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About Girraween

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Getting there and getting around

Girraween is situated approximately 260 km by road south-west of Brisbane. To reach the park, turn off the New England Highway 26 km south of Stanthorpe or 30 km north of Tenterfield. The winding bitumen road continues a further 9 km east through the Wyberba Valley to the park information centre.

The alternative road from Stanthorpe to Girraween via Eukey and Storm King Dam has some gravel sections.

Wheelchair accessibility

The Castle Rock camping area amenities block and the Bald Rock Creek day-use area facilities are suitable for visitors in wheelchairs.

Park features

Bald Rock Creek. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Bald Rock Creek. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Girraween National Park boasts massive granite outcrops, balancing boulders, clear running streams and spectacular wildflowers in spring.

Golden wattles, yellow, red and purple pea flowers, dainty orchids and flannel flowers grow amid forests of red-gum, stringybark and blackbutt. Frogs, lizards and snakes rustle among the leaf litter. Brilliant turquoise parrots, yellow-tufted honeyeaters and superb fairy-wrens splash the granite-strewn countryside with colour, while red-necked wallabies, brush-tailed possums and spiny echidnas weave their way through the wonders of the woodland.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camp at either Bald Rock Creek or Castle Rock camping areas. Walk-in bush camping is permitted in some parts of the park, subject to limits on numbers. Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

A range of holiday accommodation is available in and around Stanthorpe and Tenterfield. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Things to do

Girraween National park is a great place for walking. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Girraween National park is a great place for walking. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Walking up The Pyramid. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Walking up The Pyramid. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Walking

Girraween has 17 km of walking tracks, ranging from a 280 m stroll beside Bald Rock Creek to an 11 km return walk to Mount Norman. Most walks start near the visitor information centre and day-use area—except where indicated. Main tracks are well defined but expect rocky sections and steep upper slopes.

More experienced walkers with navigation skills can access an extensive fire trail network. A topographic map is required when using these remote tracks, none of which are described here.

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 2 track
  • Easy, level track, suitable for all fitness levels.
Class 3 track
  • Gently sloping, well-defined track with slight inclines or few steps.
  • Caution needed on decomposed granite and exposed natural lookouts.
  • Reasonable level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.
Class 4 track
  • Distinct track usually with steep exposed granite inclines or many steps.
  • Caution needed on decomposed granite and exposed natural lookouts.
  • Moderate level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.
Walking tracks at a glance

Matching experience and expectations—to make your planning easier, simply match your expectations and experience with the most suitable track or trail.

All track distances are measured as return distances to their starting point unless otherwise indicated.
Track name Distance Duration Classification
Wyberba Walk 280 m 15 min  Class 2
Granite Arch 1.6 km 30 min  Class 3
Bald Rock Creek circuit 2.2 km 1 hr  Class 3
The Pyramid 3.6 km 2 hr   Classes 3 and 4
The Junction 3.7 km 1.5–2 hr from camping area  Class 3
The Junction 5.2 km 2 hr from day-use area  Class 3
Dr Roberts Waterhole 1.2 km 30 min  Class 2
Underground Creek 2.8 km 1–1.5 hr   Classes 2 and 3
Castle Rock 5.2 km 1.5–2 hr   Classes 3 and 4
The Sphinx & Turtle Rock 7.4 km 3–4 hr   Classes 3 and 4
Mount Norman 11 km 4–5 hr   Classes 3 and 4
Mount Norman day-use area 4 km 1.5–2 hr from Mount Norman day-use area   Classes 3 and 4

Northern section walks

Tracks start from Bald Rock Creek day-use area or Bald Rock Creek camping area.

Short or easy walks

 Wyberba walk (Class 2)

Distance: 280 m

Time: Allow 15 minutes return

Details: Stroll beside the peaceful waters of Bald rock Creek for views of The Pyramid and spring wildflower displays. Glimpse wrens, thornbills and bowerbirds; or even a short-necked Bells turtle during the warmer part of the day.

 Granite Arch (Class 3)

Distance: 1.6 km circuit

Time: 30 minutes return

Details: If time is limited, or if you prefer an easy stroll, this circuit track is ideal. Cross bald Rock Creek and wind through blackbutt and stringybark forest to Girraween's very own natural stone archway.

