The Border Ranges National Park is a lovely weekend away from Brisbane for forest and camping lovers. I was mesmerised by the many shades of greens in this forest. The trees are huge and the vegetation is thick. In the narrow paths, I sometimes felt like I was one of the first explorers. This article details our activities during our Border Ranges National Park camping and hiking weekend.
Although it is a nice drive, it takes a while to reach Border Ranges National Park. If you haven’t explored them yet, you may prefer checking out national parks closer to Brisbane (like Springbrook or Lamington for example, if you’re looking for a rainforest hike with waterfalls). As usual when driving further away from the touristic hubs, I appreciated the low number of people we meet during our stay and the opportunity to have these beautiful places just for us.
Online booking for this park should be available soon. In the meantime, don’t forget to bring cash to pay the park entrance fees ($8 per vehicle).
You can download a map of the park here.
Scenic drive in Border Ranges National Park
Although I believe hiking is the best way to explore the park, driving through Border Ranges National Park is a real pleasure. The narrow dirt road winds through the beautiful forest. A 2WD car will be enough to explore this park but it is an unsealed road so you’ll be more comfortable in a 4WD. Take your time and drive slowly to spot (and respect!) the many birds nearby.
Even if walking isn’t your thing, don’t miss the short walk to the Pinnacles lookout.
Not only is the view is breathtaking, but it’s also a fantastic place to better understand the geology of the area and the history of the Tweed volcano. We could clearly see the remnant of the volcano (40 km wide!), with the volcanic plug Mount Warning at the centre.
Hiking in Border Ranges National Park
There are many hiking tracks in the park to discover the forest. I was very satisfied with the two we chose for this weekend.
Brindle Creek Walk (6km or 12km)
This walk goes through the stunning rainforest and includes easy and beautiful creek crossings as well as two waterfalls.
We chose to do the full 12km return and completed the walk in a bit more than 4 hours, including a 45-minute lunch break and many stops near the creeks and at the waterfalls.
If you don’t want to do a long walk, you can turn around halfway, after admiring the beautiful Selva Falls. It took us less than one hour to reach the falls from Brindle Creek picnic area.
Only the bravest will enjoy a dip in the water. It was estimated at just over 10° by our group, and it seemed accurate if we measure it from their scream levels after they jumped in. If you’re keen for a fresh break, find a way down at Evans Falls (before Selva Falls when you leave from Brindle Creek picnic area).
Responsible travel tip: Did you know your sunscreen can pollute the water and harm animals? The best way to protect your body from the sun is to cover it with long sleeves and pants. If you do have to use sunscreen, choose a mineral one (like zinc) to avoid harmful substances (see the full list here) and apply it at least 20 minutes before entering the water.
Bar Mountain Circuit (4km)
It took us 45 minutes to go down to the lookout with a great view of the valley and the Scenic Rim. We only took 35 minutes to go back up, with a good pace and no break as there were no signs to read on the way up.
The track wasn’t as easy as expected for a Grade 3. There were many slippery passages and fallen trees, probably due to the recent storm in the region. I found it made it more fun, but it could have been challenging for those not used to bushwalking. The vegetation was abundant and it made us feel like not many people had adventured on this track before us.
Again, the forest was lovely and, as we were on the ridge, the best thing is that it was a different experience from the day before. I also appreciated the signs at the start of the hike to learn more about the very long history of this land. It took us back when Gondwana was still a continent, about 180 million years ago. Learn more about Gondwana and Australian History here. The signs also illustrated the age of the forest using a comparison with European history (starting 2,000 years ago – at the Roman Empire period).
Border Ranges National Park Camping
We loved our Border Ranges National Park camping experience. We spent the night at the Sheep station Creek campsite, for $6 a night per person. We had a large space with a fire pit and a gas barbecue. All you need for a great outdoor evening.
In the morning, we woke up with a koala having breakfast above our tent. Seriously, can it get better than this?
Responsible travel tip: It’s always better to spend money locally. Break the drive with a stop at a local butcher rather than stocking up at the city supermarket if you can. On this trip, for example, we bought our meat in Beaudesert. Sometimes, you can find veggies for sale on the side of the road.
Where is Border Ranges National Park?
Border Ranges National Park is in the north of New South Wales, inland, near the border with Queensland. It took us a bit more than three hours to drive there from Brisbane, through the lovely Scenic Rim roads.