trailhead to Tibrogargan Trailhead, or as an 8.8km circuit returning on the Soldiers Settlers’ Trail (a great flat track perfect for trail running or easy walking) starting and finishing at Beerburrum Trailhead. It takes about three hours at an average pace.
If you’re used to the well-paved tracks of graded tracks, you’ll quickly be initiated into the rougher style of a grade 5 track as you scramble up steep rocks right from the start.
The track is well-marked with purple triangles every few metres. It flattens out to a pretty gradual incline along a better graded track for the bulk of the walk. The detour to Mt Beerburrum lookout is a bit unclear, with no distinct end, so just look for the pile of cairns at the ‘top’. You can see Mt Tibrogargan through the trees from here.
The bulk of the walk is along the Trachyte Ridge, and is quite gentle. The next challenging bit is right near the end, where you descend along a pretty sheer and steep rock face – crab walking and butt sliding may be necessary. This part is quite similar to the terrain of Tibrogargan and Beerwah, though much shorter.
It’s a chill, family-friendly walk on the Soldiers Settlers’ Trail back to the carpark – but the vegetation is stellar and will keep you occupied in the absence of views of the mountains.
- Sturdy shoes
- Sun protection (hat, long sleeves, sunscreen)
- Plenty of water
How To Get There
Put ‘Mt Beerburrum Walking Track’ into your GPS. You will pass Beerburrum train station, then drive up Mt Beerburrum Access Road, and park at a big roundabout at the end. It’s an hour drive, 65km directly north from Brisbane via the M1. Allow an extra 20 minutes for the car shuffle if you’re also leaving a car at Mt Tibrogargan car park. A useful map of the region is provided by Queensland Parks.
Suitable for intermediate to experienced hikers. The path is quite well-marked, so doesn’t require expert navigation skills, however the terrain can be steep and requires scrambling at points. Do not attempt in the rain. Not recommended in high temperatures.
As a circuit; ~9km return, 3-4 hours, ~200m elevation
As a one-way to Tibrogargan trailhead; 6.7km, 2-3 hours