Lower Portals

Mt Barney National Park
Many walks are currently closed due to COVID-19. Please,
  • check the walk's official website to confirm if the track is open
  • turn back if it looks like the track is too busy when you get there

This was my first overnight hike. It was challenging, but not ridiculous. A good beginners walk.
I highly recommend going for a dip in the creek even in Winter. It was like an ice bath for my tired muscles :)

Maximum Elevation
Total Climb

Getting there

You access the walking track from the end of Lower Portals Rd which comes of Upper Logan Rd, just out of Rathdowney.


Maps of Mt Barney area are recommended for this walk with 1:25 000 topographical map being recommended for safety. (e.g. 1:25 000 Maroon)

Route/Trail notes

The walk has moderate to steep grading and at times becomes quite challenging. It mainly consists of walking up and down ridges before it comes to the small stream containing the Lower Portals. It takes approximately 3 hours return from the carpark on Lower Portals Rd.

Upstream from the first crossing, say 1klm you can follow a steep track up and over a ridge (500mtrs)  back down to the stream where there is fabulous scenery everywhere. and from there you can slowly make your way to Mt Barney Falls about 700mtrs on the left of the creek (when heading up from the lower portals). Appears only after a bit of rain. If it has been dry I'd say it would just look like a cliff. There is signs of water that show its there if you happen to come across it when it's dried up. Would be amazing to see tho after a good down pour as the area this waterfall takes up is massive. 


There are no permits needed. The cost is also Nil. There are very limited camping spots at the end of the walk near the Lower portals, and permits may be required to make use of them. 

Other References

More information can be obtained from the following government website




Beautiful pools and gorge, big rocks.

Bruce on Aug, 2021

Really enjoyable hike. Barney Creek has plenty of water in it at the moment due to recent rain and the hopping stone crossing was partly under water. We took out boots off and waded through; freezing but fun. Fun little squeeze through the ‘portal’ to the waterhole on the other side. Will have to return in summer.

Olwyn on 10 Jul, 2021

This is a lovely hike - the trail was overgrown in places due to rain, but easy to follow. There was one creek crossing requiring shoes to be removed (but likely only due to lots of recent rain). The portals are magnificent. About 4 hours round trip with an hour at the water hole for lunch and swim.

Tania Waring on 28 Feb, 2021

This is a lovely hike - the trail was overgrown in places due to rain, but easy to follow. There was one creek crossing requiring shoes to be removed (but likely only due to lots of recent rain). The portals are magnificent. About 4 hours round trip with an hour at the water hole for lunch and swim.

Tania Waring on 28 Feb, 2021

The Lower Portals are situated at the bottom of Mt Barney ⛰
It is about an hour and 20 minutes from Ipswich and the last few km's are made up of old dirt roads.
I do believe a 2WD would make it through but just take your time and be careful in places 🚗

There are drop toilets at the carpark but please take your rubbish with you 🗑

I would personally say you need a moderate level of fitness for this one 🚶‍♀️

This hike has moderate to steep grading at time's and can become challenging.

Most of this hike is through very exposed Aussie bush making it very hot, dry and dusty with lot's of exposed tree root's 🌞🌵
Wonderful to see the bush coming back after the fire's though 🔥🪴

I hiked 8km today.
Taking about an hour and a half to get in and just over an hour back to the truck 🥾

My suggestion is to go early to beat the heat and the crowd of other hikers especially if you want to have a cheeky little skinny dip 🙊
Take plenty of water and stay hydrated.

By the time you get back to the carpark, you will be wanting another swim!

A pretty magical spot to sit and listen and just breathe it all in 🍃🦋🏞

Will definitely be coming back to this one

Enjoy 🙏💕

Instagram:- misslissy79

Mel on 7 Feb, 2021

Water was the perfect temperature. Prepare to get wet.

Peter on 29 Dec, 2020

Forest regenerating after bushfires meant no canopy in trees but grass trees make for nice scenery. Alot of washout on tracks with alternate goat tracks made by walkers. So not an easy walk but not a long walk and waterhole makes it worthwhile! Lovely to cool down in after hiking in a pack. Campsite not very inspiring with fences and signs around but at least flat ground with trees and not too far from the creek for water. Lots of insect life including pesky marchflies/horseflies but mostly only at dusk and dawn, was cool to watch a cicada hatching from it's exoskeleton at night on a nearby tree. Were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves the first day, imagine it's popular on weekends though.

