Girraween National Park

Darren Jew © Queensland Government

Girraween National Park

Discover massive granite outcrops, balancing boulders, clear running streams and spectacular spring wildflowers in a ruggedly scenic setting.

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Castle Rock offers breathtaking panoramic views across Girraween National Park.
Castle Rock offers breathtaking panoramic views across Girraween National Park. Maxime Coquard © Queensland Government
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Park Girraween
Traditional Owner Traditional Owners
Park Ranger Park Ranger

Picnic by the creek and enjoy a stroll with the family through springtime wildflowers or set off an adventurous day hike or mountain bike ride. Stay overnight and sleep under the stars with a bouldery landscape as your backdrop.

Enjoy family-friendly short walks with an easy meander along the water-sculpted rocks of Underground Creek track or ramble beside Bald Rock Creek to the amazing Granite Arch. Challenge yourself and rock-hop or climb your way up to one of Girraween's signature peaks, such as Castle Rock or The Pyramid, which reveal spectacular vistas stretching out across the park and further beyond. Explore Girraween's forested back country on two-wheels with a mountain bike adventure along the Peak trail.

Marvel at the dazzling springtime wildflower displays at Dr Roberts Waterhole and The Junction. Discover the park’s rich diversity of plant and animal life, as you spot many colourful birds, listen to frogs, and watch kangaroos and possums.

Camp under the stars at the shady Bald Rock Creek or Castle Rock camping areas, or relax with the family to enjoy a picnic lunch at the Bald Rock Creek day-use area. Drop into the Girraween Visitor Centre to chat to our friendly rangers and make the most out of your visit.

Keep discovering

Top things to see and do

Castle Rock camping area has sites suitable for tents, camper trailers, caravans and motorhomes.

Girraween's camping areas

See Girraween's walkers' camps and camping areas.

Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views on the Castle Rock track.

Girraween's journeys

See Girraween's walks and mountain bike rides.

Girraween Visitor Centre is a treasure-trove of information about the national park.

Girraween's attractions

See Girraween's day-use areas and information centre.

Getting there and getting around

Girraween National Park is on the Queensland–New South Wales border, 260km south-west of Brisbane, halfway between Stanthorpe and Tenterfield.

The park has three entrances (northern, western and southern) and is accessible by conventional vehicles. Pyramids Road links the northern and western park entrances.

From Brisbane to western entrance

  • Drive about 220km south-west along the New England Highway via Warwick to Stanthorpe.
  • Continue 26km along the New England Highway to Wyberba (30km north of Tenterfield).
  • Turn onto Pyramids Road and follow this winding bitumen road through the Wyberba Valley 6km east to the western park entrance.
  • Drive about 3km on Pyramids Road to the Girraween Visitor Centre, Castle Rock camping area and Bald Rock Creek camping and day-use areas.

From Brisbane to northern entrance

  • Drive about 220km south-west along the New England Highway via Warwick to Stanthorpe.
  • Turn onto Sugarloaf Road, which turns into Eukey Road and drive about 15km via Storm King Dam towards Eukey.
  • About 1km before Eukey, turn onto Breens Road, drive 2.5km then turn onto Pyramids Road and drive about 6km to the northern park entrance.
  • Drive about 4km on Pyramids Road to the Girraween Visitor Centre, Castle Rock camping area and Bald Rock Creek camping and day-use areas.

From Tenterfield (NSW) to southern entrance

  • Drive 18km north on the New England Highway to Wallangarra.
  • In Wallangarra, cross to the eastern side of the railway line, go over the railway bridge and turn left onto sealed and signposted Mount Norman Road.
  • After about 2km the road changes to gravel. Turn right across a grid and continue for 1km then turn right at the water treatment plant and enter the park's southern entrance.
  • Drive 3.5km on Mount Norman Road to the Mount Norman Day-use area.
  • Mount Norman Road continues north as a 4WD track and, after about 25km, joins with Pyramids Road at the northern park entrance.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Road conditions

  • The roads from Stanthorpe to the northern park entrance via Eukey and Storm King Dam have some gravel sections.
  • Mount Norman Road through the park is unsealed and suitable for 4WD only north of the Mount Norman day-use area.
  • See traffic and travel information for road and travel conditions.
  • Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Fuel and supplies

The nearest fuel and supplies are available from Stanthorpe (25km from the northern entrance), Ballandean (14km from the western entance) and Wallangarra (4.5km from the southern park entrance).

