Ships Stern Circuit

Lamington National Park

Combines rainforest, palm groves and open eucalypt forest, wildflower vegetation and excellent lookouts over the Numinbah Valley. A short side trip takes in the Lower Ballanjui Falls. The Ship's Stern Walk is one of the most magnificent walks in the Park. It is particularly excellent in winter and spring, especially the latter when wildflowers are often abundant. The Binna Burra lodge offers convenient accommodation for an early start or an overnighter, and also has a cafe with a view that's a great way to finish this track.

Bird Watching
Picnic Facilities
No Dogs Permitted
Eucalypt Forest
Maximum Elevation
Total Climb

Getting there

Most people do this walk in a clockwise direction starting from the lower carpark at Binna Burra and finishing at the main entrance.


Binna Burra Section (QLD Nat Parks) PDF

QTopo Beechmont Section (1:25,000) PDF

QTopo online

Route/Trail notes

This is not a difficult walk but is quite long. The walk starts with a descent through rainforest into the valley before climbing up through open forest to the viewpoint at Ships Stern. The rest of the track is fairly level with only slight gradients. After the Kooloonbano Lookout the track splits with the left hand fork taking the cliff edge and the right hand fork has views looking back towards Binna Burra. The forks are about equal in length. 

Other References

Take a Walk in South-East Queensland, p195, ISBN 9780957793170


A fantastic walk, so much varied flora, amd great views regularly. Took us 5 hrs going at medium pace, the suggested timings seem right. I'll be back.

Marcus coleman on 28 Oct, 2023

Found the walk to be a fairly easy walk terrain wise, the distance would be the main factor to consider. The walk had wonderful views all along the track, well worth doing. It took our group of 3 around 5 hours with a constant pace and a short lunch at the ships stern lookout.

Jaye on 11 Aug, 2023

This is a long, but easy walk with stunning views. Mostly through rainforest. The summit plateau is awesome. I did this with Steve. He had a lot of trouble with his leg, and ended up dragging it back. It was very painful for him. I was a bit scared. It took us 9 hrs on account of his injury. We will enjoyed the first half, with the lookouts, very much. We are fit 55-60. Didn't see anyone on a Tuesday outside school holidays.

Kaz Manley on 5 Jun, 2023

Started out on lower bellbird track but changed to ships stern at lower Ballanjui falls sign. Bit of a slog for quite a few klms with the track going uphill gradually. Came across one angry baby black snake that took it's time moving off the track. Some amazing views along the way. Started at 6.30 am from below information centre and ended at information centre about 3.45 pm and covered about 21klms.

ian parker on 3 Jun, 2023

Lots of ticks at the moment, maybe it's a summer thing, I normally walk up at Binna Burra in the cooler months and have never come across them.

samkramer on 10 Dec, 2022

Awesome hike but rather a long one. Some great views along the way. Nothing to strenuous just tiring over the last 2 klms. Worth the extra 1.2 klms to view the Ballanjui falls absolutely beautiful.

ian parker on 19 Nov, 2022

The Ship's Stern Circuit is a part of the majestic, ancient old forest of The Lamington National Park. You will find this hike on the Binna Burra section of the mountain 🥾

This hike is a long day hike at around 21km's. More if you throw in some little side adventures 🏞
Yesterday was my longest solo hike finishing the day around the 24.5 km mark🏆

I would personally grade this one as a definite moderate hike as it is not overly strenuous but you do need a good level of fitness to complete the 20 + km's and there are definitely some up and down part's throughout that get the old heart pumping.
I was pretty buggered by the end of the hike 🥴

This hike will take you through some lush, green rainforest 🌿 palm groves 🌴 open eucalypt forest 🌾 plunging cliffs, mighty ranges, moss garden's, sparkling waterfalls with spectacular view's 👀 overlooking Turtle Rock, down into the Numinbah Valley, Hinze Dam and out to Mt Warning ⛰️

This hike is really quite exquisite that I would recommend experiencing


Insta:- hikes_boots_dustytracks

Mel on 12 Nov, 2022

Very awesome track. Imperceptible decent/ascent. Will do the reverse loop again soon.

Rod Hewins on 8 Oct, 2022

The notes for this walk are very accurate; it took us 7 hours, including an hour for breaks and was 21kms. Very enjoyable with the bottlebrush and wattles starting to bloom and birds everywhere. Had lunch at the Kooloobano Point enjoying the view. The track is not technically difficult but quite long. Take plenty of water and use all opportunities for a break.

