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About Bunya Mountains

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Getting there and getting around

The cool peaks of the Bunya Mountains rise above the surrounding plains. Photo Qld Govt.

The cool peaks of the Bunya Mountains rise above the surrounding plains. Photo Qld Govt.

The park can be reached via several steep, narrow and winding routes; follow the signed Great Bunya Drive. The Department of Transport and Main Roads advises that all access roads are unsuitable for travel by long and/or heavy vehicles. Discretion is urged with respect to caravans, large motorhomes and large buses. No fuel is available on the mountain.

From Brisbane via Toowoomba

Take Ipswich Motorway and then Warrego Highway 138 km west to Toowoomba. Continue 44 km to Jondaryan and turn right towards the Bunya Mountains. Travel 34 km to Maclagan, turn left and follow directional signs approximately 31 km to the Bunya Mountains. About 2 km of this road is gravel.

From Brisbane via Yarraman

Travel up the Brisbane Valley through Esk. Turn left to Yarraman then left again at Yarraman towards Toowoomba. 20 km from Yarraman turn right to Maidenwell. At Maidenwell turn left to the Bunya Mountains. About 3.8 km of the road is gravel.

From Dalby (south-west of the park)

Travel 25 km to Kaimkillenbun, turn right then the next left, travelling 30 km to Bunya Mountains via Yamsion. These roads are sealed.

From Kingaroy(north-east of the park)

Take the road via Kumbia and turn left towards the Bunya Mountains. The park is 56 km from Kingaroy via this route. These roads are sealed.

From Nanango (north-east of the park)

Take the road to Maidenwell and turn right to Bunya Mountains. This 55 km route has about 3.8 km of gravel.

Contact RACQ to enquire about local road conditions.

Wheelchair accessibility

Westcott and Burtons Well have wheelchair-accessible toilets.

Park features

From rainforest to grasslands, mountain streams to panoramic views, the Bunya Mountains are a haven for people and wildlife alike. Photo Qld Govt.

From rainforest to grasslands, mountain streams to panoramic views, the Bunya Mountains are a haven for people and wildlife alike. Photo Qld Govt.

Bracken fern carpets the shaded floor of the Bunya Mountains' forest. Photo courtesy Bruce Thomson.

Bracken fern carpets the shaded floor of the Bunya Mountains' forest. Photo courtesy Bruce Thomson.

Rising abruptly from the surrounding plains, the cool peaks of the Bunya Mountains reach more than 1100 m and offer spectacular mountain scenery, views and abundant wildlife.

Bunya Mountains National Park (declared in 1908) is Queensland’s second oldest national park. It shelters the world’s largest stand of ancient bunya pines Araucaria bidwillii and more than 30 rare and threatened species.

The bunya pines tower over tall, moist rainforest along the range crest, while hoop pines dominate dry rainforest on lower slopes. Subtropical rainforest, once the most widespread rainforest community in Queensland, grows along the range crest and upper parts of the eastern side of the mountains. Semi-evergreen vine thickets and at least seven other types of dry rainforest grow on the lower or western slopes. The park's forests shelter rare and threatened plants including orchids and small herbs. Natural grassland (locally known as 'balds') containing rare grass species are scattered across the mountains. The national park also protects open eucalypt forests, woodlands, brigalow scrub and the largest protected areas of vine thickets dominated by bottle trees in Australia.

The park is home to about 120 species of birds and many species of mammals, frogs and reptiles. Several rare and threatened animals live here including sooty owls, powerful owls, the black-breasted button quail, a skink species and a number of mammals. Birdlife is abundant, with brightly-coloured parrots being popular visitors to picnic areas.

Long revered by generations of Aboriginal people—travelling long distances every few years for feasts and celebrations coinciding with mass crops of bunya 'nuts'—the Bunya Mountains are for all a worthy destination. Picnic and camping areas and more than 35 km of walking tracks make it a wonderful place at which to escape the heat, or the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Camping and accommodation

Find out about the park at the information centre and outdoor interpretive displays at Dandabah. Photo: K Smith, Qld Govt.

Find out about the park at the information centre and outdoor interpretive displays at Dandabah. Photo: K Smith, Qld Govt.

Camping

The park has three main camping and picnic areas; Dandabah, Westcott and Burtons Well. All have toilets and picnic tables.

