We recently hiked the Coomera Circuit in the Lamington National Park and boy was it worth it! It had been a long time since we did a long and strenuous hike. I seem to recall our last long hike was the multi-day Salkantay Trek in Peru, way back in September 2019! I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I suppose breaking a leg and being locked down within a 5-kilometre radius from our house for several months didn’t help!
We were looking forward to doing more hiking when we moved to Queensland. The list of hikes to do in South East Queensland is basically endless. That’s great because it means we’ll never get bored! When we decided to visit the Lamington National Park, I researched the hikes in the area and many people seemed to rave about the Coomera Circuit. Since it seemed to be everyone’s favourite, we decided to give it a go. We were not disappointed.
Where to start the Coomera Circuit?
The Lamington National Park has two sections, Binna Burra and Green Mountains. The Coomera Circuit is located in the Binna Burra section. The trail head starts right across from the Binna Burra Lodge’s café and campsite. There is parking available near the trailhead but if you want to get a good spot, go early; it can get very busy. Parking is free.
Do you need to be an experienced hiker?
Well, the Coomera Circuit is no walk in the park. It’s an 18 kms+ hike after all. However, there is no rock scrambling or mountains to climb. The track can be uneven in parts and there are several creeks to cross over which could be a challenge after heavy rain. Anyone with a relatively good level of fitness should be able to do it. The trick is to take your time, watch where you step (look out for slippery rocks at creek crossings!) and take regular breaks.
The Coomera Circuit starts by following the Border Track for about 1.9 kilometres until you reach a junction. The Border Track cuts through a beautiful section of lush rainforest filled with huge Antarctic Beech trees that are so tall that they don’t fit in a photo (even with a wide-angle lens!). Once you reach the junction, you’ll see a sign pointing to the Coomera Falls. Although you can walk the circuit both clockwise and anti-clockwise, it is recommended to do it anti-clockwise to get the hard part over with first, finishing the hike with the easiest part, the relatively flat Border Track.
The Coomera Falls
Past the first junction, it’s another 3.5-kilometre walk through rainforest before you reach the Coomera Falls lookout. The Coomera Falls are pretty stunning indeed and the most impressive falls on the Coomera Circuit. They drop 64 metres into the gorge below and you can view them from a platform that sits 160 metres above the gorge. What a sight!
Hopefully there’s been some serious rain before your trek, so that you can see them flowing heavily. It’s a good time to take your first break and have a snack as you enjoy the incredible views of the falls.
Many more waterfalls
Once you pass the Coomera Falls, the circuit continues past many more waterfalls and you end up crossing the Coomera river over and over again. Expect many creek crossings. Most crossing are pretty easy, with maybe a couple that are a little harder. This will obviously change depending on how much rain the park has had. The more rain, the higher the water level, which means that sometimes, the creeks could be quite difficult to cross.
Pay attention when stepping on rocks to cross the river as some can be quite slippery, especially if it’s been raining. Some of the waterfalls are a few hundred metres off the main track but if you can, you should take the detour. It will add a few extra minutes to your hike but after all, you’re also here for the waterfalls, right?
This part of the trek seemed to take forever because we stopped so many times for photos and videos and to enjoy the beauty of it all. Some of the falls we came across were Ungurungbano falls, Bahnamboola Falls, Kagoonya falls, Gwongarrong falls, Moolgoolong falls, Chigunya falls, Neerigomindala falls and Goorowa falls.
Lunch at the Bahnamboola Falls
We decided to take a lunch break at the Bahnamboola Falls because, one, they looked amazing and two, there was no one else around! We sat on a rock platform right next to the falls and enjoyed our lunch with the sound of the flowing waterfall. This is life, really!
Back on the Border Track
A few minutes after the last waterfalls, Goorawa Falls, you meet a junction again. The next section takes you back along the Border Track and back to the Binna Burra Lodge where you began. This section is a lot easier, and you will feel your pace speed up again.
The Joala Lookout
About three quarters of the way, you will come across the Joala Lookout. The Joala Lookout is another great place to have a break. It offers fabulous views over the Woggunba Valley and the Springbrook National Park. There’s even a bench for you to sit down and enjoy it all!
Back to the lodge
Nineteen kilometres later, we were back at the lodge and needless to say, we were rather exhausted! We began the hike at 7.30 am and finished at 1.20 pm, so it took us nearly 6 hours to complete.
The park is packed with wildlife and birdlife although it is a lot easier to hear the birds than to actually spot them! We did however see some very big bush turkeys!
One thing we were really hoping to see during our hike was the Blue Lamington Spiny Crayfish which are very common to the park. Sadly, we weren’t lucky and didn’t see any. Apparently, they are more active after heavy rain when they come out onto land to switch creeks and are sometimes spotted on the path itself.
I supposed we were lucky to have perfect weather because the path was mostly dry, and we didn’t have to worry too much about leeches. However, it would have been nice to see the crayfish. Oh well! You can’t have it all!
We also met a group of visitors who had spotted a dingo. I had no idea dingoes could be found in this part of the state. You learn something every day!
What to know before you start?
- Leeches are very common in the park, especially after heavy rain. I hate those suckers so do what you can to make it hard for them to get to you. Wear long pants and/or gaiters and spray insect repellent all over them and your boots before the start of the hike. We did the hike on a pretty dry day and thankfully did not see any, but they are pretty common in the area. If you get one stuck to you, don’t panic; it’s gross but there are safe ways to remove them. Click here to find out how.
- There are no toilets on the track so make sure to use the toilet at the start of the trailhead. If you need to go during the hike, be very careful; apparently leeches love our private bits. Yerk!
- Take a lot of water as it’s a long hike. You should also take snacks and a packed lunch.
- Wear hiking boots or very good walking shoes. It can be uneven, and it is definitely not a flip-flops kind of trek! If you have hiking poles, it’s a good idea to bring them too. I find they really help when navigating uneven paths.
- Bring a towel. If the water level is high you might have to take your boots off to cross the creeks. It’d be nice to dry your feet before getting back in your shoes.
- Bring a compression bandage and a first aid kit. Yes, this is Australia, and it is snake territory. Although they are normally a lot more scared of you than you are of them, if you step on one, they will bite, and some are venomous. A compression bandage will stop the spread of the poison while you call for help. Don’t worry, they aren’t everywhere, and we didn’t see any on our trek but it’s better safe than sorry.
- Download the All Trails App and download the trail map before the hike. Phone signal is not good in the area and even though the trail is quite clear to follow, you never know. Following the All Trails map is a good way to avoid getting lost.
- Bring layers, it can be chilly in the morning.
To see more of what you can expect when hiking the Coomera Circuit, watch our video below:
Where to stay near the Coomera Circuit?
The Binna Burra Lodge is located right at the start of the hike and offers both luxury rooms as well as safari tents. It also has a campsite. There is a café and restaurant on site too. Find out the lodge prices here. For the campsite click here.
We stayed in the Beechmont Bean cabins in Beechmont, which was only a fifteen-minute drive from the entrance to the park. Our cabins were comfortable and happened to be right across the road from the Rosins Lookout which has the most amazing sunrise! Find out their prices here.
If neither of those are your thing, you can use HotelsCombined to search across all the major accommodation sites using the search box below: