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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Girraween National Park, QLD: Part 1.

Girraween National Park, QLD.
On the second day of our shakedown tour we drove from the Goomburra Section of Main Range National Park to Girraween National Park in southern Queensland. We had previously dropped into the park on a trip south and were totally captivated by the granite landscape and had vowed to come back and stay a few days. September and October is a great time to visit Girraween because the wildflowers are blooming and the weather is much milder. In winter the night time temperatures hover around -6 and in summer it can get quite hot with afternoon thunderstorms. As our new Kimberley Karavan arrived in time for a September trip we decided Girraween was the place to head for. Access to Girraween is by sealed road and is suitable for all vehicle types.There is an Information Centre and a large, well positioned, Day Use Area at Girraween.

There are two campgrounds in Girraween National Park: Castle Rock camping area and Bald Rock camping area. Generators and dogs are not permitted at either campground. We just managed to pre-book a site at Castle Rock. As with nearly all national park campsites in Queensland it is necessary to book online or by phone before arrival. There is a pay phone in the car park of the Information Centre but it is risky to leave booking in to the last minute as Girraween can be booked out at popular times. We were able to reserve a spot at Castle Rock, however, by the time we arrived both campgrounds were fully booked.

Castle Rock camping area has a large oval area surrounded by a low barrier where people can park their cars on the outside perimeter and set up tents in the protected area. There are 25 defined areas scattered outside the barrier for vans, campervans and camper trailers. There are no firepits but there are cordoned off areas with wood-fired BBQ's and picnic tables; bring your own wood. There are several non-potable water taps in the camping area. Best of all, are the flushing toilets and hot showers which is a bit of luxury for the standard Queensland National Park fee of only $5.95 per person per night.

Our set-up at Castle Rock camping area, Girraween National Park
Bald Rock camping area has tent sights and 8 defined sights for camper trailers and has more of a bush camping vibe. There are hot showers, toilets, non-potable water and many of the sites have picnic tables and gravel tent pads.

Bald Rock camping area, Girraween National Park
We set up on a spot adjoining the tent area in Castle Rock campground and we noticed on one side of our campsite an older couple had set up their caravan in a designated van site and their grandchildren were in a tent immediately behind them in the tent area. This seemed like a great way to enjoy a family get together.

We were pleased to observe that the wildlife hadn't been chased away by the number of people around. A cheeky Red Wattlebird was busy monitoring all the campsites. Chrimson Rosellas and Variegated Fairy-wrens were a common sight. Every evening Australian King Parrots flew in. Several kangaroos were placidly grazing opposite our van. The antics of a rather large joey was a constant source of entertainment during our stay.
Crimson Rosella, adult (left) and immature (right)
Red Wattlebird
This joey had a way of nagging its mother until it got what it wanted.
There are walks to suit everyone in Girraween National Park. The walks range from easy to challenging mountain climbs. On the first afternoon we did a bit of light exploring to gain our bearings and do some planning. First stop was the Information Centre followed by the Day Use Area and the Wyberba Walk where we discovered quite a few people were sitting on the banks of Bald Rock Creek in the hope of seeing a platypus as one had been sighted here two weeks previously. We thought there were probably too many people about for the platypus so we continued on. We were content to see White-eared Honeyeaters; a first for us.
Excellent facilities and signage at Bald Rock Creek Day Use Area
Bald Rock Creek, where the platypus had previously been sighted.
White-eared Honeyeater
We continued on across the fascinating granite landscape to walk through the magnificent Granite Arch.

Granite Arch in the afternoon sun.
The other side of Granite Arch.
From there we entered the Bald Rock Circuit and looped back through Bald Rock camping area. Some areas of the walk had an eerie quality with the strange shapes of the trees showing regrowth after a fire but cheerful pockets of wildflowers were blooming alongside the path. The trail back to Bald Rock campground is a lunar granite landscape pockmarked with small pools of water where we saw Red-browed Fiches drinking. Bald Rock Creek meanders alongside sections of the walk.

Regrowth on the trees after a bush fire.
Wildflowers are prolific in spring
Traversing the granite landscape on the Bald Rock Circuit.
Red-browed Finch enjoying a drink.
Bald Rock Creek
As we were returning to our campsite we saw White-winged Choughs fossicking near the ground.

White-winged Chough
Girraween is a fascinating place of granite landscapes just waiting to be explored and we looked forward to going on some longer hikes over the next few days.


  1. Such an amazing birdwatching spot! I can only dream of red wattlebird, w-e honeyeater and choughs!

    Your set up looks great too! :)

    1. Thanks Christian. That was only for starters, wait until you read what else we saw at Girraween over the next few days. Its only a three hour drive from Brisbane and its just such a different landscape and habitat. Well worth the drive.

  2. We've vowed to stay longer and explore on our next trip to this area - thanx for the introduction to Girraween!

    1. You're welcome. Girraween has such fascinating landscapes and abundant wildlife that it is worth staying a few days.