Dandabah is a large open area suitable for a range of camping experiences. Westcott and Burtons Well are suitable only for tents as cars must remain in sealed carparks nearby.

Camping permits are required and fees apply. Permits must be booked prior to arrival as permits cannot be issued on site. Book well ahead for school holidays and public holidays.

Other accommodation

Holiday accommodation (including cabins, guesthouses and houses for rent) are available near Bunya Mountains National Park. For more information see the tourism information links below or consult the local telephone directory or the internet.

Things to do

The Bunya Mountains park guide (available as a download from this site) contains maps, track notes and information to assist with your visit. Photo courtesy of Robert Ashdown.

The Bunya Mountains park guide (available as a download from this site) contains maps, track notes and information to assist with your visit. Photo courtesy of Robert Ashdown.

The cool mountain rainforest is an inviting place to walk. Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

The cool mountain rainforest is an inviting place to walk. Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Tracks along the western cliffs weave out into the open and to lookouts giving views to the west. Photo: Qld Govt.

Tracks along the western cliffs weave out into the open and to lookouts giving views to the west. Photo: Qld Govt.

Outdoor interpretive displays near the Dandabah picnic area help you learn more about the park. Photo: Qld Govt.

Outdoor interpretive displays near the Dandabah picnic area help you learn more about the park. Photo: Qld Govt.

Please do not feed the king parrots or other birds which may visit your picnic or camp. Photo courtesy Bruce Thomson.

Please do not feed the king parrots or other birds which may visit your picnic or camp. Photo courtesy Bruce Thomson.

Walking

Enjoy weaving in and out of diverse grasslands, eucalypt forest, rainforest and vine scrubs along the 35 km of walking tracks. Walks range from a 500 m stroll to a 10 km hike, many with impressive views.

Each track has been numbered and classified so that you are able to select a walk to match your walking experience and fitness. The classification system follows the Australian Walking Track Standards, and while each track is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be of an easier level.

Key to track standards

The classification system is based on Australian Standards. Please note that while each track is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be easier.

Class 3 track
  • Gently sloping, well-defined track with few steps or steep inclines.
  • Track may be uneven and partially overgrown.
  • Some caution needed at unfenced cliff edges and naturally occurring lookouts.
  • Reasonable level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.
Class 4 track
  • Distinct track. May be narrow, undulating and sometimes edged or overgrown with stinging nettles.
  • Some steps and steep inclines.
  • Exercise caution at unfenced cliff edges and naturally occurring lookouts.
  • Moderate level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.

Track notes

  • Allow 15–20 minutes to walk one kilometre.
  • Where tracks end at the road, halve distance if only walking one way.
  • The numbers in brackets before the track name are map references.

Eastern rainforest circuits

These walks start from Dandabah or the Paradise car park.

(1) Bunya Bunya track—500 m return (10 mins) Class 3

A short but pleasant rainforest walk featuring bunya pines starts and ends at the Dandabah picnic area.

(2) Scenic Circuit—4 km return from Dandabah picnic area (1 hr 20 mins) Class 3

Perhaps the most popular walk on the mountain, this track from the Dandabah picnic area passes through bunya pine forest and a variety of mountain scenery. This easy walk passes through a huge strangler fig and allows you to discover delightful rock pools and Festoon and Tim Shea falls. Pine Gorge lookout offers a panoramic view of the valleys and hills of the South Burnett.

(3) Barker Creek circuit track—10 km return (3–4 hrs) Class 3

Access this circuit track from Dandabah or Paradise car park. The track passes through spectacular rainforest, grassland and some eucalypt forest. Take a 750 m side track out to Big Falls lookout to view the falls and the valley to the north-east. Have lunch on the grassy bald above Big Falls and view Barker Creek Gorge. This circuit passes Paradise, Little and Tim Shea falls.

(4) Barker Creek Lookout—5.4 km return (2 hrs) Class 3

From the Paradise car park, follow Barker Creek past Paradise Falls and Little Falls to Big Falls lookout. The true splendour of the falls is only revealed after heavy rain. The valley beyond Big Falls has many large hoop pines.

Western walks

Most of the tracks along the western cliffs start and finish at picnic areas along the bitumen road and can be linked together to make a longer walk. If you wish to avoid a long return trip, you should arrange for a friend to pick you up or park your car at an exit point.

