Moonlight Crag, Balancing Rock and Castle Crag

Lamington National Park

Visit a few fantastic lookouts which capture the amazing Lost World Plateau, Moran's Falls and the border ranges including Mt Throakban. Can be combined with Moran's Falls, Lyrebird Lookout or the Wishing Tree walks.

Getting there

Head up to O'Reilly's (see for details). Find the "Red Road" on the right just before the campground. The walk starts by heading down this road towards the O'Reilly Villas (not the guest house). Parking is available at the main O'Reilly car park just after the campground.

Route/Trail notes

Walk down the road past the O'Reilly Slaughterhouse and around the U-Bend at the Red Cedar. You should find a sign pointing you to follow the road to the right across Morans Creek. Keep on the road, tending left at the next fork (right fork leads to Morans Falls).

The road rises reasonably steeply to another fork. The right leads directly to Balancing Rock and Castle Crag, but keep left towards Moonlight Crag.

At another turn in the road you should see an old sign in the forest pointing left to Moonlight Crag and right to Balancing Rock. Stick witth the road, but take notice of this point for the return journey.

Finally you'll reach a clearing and shortly after the start of a short boardwalk to Moonlight Crag. The actual lookout is fully built up and sometimes used for weddings and dinners. From the lookout you'll feel like you can reach out and touch the Lost World just across the Albert Valley below you. To your left you can see the McPherson Range including Mt Worendo and Mt Throakban.

Once you've finished at the crag head back along the road to the signpost mentioned previously. At this point don't follow the road's turn to the right, but rather head straight ahead into the forest along a track. This track pops over a hill and down to meet the road again near Balancing Rock. When you hit the road follow it to the left to Balancing Rock. The rock is currently cordoned off due to instability.

Traverse right around the rock and along the precarious ridge to the end of Castle Crag. From here you'll get more views of the Lost World and Albert River Valley as well as great look back at Morans Falls. If you're at all concerned about sharp drops then probably best to stop at Balancing Rock.

Finally head back along the road to your car.

Alternative Tracks

Morans Falls

You can visit Morans Falls by turning off the Red Road 100m before reaching the Slaughterhouse. After vising the falls keep heading onto the road and do a sharp U-Turn at the signposted fork. Alternatively follow the main Morans Falls track which starts about 1km before the main O'Reilly's carpark.

Lyrebird Lookout

The turnoff for the Lyrebird Lookout is at the clearing just before the Moonlight Crag boardwalk and is signposted. Probably best to do Balancing Rock/Castle Crag before Moonlight Crag if you're walking in that direction (alternatively you could do Lyrebird Lookout first and use this walk to get back.

Wishing Tree

The wishing tree track meets the Red Road at the Red Cedar near the Slaughterhouse. It can provide a nicer walk to or from than simply following the road.

Other References


Good easy walk to some landmarks around O'Reilly's Guesthouse, all 3 can be easily done in a couple of hours.

Bribie 61 on 10 Aug, 2023

A really lovely walk to a great waterfall and some simply astounding views. Quite hilly in places though. Nothing too strenuous.

Vaughan on 21 Aug, 2021

Departed oreillys, via wishing tree, cut across to moonlight crag (steep up a road) and then down to Balancing Rock. Decided to give Castle crag a miss as the track was very slippery due to recent rain. From there went down to Moran’s lookout and back up to main road and on to cafe. Whole circuit took 4 hours in overcast and slippery conditions, but we still had time to stop and smell the rainforest! Lots of bird live on the circuit and you pass through many different ecosytems

mistermeggs on 1 May, 2021

There are a few variations of this walk. Do your research first. If you are into a bit of bush bashing this is a good track. Footpad easy to follow most of the way. Someone has recently put fresh tape markers, this is helpful as the trail is easily lost near some tree falls and the creek. While this is not one of the epic waterfall filled walks O'Reilly's is famous for, its a great walk on the western side of the plateau.

