Hiking to Lower Portals, Mount Barney National Park

I’m currently in training mode again for another trip to the Nepal Himalaya in a couple of month’s time, so I’ve been regularly hitting the trails around Brisbane again. One of my favourite areas to go hiking within an easy drive of Brisbane is Mount Barney National Park. There are some good, variable trails there which range from moderate half day hikes to a challenging ascent of Mount Barney itself. One of my favourite starter trails is Lower Portals, which heads along the forested lower slopes of the mountain to a peaceful swimming hole on Barney Creek.

Mount Barney National Park, Australia

View of Mount Barney on the road to Lower Portals

The trail starts from the Lower Portals car park, heading through dry sclerophyll forest up a gentle climb to the top of a small ridge. Heading down into the next gully, the trail crosses a small creek before heading up the other side and meandering through a scenic section of dry forest with eucalyptus and grass trees.

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

For most of the trail you are crossing gullies and then heading up over the next ridge. These are only small climbs, but provides good variation for training for larger treks. In the gullies are patches of wet sclerophyll forest which appears thicker and greener where there is more water, and you will hear nothing but the sound of the birds in the trees and the breeze rustling through the leaves.

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

After several gully crossings the trail heads up a rocky ridge where you can catch glimpses of the peak of Mount Barney above. Dropping down into one last gully, the trail flattens out and heads onto Barney Creek, a permanent fresh water creek surrounded by lush forest. Take care when crossing the creek via the stepping stones, which can be slippery and unstable.

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

On the other side of the creek you can head right to a small camping area (walk in only) or left to head to Lower Portals. It is an easy stroll through the forest with the creek on your left until you reach a dead end with a steep ridge ahead. There is a nice little swimming hole here and perfect for cooling off on a hot day.

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

From here, the creek heads up into Barney Gorge, and if you are feeling adventurous you can follow the creek up a little to more hidden swimming holes. It is such a peaceful and scenic place. I spent quite a bit of time here swimming, soaking my feet in the small rapids and just enjoying the peace and quiet.

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

Lower Portals trail in Mount Barney National Park, Australia

The Lower Portals trail is just under 8kms return and it took me around an hour each way to complete, plus I spent an hour or so at Lower Portals itself. As such, it makes for a very pleasant morning or half day hike. Mount Barney National Park is within easy drive of both Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and there are some good camping areas in the region if you want to make it a longer trip.

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10 comments… add one
  • George Ashley Mar 4, 2017

    What a majestic natures beauty… I cant believe that people have gone astray from nature so much…

    I go hiking, hunting, outdoors really make me happy and fulfilled. But so many people don’t know the beauty of spending the day in a forest, mountain or a lake.

    Your blog is amazing and I love the serenity of this place, Mount Barney, I wish I could visit it and see it for myself. Maybe I set myself off on an adventure to it.
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    • Dean Wickham Jul 14, 2017

      I think it’s important to get outdoors and connect with nature. Not enough people do it.

    • Dean Wickham Aug 3, 2017

      I agree. People need to get out into nature more.

  • Mt Barney Lodge Mar 4, 2017

    It was enjoyable to read your account of the Lower Portals walk Dean. I have shared this link on our @mtbarneylodge Facebook page so that others can see what it is like.

    Innes Larkin, co-owner of Mt Barney Lodge also used the Mt Barney National Park for training for his Nepal trips – most recently Ama Dablam in 2015- and he aimed to climb the mountain itself twice a week with a heavy pack in the leadup to the trip. His fitness improved, but it didn’t assist the altitude effects or experiencing the eathquake 😉

    Good luck with your ongoing training and the trip itself.

    • Dean Wickham Jul 14, 2017

      Thanks very much for the comment and the share 🙂 Mount Barney is a good training peak – I used it to train for Kilimanjaro a few years back.

  • Archer Mar 28, 2017

    The beauty of nature is always breathtaking. Would love go and hike this place.

  • Celine Jun 18, 2017

    You’ve shared such a very good sort of stuff right here. I was certainly looking for this kind of informative stuff, some of the best things you do in Australia, so now my searches are over.

  • Jason Nov 18, 2017

    Hi Dean,
    Nice post with some really beautiful photos and a lovely looking place. It actually reminds me quite a lot of where I come from in Southern Africa!

    I am planning a trip to visit family and friends in Australia and this are is now definitely on my list of places to visit.
    Thanks very much.
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