(5) Paradise to Westcott—6.4 km return (3 hrs) or 3.2 km one way plus 1.5 km return by road (2–3 hrs) Class 3

This track follows part of the cliff-line on the mountains' western side with Westcliff lookout providing clear views over the open plains of the Darling Downs. Soon after leaving the Paradise car park, the track passes through Little Pocket, one of the small natural clearings or 'balds' scattered over the Bunya Mountains.

(6) Koondaii circuit—2.5 km return (1 hr) Class 4

Leaving from the Westcott picnic area, this track zig-zags down the steep mountainside to a lookout with views over the Koondaii Valley. The return is a steady uphill climb.

(7) Westcott to Cherry Plain track—9.6 km return (3–4 hrs) or 4.8 km one way plus 1.8 km return by road (2–3 hrs) Class 4

From the Westcott picnic area, this track follows the cliff-line to provide views over remnants of bottletree scrubs protected in the park and on to the township of Bell and the plains below. Return to the road at Cherry Plain.

(8) Cherry Plain to Burtons Well—12 km return (4 hrs) or 6 km one way plus 2.4 km by road (3 hrs) Class 4

The Cherry Plain–Burtons Well track is the longest of the western walks and features many lookouts such as Bottletree Bluff and Ghinghion. For the easiest walk, begin at Burtons Well. In spring, the cliff-lines are edged with gold as king orchids Dendrobium speciosum flower.

(9) Mount Kiangarow track—2.3 km return (1 hr) Class 3

This track leads to the highest point of the Bunya Mountains—Mt Kiangarow's summit (1135 m). The track climbs gradually, winding around the mountain and leading to an avenue of grasstrees at the crest. From here the park and surrounding country can be viewed.

What to take on walks

  • Carry drinking water and nutritious snacks.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen, insect repellent and sturdy shoes.
  • Carry a first-aid kit and book.
  • Pick up a copy of the park's visitor guide on arrival and carry it (or this print out) with you on your walks.
  • Take warm clothing and raincoats as weather is changeable.

Other walking tracks

Russell Park, managed by the Western Downs Regional Council, also has walking tracks. They are not described here but can be accessed from the road heading south to Dalby.

Picnic and day-use areas

Dandabah, Westcott and Burtons Well are also picnic areas. All have toilets and picnic tables. Electric barbecues are available at Dandabah. Burtons Well and Westcott have wood barbecues with firewood supplied. Please use the wood sparingly.

Viewing wildlife

Brilliantly-coloured king parrots and crimson rosellas are sure to be seen on your visit, as are red-necked wallabies which feed in grassy areas. Look carefully and you might also see satin bowerbirds, green catbirds and the huge tadpoles of great barred-frogs.

Of the many animals that become active at night, the Bunya Mountains ringtail possums Pseudocheirus peregrinus rubidus is one you will not see anywhere else in the world.

See the description of the park's nature, culture and history for more details about the Bunya Mountains' diverse wildlife.

Things to know before you go

Walking tracks on the Barker Creek Circuit lead past waterfalls. Photo Qld Govt.

Walking tracks on the Barker Creek Circuit lead past waterfalls. Photo Qld Govt.

Essentials to bring

  • Bring drinking water, a fuel stove to boil water for drinking and/or chemical tablets to treat water.
  • Bring insect repellent to ward off ticks and tweezers to remove ticks from skin.
  • Take warm clothing and raincoats as weather is changeable.
  • No bins are provided at Burtons Well and Westcott. Centralised industrial bins are provided at Dandabah.

Opening hours

Bunya Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day. The information centre at Dandabah is open from 2 pm to 4 pm weekdays, park duties permitting.

Permits and fees

All camping areas within Bunya Mountains National Park require a camping permit and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site. Permits are not available at the park and must be purchased before you visit.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Bunya Mountains National Park.

Climate and weather

Bring warm clothing, even in summer. The Bunya Mountains have a cool climate and an annual rainfall of about 1000 mm. Heavy fog and mists occur at any time of year. Winter mornings can be frosty. On the hottest summer days the maximum temperature is usually only 25–27°C.

For more information see the tourism information links below or the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

A public telephone, restaurant, general store with basic supplies, art and craft galleries can all be found at Dandabah. Fuel is not available on the mountain. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Staying safe

Enormous grass trees are a memorable feature of the Bunyas' landscape. Photo Qld Govt.

