After hiking this route over two days in March I am excited to be taking it easier over three days to really enjoy the bush. Mum is hiking with me, which makes it even more special.
Gheerulla Trail Bike Camp to Ubajee Walkers Camp
I wake in my bivy looking at stars through tall gum trees. The trail takes us along Gheerulla Creek, which cuts a deep but fairly wide valley through the mountains.
Mum sets a cracking pace. She’s an experienced bush walker who has spent most of the past three decades exploring South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales on foot. Before long we are deep in the narrowing Gheerulla Valley walking through palm trees and other rainforest species; stopping to eat morning tea on a small concrete bridge over Gheerulla Creek.
As we near the head of the valley the trail turns away from the creek. We rest here before starting the 1.8km (1 mile) climb to Ubajee Walker’s Camp far up above us on the top of the escarpment. The trail zig zags from the rainforest-lined creek bed through increasingly drier forest dominated by gum trees and she-oaks. We are both happy to arrive at camp and dump our packs. It’s only 11.45am so we have all afternoon to enjoy the serenity.
Ubajee Walkers Camp to Thilba Thalba Walkers Camp
After a comfortable night under the stars we descend back down to Gheerulla Creek. The descent on fresh legs is much easier than the climb was yesterday. We reach the creek quickly and are soon dropping our packs at the junction leading to Gheerulla Falls. The falls slither down the face of a slabby rock face before dropping like a veil into waterhole. I can only imagine the thousands of people who have swum and drunk in and from this pool over the millennia.
Leaving Gheerulla Creek we start the long climb up the range. There’s loads of mushrooms in white, purple, red and yellow. The climb is worth the effort; the views walking along the ridge are sensational. Each lookout shows vwhere we’ve walked and where we’re going. We reach Thilba Thalba Walker’s Camp around 2pm and settle in for a relaxing afternoon.
Thilba Thalba Walkers Camp to Gheerulla Trail Bike Camp
I wake up to a cold morning under the stars. Slowly the horizon changes from black to navy blue, grey to orange and finally to blue. The golden light of the sun filters through the trees and the coldest part of the morning comes to an end.
There’s no climbs today, which is refreshing. Thilba Thalba lookout affords us views of the flat farmlands below before we descend the bluff. We’re back down at Gheerulla Creek before we know it.