When you think of a Queensland family holiday it inevitably includes sun, sand, surf and thrills at theme parks.
However just a hop skip and jump over the border from NSW you’ll find one of Queensland’s best kept secrets – Mt Barney National Park – a magical wilderness park filled with towering mountain peaks, picturesque creeks and waterholes, beautiful waterfalls and adventurous tracks and trails.
Located within the Scenic Rim Region, Mount Barney National Park It is one of the largest areas of undisturbed natural vegetation remaining in South East Queensland and is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
The distinctive peaks of Mount Barney, Mount Maroon, Mount May, Mount Lindesay, Mount Ernest, Mount Ballow and Mount Clunie make up Mount Barney National Park – and are the remains of an ancient volcano which erupted 24 million years ago.
An easy 90-minute drive from the Gold Coast and Brisbane, Mount Barney is one of our favourite places to explore when we want to head inland for a short-break and get back to nature.
We recently revealed our ‘secret spot’ to a group of families we regularly camp with for a short 3-night getaway.
We stayed at Mount Barney Lodge, which is literally at the base of Mount Barney surrounded by bush, creek frontage and a nearby waterhole.
We had a group of 5 families, so camping was the best option. The grassed and shady campground is spacious and with no allocated sites it means you can have a look around when you arrive and pick your favourite spot. You’re never too close to your neighbour’s so there is room to spread out, relax by the campfire and enjoy the spectacular views of Mount Barney.
If camping is not your thing, there are other great accommodation options (all very reasonably priced) including two Queenslander homesteads, and two rustic family cabins.
As soon as we arrived, the kids were off and exploring their surrounds. The creek provided hours of fun as they paddled and rock hopped. The older ones swam in the nearby waterhole and braved the jump from the rocks above. Aside from their bikes, we didn’t need to take anything else to ‘entertain’ the kids – mother nature did it for us!
Walking is very popular in the area. However, with such rugged terrain, many of the trails are for experienced hikers and climbers only- including the Mount Barney summit tracks. However, there are lots of options to explore around the base of the mountain.
On our second day we took the kids on the Cronan Creek Falls walk. It was a 12km return, and took just under 4 hours return. The well marked trail – a mostly flat, dirt road – was easy to navigate for everyone. Our kids took their bikes and could ride most of the way. The trail takes you through lush pastures, bushland, across creeks and into ancient rainforests to a beautiful waterfall and waterhole. Despite it being the middle of winter, the kids just had to go in and sit under the waterfall – so take a towel and swimmers!
On our last day the dads took the kids on a 4WD adventure and the mums ventured just down the road to the cellar door at the Barney Creek Vineyard Cottages to sample some of the local wines.
If you have more time and wanted to explore the region there’s the quaint town of Boonah, Queen Mary Falls, Moogerah and Maroon Dams – all an easy drive from the campground. Or if you’re happy to stay close by, the team at Mount Barney Lodge offer a kid’s activity program, plus guided walks and rock climbing for all levels.
We could have easily spent a week there, however 3 days was just enough to recharge the batteries and get back to nature. It’s such a special spot, and while we’ve seen it gaining in popularity over the years, it still feels like it’s well off the beaten track and our ‘secret’ getaway place. The kids can’t wait to return!