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A walk along the border fence line to the twin summits of Mt Cougal. There are excellent views from the top!
It is hard for beginners. Make sure you check weather. Finding location is a little hard. When arrive see steel gate that states ‘please keep gate clear ta’ On side of gate you can enter, when pass the gate look to your left and see sign with with instructions. Don’t be discouraged when you start, it is a little scary, but it gets easier, but still lots of hill. Follow the barbed wired fence on your left the whole way. The track will go from very narrow to comfortable in some places. Once you reach the last 700 metres or so... it becomes much harder. You will see a thin rope to guide you - do not use this to pull you up as it will break!! You will come to a spot where the track will seem to end. Look for a tree that has arrows etched into it to guide you where to go. There’s also a small pink ribbon tied to a tree branch Up further. You have to go up! It’s hard but worth it.

Scrambling or Climbing

Getting there

Turn into Stewart Road, exit 95 from the M1. Turn left into Currumbin Creek Rd after about 1km. After about another 7km turn left into Tomewin Mountain Rd. after about another 10km pass through the Border Gate. Turn right into Garden of Eden Rd, about 1km from gate. Drive for about 4km to a gate with a few carspaces. Park Here. 


Sunmaps Springbrook 25000 

Route/Trail notes

Hop the locked gate (actually, you can walk around it) and follow the path immediately on the left uphill. The barbed wire fence commences here on your left, lantana on your right and sugarcane on your left in patches further up. Do not follow the obvious track straight ahead of the gate! If you see a bunch of abandoned shacks you have gone the wrong way!! After fighting through some serious folage (the path is majorly overgrown for the first hour) at the top of this hill you are rewarded with views of the Tweed Valley and the coast. In fact, garters, long pants and ideally a machette should take care of the basic requirements to continue on this walk. :) The high folage is wet in the mornings requiring hiking boots to avoid soaked feet. On the return (if you choose that option), once the sun hits it, it becomes sticky with a billion small pricles finding every piece of exposed skin! Nonetheless, if you can get past the folage, after the first hour, the track becomes well worn, shady without the high grass. You will be walking on a relatively easy rainforset track for a while.

The track winds its way through the rainforest, heading up and downhill along the border fence. You will enter a cleared area with a large tree in it this which was marked by the surveyor Roberts in the 1860's. Keep following the fenceline which will eventually start to become a relatively steep uphill scramble. Walking poles (or some stray sticks) to assist with both the up and decend would be great here if you don't have the fancy onces, pick up a stick early on in the rainforest path before it gets steep (they are usually gone when you start looking on the steep bit). The track is marked in some places with pink ribbons and arrows carved into the timber where it gets a little confusing. After a long uphil climb (notably without further head high grass) veer right and look for a path to a narrow cave. You can Squeeze through the Cave and there is a book to sign on the other side in the opening in the cliff-face - but note that you have to return through the Cave.  Keep veering right after a visit to the cave untill you find a steep rocky gully where you need to scramble up the cliff. If you look closely, someone has been kind enough to carve an arrow into a tree trunk to point out where to start climbing. The very first few steps are the hardest. After that it's pretty easy going for the final 5 minutes to the peak / lookout. At the top, on the left of the track is a lookout twoard the west. To the right goes to Boyd's Butt and finally to the sawmill at Cougal Cascades. Turn left and walk to the Summit of East Cougal.

To climb West Cougal locate the track that heads downhill steeply, descend a 3m cliff  to the right and a tree to the left. When you reach the saddle. Follow a narrow ridge take the track to the RIGHT. As you climb uphill steeply locate a track that goes to the left. I marked this point for the return. Follow this track uphill to the small clearing at the top. There is a lot of vegetation to push through. there are limited views here.

To return simply retrace your steps.  


Spring brook Camping $5 in National Parks.

Other References

Rankin: Secrets of the Scenic Rim, Daly:Take a walk in South east Queenslnd. 


