Trip reports, stories, track notes. Multiple/large photos are OK in this forum.
Tue 22 May, 2018 10:29 pm
Richmond Gap and Grady's Gap sit on the McPherson Range along which the state border projects westward. They both sit only hundreds of metres apart astride a spur on the Queensland (north) side. The railway line, moving south from Beaudesert in Queensland travels up the Running Creek valley and tunnels under the spur to then descend into New South Wales. In 1975 the Lions Club used money raised to extend the road on the Qld side to cover the Running Ck valley and a crossing of the border at Richmond Gap. It makes for a great tourist drive. It also provides easier access to Grady's Ck, Brindle Ck and the west side of the Tweed Range for Queenslanders west of Lamington NP or in Brisbane. A campground with toilets and vehicle access is situated beside Running Ck.
The next border gate to the west is at Glennie Gap, 28 km on foot. It is a locked gate.You have to pass through some paddocks in Qld to get there and it is better suited to 4WD's. I have gained access by car through the state forest in Nsw but failed in another attempt due to treefall. Collins Gap is a further 4 km around the back (south) of Mt.Lindesay. The Mt.Lindesay Hwy passes through here. It is immediately south of Mt.Ernest and Mt.Barney.
Walking the border fence hadn't really occurred to me as a walk of interest. I found it listed as a club walk in a shop. I was NOT a member but was allowed to participate in a walk before becoming a member. I had bushwalked alot by then but was always on the lookout for companions. I persuaded my primary bushwalking companion to join me. That opened up a side of bushwalking that i was not previously familiar with. I'm glad to have yet another perspective on the matter. Group walking takes on many different considerations.
This walk was in 1998, led by the late Ken Fraser. It was to be undertaken over two days.
With the border fence all the way, navigation was of no great concern. It seemed like it would be a social type of walk but then some of the hills certainly cut out any conversation. The hills are relentless and anyone who has done it would testify that it is not a cakewalk. Names are given to some parts, like the 'big dipper'. A depression which descends 50 -100m to bottom out and ascend the same again. Looking back, you'd swear the distance between the two hilltops was no more than 50 - 100m. Add the slipperiness of the smooth muddy floor in rainforest conditions and you're counting on every little stone or break in the surface for a purchase. Two days though, took some pressure off. I believe the first day was only about twelve kilometres. The car shuttle takes a bit of time at the start of the trip.
From Richmond Gap, the route starts easy and fairly flat on the Nsw side. Passing a farm house (with dogs) in the first hundred metres and continuing on a little further will allow you to jump over to the better side at a gate. HeeHee. The route is in Qld to Glennie Gap. It moves to Nsw to round Mt.Lindesay.
Moving over Grady's Gap the route starts to ascend for an abrupt introduction to the nature of what is to come. Great exercise.
The first several kilometres toward Long Ck Falls ( about the 9 k mark), is festooned with views into Queensland. Directly opposite to the north is Mt.Chinghee. East of that is Neglected Mtn and even further up valley is the back of the Lamington escarpment. To the west Mt.Maroon gets a look in. The Nsw side tends to be heavily forested and devoid of views except fairly early on and then only of bush. Some farmland in Qld almost extends up to the border fence. A few kilometres in is a recently hewn timber table with bench seats at a nicely mown lookout.
A brilliant place to spy the train coming up valley.
The last kilometre or so to Long Creek Falls is narrower and long drops are hidden by vegetation. Hoop Pines are a feature along here. The odd glimpse into Nsw over Long Ck shows parts of Levers Plateau. There is a descent that is short with a couple of steep steps which brings you to a narrow saddle. Steep drops into Nsw allow a view of the falls but the top, at the same altitude, is generally hidden from view.
If you go uphill after your fence crossing and contour south you may wind up above a cliffline of a few metres height which forms the northern bank of the creek. You will be compelled to go east and down to find a small break to scramble down from a tree and over rocks to the top of the falls . A great place for a break. If it's wet, there may be leaches.
From Long Creek Falls the border fence continues west, uphill mostly for the next 5 kilometres. The New South Wales side remains densely rainforested whilst the Queensland side may have the odd opening. Soon a gate heralds the start of the avocado farm. I think they have moved on from farming avocado's but that is the only name that I have for it. The farm reaches within metres of the fence and it almost feels as though you are in their lap. Long Creek is only a few minutes away on the New South Wales side. The only chance of views here would be on the east as you enter the farm. From the beginning of the farm the route takes a south west turn.
