Monday, 15 August 2016

Mt Bartle Frere - Big Rock Camp Section

Monday, 11 July

As the road to the base of Mt Bartle Frere wound through the canefields, we only had a hidden view, of where our trail was going to take us.

My brother Jim has been looking for an accomplice to make an accent of Bartle Frere,
1622 m, and the highest moutain in Queensalnd. He was hopeful that I might agree, but the climb up the Pyramid had left my thighs very sore.

A few weeks previously Jim had hiked the lower route to Broken Nose and while he knew I wouldn't follow him back there, he did want me to experience the rainforest beauty along the 3.5 kilometre trail to the junction of both walks.

The pink line has been added by me, to indicate our hike in relation to the 2 climbs.

Jim was pleased to discover that the maintenance crews had been through since his previous hike. On that occasion, he had been greatly hindered by the tenacious, 'wait-a-while vine'.

Trail conditions varied.

At this point, the sun managed to briefly shine on the jungle tangle.

As the hike progressed, we found ourselves doing a lot of rock scrambling of both and big and small boulders.

The damp tangled roots of the trees had to be carefully negotiated.

We hiked in a sea of greens, above and around us.

Jim tentively crossing our 1st stream via a log.

I chose to take the slippery path over these boulders.

Once across, it was only 30 metres down to the main stream and its magnificence.

On leaving the stream, we were into serious steep and slippery, along a narrow ridgeline. Every step was measured with care as the ridge was at best, only a metre to a metre and a half wide. There were tree trunks to swing round, rocks to negotiate and incredible beauty to experience, so long as one remained upright.

This is the crest of the ridge. On either side, the ground just drops away.

It really was exhilerating. Our reward was this view of the cascading Majuba Creek.

Another ten minutes or so, the final rock scramble took us to the junction of the trails to Bartle Frere and Broken Nose.

Hot and sweaty, after our 2 hour slog, it was time to cool the feet in the crystal clear water  and regather our energy for the return journey. We tried to take a selfie with the lovely stream in the background, but my steamy glasses just didn't let that happen.

On the descent, Jim snapped a few shots of me rock manouvering.

Back at the trail carpark, there was another trail of one kilometre, to the triple drop Josephine Falls. When we had arrived at 8.30, the carpark had been completely empty. Now it was overflowing. We soon discovered hiking wasn't the plan for most occupants, but a refreshing dip in the pools of the falls was. The numerous accents indicated, that the majority of these young people, were backpackers from Europe, totally enjoying the North Queensland tropical winter temperature of 28C / 82F. My plan made during the last kilometre, to swim fully clothed, quickly changed to one of just soaking my feet.

What a magnificent trail this is. So fantastic to hike it, without the pressure of trying to reach a peak. 

I've never experienced such dense and luxuriant rainforest before. Masses of fallen leaves carpeted the trail, the dense canopy filtered the sunlight, trees and twisting vines soared skyward, lush green moss cocooned both fallen tree trunks and the small and giant boulders seen clinging in the most precarious of spots. Birdsong was muted, but in the distance we could hear the whispering of the stream. As we neared the falls, we were welcomed by their gentle musical notes, as they cascaded over and around rocks and boulders. In the height of summer this would be a very different scenario.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. That looks like a very strenuous hike, but well worth it by the sounds of it. Some of those boulders are huge.

    I am curious - what do you carry with you on all your hikes? You obviously are well kitted out and a very experienced hiker.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I have a water bladder that holds 2 litres of water but I usually take 1L. First aid kit, insect repellant, compass, whistle, sweets to suck on, muesli bars, garmin, hiking poles, umbrella, poncho, sun screen, small torch, thermal blanket, sit mat, buff for sweat, lady birds. I have gaiters for wet weather and now, depending on the density of the bush, wear them as snake protection. No matter where we walk, we always see folk in thongs and often not even carrying water.

    3. This is a very comprehensive pack. You are a very sensible hiker to be so well prepared, specially in some of the terrains that you hike. Gaiters I had not hear of ... now I know what they are... they would be perfect during winter round the farm!

  2. Wow - that looks like some seriously tricky terrain! Props to you and your brother - looks like you handled it expertly. I'd have jumped into that cool pool at the trailhead fully clothed! :)

  3. Thanks lovely ladies. The humidity was the main problem. So long as due care was taken it wasn't too difficult and it was just amazing all the way.

  4. Was that a 5 pound ladybug? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me. Another nice share!

    1. Just one from my collection. Alas we don't have red lady birds, just orange.

  5. I love the northern Queensland rainforest and like many tourists I've been to Josephine falls but the hike you took us on is something else! Wow, I can imagine the exhilarating feeling. Thanks for taking us on with you!

    1. So glad you've enjoyed some of our north Queensland paradise.It may be hot and steamy, but that is what creates the beauty.
      I wonder where else you have visited.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Truly stunning photographs. You do have the most amazing adventures, hoefully no ticks this time!
    The Rainforest is beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. Have a lovely weekend :)

  7. The scenery is amazing as always, Helen, but this time I was mesmerised by 'wait-a-while vine'! :) Needed to google... Do you mean Smilax australis or Calamus australis or something else? They look all very impressive! :)
    Have a great weekend! xx


    This site has a very good photo of this plant. As you will see the plant is hanging over the track. As you walk past the barbs cling to your skin and the only way to remove to them, is to walk backwards. If you are hiking quickly and don't see the vine it rips the skin quite painfully.

  9. Fascinating! :)
    Needless to say, we don't have anything like that.
    Thank you! Have a lovely weekend!

  10. Another superb rainforest walk and adventure - Indiana Jones style by the look of it. I fancy a swim in those falls as well