Enormous grass trees are a memorable feature of the Bunyas' landscape. Photo Qld Govt.

Prepare carefully to get the most out of your walks at the Bunyas. Photo M. O'Connor, Qld Govt.

Prepare carefully to get the most out of your walks at the Bunyas. Photo M. O'Connor, Qld Govt.

Tick alert

Ticks are active all year round. Ticks bury their mouthparts into the skin, causing irritation and potentially illness or paralysis. Reduce exposure to ticks by wearing insect repellent. Avoid direct contact with grass, leaves, undergrowth and wildlife where possible.

Check yourself and children carefully for ticks as some can be quite small. If you find a tick, use fine tweezers to carefully lever it out then apply antiseptic. Expect some redness and swelling, but if you have a more severe reaction, seek medical advice promptly.

Avoid leaves that sting

Avoid stinging nettles and giant stinging trees and leaves, even if they appear to be dead. Wear long trousers and sleeves.

Bunya cone drop zone

Avoid lingering under bunya pines between December and March. That is when the soccer-ball sized cones weighing up to 10 kg fall from the tops of towering trees.

Take care with water

Water is not suitable for drinking. Boil or treat water from all sources before drinking or bring your own.

Tread safely

Take care on rocks, near waterfalls and at lookouts, especially in wet weather. Take care after rain as tracks may be muddy and slippery. Keep children under close supervision.

Some tracks end at the road. Return via the walking track, arrange a pick-up vehicle, or walk back along the road. Keep to the road edge and out of the path of vehicles.

In an emergency

In case of accident or other emergencies please:

  • call 000 or from mobile phones call 112
  • advise your location and nature of the emergency
  • stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.

Mobile phone coverage is not reliable, but you can often get a signal near Mt Mowbullan.

The nearest hospitals are located at Dalby and Kingaroy.

For more information about staying safe while visiting national parks, please read the guidelines on Safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

The delicate blossoms of lacebark carpet the forest floor in summer. Photo courtesy Bruce Thomson.

The delicate blossoms of lacebark carpet the forest floor in summer. Photo courtesy Bruce Thomson.

By observing these rules you will contribute to the protection and conservation of the park so it may continue to give enjoyment to you and others.

  • Stay on designated roads and tracks and please obey signs.
  • Leave pets at home. Dogs, cats and other domestic animals are not permitted in national parks.
  • Never feed birds, wallabies or other wildlife. Feeding wildlife human foods can lead to illness, disease and death or over-population of some species. Animals can also develop aggressive behaviour that affects the enjoyment and experience of other visitors.
  • All plants, animals and natural and cultural features of the national park are protected. Do not remove living or dead plant material (including bunya cones and fallen timber), rocks or animals.
  • Minimise rubbish. Please take your rubbish and recyclable waste off the mountains.
  • Take care with fire. If you light a fire, make sure it is out before you leave it. Use water, not sand or dirt, to extinguish the fire. Summer is a high fire risk time in the Bunya Mountains.
  • Sensitive waterways are not suitable for swimming. Please protect the aquatic life and water quality by staying out of the water.

See caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Bushwalking at the Bunyas in the 1940s. Photo courtesy NPAQ.

Bushwalking at the Bunyas in the 1940s. Photo courtesy NPAQ.

Bunya Mountains National Park was declared in 1908 and is Queensland's second oldest national park. It covers 11,700 hectares. See the description of the park's nature, culture and history for more information about the history and values of Bunya Mountains National Park.

A management plan for Bunya Mountains National Park will be prepared in the future.

Tourism information links

South Burnett Visitor Information Centres

www.tourism.southburnett.com.au

Kingaroy Information Art and Heritage Precinct
128 Haly Street
Kingaroy Q 4610
ph (07) 4162 6272
email kingaroyvic@southburnett.qld.gov.au
or
South Burnett Energy Centre
Henry Street
Nanango Q 4610
ph (07) 4171 0100
email nanangovic@southburnett.qld.gov.au

Dalby Visitor Information Centre

www.dalby.info
Thomas Jack Park
Drayton Street
Dalby Q 4405
ph (07) 4662 1066
email dalbyvic@onthenet.com.au

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see www.queenslandholidays.com.au.

Further information

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Last updated
29 November 2013