On this particular 2 day walk in 1988 we camped between the falls and the farm. My friend and I hammocked on the New South Wales side whilst all the others bivied in Queensland. Later, as a leader of club walks and in dealing with customers of a retail outlet I would draw on a memory of this walk. I used a 30 litre pack and it was so tightly packed that it sat like a ball on my back. The harness of a pack that size isn't going to miss being compromised with a load meant for a better harness. Anyway I managed on the walk and I stubbornly defended my choice at that time.
It is worth noting that the wildlife can be prolific along here, particularly reptiles and birds. We once saw an echidna. I looked down one time to see I was halfway along an 8 foot carpet python hugging the fence. Snakes use the area as a hunting ground as small animals are trapped by the fence. I have dodged a more aggressive one while it digested its kill. A huge lump behind its head prevented it from making such a good strike. There is a good chance you would see red or yellow tailed black cockatoos. I recall on that very walk in 98 a treelopper named Ian was pulling a carpet snake by the tail from the long grass beside the road in a clearing below Mount Tanna. The muscles in the snake could be seen twisting, resisting yet likely readying itself for a quick recoil. I could only think how stupid he would look if it all went wrong. Ian had a penchant for sticking his pen knife into the head of any cane toad. I believe there has been a drop in snake numbers because of cane toads.
Tarters Creek Road descends from the avocado farm to Running Creek. I would descend this in 2008 in suspending a Scenic Rim walk six days in (10 days from Glenrock Regional Park to Mount Tomewin) Two hitches, one taxi, and a train ride got me home to Brisbane.
About a kilometre and a half westward from the start of the avocado farm a descent leads to a saddle with a westerly turn and then northwest uphill. The other side of the fence is an area at the top of two ridges leading parallel down into New South Wales. These are Queensland Ridge and Mahoney Spur. You are now west of Levers Plateau.
Just after the saddle it rises and veers north west to 780 metres altitude. It's only about a 70m rise. The top of the rise connects with a ridge from the northwest but the fence resumes a westerly route. The ridge from the northwest comes from a farm road. It is overgrown a bit but still provides a good short route from Mt.Lindesay Hwy to the border fence to access Mahoney Spur or Queensland Ridge in New South Wales.
Continuing west the next section is only a few hundred metres of high ground before a turn southwest and then south in a steep descent. Approximately a kilometre and a half further it turns west again. After a few kilometres a road leaves the fence and drops to the right for a kilometre or so to a gate. Water is often accessible along here. This is a bypass of Mount Tanna through a section of cleared land with some yards in the northwest corner. They sit atop a good road leading down to Palen Creek Forest Station. The route back to the border fence is in the top western corner at a gate. It can get particularly muddy through this next section as water seeps from Mount Tanna and crosses the road in many places. The border fence is reached after a short steep rise.
The route remains forested for the next couple of kilometres before views start opening out towards Mount Barney and Mount Lindsay. Some of the descents are stony and steep. There are signs that vehicles have used winches. It is drier forest here.
A 90 degree turn in the fence, left, also reveals a road dropping to the right. The border fence goes south toward Mount Glennie and then rises some.
The road goes down to a reservoir which is the Palen Creek prison farm water supply.
Around the other side of the water reservoir is a gate to paddocks. Many cattle trails lead around to the south to find a road leading back to the border. Property signs are situated at the base of the road on the east side of the reservoir.
I'm inclined to think that the distance either way is about the same.
Glennie Gap is several kilometres west from Mount Glennie.
As you near Glennie gap it is practical to follow some cattle trails lower that the fence on the Queensland side. Once at the gate in Glennie Gap a road on the New South Wales side moves away from the fence for several hundred metres to a junction. This is the way around the south side of Mount Lindsay. One gradual ascent and the rest is pretty much downhill to Collins Gap. Stands of eucalypts appear strikingly along the Queensland side of the fence.
Whilst completing the 2 day walk in 98 we debated the likelihood of completing the walk in one day.
I can't say for sure how many times I've done that now. (3-4).
Doing this walk in 1998 inspired me to undertake all manner of walks which have included part or all of this border section.
A compliment to the Scenic Rim.