Bowen, Wooroonooran National Park and Mt Bartle Frere

After Townsville we headed towards Wooroonooran National Park via Bowen. On the way we passed by a little shop on the side of the road where we topped up on some fresh veggies and eggs. We also checked out the big mango.

Wooroonooran National Park consist of rainforest and mountains. The tallest mountain in Queensland, Mt Bartle Frere, is in the national park and is the reason for us heading this way – to climb it. First night we stayed in a beautiful camp ground called Henrietta Camp. We walked to the nearby Nandroya Falls in the late afternoon, making a dash back to camp before it got dark.

Next morning we were off to the bush camping site at the base of Mt Bartle Frere (western route via Topaz road). The mountain is around 1600m in elevation and requires a good 12 hours return to summit so we were too late to attempt it the first day we arrived. It requires a very early start to make it back to camp with day light. Actually it’s recommended to spend the night camping on the side of the mountain rather than rushing to make it in one day. We’re not setup for walk in camping so had to do it in a day.

The weather was terrible. It rained the whole time during our trek up and the leeches were out in force. At first we were flicking them off our shoes before they made it up to our legs but after doing that for 6 hours and running behind schedule we stopped less for leech checks and ended up getting many of the suckers attached to us. The climb was tough. Steep, long, tiring, lots of rock scrambling, our shoes were water logged, it drizzled the whole time, the ground was slippery and treaterous and the leeches never stopped. And there was no view from the top. Just cloud cover and rain. That’s what you get for being in a rainforest I suppose. We had no time to look around at the top – we had to race back down and after about 11 hours of non stop climbing we made it back to camp with the light fading. It was a rough climb but still it’s an achievement to do it in such tough conditions.

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