Jimcar on 1 Oct, 2020

The section from Balancing Rock to Castle Crag was very tricky, lots of big drops.

samkramer on 5 Sep, 2020

Be prepared for a lot of sun exposure walking along the road as well as a relatively steep uphill

Itonist584 on Dec, 2019

We did Moonlight Crag, then Balancing Rock and because they didn't take as long as we had anticipated we decided to "stop in" when we saw a sign for Lyrebird Lookout. DO NOT BOTHER. There are pink ribbons to mark the way but the way is very slow going and overgrown with lots of vines with no sign of a track for parts of the way . We were wondering whether to turn back when we stumbled on Orchid Grotto after about 20 minutes, which was a a beautiful, peaceful spot with an air of magic about it - it would be amazing when the orchids we saw were in flower. We pushed on and came to Lyrebird Lookout, very underwhelming and not worth the effort. As the day was getting late we decided to double back as we couldn't risk getting lost. Overall advice; Orchid Grotto was worth the visit, but turn back there :)

Naomi on 21 Jul, 2019

Amazing views and landscape. Got out to Castle Crag, steep cliff sides though - I wouldn't do it with kids.

Pendinghiker on Sep, 2018

3/5 stars, 2hrs return at relaxed pace for Moonlight Crag via. Wishing Tree path. The suggested path to the lookout can be divided into three sections. The first section is the Wishing Tree trail, which begins behind the O’Reilly’s accommodation up the hill from the cafe. Follow the path up from the cafe and to the right, taking you to the accommodation car park (not the cafe car park). The Wishing Tree trail starts at the far end of the car park (signed). This will take you through some nice rainforest to the Wishing Tree, an old hollowed out tree with a sign nailed to it. Optional short detours from this trail include Mick’s Tower and the Glow Worm Gully. Following the trail past the Wishing Tree will eventually lead to the second section, a 4WD/small bus gravel road. There are three forks along the gravel road, take the left fork each time to go to Moonlight Crag. The other forks lead back to the main road, Morans Falls, and Balancing Rock (in that order). Each of the forks is signed. This second section involves walking uphill on the gravel road for a while, and has quite poor scenery and ambience. You can take an optional third section after the Balancing Rock fork, winding through the foliage along the cliffside until the lookout is reached. Can be a bit dangerous if you don’t keep your footing, the soil is soft in some areas and quite close to the cliffside. The lookout itself is used occasionally for wedding ceremonies, providing a relatively nice view of Castle Crag and the mountains in the distance. I've done this hike 1 time.

Sam on 13 Jul, 2018

A must do.... the view in the afternoon is spectacular

Mackamcb on 24 Sep, 2017

A great walk with plenty to see. A good one to do if you're after some good views. Heaps of wildlife to see as well.

rob.bushman on 31 Jul, 2016

The track from Balancing Rock to Castle Crag is pretty overgrown and good habitat for snakes. I took my time and eventually got to to the end. Spectacular views on a beautiful clear, autumn day.
Not recommended for anyone who doesn't like heights or bush bashing.

BonnieBee on 6 Apr, 2015

Wishing Tree track part way to Moran Falls

Pagie on 14 Jul, 2014

Started on the Red Road and continued to Balancing Rock, stopped in the saddle between Balancing Rock and Castle Crag as a thunderstorm started the roll in and the gusts of wind were quite dangerous. Definitely recommend checking conditions before attempting this walk. Balancing Rock is currently cordoned off, when you view it, it looks like it's about to fall off at any moment. On our way back from Balancing Rock we saw a very weathered sign pointing to Castle Crag which we followed along the ridge. The trail is not always clear but there is the occasional orange tape to spot. Incredible views of the lost world. By far the best view I've seen in a long time. Well worth it!

Alice on 27 Apr, 2014

Took the Wishing Tree track to start with. Very cloudy when we arrived at Moonlight Crag, but cleared up just in time for fantastic views.

Richard Mason on 13 Jan, 2013


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