With the border closed, we parked on the QLD side of the road closure and walked to the start of the track (extra 3.5ish km extra in both directions). The walk was easy with clear access, nice sign to confirm we started on the right path. No need for a machette or gaiters. Slightly overcast and windy but at least no rain! The end has a bit of scrambling as expected but nothing really out of the ordinary. It took us 1 hour less than indicated adding the 7 km access before the walk starting point..

matthias levy on 22 Jul, 2020

Fantastic walk - i started at the cougal cascades and walked over the hill (walk around the fence near the path to the cascades)- adds some distance however only way I could find from QLD. The walk is easy to find all the way until you reach the final scramble - look for pink ribbons on the scramble. Pretty much just follow the border fence. I did not see one other person on the walk. The final scramble is a good climb so may be tough for little kids

David Scog on 28 May, 2020

Park is open. Only went to East peak though others carried on to West. Watch out for thorny plants as we had a few torn ears and hands. Steep at the end though I wouldn't consider this dangerous, just requires some scrambling.

JayWalker on 3 Jan, 2020

Closed as of 24th Oct 2019 until further notice due to burning

Juiced Pixels on 27 Oct, 2019

Great hike! Recommend long pants to protect your legs in the dense grass/shrub

Jack on 20 Oct, 2019

Don't be in a hurry to get to the start of the walk while you're driving out; the Tomewin Mtn Rd is very windy, but also very pretty. Slow down and enjoy the trip!
Last came up here about 1990, so I didn't remember much of the walk itself. It starts with a couple of hundred metres of a steep climb, then evens out to the cane/lantana mentioned in other posts. In contrast to some of the other comments, the track here seems pretty clear at the moment; not wide, but so sharply defined I'd think somebody's brought a brushcutter with them (!?) Didn't see any snakes here, but did see a land mullet - (black chunky lizard), then into rainforest all the way to the rock outcrop of East Peak. The last 400m or so up to the rock outcrop is very steep; not as fit as I was, took a lot of rests. The cave is hidden behind some boulders at the top of this slope; look for the dusty area. It's easy enough to walk in, but shrinks at the other end with a couple of overlapping projections; didn't fancy trying it!
Traverse right (it's an easy path) to find the track up to the top of E. Peak. From here follow the pink tape across to the top of W Peak; a little scrambling needed, but nothing too difficult. (As a purist, I don't approve of tape; as a solo walker, I'm very grateful to whoever put it there! :-) As mentioned, there are a few places it would be easy to take a wrong track to nowhere without it) The lookout back from W Pk to E Pk is close to a long vertical drop; be careful here. W Pk is a much larger area that E Pk, but more overgrown; very peaceful and I was lucky enough to have the whole trip to myself. Round trip about 6h15, including a long lunch stop at W Pk, and a few rest stops on the way.

John F on 18 Oct, 2019

Did the walk on the 5th of Sept with a friend. Very Dry at the moment.
It took about 2 hours to get the cave, to get this far you don't follow any pink tags, just stick to the fence until you get to a bit a scramble at the end. There was a couple there that told me the path no longer goes any further, however it did. It was only a couple of minutes to the East Peak from here. We ventured on towards the West Peak, following the instructions from this site. My friend didn't feel comfortable going all the way (there is a few nice lookouts on the way that she stayed at). It took about an hour for me to get from the East to West Peak, however this included stopping for photos at the smaller peaks on the way. The East peak has a better hinterland view, however the west has a better coastal view.
The path back from West to East was much harder to navigate - I did the same as a previous commenter by losing the path before rejoining later. It took about 40min to get back to the East Peak, and well less than 2hours down to the car from there, however I was keeping a fast pace as I had been seperated from my friend. She started to head back solo, however she didn't make it back to the fence, instead she kept following the pink ribbons and ended up on the path to Cougal Cascades. If anyone is wondering, if you follow the pink ribbons north, they still guide a path which makes a bit of a horseshoe shape, before coming out upstream on the northside of the sawmill at Cougal Cascades, the ribbons themselves are sometimes quite close together, sometimes 100m+ apart (particularly at the cascades end). Massive thanks to whoever put the markers there!

