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Thursday, March 19, 2015

White Rock Conservation Park, QLD.

White Rock
White Rock Conservation Park is about 30 km south-west of Brisbane. Although the parking area can be seen from Centenary Highway there is no access from the highway to White Rock. To find the entrance drive along Redbank Plains Road and turn into School Road. Follow School Road to the end and continue on a dirt section before arriving at the Horse Float Parking Area on the left or continue straight ahead to the Paperbark Flats Picnic Area Carpark. Please note that there are gates that are closed from 6.00 pm to 6.00 amNo camping or dogs are allowed in the conservation park. There is camping at Ipswich Showgrounds, where dogs are welcome, $20 per site for two people with power and water.

White Rock Conservation Park exists today because in the the late 1930s and 1940s it was used by American forces as a training area. Due to munitions scattered throughout the bush it was too dangerous to carry out forestry and timber cutting in the area. Koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and even dingoes have been seen in the park. There are also rare and vulnerable plants recorded in the area.

White Rock Multi User Trail

White Rock Multi User Trail is 6.5 km return and is rated moderate for hiking and more difficult for mountain bike riding. We found the walk easy but there is a short climb with a few steps as you approach White Rock.

We have done this walk twice: in June 2014 and March 2015. In June last year we saw lots of birds on the walk to White Rock.

Red-browed Finch and Scarlet Honeyeater
Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Brown Cuckoo-Dove
Golden Whistler
In March this year we saw an abundance of butterflies. As well as the butterflies below we saw Small Grass-yellow Eurema smilax, Lesser Wanderer Danaus chrysippus and large numbers of what we think were Glasswing Acraea andromacha because they had distinctive transparent forewings but we didn't managed to get any photos.
Common Crow Euploea core and Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata

Evening Brown Melanitis leda

There were also lots of spiders and insects about.
St Andrew's Cross Spider and Garden Orb-weaver
Longheaded Grasshopper and Gum Tree Shield Bug

We saw a couple of interesting things along the track.
A Case Moth was painstakingly making its way through the dust to cross from one side to the other and we saw this grasshopper which appeared to be laying eggs right in the middle of the track.

White Rock

White Rock
Rest area at White Rock
White Rock is an impressive sandstone outcrop. It is possible to scramble to the top but, whilst this is allowed by the Ipswich Council, the local aboriginal community have asked that people don't climb it. Bouldering is not allowed on White Rock itself but is allowed at ten other sites in the conservation park. We were saddened to see a huge graffiti tag on the rock that wasn't there last time we visited.

The Ridge Track

We returned to the carpark via The Ridge Track which is a Class 5 walk. It is easy to see where this track starts near White Rock but the trailhead at the other end is much harder to find. We took coordinates for future reference: S27 41.141 E152 51.232
We really enjoyed this part of the walk. There is a short scramble to get up onto the ridge then the going is fairly easy along the top. There are lovely views out over the tree tops.

The Ridge
View from the Ridge Track out to Mt Stapylton Radar
Six Mile Creek Boardwalk

On our return we took the, Class 2, 375m walk along a boardwalk through paperbark forest.

Six Mile Creek Boardwalk
Blue Skimmer, female and Scarlet Percher

Bluff Lookout Circuit

From the Boardwalk the Bluff Lookout Circuit Hiking Track is a further 200 m walk, rated as moderate, as it is a short climb to the top of a rocky outcrop. The view is not particularly good but the rock formations are interesting. We saw some people just packing up their mat after a bouldering session here. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing without ropes and harnesses and is always inspiring to watch so we were sorry we missed it.

The rock where people were bouldering

We returned to the carpark ready for some lunch. Paperbark Flats is a pleasant picnic area with toilets and picnic tables scattered under shady trees. At Horse Float Parking Area there is a large picnic shelter. 

A longer 19 km hike, that we haven't done, is the Yuddamun Trail. It leaves from the Horse Float Parking Area and can be done on foot, mountain bike or horse.

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