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September 26, 2018 / Comments (0)

Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk for Rookies

Spectacular views on the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

Perhaps it was a midlife crisis that prompted my husband’s desire to celebrate his 50th birthday with a hiking adventure.

I think the last hike we did was on our honeymoon in 1990, so when he announced that he wanted to do the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, I thought he’d lost the plot.

Located in Lamington National Park, and within a couple of hours’ drive of our hometown Brisbane, the full hike is 54km and takes three days to complete.

The track stretches from Green Mountain (O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat), through subtropical rainforest, along the roadside around Numinbah, and up and down mountainous terrain before arriving at Springbrook.

Wild Earth

Although there is the possibility of staying in comfortable accommodation at Binna Burra Mountain Retreat for one of the overnight stops, the other must be spent at Woonoongoora Walkers’ Camp. With only the most basic of facilities (toilets, and water that is not fit for drinking unless boiled or treated), it would have required carrying a tent, sleeping bags and other heavy equipment.

Goldcoast Hinterland Hike
Janet at Lamington National Park

Fortunately, I was able to talk some sense into my husband and we eventually arrived at a compromise: a day hike from O’Reilly’s to Binna Burra, which still covered a perfectly respectable 23km.

Preparing for our hike

I highly recommend a shakedown run before a major hike, as it can help you identify and resolve any potential issues. For example:

Hubby discovered that chafing was a problem, so he made sure to wear lycra bike pants under his trousers on the day of our hike.

I discovered that I needed lip balm to soothe my dry sore lips on a longer walk.

A hiking boot ready to hike the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

I also realised that my joggers weren’t up to the task and ended up buying some hiking boots. Not only were they made of waterproof material, they gave my ankles and feet much more support.

The hike itself

Janet and her husband on the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

As rookies, we learned a lot by doing the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk:

How you lace up your shoes matters! My local podiatrist recommends the ‘heel lock’ technique to prevent your feet sliding forward in your boot when walking, which can leave you with bruised and battered toes.

Most of the time you will be staring at the ground to avoid tripping on roots, rocks and other hazards, rather than enjoying the scenery.

There really isn’t anywhere to sit down along the way. We were very glad we packed a tarp, as even during dry weather the rainforest floor is damp.
Move your hands and arms around, don’t just let them swing at your side. By the end of our hike, my fingers had puffed up like sausages!

The after effects of the hike

We really enjoyed our hike, although I must confess I found the last few kilometres the hardest, probably because we were rushing to arrive at our destination before nightfall.

It was only as we arrived at Binna Burra that the outside of my right knee really started to hurt. According to Dr Google, this was my body’s way of letting me know I’d overdone it ? .

Enjoying the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

That evening, my face was quite flushed – like I was sunburnt. Yet we’d used sunscreen and been under the canopy of the rainforest all day! Again, Dr Google advised that this was an after-effect of strenuous – and unaccustomed – exercise.

I thought that was the limit of our ‘injuries’, until a week later when I noticed that two of my middle toenails had blisters underneath! They didn’t hurt, but I did end up losing one of the nails a few weeks later.

Would we Consider doing it again?

Now that my feet are fully recovered, we are definitely keen to do more hiking and bushwalking – but I don’t think we will be attempting anything as ambitious as the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk in future unless we put in some serious training first!

Hiking the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

About the author

Janet Camilleri is a Brisbane copywriter, award-winning business woman, and clearly a novice hiker. In her spare time she blogs as the Middle Aged Mama, about how she’s learning to fashion a new life now her kids are grown. You can follow Janet’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk - Hiking for Rookies
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Last modified: November 28, 2018

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