Overall, a very rewarding hike, great views at the end. The East is good, if you're after a bit of a challenge the West is better

Pete on 5 Sep, 2019

Great walk. Challenging at the bottom of the summit to find the right way up. Needs a few arrows painted on the rocks to guide you onto the right track. Well worth the effort

Steve Hall on 1 Sep, 2019

Great walk. Challenging at the bottom of the summit to find the right way up. Needs a few arrows painted on the rocks to guide you onto the right track. Well worth the effort

Steve Hall on 1 Sep, 2019

Solo trip up both peaks, 4.25 hours. Keep your wits about you between the 2 peaks - on the return I lost the track and only realised when I started dropping down into very steep terrain. 10 nervous minutes later of exploration backwards and forward and I happened upon the track again... phew. Also be alert for snakes - I chanced upon a red-bellied black snake in the cane/lantana section. Gaiters are a good idea for this track.

Michael on 1 Aug, 2019

Amazing views and it's a fun walk. Managed to squeeze through the cave but there was no book to sign so will take one when we go back with friends. Otherwise maybe someone else can take one if they read this.

Guy on 12 Jul, 2019

Very good hike, but also quite slippery and uphill ! Not really for beginners I guess. We did only one peak because we didn't know how far away was the other but it was really worth it. Most of the hike is in the rainforest which is really beautiful. We got lost on the way to the hike though : we went on the wrong side of the mountain thinking there was a road passing through but when we didn't find the road we figured google maps was wrong and that it was a private road we couldn't take. So we had to go around the mountain for another 20 min before reaching garden of eden road. But anyway, it's wet in the morning but the light is beautiful and we loved it!

Pia Monnier on 30 Jun, 2019

Great views, took about 3hrs 45mins but did spend a bit of time at the top. The caves are interesting too, but bit too tight if you are tall.

Bec on 14 Jun, 2019

Really enjoyed this one, great effort:reward ratio! Track is pretty overgrown for the first half, but still easy to follow. Long pants were an advantage for the first few Ks as the grass is grown over the path to just above your knees. Fantastic 360 views at the summit!

ChrisK on 12 May, 2019

Ive climbed Cougal east peak twice now, it was seriously overgrown last time. The track has completely disappeared

Jesse on 14 Apr, 2019

1st big walk with son and family!!Fantastic day but sore and sorry next day!👌

Looking forward to the next challenge.

karen pares on 29 Mar, 2019

An absolutely stunning track the whole way through. Plenty of steep sections which are a tonne of fun. The cave was really nice, too small for 7 of us to make it through although 3 of us did though aha. Found a red belly black snake on the way back that was fairly docile but you should always keep your eyes out in the long grass and bamboo type plant fields. I recommend that long pants and a long sleeve shirt are a must as there are plenty of very sharp plants along the track. We did did both peaks and it took us about 5.5 hrs in total with plenty of photography at the peaks and about 20 minutes around the caves.

Aaron Gannaway on 17 Feb, 2019

Great walk lots of variety

Kobi Wickens on 17 Feb, 2019

One of my favourite mountains so far! Starts with a steep uphill section then flattens out for the majority of the walk...that is until you reach the summit climb which was reasonably steep. Following the track away from the border fence you will see the massive rock face ahead of you and hidden behind some boulders you will find the cave. We went pretty far in, found some little bats in there too. If we were a little more ambitious we may have been able to squeeze through the little hole at the end which looks to lead to a nice window in the side of the mountain.

Continuing on the walk it maintains its steepness until the summit of the East Peak. Excellent views, I wasn't quite fulfilled so I made a quick diversion over to the west peak. Decent track marked by ribbons, was pretty easy to follow. Took 20 minutes to get from one peak to the other. At the top there is a little campsite if you walk off to the right, if you walk to the left you get an AMAZING view of the Gold Coast hinterland. Don't know what people are talking about, the west peak was way better! Only thing is be very careful, there is a very real chance of falling if you're not and it's a looong drop to the bottom. Getting back to the east peak was a bit trickier, lost the track and had to bush bash (don't know how I screwed it up, it seemed so instinctive on the way up).

Track back down from the east peak was pleasant with some nice views along the way. Saw a couple of people there but for the most part it was just us.

Vonsnrub on 5 Jan, 2019

We had picked this as our first walk(lol)
It was very challenging at the top, but we had made it thanks to some great placement with the pink ribbons.
As for the cave, you will not fit if you have some extra sexy kilos on board. Next time I attempt this walk i shall place a book at the opening of the cave for the extra sexy kilo persons to sign.(lol)

Mick on 29 Dec, 2018


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