Paronella Park, Mena Creek, QLD

Day 236 – 10th October 2011
Paronella Park, Mena Creek, QLD

Today was the day to climb Mt Bartle Frere (1622m ABSL), the tallest peak in Queensland. From the campsite it is about a 1300m climb to the summit over 4.5km. We set off at 6am and it took us 2h15 to reach the top camp (approx 1000m climb over 4km distance). Quite a demanding walk with some very steep sections clinging onto tree roots to climb these steeper sections.  The top camp offered uninterrupted views of the coast and surroundings, although a little hazy as the weather is starting to get warmer with the upcoming wet season. After a rest we started the final 300m climb to the top where you have to scramble over large boulders in the final stages. Finally we made it! We enjoyed a snack and took a few photos. The views are limited from the top due to the trees, however there is one spot where you can climb a couple of boulders to get a view towards the coast. After a good rest we started the descent back to base camp. In all it was a 6h return hike back to base camp including the rests we had at the top camp and at the summit. Back at base camp we had lunch, packed up our gear and headed back to Josephine falls. It was good to finally make it back to Josephine Falls by 3pm where we waisted no time hopping into our bathers and having a swim in the beautiful Josephine Falls. After this refreshing dip we drove via the Canecutters Way to Paronella Park, a 5 hectare park with the ruins of two once-grand castles. The complex was built in the 1930s to bring a whimsical entertainment centre to the area’s hard working folk. Today the mossy Spanish ruins have an almost medieval feel and there are numerous walking trails past the waterfall and through the beautiful gardens. Admission to the park ($36pp) includes a guided day and evening tour and free camping, so we decided to stay here for the night. We had a quick dinner and joined the evening tour viewing the beautiful lit waterfall and buildings.

Sunrise in the rainforest

It's a steep way up

Enjoying a rest at the 5th km mark

Resting at top camp where they have a heli pad

Views from top camp

Views from top camp

Views from top camp
Continuing our way to the top

Scrambling over boulders

Finally we have our destination in sight

And we made it to the top

Highest peak in Queensland

Enjoying a rest

View from the summit

A bit hazy but wonderful scenery

On our way down again

Where is the trail?

Top camping site in view

Carefully climbing back down

Cooling down at base camp

Back at Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls

Andrew taking in the surroundings

Sliding down

Having a swim

Nice refreshing swim

Canecutters Way

South Johnstone

More sugar cane fields

The castle at Paronella Park

The castle at Paronella Park

The castle at Paronella Park


The lower refreshment rooms
Waterfall later at night

The castle later at night

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