Coomera Circuit- Walking Through the Rainforests

"It is not so much of for its beauty that a forest makes claims upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit." ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Rainforests are very important aspects of our ecology, from the lush vegetation to thriving wildlife, each one interconnected and important in maintaining the delicate balance in nature - a balance that not only affects them but us humans as well.

Coomera Circuit and the Lamington National Park in general are home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls not only in The Land Down Under but in the whole world. Photo by Tatiana Gerus on Flickr.

How would you like to go on a trip through one of the most alive rainforests in the world, where you can see various species of plant and animal life, from the small skinks to one metre long lizards, from minute flowers to giant trees over a thousand years old?

These things plus panoramic views of tree canopies, gorges, and majestic waterfalls are what you will see when you decide to take a walk in one of the most famous walking trails in Australia - the Coomera Circuit.

Reasons to Trek the Coomera Circuit

  1. The walking trail is a wonderful escape from the sweltering heat of the summer sun - a chance to rest and enjoy yourselves under the cooling shade of towering trees some of which have been standing there for ages.
  2. You will get to see countless natural, water systems: from small trickling brooks to hundred feet high waterfalls.
  3. There are various lookout points along the way where hikers are treated to a spectacular view of tree canopies, deep gorges and valleys.
  4. Being a part of the Lamington National Park, you have the chance to see over 150 bird species, 50 mammal species and 900 plants species and varieties.
  5. Gain a deeper understanding and respect for the beauty of nature and its importance to maintaining equilibrium in the world, something which is better taught to the younger ones through first hand experience.

Full Day Walk Itinerary

Many sections of the Coomera Circuit require you to pass over rivers and creek, so keep your eyes peeled for leeches and this electric blue crayfish. Authored by Tatiana Gerus, uploaded by berichard on commons.wikimedia.org.

The Coomera Circuit is about 18 kilometres long, and takes about 6-8 hours to complete. It is found in the Binna Burra section of the Lamington National Park, one of the biggest and frequently visited national parks in Queensland, Australia.

Car Park to Coomera Falls Lookout

From the car park, head to the entrance of the hiking path where a welcome arch stands. This marks the actual start of the circuit. Follow the trail which passes through the rainforest, until you reach the Coomera Gorge, a cut in the landscape that is about 160 metres deep. Within roughly two hours into the walk, you will reach the Coomera Falls which is the highlight of the circuit walk and one of the best waterfalls in the whole of the national park. There is a viewing platform which looks out to the mouth of the falls and deep down into the pool below. Sandra Broom features some wonderful snapshots of the said falls in her website.

Coomera Falls Lookout to Mt. Hobwee Base

Within a few minutes of walking from the Coomera Falls Lookout is the Yarrabilgong Falls, one of the many smaller falls that make up the water systems of the national park. Continue walking towards the Valley Top by following the Coomera crevice trail, passing three more small falls: the Gwonggorbulli Falls, the Bahnamboola Falls and the Goorawa falls. The walk continues until you reach the Valley Top point where the Coomera Circuit trail and the Main Border Track meet, right at the base or foot of Mt. Hobwee.

Mt. Hobwee Baseto Joalah Lookout

Follow the Main Border track, heading back up to the car park. On the way is the Joalah Lookout. Spend some time taking in the views of tree canopies down in the Numinbah Valley. You get to see Springbook and the coast as well.

Joalah Lookout to Car Park

Get back on the main track and follow the signs that lead back to the car park. Along the way are more of the flora and fauna of the park along with some avian wildlife.

Best Time to Go

Optional day trips lead to astounding secrets of the rainforest, like Antarctic Beech Trees which are dated to be thousands of years old. Photo by Lady alys…commons.wikimedia.org.

Summer months are generally the most recommended times to go as the temperate rainforests provide great relief from the scorching heat. The temperature during these months also makes for a great swag camping in the lodge.

Although the trail is open during the rainy season, it may be quite difficult to make the walk since most of the rivers get flooded, especially after strong or continuous rains. As per recommendation, river crossing should not be attempted when the water reaches above knee level. Besides, leeches are sure to come out these times of the year.

Where to Camp

The nearest campsite to the circuit is the one in the Binna Burra Lodge. The management offers camping grounds for both tent and swag campers and even those with small trailers.

Alternatively, there are other campsites available in the park, like in the Green Mountains section. Be sure to bring a comfortable swag with a soft yet durable mattress and made of high quality materials to ensure optimum comfort while camping in the area. Be sure to choose a swag with mesh openings which are small enough to let the air circulate while providing privacy to the user and protecting them from bugs and insects.

Side Tours

The Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park is teeming with various walks aside from the Coomera Circuit. There are short day walks which can be completed in an hour or so, like the Rainforest Circuit and Bellbird Circuit. You can view more of the section's half-day walks and full-day walks and choose your preferred side trip from their list.

What to Bring

For your hiking trip to the Coomera Circuit and others, be sure to have the following items.

  • Food and Water - this is going to be a full day walk, so remember to bring enough food. You may also want to bring some energy bars or small snacks that you can munch on while walking. Don't forget to bring your own water bottle with lots of water as well. Also remember to bring a ziplock bag to put your trash in.
  • Raincoat - rains sometimes fall in the area even in the summer months. Don't bother bringing an umbrella as it won't do any good in protecting you from the rain.
  • Hiking Boots - choose one with a good grip and sole (for hopping over rocks in the rivers and walking over mud) and comfortable enough for more than 5 hours walk.
  • Day Packs - bring one that can carry only the essentials. A heavy and hiking backpack will cause more hindrance than help during the walk.
  • First Aid Kit - for leeches and for minor scrapes and bruises.
  • Camera/Video Cams - for taking those memorable moments during the trip.

For your overnight camping, be sure to include the following:

  • Swags - Much of the campground is uneven, with small bumps and pebbles, so choose a swag with legs that allow you to elevate it from the ground so you can sleep relaxingly after the full day walk.
  • Beddings - even if you are planning to stay in the safari tents, you still need to bring your own personal beddings. High quality and comfy infatable pillows are great for these circumstances since they fit into your bags without taking up much space.
  • Insect repellents
  • Warmers - the nights can get pretty cold up there
  • Food - there are cooking facilities for BBQ in the campsite and a grocery store nearby.

Who Can Bring You There

Various walking tours offer to take you in and out and around the Lamington National Park, although not most of them would cover the Coomera Circuit. Geo-nature Walks and Tours on the other hand, operate and cover the Coomera Circuit, with an optional side trip to Tullawallal where you can see thousand year old Antarctic Beech Trees.

You can also contact the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge which includes a walk at the Coomera Circuit as part of their activities.

Virtual Tour

Here is a short video (an excerpt from the Coomera River Track video by virtualwalkabout.com) that outlines what you can expect to see along the trail.

If you need more encouragement, here are other picture galleries from some of the people who have trekked the Coomera Circuit.

  • Ned Martin's Dot Org- Great photos of the tracks and sceneries along with a map outlining the circuit.
  • Sandra Broom - A collection of pictures of the gorge and waterfalls as well as the trails.

More Reading

Learn more about the Coomera Circuit by reading the following:

Walking along the rainforests in the Coomera Circuit will certainly make you feel closer to Mother Nature, allowing you and your family or walking buddies to bask and enjoy nature in one of its purest and rawest forms. The Coomera Circuit is truly an amazing walk with wonderful geologic formations, spectacular water systems, lush vegetation and thriving wildlife rolled into one exciting hiking experience.