 Bald Rock Creek circuit (Class 3)

Distance: 2.2 km circuit

Time: 1 hour return

Details: This circuit is ideal for a sample of Girraween’s finest features, with ample opportunity to see some of Giraween’s feathered, furred or scaly residents.

Cross Bald Rock Creek and follow it downstream along The Junction Track until it meets the track from the camping area. Use the stepping stones to cross the creek again and return to the day-use area via the camping area.

 The Junction (Class 3)

Distance: 5.2 km

Time: 2 hours return from the Bald Rock Creek day-use area or

Distance: 3.7 km

Time: 1.5-2 hours return from the Bald Rock Creek camping area

Details: Enjoy an easy walk along the northern bank of Bald Rock Creek downstream to its junction with Ramsay Creek. In dry seasons, these creeks may not run.

A must for wildflower lovers, this track is scattered in spring with superb wildflower displays. Flowering shrubs fringing the creek provide nectar for honeyeaters and parrots. Superb fairy-wrens, red-browed firetails and thornbills move through creek bank thickets seeking insects.

Longer or more difficult walks

  The Pyramid (Classes 3 and 4)

Distance: 3.6 km

Time: 1.5–2 hours return

Details: If the climb doesn't take your breath away, views of Balancing Rock, the Second Pyramid and over Girraween National Park will. Leave the Granite Arch track and weave steadily uphill through eucalypt forests, past rocky outcrops and grassy flats to the base of this massive granite dome.

A good level of fitness is required to make the climb up The Pyramid as the ascent of the exposed rock face is steep and may be tiring. Take your time to rest and enjoy the view.

Warning: the summit has steep cliffs and potentially slippery surfaces. Avoid climbing when wet. Keep to the track and supervise children closely.

There is no walking track to the Second Pyramid and considerable rock climbing experience is necessary to scale it.

Northern tracks combined

 Bald Rock Creek circuit and Granite Arch (Class 3)

Distance: 2.7 km

Time: 1.5–2 hours return

Details: Add a 250 m detour to Bald Rock Creek circuit by including a visit to the majestic Granite Arch.

 The Pyramid, Granite Arch and Junction Tracks (Class 3)

Distance: 8.3 km

Time: 3.5–4 hours return

Details: Combine The Pyramid, Granite Arch and Junction tracks for a memorable half day hike. Take a break atop The Pyramid before heading back to Granite Arch and down to the cool refreshing waters of Bald Rock Creek at The Junction.

Southern section walks

Tracks start from the southern side of Pyramids Road near the Girraween Information Centre or Castle Rock camping area.

  Castle Rock (Classes 3 and 4)

Distance: 5.2 km

Time: 1.5–2 hours return

Details: Panoramic views from Castle Rock are breathtaking. The track varies from gentle to moderate gradients until the steep climb over exposed granite rocks to the summit. Black cypress, stringybarks and orange gums grow in woodlands on the rocky ridges, while yellow box and brown gums provide shade and good birdwatching along the way.

Warning: the summit has steep cliffs and potentially slippery surfaces. Keep to the track and supervise children closely.

  The Sphinx and Turtle Rock (Classes 3 and 4)

Distance: 7.4 km

Time: 3–4 hours return

Details: Branch off before Castle Rock and take an easy walk along a ridge top with some granite slabs. The Sphinx is a granite pinnacle bearing a large balancing tor, while Turtle Rock is a large granite monolith resembling a turtle's back.

  Mount Norman (Classes 3 and 4)

Distance: 11 km

Time: 4–5 hours return

Details: Continue past Castle Rock and trek to the rocky slabs below Mount Norman, where the gradient varies from gentle to moderate. See the Eye of the Needle on Mount Norman's northern face. The track ends at the base of the Mount Norman monolith. The final approach to the summit is steep and rock climbing experience is needed to reach the absolute top. Do not attempt to rock climb alone.

