Girraween National Park is located just south of Stanthorpe in South East Queensland, Australia, about three hours drive from Brisbane. The park is characterized by it’s huge granite outcrops, boulders and spring time wild flowers, and it makes a great day trip from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. There are also two camp sites located within the park if you want to stay longer.
Along with these features, what drew me to Girraween National Park was it’s wide range of hiking trails, and on the day that I visited I combined a couple of smaller trails into a nice hike that ultimately led me up to the top of a huge granite outcrop known as The Pyramid.
I started my hike by crossing the picturesque Bald Rock Creek, before hiking through the dry eucalypt forest to the naturally made Granite Arch – a large granite boulder precariously balancing on top of two other boulders, creating a natural arch.
After passing through the arch I continued through the beautiful forest amongst the land of boulders, and made my way to join onto the trail that leads to The Pyramid.
The trail had been fairly flat so far, but as expected it soon began to climb, leading up a series of steps in preparation for the big climb at the end. Eventually the forest gave way and I found myself staring at the huge bare granite rock of The Pyramid. Up close, it really is huge, and it almost looks too steep to climb.
At first the climb wasn’t so bad, but it soon got to the point where I was having to lean right forward, sometimes almost on all fours and hoping that the grip on my hiking boots would hold up.
This is really the ultimate leg work out, and as I climbed, my calves screamed and my hamstrings burned. The only path to guide you to the top are a bunch of white markers painted on the ground, but they do little to help you find the easiest path as there is no avoiding the steepness.
The terrain was certainly surreal and as I climbed higher and higher up this giant rock, I could take in the true ruggedness and uniqueness of this fascinating national park.
This hike would be virtually impossible and extremely dangerous in the rain, so I was hoping that the grey in some of the clouds would stay away until I got down.
As I hiked on and got closer to the top, the gradient of the incline reduced, giving my calf muscles a much needed rest. With a few small rock climbs I finally found myself at the top, and I sat there, perched on top of this giant granite mountain, enjoying the views out across the park.
Coming back down the mountain was a lot harder than I expected, and I was glad that I had good hiking boots to stop me from sliding and to support my ankles. It really would be impossible in the wet. I imagine it would be like a really bumpy water slide without the splash at the bottom.
The scenery is absolutely amazing in Girraween National Park and I think I could spend days walking it’s trails. Next time I think I will come and camp for a few days.
If you’re in the South East Queensland region of Australia, definitely head to the Stanthorpe area. It’s a beautiful location with a much cooler climate than the rest of Queensland, with a lot of excellent wineries and orchards. And of course, the nearby Girraween National Park is well worth exploring.