  • For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Wheelchair access

The Castle Rock camping area amenities block and the Bald Rock Creek day-use area facilities are suitable for visitors in wheelchairs. Wyberba walk is wheelchair accessible.

Camping

The park's two camping areas, Bald Rock Creek and Castle Rock camping areas, are in a pleasant open forest setting close to the Girraween Visitor Centre and walking tracks.

  • Both camping areas cater for tent camping and camper trailers.
  • Castle Rock camping area is also suitable for caravans and larger motorhomes. You can also bush camp in remote sections of the park.
  • Camping permits are required and fees apply. Display the tag with your booking number at your camp site.
  • Read about camping with care in the park.

See camping areas

Guided tours and talks

Ranger-guided walks and talks may be offered during school holiday times. Check at the Girraween Visitor Centre for details.

Commercial operators offer tours to the park.

  • For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Walking

The park boasts 17km of walking tracks, ranging from a 280m stroll beside Bald Rock Creek to the 11km return walk to Mount Norman. Most walks start near the Girraween Visitor Centre and Bald Rock Creek day-use area.

  • The main tracks are well-defined but you can expect rocky sections and steep upper slopes on most tracks. If you are a more experienced walker with navigation skills, you can tackle an extensive fire trail network throughout the park for long-distance walks. A topographic map is required when using these remote tracks.
  • Read about walking with care in the park.

Map of walking tracks

Picnicking

Bald Rock Creek day-use area, near the Girraween Visitor Centre, provides toilets, picnic tables, electric barbecues and water. Mount Norman day-use area, near the park's southern entrance, provides pit toilets and picnic tables.

Map of picnic tables/facilities

Viewing wildlife

Girraween offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. See kangaroos, possums and many colourful birds. Enjoy the colourful wildflower displays in spring.

With over 750 plant, 150 bird, 22 mammal, 23 frog and 45 reptile species, Girraween guarantees its visitors a close encounter of a natural kind.

Mountain biking and cycling

Shared trails in remote areas of Girraween are suitable for cycling as well as walking.

The 3.5km Creek trail provides a leisurely ride or walk on reasonably-flat, forest country with springtime wildlfower displays.

The Peak trail is a 10.6km route over more difficult terrain with lovely vistas of Mount Norman. Combine both trails for a 17km return ride through Girraween's forested back country.

Four-wheel driving and scenic driving

There are several roads travelling to the far reaches of the park ... and you don't always need a 4WD!

  • Pyramids Road, connecting the park's western and northern entrances, provides a scenic drive through the park for conventional vehicles.
  • Conventional vehicles can also access Mount Norman day-use area via the unsealed Mount Norman Road from the southern park entrance.
  • North of the Mount Norman day-use area, an 8km section of this road become 4WD only, heading north to meet Pyramids Road. From here, you can drive back through the park, past the Girraween Visitor Centre to the New England Highway, or exit the park through the northern entrance and continue north to Stanthorpe via Eukey.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Swimming

You can swim in Bald Rock Creek, accessed from several walking tracks throughout the park.

Other things to do

Weddings

Get married by the creek or against a backdrop of imposing granite boulders. Talk to Girraween's rangers about the perfect spot to hold your wedding ceremony.

When to visit

Opening hours

  • Girraween National Park is open 24 hours a day.
  • The Girraween Visitor Centre is usually open 7 days a week during office hours, park duties permitting.

Climate and weather

Not far from the Queensland–New South Wales border, Girraween National Park has more in common with cooler southern climes than with the Sunshine State. Crisp winter weather provides skies of blue and picturesque morning frosts. Spring conditions entice an amazing display of wildflowers and wildlife.

Be prepared for cold changes any time. Girraween National Park is pleasantly cool most of the year round. Winters are usually dry and cold with frosty nights reaching an average minimum of -4°C. Summers days are a warm 25–30°C with cooler nights averaging 15–18°C.

Most rain falls between November and March with an average annual rainfall of 850mm per year.

Permits and fees

Camping permits

Organised events

  • If you are planning a school excursion or organising a group event such as a wedding, fun run or adventure training, you may need an organised event permit. Maximum group sizes and other conditions apply depending on location and activity type.

Pets

Domestic animals are not allowed here.