  Southern tracks combined (Classes 3 and 4)

Distance: 15.4 km

Time: 6–7 hours return

Details: For a full day hike, combine Castle Rock, The Sphinx and Turtle Rock tracks with a hike to Mount Norman. For a shorter 5.5–6 hour option, walk to Castle Rock and Mount Norman. A hike to Castle Rock, The Sphinx and Turtle Rock takes 4—5 hours.

  Mount Norman (from Mount Norman day-use area)
(Classes 3 and 4)

Distance: 4 km return

Time: 1.5–2 hours

Details: The walk through rock gardens and stands of graceful Wallangarra white gums on the southern face of Mount Norman is gently sloping, but has some steep sections. Look south for picturesque views of South, Middle and West Bald Rocks. The track ends at the base of the Mount Norman monolith. The final approach to the summit is steep and rock climbing experience is needed to reach the absolute top. Do not attempt to rock climb alone.

Remember: take water, as it is not available at the Mount Norman day-use area.

Eastern section walks

Tracks start from Dr Roberts carpark 4 km east of the Girraween Information Centre along unsealed Pyramids Road.

 Dr Roberts Waterhole (Class 2)

Distance: 1.2 km

Time: 30 minutes return

Details: Take the gently sloping track to gaze at reflections in the still waters of Bald Rock Creek. Ground orchids, banksias, conesticks, geebungs and crinkle bushes are prominent in spring, as are the many colourful bird species living among them.

  Underground Creek (Classes 2 and 3)

Distance: 2.8 km

Time: 1–1.5 hours return

Details: Leave the Dr Roberts Waterhole track to pass through swamp communities, woodland and shrub land on the way to Underground Creek. Features of this walk include spectacular wildflowers varied birdlife a nd a creek that disappears beneath boulders that have fallen from cliffs above.

Guided tours and talks

There may be ranger-guided walks and talks in holiday times. Contact the Girraween National Park Visitor Information Centre for more details.

Information Centre

Spend time in the Girraween National Park Visitor Information Centre learning about Girraween's fascinating natural and cultural heritage, its wildflowers and dramatic landforms.

Picnic and day-use areas

Bald Rock Creek day-use area is next to the Girraween National Park Visitor Information Centre, at the base of The Pyramid, 9 km from the New England Highway. Toilets, picnic tables, electric barbecues and water are provided. It is recommended that you boil or treat water before drinking, or bring your own drinking water supplies.

Mount Norman day-use area can be reached by 2WD vehicles along unsealed Mt Norman Road about half an hours drive from Wallangarra. Pit toilets and picnic tables are provided, but water is not. Only 4WD vehicles may continue 12 km north to meet with Pyramids Road.

Viewing wildlife

Girraween offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. See kangaroos, possums and many colourful birds. Enjoy the colourful wildflower displays in spring.

With over 750 plant, 150 bird, 22 mammal, 23 frog and 45 reptile species, Girraween guarantees its visitors a close encounter of a natural kind.

See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Girraween's diverse wildlife.

Things to know before you go

Full moon over granite - be prepared for cold nights at Girraween. Photo Robert Ashdown.

Full moon over granite - be prepared for cold nights at Girraween. Photo Robert Ashdown.

Essentials to bring

Bring warm clothing and sturdy foot wear, and be prepared for cold changes in the weather at any time. Winter nights can reach –8 °C but are on average a minimum of 2 °C. Summer days are warm (25–30 °C) with cool nights averaging 15 °C.

Rubbish bins are not provided. Please bring rubbish bags, and take all recyclables and rubbish with you when you leave.

Electric barbecues are provided in the day-use area. Preferably use fuel or gas stoves when camping, but if you do wish to use the barbecues provided, please bring your own wood. Firewood can be purchased at Stanthorpe, Glen Aplin, Ballandean or Tenterfield. Never collect wood from the bush. Take care with fire, keep your fires below the grate and make sure your fire is out before you leave it, especially during hot or windy conditions.

Bring your camera and binoculars for viewing wildlife. A torch, preferably with a red filter to protect animals' eyes, is useful for spotlighting at night.

Opening hours

Girraween National Park is open 24 hours a day. The Girraween National Park Visitor Information Centre is usually open 7 days a week during office hours, park duties permitting.

