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
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


Backtracking a few times just added to our appreciation of the magnificent views.

MiuMiu on 18 Nov, 2018

Second time, and still highly recommended :-) Those views are amazing, diverse areas + plants + wildlife, and a decent workout. The circuit + Lower Ballanjui Falls side track took 7hr at a relaxed pace.

rob.bushman on 4 Nov, 2018

Did this clockwise, agree that counter clockwise would have been nicer. Skipped many of the side tracks because I started too late and was running out of light. It's been a very dry winter so no leeches and only got my boots wet twice. Beautiful hike, will definitely do it again

SageTreks on 19 Aug, 2018

This was such a beautiful walk though the track has some damage and we lost if for a minute in one part but quickly found it again after backtracking slightly. A bunch of trees are down but it added to the charm and the challenge of the track. We did it anticlockwise (starting from the top carpark) mainly because it was our second big walk and we wanted to go the distance. So glad we did because the last 4.8 km felt really long!!!! We have reasonable fitness and made it from start to finish including the 1.2 km trip to the lower falls (which should not be missed) in 5.5 hours which we were surprised about but impressed with our efforts. We didn’t stop all the much, just to take a few snaps and have a snack at the waterfall. I highly recommend this walk but would start out early to keep cool because even starting at 6.30am we were quite exposed in some parts so can imagine in summer this would be really tough. I also echo other comments that in the wet this track would be very challenging so be cautious. This was a really beautiful walk! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Belindak77 on 15 Jun, 2018

Brilliant views, great variety in terrain along the way to keep it interesting.

Just Jan on 9 Jun, 2018

Did this along with Dave’s Creek which according to GPS totalled about 26km bower not sure on accuracy. Make sure you take the eastern ridge lookout option as signed.

omb055 on 30 Mar, 2018

This one is long but definitely worth it. The views of Binna Burra and Numinbah Valley were truly spectacular. Some wildlife to see as well.

I went around anti-clockwise, based off the elevation profile this seems to be better. Roughly 50% long gradual descend, 30% flat and 20% moderate ascend. If you do this clockwise you're going to have 50% long gradual ascend at the end :-/

I did all the side tracks which makes the total distance 26km. Ballanjui Cascades is worth a look but if you are time restricted I would skip Booboora Falls and Guraigumai Rock. If you are feeling energetic check out Charraboomba Rock, don't feel guilty if you skip this one though, once you reach Ships Stern you'll get plenty of amazing views. I'd definitely recommend Lower Ballanjui Falls. Probably the largest waterfall I've seen, the sheer scale is remarkable.

rob.bushman on 25 Mar, 2017

Second time around for this track. Always a good one, with stunning views and ever changing landscapes. Last time through we were hit by a rainstorm on the last leg. It was great to watch it roll into the valley, but we missed a number of great views. This time perfect weather all the way and a well earned rest at the end.

Bushy Bloke on 23 Sep, 2016

This is the second time we've done this walk and it is great. Lots of different lookouts and different terrain. There were quite a few trees fallen over the path this time and parts of the track were a bit overgrown but nothing that was really a problem. We took the side tracks to Lower Ballanjui Falls and Charraboomba Rock as well as the eastern lookouts track. We highly recommend the rock but it was all great. The walk took us 5 hours and thirty five minutes including a 15 minute break for lunch at Charraboomba Rock and a few other short breaks at other lookouts.

Ian and Sue on 12 Aug, 2016

4.5 hours plus 20 mins for lunch, did 21km. Some very slippery sections, and lots of fallen trees/debris to clamber over. Was beautiful with varied scenery. Lots of pademelons out in the morning.

sarasvati on 18 Jun, 2016

Great walk. Long but easy with great lookouts.

Kay on 21 May, 2016

The views are fantastic. The walking trail is in great condition. I would recommend good hiking shoes not runners etc. I also recommend doing the circuit anticlockwise it is a much nicer way to go. Take advantage of the great lookouts. Bring lots of water and some food, hat and sunscreen for the top of ships stern as can get very hot on a sunny day. I am a slow/average pace walker with short legs and I stopped lots to take photos and admire the views and it took me 5hrs.

Zowie on 27 Mar, 2016

We camped at Binna Burra and treated ourselves to the 3 course meal at the end of a full day hiking. Was a bit pricey but worth it for the atmosphere and nice to relax with a glass of red wine. It was 20 degrees at midday and cold over night - in summer! Make sure to take extra layers.

Megs on 5 Feb, 2016

I have hiked this track at least twice. It's best not to try on a real hot day as a lot of the hike is exposed.

davidGriffo on 2016

Great walk with many incredible lookouts. Highly recommend :)

Alice on 3 Oct, 2015

Fantastic walk with such a diverse type of forests. Great views and well maintained track

Bushy Bloke on 26 Sep, 2015

My absolute favourite walk in Binna Burra! So much diversity in the landscape, plenty of incredible views at multiple points on the walk, and great side tracks to explore. The detour to Lower Ballanjui is especially great. If you have two cars it's a good idea to park one near the entrance to Lower Bellbird (the Information Centre is close enough) and one right at the top next to the lodge to save taking a fairly long road walk. Did the track clockwise and took the Eastern Lookouts when the track split a bit after halfway along - they join up again much sooner than expected. Creek crossing is no trouble, but bring Bushmans for the leeches! We saw some feral cats, lots of blue crays, some pademelons, bush turkeys and a red belly black. Will have to do this one again soon.

Anonymous on 7 Apr, 2015

Awsome walk. Great views. Great waterfalls. Great rainforest. We did it anticlockwise. The hill isnt that hard and you leave the big waterfall till the end

Pardo on 6 Apr, 2015

did lower ballanjui and got to the rock, had lunch and turned back

Allan Allport on 13 Aug, 2014

A great walk. A must for any bush walker.

Callaghan Clan on 24 Mar, 2013


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