Monday, 28 January 2019

Return to Mt Cordeau and Bare Rock.

Wednesday 2nd January, 2019

After a few very pleasant days over Christmas temperature wise, our New Year saw an uncomfortable surge in the mercury and humidity that is still with us. The thought of walking, other than very early in the morning wasn't something I wanted to comtemplate. Hiker Jocelyn popped in for a coffee a few days prior to this Wednesday and I said "a] Do we want to walk this week and b] If so, where do you suggest?"

Joc was keen to walk and made a suggestion almost immediately. "I've always wanted to go back to ........", hesitatiion, "that lovely track to the rock. You know, the bare rock. It's on the road to Toowoomba."
Well, it took much questioning on my part, but eventually I realised it wasn't on the road to Toowoomba but on the road to Warick via Cunninghams Gap and was as my title suggests. 

We had discovered Mt Cordeau and Bare Rock in the winter of 2017 and were enthralled by its rainforest, views and rewarding gradient BUT it definitely wasn't a midsummer hiking destination. Situated west of Brisbane, the temperatures here are always several degrees higher than at home. I pointed this out to Joc but she was still keen. Other than Joc's sister Leanne, all the other Hungry Hikers were away travelling so didn't have to be considered, so I said let's go for it but we must leave very early and take an excess of water.

Below is the foggy view of Mt Cordeau as we approached at 6.15 am.

Below is our Great Dividing Range, with my arrow pointing to Cunninghams Gap. The photo was taken across the plain to the range, as we made our way home.

Mt Cordeau is on the LHS. The trail doesn't actually climb the peak but reaches a platform just below to the left. It then winds its way around the back of the range to Bare Rock on the right.

Leanne was in charge of bringing coffee but amazed us with this delicious breakfast frittata. The temperature as we sat here at 6.30 was 19C. Being Queenslanders, that is almost a cardigan temperature! Was the day going to be cooler than forecast?

We took Jocelyn's sister Marlene along as an honorary participant for the day. The three sisters made such great company to be with.

Getting started - Marlene was keen to lead the way.

"The Elephant Tree"

A fallen giant.

On entering the trail, we soon remembered why we had loved this trail so much. The flora and fauna had us oohing and aahing constantly and yes, the gradient was almost a walk in the park and every so often we would catch glimpses to distant peaks and plains.

We were the first group on trail and enjoyed its many variations.

Yet another well appreciated zig zag to ease the climb.


The canopy was quite thick and we remembered to look up often to see nature's beauty there.
 [Joc pic]

Looking down was a must to keep us upright but was equally rewarding.

Especially when recovering a pair of sunglasses!

A peek view across the dense rainforest, as we climb higher.

West to Warick.

A collage of greens.

A shaft of sunlight illuminating the forest floor.

Dark shade here.

Amazing nature - a King Orchid growing on the stump of a dead Grass Head stump, that is clinging to the edge of the cliff.

This staghorn is growing on the stump of a live Grass Head plant.

A very old Grass Head - three in one!

The Grass Head flower spike reaching to the sky.

I love this capture taken by Jocelyn, looking SE.

A short distance on from here, we rounded a corner to where there was a tiny gap in the rocks fenced off for safety, but offering our first view of the plains and back to Brisbane.
We had been surprised on our journey to Mt Cordeau, at how green this farmland was. Obviously, the ever so promising storms on the radar prior to Christmas had bipassed us and dropped their load here. No doubt the farmers had rejoiced.

Green views north and south east.

Looking directly south, we could see the Cunningham Highway snaking its way to The Gap below Mt Mitchell.

A short walk from this viewpoint had us at Mt Cordeau. 

As we posed here for photos, we could feel the strength of the heat of the day and wasted no time to head back into the cooling temperature of the canopy.

More greens.

A glimpse of red.

The stunning red of the Flame Tree, in contrast to the forest greens.

A short, narrow opening behind Mt Cordeau gave us more views of the plain.

The back of Mt Cordeau.

This slightly over grown trail had us treading warily, on the alert for snakes sunning themsleves.

The moss on this section gave the trail a primeval feel.


Joc has had her wish fullfilled - celebrating at Bare Rock!


This is my favorourite view of the day, looking north along the range.
We are in awe of all our explorers, but how did Alan Cunningham find his way through here to the Darling Downs in 1828.

View west to the Darling Downs.

Finding a shady spot for lunch.

Thanks Jocelyn for this lovely capture.

With time on our side, we took a 350m diversion trail to this outlook.

Stunning lianas.

Brown Cuckoo Doves.

Leanne was leading the hiking peloton, when she let out a loud squeal. Her hiking pole had almost landed on this beautiful python, resting in the sun parallel to the track. The only snake we are happy to see.

15 kms hiked and on the road home, we stopped for a 'cuppa' in a park at Aratula, before making the full journey. The only shade we could find was against this fence, but in the 35C temperature, we didn't mind at all sitting on the ground. 

Thanks Jocelyn for initiating this hike. I had expected a hot, steamy and energy sapping day but the rainforest took care of us. What a spectacularly beautiful and rewarding day. My happiness metre was at its zenith!

I've just read of a hiking group who organise full moon hikes to Mt Cordeau. This has been added to my 'must do' list.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. Just Wow! What an amazing hike, spectacular forests, stunning views and that python! Very impressed you went out hiking on such a hot day but the rewards were there for all to see.

    1. It certainly was Andy. I still can't believe we kept so relatively cool. Perhaps being the couple of hours further inland, the humidity wasn't as high. Mt Mitchell, opposite, is on the radar for this winter.

  2. Wow - a hike certainly worth getting up early for.

  3. In this weather I am only prepared to do anything physical that is all done and dusted by midday. I would never have taken on that hike no matter how early the start but would have really missed something ... it was clearly a wonderful walk.

  4. I really enjoyed this walk. The king orchid resembled hungry baby birds in a nest. In some of the posts from Australia, the land resembles California. In your pictures, I KNOW I'm in a very different place. Thanks, Helen.

  5. Wow - what a climb and great scenery! Amazing that you all had the stamina in that heat.

  6. Another great hike. I have to smile at following along through that green rainforest as the temperatures drop and the snow gathers shadows here. I love the plants, trees, and mosses you photographed. Well done, ladies!

  7. A breakfast like that at the trail head, it looks delicious! You had such pretty scenery for this hike, except for that snake! UGH! Considering how hot it was, no one looks wilted. Great job ladies, you rock!

  8. I'm not a big fan of heat and humidity. I'm sure you are thankful for that cooling and beautiful canopy. What spectacular scenery! And, by the way, that tree trunk really does look like an elephant.

  9. Wait, a python? Really? Your hikes are more dangerous than mine!

  10. A python isn't dangerous. This one didn't even flinch as we walked passed. Other snakes usually slither away quickly when they sense our footsteps.
    It would be interesting to see stats on death by snake bite v death by bear.

  11. I chuckle when you refer to 19 degrees as "almost cardigan weather." For me, 19 to 23 is just about the perfect temperature range. In these conditions you can do just about any outdoor activity in perfect comfort, winter sports excepted of course. As always, you have chosen a fabulous location to indulge your passion. And thanks for the picture of the Brown Cuckoo-Doves!