Permits and fees

To camp in the national park a permit is required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site. Permits can be pre-booked and bookings should be made well in advance for all public holidays, long weekends and school holidays. At other times campers may pre-book or self-register on site.

  • Camping fees must be paid before you camp overnight.
  • Bookings may be made 12 months in advance.
  • Bookings are accepted only when accompanied by the appropriate fee.
  • If you wish to extend your stay, you must re-register.
  • Book your campsite online.
  • If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Girraween National Park.

Climate and weather

Not far from the Queensland–New South Wales border, Girraween National Park has more in common with cooler southern climes than with the Sunshine State. Crisp winter weather provides skies of blue and picturesque morning frosts. Spring conditions entice an amazing display of wildflowers and wildlife.

Be prepared for cold changes any time. Girraween National Park is pleasantly cool most of the year round. Winters are usually dry and cold with frosty nights reaching an average minimum of -4 °C. Summers days are a warm 25–30 °C with cooler nights averaging 15–18 °C. Most rain falls between November and March with an average annual rainfall of 850 mm per year.

For more information see the tourism information links below.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at Stanthorpe and Tenterfield with limited supplies and fuel at Ballandean and Wallangarra. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Staying safe

Balancing Rock. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Balancing Rock. Photo: Jolene McLellan, NPRSR.

Your safety is our concern but your responsibility.

  • Choose walks that suit the capabilities of your entire group.
  • Stay together and keep on designated walking tracks. Always supervise children.
  • Read all signs. Signs at every track entrance indicate the distance, degree of difficulty, duration of walks and any necessary precautions.
  • Be very careful in rainy and windy conditions; granite rocks become extremely slippery when wet.
  • Decomposed granite can also be slippery.
  • Stay well back from edges of rock faces.
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen, comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes with good grip.
  • Take a basic first-aid kit.
  • Always carry drinking water.
  • Never dive or jump into Bald Rock Creek. The water flow varies and submerged rocks and logs are dangerous.

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

In an emergency

In case of accident or other emergency:

  • call Triple Zero (000) or
  • from mobile phones if you cannot reach Triple Zero (000), try 112
  • call 106 for a text-only message service for deaf, or speech or hearing impaired people
  • advise the location and nature of the emergency
  • stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.

The nearest hospital is located at Stanthorpe. Mobile phone coverage is not reliable in Girraween National Park, but may be possible in areas with high elevation or towards the New England Highway.

Looking after the park

We can all help protect Girraween's beautiful but fragile landscape for future generations. Photo: Robert Ashdown, NPRSR.

We can all help protect Girraween's beautiful but fragile landscape for future generations. Photo: Robert Ashdown, NPRSR.

Help us care for Girraween National Park by observing a few simple rules.

  • Never feed, chase or scare native animals.
  • Do not bring pets into the national park. Domestic animals can distress or kill native animals living in Girraween National Park.
  • Remember everything in Girraween National Park (living or dead) is protected—including wildflowers, wildlife, and even rocks and timber.
  • Do not strip bark from trees or raid the bush for firewood (even for kindling).
  • Take care with fire. Only light fires in the barbecues provided and keep your fire beneath the grate and plate.
  • Be tidy. Take all rubbish and recyclables away from the park for proper disposal.
  • Keep to designated walking tracks. They are designed to have minimal impact on the environment and lead you to the more outstanding features without damaging the park.
  • Do not use soap and detergent in Girraween National Park's creek and waterholes—they pollute the water.
  • Be considerate towards other visitors to Girraween National Park. Keep noise levels to a minimum and do not use generators or compressors.

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

Park management

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) manages Girraween National Park to conserve its natural and cultural resources, to present these resources and their values, and to ensure that use of these resources is nature-based and ecologically sustainable.

See the Girraween National Park Management Plan 2010 (PDF, 1.8M)* for more details about the management of this national park.

Tourism information links

For more information about activities, tours and accommodation in this region, contact:

Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre
www.southerndownsholidays.info/destinations

28 Leslie Parade, Stanthorpe Qld 4380
ph 1800 762 665
fax (07) 4681 1200
email info@granitebeltwinecountry.com.au 

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Local and natural history information about Girraween can be found at www.rymich.com/girraween/

Further information

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Last updated
17 September 2013