Lower Portals

Mt Barney National Park

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 off Upper Logan Rd, just out of Rathdowney.


Maps of Mt Barney area are recommended for this walk with 1:25 000 topographical maps 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 car park on Lower Portals Rd.

Upstream from the first crossing, say 1km 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 are signs of water that show it's there if you happen to come across it when it's dried up. Would be amazing to see tho after a good downpour as the area this waterfall takes up is massive. 


There are no permits required to hike to Lower Portals. There are very limited camping spots at the end of the walk near the Lower portals, and permits are required to make use of them. 

Other References

More information can be obtained from the following government website




Cooler day but you’ll need plenty of water & sunscreen, definetly swim it’s the best reward after a decent aerobic hike to the portals, boots or decent joggers advisable, cple small creek crossings, be prepared to get wet, some mild rock hopping to access the water hole, took roughly 3 hours with a good rest at the water hole, great walk, saw plenty of kids, some as young as 4 walking, good family adventure, a goanna even popped by in search of scraps

Bernie on 30 Apr, 2023

Awesome walk! Very steady pattern of up and down all the way. Took my kids (11&13).. about 1hr20min in, an hour spent swimming in the creek and rock hopping and the same 1hr20 return. It was a very hot day so definitely ensure you are well prepared. Spotted quite a few wildlife. The giant monitor lizards are pretty cool. Track is clear though, easy to follow except the cross over the creek and turn left part near the portals. If I hadn't read this prior we would have found it harder to pick up and follow the track. Reccomend this for fit active kids! My sons adhd so he loves it. Daughter found it a little more hard going on the return.

Nicole Howarth on 5 Mar, 2023

Awesome hike!!! Water is fresh but incredible.

Pip on 4 Dec, 2022

This walk always seems hot, not a lot of air, but an easy walk and nice swimming hole at the end.

samkramer on 8 Oct, 2022

Great hike which would be perfect for anyone who wants to try overnight hiking for the first time. The water was so clear and refreshingly cool. Definitely bring your togs for this one.

K8 on 20 Mar, 2022

It was an amazing tracking. Please you must go into the river a cross it at the first stage. After that you must climb the rock to reach the natural pool.

Alvaro Velasquez on 9 Jan, 2022

Lovely hike honestly. For us we were out there for about 4 hours(including swimming). Man was the water temperature a surprise. Definitely felt very very very refreshed after a nice dip in there. Other than that nothing too crazy on this hike, it goes go up and down a fair bit so be prepared for that.

melted_cheese on 14 Nov, 2021

Hot day but was a great walk. Make sure you have a swim as it’s refreshing.

Steve Boyce on 9 Oct, 2021

Not worth it.

Gabby on 9 Oct, 2021

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


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