Cunninghams Gap to Mount Castle

Main Range National Park

Getting there

Drive along the Cunningham Hwy from Brisbane toward Warwick. Once you enter the Main Range you'll start to drive up the mountain. At one of the sharp left turns there is a small cark park on the right hand side (North), where there is a toilet.

Maps

1:25000 Cunningham's Gap 9341-11 topographic line map

Route/Trail notes

Start at the Cunninghams Gap cark park (approx S28 02.978 E152 23.590) and head out to Bare Rock (approx S28 01.576 E152 23.116) on a well maintained path. From Bare Rock head North West straight into the bush,from this point until Sylvesters Lookout there is virtually no track. Follow ridge line around to Sylvesters Lookout (approx. S27 58.618 E152 23.087). From Sylvesters Lookout head North East along the ridge line on a maintained track to Laidley Falls Camp ground (approx S27 58.498 E152 23.811). From Laidley Falls camp ground head North East out to the ridge peak then alone the razor back ridge moving directly North. Once at the base of Mount Castle it is easiest to move up the final peak from the North side. Mount Castle is approx. S27 57.724 E152 24.174.
We did this hike in one day, but it was a full 13 hours of hiking, no long breaks. You can camp at Laidley Falls camp ground, which I have done before and it was great.

Permits/Costs

If you wish to camp at Laidley Falls Camp Ground to need to get a permit from DERM. It was $5.30 per tent in 2011.

Other References

Take a Walk book by John and Lyn Daly has some good information about the area. http://www.takeawalk.com.au/

http://bonzle.com/c/a?a=p&p=37277&cmd=sp&c=1&x=152.49744&y=-27.901795&w=26535&mpsec=0

Comments

A friend and I did a part of this walk - from Cunningham's Gap to Sylvester's Lookout. It would be fair to say it was very hard going. Up to Bare Rock it is straightforward (Grade 2 type track).

From Bare Rock north is a Grade 5 route. No track or pad exists. A couple of tape markers exist about 1/2 way between Bare Rock and Sylvester's and we added 50 ribbons but ran out about 1.5 hours before Sylvester's. Plan for around 1Km/hr! Bare Rock to Sylvester's took us 7 hours of walking in wet conditions.

It would be fair to say that with the exception of saying you've completed this section of the Great Dividing Range, there are few highlights between Bare Rock and Sylvester's other than dense bush. We did get filtered views through the trees of the escarpment at times.

We set off on Sunday afternoon and camped overnight in the bush. Rain overnight and being above the cloudline for much of day two, made for tough going.

We only saw two very small spots (2 tents) suitable for camping. The rest of the walk the bush is so dense you would struggle to erect a couple of tents. The one we stayed at was a few metres from the escarpment about 2 hours after leaving Bare Rock. The second (and slightly bigger and flatter) is a few hundred metres north of this. Neither could be described as "good campsites', functional only.

We found two fairly-consistent looking water sources. The first is about 2.5 hours north of Bare Rock, the other about 5 hours (27deg 59min 53sec South, 152deg 22min 37sec East).

This second water point is at the confluence of two creeks. There are pink markers that lead right down the middle of the two small valleys and then there appears no clear way forward. We took a diversion to the West for 100m to collect some water then came back to the route and soldiered straight on into the join of both creeks and climbed the bank on the other side.

The only other tricky navigation spot was around the 4 hour mark where we held a contour for too long and ended up heading 15min too far to the West. After checking the compass and topographical map we traversed back in a North-East direction to find the escarpment again.

Count on an extra couple of hills than can be easily detected from the topographical maps as you approach Sylvester's. As always, the last 15 minutes always takes longer than you think. There are no spots to enjoy a break and the views so we ended up getting a bit hungry trying to press on to finish the route.

Dan on 1 Jul, 2018

this walk started out all good from Cunningham Gap, there were about 5 large landslides on the way up the first mountain section. The walk fromt here to Bare Rock was great. This is where things took a turn for the worst. There is no track from Bare Rock to Silvesters Lookout. We hacked our way through thick spiky bush for 8 hours, got lost, GPS didn't help us, followed the compass east till we hit the ridge and then walked back to bare rock to camp for the night. There is also reported landslides before the camp site that make it very difficult to reach.

fiona on 25 May, 2013

Great hike. Very over grown in some places and took the whole 13 hours to complete.
Laidley falls was almost dry and there is very little water along the way, make sure you take all that you need.

Adrian MacHunter on 25 Sep, 2011

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