Stinson Crash Site from Christmas Creek

Queensland

Hard Walk in rough terrain.

Waterfalls
Lookouts
Swimming
Scrambling or Climbing
Navigation Required
Rainforest

Getting there

How do you get to the start of the walk? 

At the end of Christmas Creek Road, Lamington QLD (approx 1 hr 15 from Brisbane), gets very narrow and unsealed towards the end, drive with care. Carpark is quite small so best to go early to avoid disappointment.

Maps

Which maps cover the area?

Queensland

Route/Trail notes

A detailed description of the walk!

Very long and gruelling climb after Westray's Grave. Definitely takes all day, if you are slow you may want to consider camping overnight.

Permits/Costs

Do you need any permits? What's the cost?

Nil

Other References

How can I find more info? Any guide books?

Search

Comments

Great walk however, very challenging. Be prepared for lots of steep uphill and just when you thought you were there, some more steeper uphill followed by a lot more steep uphill, so much uphill but well worth it to connect with part of Australian aviation history.
Good shoes are a must and self confidence required to keep on trail, spot markers and your ability to get down after being exhausted from getting up there.

Salem13 on 25 Jul, 2019

This has been the hardest hike I've done and the most exhilarating.
Loved every minute of it. So much history and so sad.
It has a great swimming hole near a waterfall. If you do hike this make sure you have plenty of water. Be careful to check for ticks as well.

HR on 22 Sep, 2018

Not the easiest walk to get to but definitely worth the effort. You must drive right to the end of Christmas Creek Road which seems to stretch on forever and gets quite narrow and unsealed for the last 1-2km. The car park at the end is quite small, only fits about 8-10 cars max (and that is playing some good tetris).

From the carpark there is a locked gate through private property to reach the start of the trail which is about 3-400 metres away. There is an obvious national park sign on the right at the end of the road and you end up at Christmas Creek. The actual trail is found directly opposite where you climb down to the creek bed. My first trip here our party started up the creek straight away towards the large fallen tree but the path can be found straight away if you hop across the creek at the first opportunity.

After you find the trail this is fairly straight forward to follow but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the helpful hiking tape which has been left all the way to Westray's Grave site. This part of the walk is lovely as you follow the creek through the forest and takes about an hour so bear that in mind for the return journey. This is definitely an all day experience and this first section could get tricky if you lose the light.

The start of the trail up into the hills is about 4-500 metres before the grave site and is very obvious with a nice glove on a post pointing up a very steep, very rough trail. It is worth going to Westray's Grave and this spot is the beginning of the walk to Larapinta Falls which is an absolute must (I will write about that separately).

Once you have seen Westray's Grave, head back to the Glove. This is where the vertical assault begins and is very grueling, your legs will remind you that you are alive 8 - ]. After climbing for what seems like a long time the trail will level out and you will follow it around the base of cliffs in front of you. There is tape marked on this section too but not as obvious as the path to Westray's Grave so you need to keep your wits about you.

The flat section around the base of the cliffs continues for a short while before it starts to climb again and you resort to climbing up tree roots and rocks which is very entertaining. The trail ends up winding up the rocks and above where the first ascent ended. Some kind soul has tied a rope on a fairly steep stretch which is a big help. Once on top of the ridge, the track continues into denser forest and is fairly obvious but it still pays to keep an eye on the tape. The wait-a-while vine is particularly prevalent in this section we found. There are some crude signs at various intervals along this ridge section which keeps you going in the right direction.

After about 2km of this forest walk on the ridge you will come to a clearing with three obvious ways out. The path to the left leads to the actual crash site and is not marked in any obvious way. Thankfully when we arrived at this spot, there were some other hikers present who told us where to go, otherwise it would have been pot luck though we did have a topographical map.

Following the left trail for about 500 metres will take you to the memorial and what's left of the wreckage (which is not a lot). The path is quite eroded so a little care doesn't go astray. The clearing at the top is a good spot for a breather and the path straight ahead leads to a lookout over the border towards Mt Warning, however it is not well marked in places and be sure to follow the tape. It was very hazy the day we were there but on a clear day the view would be spectacular.

To the clearing, crash site and lookout took about 4ish hours including a few stops. The way back down a little less but it is a very tough slog overall and you definitely want to start early. I've attached a photo of the journey read out one of our party took to give you an idea. Considering how wild the area is, it makes the O'Reilly rescue story even more incredible to experience it first-hand. Suggest long pants and sleeves as you will get caught by the vegetation, a small pair of pruners may not be a bad idea either to clear off some of the grabbing vines. I've seen pythons on both trips to the area so keep your eyes peeled!

In summary: Extremely wild and off the grid so be prepared, phone reception is basically 0, beautiful trip along the creek and great scenery throughout, very long and challenging but absolutely worth it.

Matty Vee on Sep, 2018

Gruelling walk but well worth it. Long pants/sleeves is recommended, although will that increase your chances of getting caught on the abundant and aptly named wait-a-while vine perhaps. Do a check for ticks afterwards too, I had one on me.
The path scrambles and winds its way up, however is pretty well defined. A walk to point lookout while you're there is recommended, pretty amazing view. Get a map from QTopo, the path is marked on there. A must do walk I would say.

Muzbags on May, 2017

Go with a local guide, leave early and allow 8 hours due to the terrain.

Cassandra D'Arcy on Apr, 2017

We did this walk as a family. 2 adults and 2 kids, Miss E 6 and Master L 5. We set off from the end of Christmas Creek and walked the path to about 100 m away from Westray's Grave (following along beside the creek). This took us 3 hours to complete. Then we followed the track Up,Up and Up. Yes it is Up. A 600 m ascent and it is tough. You are basically grabbing on to tree roots and trunks to help pull you up sections. It is very loose underfoot. But if you take your time as we did it is quite fun especially for kids. It took us 5 hours to get to the cleared camping spot at the top (which is about 100 m from the crash site). So 8 hrs all up walking from the car to the camp. We stayed overnight. The next day we visited the crash site and then proceeded on down the same track we had come up. Going down seemed much easier than going up. It took us 4 hours to get down to Christmas Creek. We did a quick visit to Westray's grave before heading back to the car again walking along beside the creek for 3 hours. Took us 7 hours from start to finish on the downhill run. We did this walk to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the crash of the Stinson Plane and to remember those on board the plane, Bernard O'Reilly and the other hundreds of volunteers who played a part in the amazing rescue. If you are a slow walker or if you have children, doing it over 2 days is a great option. We walk very slow and usually double any recommended walking time because of little 5 & 6 y/old legs. This is rugged and rough country and strong bushwalking and navigational skills are a must.

Heather Wood on 17 Feb, 2017

A great walk overall. I'm glad I wore long hiking pants to protect me from the leeches and the scrapes from the bushes/branches as well as when I did my multiple times of slipping and sliding. Will definitely take gloves next time. Carrying insect repellent helped deter the leeches. A very steep section with lots of slipping and root grabbing both going up and down. Takes a lot of focus/concentration but be prepared for a few bruises - lol and be extremely muddy. I'm glad I did it although my body felt like it went through a battering machine.

Caroline on 28 Jan, 2017

Great walk, enjoy the walk but leeches everywhere.
well marked track. very steep climb to the plane crash.

Remy Run on 26 Jan, 2016

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