Olwyn on 16 Jul, 2022

A really nice walk and nothing overly strenuous. Great views from the lookouts, lots of birdlife around and plenty of amazing trees and fungi. I started at the boot cleaning station just down hill from the ranger’s station and walked clockwise…until back at Binna Burra for a hot chocolate! Walked 2k back down the road to the car for the complete circuit of just over 20km. I’m not sure if I’ll do this one again… I think I prefer Toolona Falls Circuit, Coomera Circuit and the Warrie Circuit.

S K on 15 Jul, 2022

Great views from the lookouts along the top. Pretty scenery along the lower sections. Seen quite a few snakes! A long walk but we did it in 6 hours with stops along the way.

Mittens83 on 19 Apr, 2022

Terrific walk & we had sensational weather for it. Took 8.5 hours with the waterfall & other feature detours.

Bribie 61 on 22 Jul, 2021

Great walk

samkramer on 12 Jun, 2021

The Ship's Stern Circuit is a part of the majestic, ancient old forest of The Lamington National Park. You will find this hike on the Binna Burra section of the mountain 🥾

This hike is a long day hike at around 21km's.
It was our first time on this track and our longest hike that we have accomplished 🏆

All up, it took us 7 hours with stopping for an hour and a half throughout the day for lunch and to soak our feet in the fresh cold water 🏞

We would grade it as a moderate hike as it is not overly strenuous but you do need a good level of fitness to complete the 21km's and there are some up and down part's throughout.

I was tripping over my own feet at about the 18km mark 👣 and I had to break out the jellybeans at 19kms 🍬😏

This hike will take you through some lush, green rainforest 🌿 palm groves 🌴 and some open eucalypt forest 🌾 with panorama views from a number of lookouts 👀

We went after some rain and some care is definitely needed throughout the hike. There were many muddy, slippery and mossy place's to slip on 🌦

The beauty of this hike after some rain is simply stunning though 🌈

Coming upon the waterfall is just breathtaking 💙 and then having to take off your boot's for a creek crossing and throw in some rock hopping 🏞 and climbing over a tree🪴 it turned it from a beautiful hike into a great adventure 🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️

This hike is such a worthwhile experience.
We will definitely be back to hike again 🙏💕

Insta:- misslissy79

Mel on 9 Jan, 2021

An absolute experience with the current weather. The few showers added a sparkling to the leaves after the sun came out again, a trickling of water in many crevices and gullies, from the valleys formed clouds of mist that drifted upwards, I did not even overly sweat. Lesson: don't stay home if they forecast a few showers!

Wanderlust on 31 Dec, 2020

Diverse vegetation on this track. Completed a few days after heavy rain, lots of debris in places and had to clamber over a very large tree about half way in. Lots of water flowing over track and creeks were flowing very well, particularly one creek crossing was challenging to to high water levels. Worth taking all the side trails to see all the waterfalls, which were incredible to see at full flow. Walked anti-clockwise, fairly flat most of the way with slight incline for the last 3km, track ended near Grooms Cottage. Took about 6.5hrs. Great walk!

Jimcar on 17 Dec, 2020

We'd only planned to walk to Lower Ballanjui Falls and back, but this is a favourite walk, and since the walk straight back would have been quite steep we decided to complete the Ship's Stern again. We did 27km yesterday, and now another 20 so we're a bit stiff, but this really is a great walk.

Ian and Sue on 18 Oct, 2020

Beautiful walk with great views from the ridge. Classic walk that has it all - waterfall, rainforest, climb to the escarpment with open eucalyptus forest. Well marked trail. Easy to find and navigate.

Caroline on 17 Oct, 2020

Absolutely gorgeous track for a sunrise run in the morning. Multiple lookouts, varied terrain and forest, sights to see, snakes, fires off in the distance. Stayed at a Safari Tent up at Binna Burra for the night then started in the wee hours as the wind whistled through the trees. Was very cold but we warmed up after we started moving. Added Daves Creek in at the end for good measure. This is a track that I can see myself doing multiple times in the years to come.

asherbasher on 10 Aug, 2019

Did this walk clockwise..lovely views along the way.. Did it during the rains though so the views were only possible once the clouds cleared. Past a couple of beautiful waterfalls (Nagarigoon Falls) comes to mind. Heaps of leaches around as it was raining. All in all easy and lovely walk will do again on a clear day. all up around 4 hours an a brisk pace but stopping heaps for pics and to enjoy a bit of detour to the waterfalls.

Ashwin on 20 Apr, 2019


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