If you’re looking for a short mountain hike near Brisbane with a bit of a challenge, Mount Blaine Summit Track may be the perfect option for you. But only if you’re keen to scramble and don’t mind feeling off track. When I read online descriptions, I struggled to understand how hard Mount Blaine Summit Track would be. I hope my review can help you decide if it’s the right adventure for you!
Distance: 2.5-4.5 km
Time: 2-3 hours
Disclaimer: The hiking time and difficulty are based on our experience. We are experienced hikers with a good level of fitness, used to hiking long distances and scrambling. We possess good navigation skills and use a Garmin watch* with a GPS navigation map. Always check the park alerts and notes, as trail conditions change over time, which may affect the hike’s level of difficulty.
How difficult is it to climb Mount Blaine?
Mount Blaine Summit Track is a short hike.
It’s nothing like its neighbour Flinders Peak (which I highly recommend if you have time and want a challenge!). It took us less than one hour to reach the summit from the car park. If your time is limited, you can go down the same way (2.5 km in total, about 2 hours). We decided to complete Mount Blaine Summit Track by going down the east ridge to link back to the Skyline Ridge Track and Sandy Creek Track (4.5 km in total, about 2.5 hours with a few breaks).
Mount Blaine Summit Track is steep and you’ll have to scramble (no rock climbing).
There’s only one kilometre from the car park to the summit, but it still took us almost one hour to reach it. Our pace gives you an idea of how steep it was. The Mount Blaine hiking track is easy, but it still goes up right from the start. Then, Mont Blaine Summit Track no longer looks like a path. The difficulty does not only come from the incline, which was actually not as impressive as expected. But the rocks are loose and unstable, or the dry ground is slippery, so you need to take your time and sometimes use your hand. We didn’t go down the same way, but we felt it would be harder to go down the north ridge (where we went up) than the east ridge. We also had a lot of loose rocks on the east ridge but less slippery ground.
We didn’t struggle with navigation.
Still, I wouldn’t attempt Mount Blaine Summit Trail without navigation experience. But navigation wasn’t as hard as many other off-track trails. You have to go up or down, and there aren’t many options. We went off the main path a couple of times but easily found our way back. The hardest part was finding the east ridge path after the summit. It’s just a little bit on the left when you face Flinders Peak, but it’s not obvious from the top. We didn’t notice any marker. While going down the east ridge, we reached a very rocky area and hesitated. In our experience, it’s easy to go the wrong way when you follow rocks that are sometimes a gully or dry river path and not a hiking trail. Considering the amount of vegetation and big spider webs in the other potential directions, we followed the rocks briefly and saw a sign at the end. We were very close to the Sandy Creek Track, and the forest totally changed. There were no more volcanic rocks from there, and we could pick up the pace to loop back to the car park.
Don’t attempt Mount Blaine Summit Track unprepared.
Even if it’s a short hike, you shouldn’t go to the summit on a whim. No need for extensive planning though, there’s nothing too hard about what to prepare for Mount Blaine. You’ll need plenty of water, more than what you’d drink for any other short hike. Although we hiked Mount Blaine in winter, we used all the water we carried (2L). You’ll also need hiking shoes with a good grip. To help with navigation, make sure you have a good look at the map. We always like to save maps on our phones and have a GPS track to refer to if needed. Don’t start the hike too late; Mount Blaine Summit Track would be very dangerous in the dark.
Why you should climb Mount Blaine
The hike to Mount Blaine summit is steep, so it’s a good way to exercise while enjoying nature away from the crowd. We heard and saw as many people as wallabies during our hike: we only met one person and heard another couple at the start of our ascension, and that was it. It’s one of the best mounts to hike near Brisbane, but it’s not popular!
Mount Blaine is a short adventure. There aren’t that many easy-to-access tracks in the region that are not marked and with many obstacles, but still easy to do without too much planning.
The 360-degree summit view is stunning. I doubt there’s a better lookout of Flinders Peak, and it’s impressive to see Brisbane City and the Great Dividing Range in the background. I don’t know if it’s seasonal – we did the hike at the end of winter – but there were many butterflies and a few dragonflies at the top, as well as other flying insects (that surprisingly weren’t too annoying!).
Have you been to Mount Blaine? Share your experience in the comments below!
Responsible travel tip: Do you know the seven principles of Leave No Trace? They provide minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors, encouraging visitors to take only photos and leave only footprints. The seven principles are: 1) Plan ahead and prepare; 2) Travel and camp on durable surfaces; 3) Dispose of waste properly (it includes human waste); 4) Leave what you find (this does not apply to rubbish!); 5) Minimise campfire impacts; 6) Respect wildlife and 7)Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors.
Where is Mount Blaine?
Mount Blaine is in the Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate near Ipswich in Queensland, Australia. The hike starts at the Flinders Plum Picnic area. It takes about one hour to drive there from Brisbane.