Pendinghiker on 10 Dec, 2020

Walked into lower portals camp, dropped bag and headed on to Barney Junction Gorge camp via the ridge returned along the gorge, spent the night in lower campsite

Mark on 5 Dec, 2020

The walk on the way in is dry. You go up and down hills.
You can swim to the rushing water and use the rope to hoist yourself up and the water cave is on the left.
You will be happier if you wear aqua shoes.
By the time you walk back to the car you will need another swim.

Chesspeople on 14 Oct, 2020

Started around 9am, pretty hot old walk with average sparse eucalypt forest scenery on the way (not huge amounts to see on the way in). Took us about 1.5 hours with a gentle pace and a few rest stops (yes quite a bit of up and down along the way!).

Rock pools were amazing. I suspect the 'cave' that other comments below refer to has since been filled in? We could see the start of it but only a few meters before huge boulders blocked the path.

Quite a few swimming but I just took my shoes off and dipped hands and feet (water was fresh but not cold at all).

Had lunch and filled up water from flowing stream (very nice). Also checked out the campsites - would be amazing to stay there one night. Met a guy who had been up there for the past 6 hours and had just gone 'everywhere' he said. So if you have the fitness you can do hours of exploring up and down the river and surrounding peaks. We just sat down on some rocks overlooking the 'main' pool, ate lunch and spent an hour or so just 'taking it in'.

Walk back to carpark was lot hillier than we remembered getting there, plus the heat of the day at 2pm made it very draining and thirsty work for novice hikers.

Matt D on 20 Sep, 2020

8km return from carpark.
Took us 2hr40 plus an hours stop at the pools.
Fairly hard due to constant up and down-hills but beautiful scenery at the pools!
Would definitely do again in summer and go for a proper dip.

Lydia on 30 Aug, 2020

Nice walk some short uphill slots but easily done if fit. Nice waterhole at end. Lovely campsite

Adalynn on 31 Jul, 2020

Not a bad walk. Took us about 50 minutes to get there from the car park. Then we went for some further exploring over the other side, had morning tea in a cave to shelter from the rain and then went down to explore further upstream.

It was slow going upstream because there were a lot of slippery boulders to negotiate and no real clear trail. The water was crystal clear but ice cold as it was winter, so no swimming for me!!

First part of the hike, easy as. Minimum to moderate fitness required if you go at a steady pace. It's fairly up and down and the terrain is kinda rough with roots and rocks everywhere. The second part of the hike, upstream, is a fair bit more challenging. You have to climb a steep hillside and come down the other side and follow the stream along. You will need grippy shoes because those boulders are super slippery. Nearly ended up in the drink a few times. If attempting this part make sure you have good balance and gear you don't mind getting wet.

Nittus on 28 Jun, 2020

Tough but rewarding walk for an old fat bloke! A lot of ups and a lot of downs but the Lower Portals themselves are an awesome place for a break/lunch/camp before turning around and coming back. The track itself is easy to follow but not very scenic along the way. Tough in parts going steep uphill if you're unfit like me ;)

Once we can camp overnight we will go back ;)

David Read on 23 May, 2020


Mackamcb on 17 May, 2020

It was great to see the bush recovering from the bush fires last year. At times there were views of Mt Barney and Mt Maroon. It was very dry and dusty, so ensure that you take your water.
We are not as agile as we once were, so we found it challenging to get across the boulders to see the small waterfall at the end of the portals. This is the highlight of the walk as the reflections are fantastic. Very peaceful and relaxing.
There was a lot of up and downs and we were glad to get back to the car park

Shazlex on 17 May, 2020

This walk was longer than I had anticipated, especially given I’d forgotten good shoes & was hiking in thongs. Beautiful swimming & scenery at the portals. I would do it again, with better shoes

Ang on 23 Mar, 2020

Great walk. Really dry atm but still a bit of water in the rock pool. Lovely peaceful spot. 6 year old hiked it too.

Melkrel on 3 Sep, 2019

Great walk a 3.5 hours return with a ten year old and stopped for lunch at the portals.

Chris on 2 Jul, 2019

Good walk, some steps and uneven ground from memory. Rewarded with swimming holes at the end. The cave "blow hole" at the portals was fun to climb through!

Michelle Suzanne on May, 2019


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