I wake during the night to the sound of pouring rain. Not a good sign I think to myself. I have planned to meet Running Man to walk the Aracauria track at Binna Burra today but if its raining we aren’t going to see anything from the lookouts. When I meet running man at 6:30 am at our usual meeting spot the sun has come out and there are only a few clouds about. We drive up the range, park and ready our day packs. Cloud starts to come in over the range again. Running man and I have a brief discussion and decide we should change our plans for the day. We will try the Coomera Circuit track instead. It has poured with rain over night so all the falls and streams should be flowing and then we wont be disappointed by getting to the border lookouts and not being able to see anything.
Within 20 minutes of setting off on our walk light rain begins to fall. Which then gets heavier. Out come the gaiters, rain jackets and wet weather covers for our back packs. We have just put on our gear when 2 park rangers come by. “Good idea” one of them says nodding towards our gaiters. As I look at them i observe they are in similar attire, “There is a tree down further up ahead” he says “We have to clear the track”.
Dry and warm we continue on to the first and largest of the water falls, the Coomera Falls. The rain has turned these falls from a trickle into a decent flow, roaring into the valley and river below. A big walking group stop here not long after we arrive, and keen not to be listening to a big group of people nattering away we continue on.
Shortly we run into one of the park rangers chainsawing the tree that had fallen across the track. The ranger instructs us on the best way to climb over the massive tree without slipping down the embankment. We climb over where he tells us, getting nice and muddy in the process due to the tree bringing down quite a bit of the hillside with it. From here on in the track follows the creek for most of the way.
Waterfalls, cascades and picturesque creek crossings are aplenty. We take it slow due to the slippery and muddy conditions. For most of this section of the walk we were lulled into silence by the constant rushing sound of water. The silence broken intermittently to exclaim about the beauty of the latest waterfall or creek crossing.
As we detoured up a side track to another waterfall I looked down as Running man stepped across some rocks and what did I spy with my little eye? A very sleepy red belly black snake, “Hey” I call out “Look at this. You just missed a well hidden snake”. “He looks a bit cold” Running man says, as he comes back and grabs my hand to help me leap over our sleeping friend and we continue on. On the return walk back out onto the main track, our very sluggish snake friend has moved slightly to the side of the track and is laying curled under a tree-fern. I seem to be a bit of snake magnet I have to say. Over the years I have seen so many snakes on walks and on the acreage property I grew up on that I have truly lost count. Once last year, I even got bitten by one, but thank goodness it was only a warning bite. Since that day though I can’t stress enough the importance of carrying a snake bite kit on any walk!
One of the other critters we encounter a couple of times on this walk is the Lamington Spiny Crayfish. We see one, which we assume is a male, trying to get amorous with a female near the base of one of the falls. She quickly retreats under a rock as he advances. Guess he hasn’t helped out enough with the housework this week. We also get a laugh further along the track when we come across one trying to climb up the bank near the track but he keeps rolling back down onto the track. Very undignified indeed! They really are very striking creatures though and I feel very lucky to see a couple of them along this walk.
The waterfalls and cascades continue and we eventually find somewhere to stop and have some lunch. We choose a spot just up from a creek crossing and while we are sitting and eating we have so many people come up and try to walk past us looking for the track and we have to point them back down the creek telling them that those very precarious and mostly submerged rocks are where most people have been crossing. It’s amusing because you really realise how much humans just gravitate towards other humans. As soon as other walkers see us sitting and eating they assume we must be right near where the crossing is.
After finishing our lunch and helping some people cross over the previously mentioned creek crossing, we eventually merge back onto the Border track. “Do you hear that?” Running man asks me. “Hear what?” I reply. “Exactly” he says “Silence”. I instantly realise that he is referring to the sudden absence of the sound of rushing water. It is almost jarring for a moment as the white noise of the water has been our constant companion for a few hours now.
As we walk back towards Binna Burra we come to Jolah Lookout which we decide is a good spot to stop and enjoy the two beers we bought along. We are sitting and admiring the view when two younger men who we have exchanged pleasantries with during the walk stop at the lookout. We get talking about hiking and photos and where we live and grew up. One of them has recently got into photography and gives me the link to one of his time lapse videos he and a friend have compiled with still shots and the use of a drone. If you want to check it out this is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q0Ksf3UiXM Running man and I both agree it’s really nice and refreshing to see young people out enjoying the natural environment.
So in the end we didn’t end up doing the walk we set out to do but it turned out brilliantly despite the weather. Actually I think you would only really want to do this walk after a bit of rain to get the most out of all the falls and cascades. This would have to be the most scenic creek and riverside walk I have done in Queensland. So if you are in the area and its a rainy day, don’t despair. Get out your wet weather gear and have a go at the Coomera Circuit, you wont be disappointed.
At a Glance
Coomera Circuit 17.4 kms Class 4 walk.
Binna Burra Lamington National Park 1 1/2 hours (105kms) from Brisbane camping and accommodation options available