The best places to go bush in the Gladstone region
IF 'going out bush' is one of your favourite phrases and the smell of eucalyptus excites your bloodstream, this story is for you.
In Gladstone, we are privileged to be surrounded by no less than 14 national parks, each offering an easy escape to nature.
Ranger Tim Connolly shares his extensive knowledge of the gems hiding in our backyard.
Kroombit Tops National Park. Difficulty: 5/10
A stunning adventure for those with a full day to spare, a four wheel drive is recommended to capture the best views from the escarpment.
Ranger Tim calls Kroombit Tops "the gem of our region", with something to satisfy all nature enthusiasts.
For those seeking a challenge, the 13km escarpment walk promises breathtaking views of the Boyne Valley and a 20-minute rainforest walk with a chance of an ocean view on clear days.
If you're venturing out for the day in an off road vehicle, don't miss the opportunity of viewing World War II bomber crash site, Beautiful Betsy.
An amazing window into a tragic end for eight servicemen remains cliffside, after being discovered in 1994, a mere 50 years after its peril.
Curtis Island National Park. Difficulty: 6/10
Boating, fishing, camping and hiking, there is more to Curtis Island than industry and controversy.
Described as a "great camping hike on the coast" by Ranger Tim, the designated walking track is scattered with vegetation and offers privacy and an easily accessible weekend trip away.
The walking track links two available camping grounds on Turtle Street and Joey Lee with alcove beaches and promising headland views.
Bird watchers stay alert for the endangered yellow chat. Camping sites have few facilities, so visitors must be self-sufficient.
Mount Larcom Climb. Difficulty 7/10
Plan your trip well in advance. During the summer months an early departure time is highly recommended.
The backdrop to our city is a great vantage point on a clear day to secure a picturesque panorama of Gladstone and surrounds.
Experienced hikers can expect to reach the summit in an hour and a half. For those seeking a more relaxed approach to conquering Mount Larcom, expect to take two hours.
Ranger Tim says the climb is not suitable for those who experience knee problems, as the terrain presents challenges that may require the occasional vertical challenge.
Accessible from Targinnie, be sure to take ample water and a camera for the views from atop.
Bulburin National Park. Difficulty 8/10
The largest sub-tropical rainforest in central Queensland, Bulburin National Park is an essential bush walk for keen bird watchers.
Granite Creek is an idyllic picnic spot, although the terrain is quite rugged and is for experienced hikers.
As it's 120km south of Gladstone, set aside a full day or weekend to allow the best experience.
Alternatively, Ranger Tim says Bulburin National Park has awesome four wheel driving opportunities, and to look out for carpet snakes during exploration.
Dawes National Park. Difficulty 4/10
Close to Bulburin National Park, it is worth making the trip to Dawes National Park if in the area to catch a glimpse of history.
The former site of an old copper smelter and township, remnants of chimneys and the Glassford Creek Goldmine are a compelling window into life in the early 20th century.
With access by four wheel drives only, there presents a great opportunity to challenge your skills off road at Dawes National Park.
DON'T FORGET TO TAKE:
Before embarking on any bushwalk, there are esssential items you need to remember:
- Insect repellant
- Hiking boots: for safety and snake bite protection
- Ample amounts of water
- Sunscreen and a hat
- Navigation devices: a map, compass or similar
- Check the Department of National Parks website for updates before departing.
Kroombit Tops well worth the trip
AFTER recruiting three friends, including a photographer and two four wheel drive enthusiasts, I was finally ready to embark on a much anticipated trip to find Beautiful Betsy at Kroombit Tops.
Journeying around Australia had not brought me the opportunity to view the wreck of a plane crash resting in its 50-year-old grave, and I was impressed to learn Gladstone had such an artifact lying in its backyard.
The tragic story of eight servicemen departing Darwin and never reaching their destination of Brisbane was poignant, and to view the impact zone virtually untouched was a remarkable experience.
Ruins of the B-24D Liberator are scattered over yards of terrain, discovered in 1994 by a park ranger during seasonal burning off, replaced in its original position after surveying.
An amazing, insightful and truly unique experience. If you live in Gladstone, you need to prioritise a trip to Kroombit Tops.