It took me ten years to finally walk Caves Track in Lamington National Park. Did it live up to my expectations? Absolutely. Here’s why, plus some tips for planning your hike!
Summary (Caves Track)
Distance: 5 km (loop) or 7.5 km (return)
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Disclaimer: the hiking time and difficulty are based on our experience. We’re experienced hikers with a good level of fitness and are used to hiking long distances and scrambling. We have good navigation skills and use a Garmin watch* with a GPS navigation map. Always check the park alerts and notes; trail conditions change over time which can impact the level of difficulty of the hike.
The numbers in brackets refer to the map at the end of the article.
Why did it take me so long to hike Caves Track?
Caves Track is one of the shortest hikes in Lamington National Park. As it takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive there from Brisbane, it’s too far to only go there to hike Caves Track.
We like hiking all day or at least half a day, so we always choose longer hikes, such as the Ship Stern Circuit or Daves Creek Circuit. I often said we’d walk Caves Track after one of the longer hikes. But my buddies always had enough. So Caves Track got pushed down on the list many times. Until I was recovering from a foot injury when it was safer to plan two short hikes to see how my foot was coping.
Caves Track was the perfect distance and difficulty to test my foot. I have a rule that we should always hike longer than the time we spend in the car. So we combined it with the Tullawallal Circuit (5km, 1.5hrs).
Is Caves Track the best hike in the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park?
It’s always hard to pick the best hike in a national park. But Caves Track is quite high on my list of favourite hikes to do in Lamington National Park.
It’s quite different to the other short walks you’ll find in the Binna Burra section, as it takes you to the edge of the cliffs for spectacular views and not just in the rainforest. The rainforest isn’t the most impressive you’ll see in the national park, possibly still recovering from the bushfires. Still, the vegetation you’ll see on Caves Track is quite varied as the path goes through different kinds of forests. Plus, the cave and other rock formations are impressive and add something special to this hike.
If you’re fine going up and down stairs and not bothered by exposed paths, then it’s an easy hike on a well-maintained path. We had a total ascent and total descent of 535m, which is mostly why it is described as a category 4 walk. Except for the stairs, there weren’t any difficulties on the path.
Tips for hiking Caves Track
Should you do a loop or a return walk?
Why would you consider doing a return walk if it’s possible to make a loop? The loop actually includes 1.5k on Binna Burra Road, the bitumen road you used to come all the way up there. There’s no footpath, so you always have to watch for traffic. Hence, it’s not the safest option on a winding road, and it made me a bit nervous. I was actually surprised there was no sign to tell hikers not to walk down the road. Even if we went there on a day with low traffic, it wasn’t enjoyable.
But it’s tempting to choose the loop, as it is only 5km long, whereas the return walk is approximately 7.5 km long. If you’re travelling as a group with two cars, you can park one car at each start/end of the track.
The best direction for the loop
If you do choose the loop, I highly recommend going anti-clockwise.
We parked the car near the lodge (1), not far from the café (2). It’s ideal to go to the bathroom or top up water bottles before starting hiking. We then walked down Binna Burra Road (black line on the map), which is where we came from by car, all the way to the Information Centre (3).
We started Caves Track from the Information Centre and finished it where we parked the car. We were all satisfied with this order.
First, we wouldn’t have liked to finish the hike by walking on Binna Burra Road. It would have been even more boring if we had had to climb it. Walking on a bitumen road with traffic isn’t fun, so it’s better to tackle it when you’re fresh and excited at the start of the day.
Second, we had the feeling we went down a lot doing the hike in this direction (anti-clockwise). We went down Binna Burra Road, and then we continued going down a series of stairs on the track. We climbed up a few stairs, but most of the path at the end of the track was a slow ascend. It didn’t feel like we were making a lot of effort, so we were all surprised when we reached the car park without having to climb more stairs!
Points of interest on the hike
If you’re interested in learning more about the area, a self-guiding brochure for Caves Track is available at the information centre, at the café and at Binna Burra Lodge.
The most special attraction on Caves Track is Kweebani Cave and the numerous overhangs that follow. The walk also offers splendid views of the valley. Lamington National Park is always a great spot for bird watching. I’ve read you can sometimes see koalas on this track. We weren’t that lucky, but we still saw a shy wallaby.
There are signs to warn you about stinging plants at both ends of the track. They aren’t far from the path, so make sure you can identify them. It’s always recommended to stay on the path, so you should be fine.
What to bring
There isn’t much shade at the start of the walk (on Binna Burra Road and on the track from the information centre), so make sure you are well protected from the sun.
We didn’t go after a rainy day, but some parts of the path were still muddy and wet, so it’s recommended to bring suitable hiking shoes.
If you plan to stop for a bite, you may want to bring insect repellent.
Have you walked Caves Track? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Cave Track?
Caves Track is located in the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park. You can see a map of all the walks nearby here.
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