Bartle Frere trail (western trail head), Wooroonooran National Park. Climbing the summit of Queensland's highest mountain offers a challenging way to explore part of the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Bellenden Ker Range in Wooroonooran National Park. Allow two days to walk the trail.
Junction camp to North West Peak (five hours)... more
The trail starts at Junction camp. A short distance from the start of the trail is a turn-off to the picturesque Bobbin Bobbin Falls. The trail to North West Peak is steep (rising 700 metres over five kilometres). This part of the trail has occasional rock scrambles and long sections of continuous uphill walking.
North West Peak to Western Summit camp (two hours)
On a clear day, enjoy excellent views of Bellenden Ker and the Mulgrave River valley from an exposed outcrop of rocks one kilometre from North West Peak. The trail continues to Western Summit camp. This camp site is in a very small clearing beside a creek. The site is suitable as a rest point before the climb to the summit, or as a camp site for an overnight stay.
Western Summit camp to Bartle Frere summit (one hour)
From Western Summit camp it is 750 metres to the summit. The trail becomes a scramble over and through numerous granite boulders to the broad summit of Bartle Frere. This part of the climb can be very slippery when wet. Enjoy fabulous views over the township of Innisfail and the coast to the east. To the west, enjoy views of the undulating landscape of the Atherton Tableland.From the summit you can return to your starting point or continue to the other side. If you plan to walk from one end of the trail to the other, be sure to make private transport arrangements.
The Bartle Frere trail is not for everyone. Be aware that walkers have been lost for several days in this area, despite widespread searches. Walkers must be well-prepared and responsible for their own safety. Although well marked, the trail is unformed and very steep. Walkers must be prepared for rock scrambling in places. Only experienced and fit bushwalkers should attempt the trail. Distance markers have been placed along the entire length of the trail at one kilometre intervals indicating the distance to the east or west trail heads. For example, '3W' means three kilometres to the western trail head. Always let someone know your travel plans and when you expect to return. In the event of an emergency, satellite phones and personal locator beacons (PLBs) are the most efffective. Mobile phone coverage is unreliable.... less
This 15 kilometre mountain rainforest trek is extremely demanding. It should only be undertaken by experienced bushwalkers.
It is recommended that you allow two days for the ascent to the summit and back to either the west or east (Josephine Falls) sides. If you plan on a one day return trip, remember that it will take approximately 12 hours and need a very early start.
There are two overnight campsites. Remember that you will need to obtain a permit if you wish to camp overnight on Bartle Frere. Self registration forms available at the beginning of the walk should also be filled in by all walkers.
Preparation is important for all hiking on Mt Bartle Frere, as it is likely you will encounter variable weather conditions. These may include heavy rainfall, reduced visibility from cloud, cold temperatures and sudden weather changes.
Bartle Frere West is accessed from the Atherton Tablelands. The trackhead is marked by a sign post and indicated by orange markers along the trail. Take correct maps and a compass.
Carry adequate food and water. No fires are permitted, so bring a fuel stove.
Walkers should be careful not to brush against spiky wait-a-while vines and the heart shaped leaf of stinging trees.
Daytime temperatures and humidity can be high at any time of the year and nights can be very cool. Please carry suitable clothing to accommodate all extremes.
Some sections of walking tracks may be closed during the wet season, between October and May.
Visit between April and October when the weather and track conditions are at their best.
How To Get There
From Malanda, travel 5.5 kilometres along the Malanda-Yungaburra road then turn into Topaz Road and travel two kilometres past Butchers Creek School. Turn left to Lamins Hill lookout—this gravel road can be slippery when wet—and follow the signs for seven kilometres to the end of Gourka Road and the national park boundary. Junction camp, two kilometres along the track, marks the start of the walking trail.
Camping fees apply.
To ensure your visit is comfortable, try to visit between May and October when the weather and trail conditions are at their best. During this time, temperatures are generally cooler and the weather drier. Temperatures on the mountain are around 10 degrees Celsius cooler than on the coast. Be aware that strong winds of 25-40 kilometres per hour can occur and the wind chill factor can result in temperatures below freezing.
During the wet season, from December to April, rain can be extensive and very heavy. The region receives some of the highest rainfall in Australia, often more than 10,000 millimetres annually. Day temperatures average about 30 degrees Celsius with 90 per cent humidity and nights can be cool.
Cloud envelops the upper ridges of the mountain suddenly and rainstorms are common all year round. Rain, cold and poor visibility can make camping and bushwalking uncomfortable and potentially unsafe. In extreme weather conditions the trail may be closed. Carry suitable clothing to accommodate all extremes.
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