WHERE IS IT?
More than just a delicious sounding name, Lamington National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and among the most extensive subtropical rainforests in the world.
Drive south of Brisbane for 110km and you’ll arrive at the awe-inspiring Lamington National Park. Declared in 1915 and spanning an impressive 21,176 hectares among the Gold Coast Hinterland, the park is comprised of two sections: Binna Burra and Green Mountains.
Getting To Binna Burra: Allow 70 minutes from Broadbeach. Drive to Beechmont via Nerang, take Pacific Motorway exit 69 and follow the signs west to Lamington National Park – Binna Burra. Note: the final 10km section of drive is very narrow.
Getting To Green Mountains (O’Reilly): Green Mountains is on the western side of the Lamington Plateau in a place called O’Reilly. The story goes that in 1912, eight of the O’Reilly men each started farming in the McPherson Range. They milked cattle and collected timber but didn’t make enough money. In 1915 Lamington National Park was established around their land and in 1926, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat was founded by the O’Reilly brothers.
To get there from Broadbeach, head to Canungra via Nerang. Take Pacific Motorway exit 34 to Beenleigh, route 92 to Tamborine, and route 90 to Canungra. Allow at least 50 minutes to get through the 36km of winding and often narrow bitumen road from Canungra. Note: this road is unsuitable for vehicles towing caravans or camper trailers, and recreational vehicles (RVs) longer than 4m.
There are no public transport options but there are many commercial operators that conduct tours to Lamington National Park.
Lamington National Park has wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities. The Binna Burra section has wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, and a trail for vision-impaired visitors is located on private land near Binna Burra Mountain Lodge.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
As densely forested as it is beautiful, Lamington National Park has more than 500 waterfalls dotted throughout, and spectacular landforms, cliffs and plateaus that have been created by lava remnants from when Tweed Volcano and Mount Warning were active, some 23 million years ago. This unique and dramatic landscape is also home to 250 species of threatened and exotic wildlife.
Due to its areas of fragile geology, high numbers of endangered and rare species, and sites of significant indigenous cultural value, some activities are restricted or not permitted in the park. These include abseiling and other cliff-based activities (restricted), mountain bike riding (not permitted) and high impact recreational events or large group activities (require a permit).
Furthermore, Egg Rock (Kurraragin) – located within the park – is identified as a significant Aboriginal area under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and is, therefore, an area with restricted access.
WHERE TO STAY
Camping is permitted in the Green Mountains section. Campers need to book a permit in advance, and can do so online. At these sites, caravans, camper trailers and recreational vehicles (RV) longer than 4m are not suitable, so check out the alternative options in the neighbouring areas of Canungra, Beechmont and other towns in the Gold Coast hinterland.
If you prefer a few more creature comforts then check-in to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat or Binna Burra Mountain Lodge.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE
Lamington National Park offers a plethora of opportunities for walking, remote bushwalking, guided tours and talks, swimming, picnics and wildlife viewing.
If you love a good stroll, then the park’s 160+km of walking trails will satisfy that itch! With terrain suitable for easy strolls to half or full-day hikes, you’ll definitely be able to hike to your heart’s content. Those prone to weary legs can enjoy a Segway Safari. This 90-minute experience will see you travel with ease on a segway, to Moran’s Falls exploring the eucalypt forest and rainforest along the way.
O’Reilly’s also offers some unique bird experiences such as the Bird of Prey and Bird Feeding Shows. In the 1930s, Bernard O’Reilly rehabilitated an injured Crimson Rosella. When it was healed, he released the bird but it kept returning for supplementary feeding each day. Then, as bird’s do, it invited all its friends, and they have remained there ever since.
For the thrillseekers, O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walkway is a definite must-do. This experience is free and will see you walk for 180m, along nine suspension bridges that are balanced approximately 15m above the ground. O’Reilly’s also has a flying fox, which is an exhilarating 180m zipline ride through the forest canopy and across Moran’s Creek.
Adrenalin junkies should also head to Binna Burra Lodge where they can experience a 165m-long flying fox, or arrange a heart-pounding abseiling adventure over a 40m or 90m cliff-face. Binna Burra Lodge also offers activities for the more feint-hearted, such as archery and rogaining (orienteering).
And in Lamington National Park, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! After dark, pack a torch and join in on a Nightly Glow Worm Tour or Spotlight Walk, where you’ll come face-to-face with some of the region’s nocturnal animals.
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
Binna Burra Mountain Lodge
Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong, by Bernard O’Reilly (1949)