Staying in touch

Mobile phone coverage

Unreliable. Mobile phone coverage is not reliable in Girraween National Park, but may be possible in areas with high elevation or westwards towards the New England Highway. Check with your service provider for more information.

Wi-Fi

Connect to our QldParks wi-fi at the Girraween Visitor Centre.

Tourism information

Brochure

Download this brochure and take it with you:

Information provided in this guide is correct at the time of printing. Check park alerts for the latest details.

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Be prepared

  • Parks are natural environments and conditions can be unpredictable. You are responsible for your own safety and for looking after the park.
  • Read stay safe and visit with care for important general information about safety, caring for parks and essentials to bring when you visit Queensland’s national parks.

  • Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Camping

  • Bring warm clothing and sturdy foot wear, and be prepared for cold changes in the weather at any time.
  • It's best to book camp sites early.
  • Be considerate towards other visitors and keep noise levels to a minimum.
  • Read camp with care for tips on camping safely and camping softly.

Drinking water

Open fires

  • Open fires are not allowed.
  • There are wood-fired BBQs at Bald Rock Creek and Castle Rock camping areas.
  • Bring your own cleaned, milled firewood as you can't collect wood from the bush.
  • Dispose of your barbecue ashes by wetting down and taking to waste transfer station). Ash must not be dumped in the camping area or bush.
  • We recommend fuel stoves for cooking.
  • Open fires are not permitted in remote bush camping sites throughout the park. You must carry fuel stoves for cooking.
  • Read camp with care for tips on camping safely and camping softly.

Rubbish

  • There are no bins. Take your rubbish with you when you leave.

Walking

  • Do not pick the wildflowers. Remember everything in the park (living or dead) is protected—including wildflowers, wildlife, and even rocks and timber.
  • Keep to designated walking tracks. They lead you to the more outstanding features without damaging the park.
  • Be very careful in rainy and windy conditions—granite rocks become extremely slippery when wet.
  • You need a reasonable level of fitness to walk The Pyramid, The Sphinx and Turtle Rock, Castle Rock and Mount Norman tracks and the Peak trail as the ascents of exposed rock faces are steep and tiring. Avoid climbing these walks when wet as summits have steep cliffs and potentially slippery surfaces.
  • Choose walks that suit the capabilities of your entire group.
  • You need a topographic map when walking remote tracks.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.

Around water

  • Never dive or jump into Bald Rock Creek. The water flow varies and submerged rocks and logs are dangerous.
  • Do not use soap and detergent in Girraween National Park's creek and waterholes—they pollute the water.
  • Read water safety for important information about staying safe in and near water and caring for parks.

Natural environment

Massive granite outcrops, precariously balanced boulders, clear streams and tumbling cascades are set within 11,800ha of eucalypt forests, sedgelands and heathlands. These significant communities provide for a mixture of plant and animal species usually found north, south, east and west of Girraween, and some that do not occur naturally elsewhere.

Plants

Girraween is an Aboriginal word meaning 'place of flowers'. It is not of local Aboriginal origin, but is an apt name for this rugged place with spectacular spring wildflower displays. Wildflowers begin to bloom in late July with golden wattle brightening the bush canopy, and pea flowers bursting into blossom below.

September and October are the most spectacular months, with magnificent displays of delicate white heath bells and the bold yellow, purple and red pea flowers splashing the granite-strewn countryside with colour. Grass trigger plants, billy buttons, native bluebells, native sarsaparilla and a variety of daisies contribute to the spring show. The display ends with the summer-flowering flannel flowers, wattles, bottlebrushes, paperbarks and eucalypts.

On exposed granite summits, grasses, mat rushes, lilies and low shrubs flourish in sparse soil lodged in cracks and joints. Larger depressions carry more dense patches. The 'rock gardens' of the scree slopes and massive granite outcrops are splendid. Low, dense heaths comprise a diverse array of flowering shrubs. Wattles, pea-flowers, mint and daisy bushes and rock roses are common beneath scattered eucalypt and cypress trees.

Swamp communities flourish in the headwaters of Girraween National Park's creeks and where granite outcrops impede drainage. Sedges, rushes, swamp selaginella and sphagnum moss have adapted to the waterlogged conditions.

Trees are sparsely scattered throughout these swamps, with messmate stringybark Eucalyptus obliqua making its home in the swamps at South Bald Rock. Heaths, sundews and grasses fringe the swamp edges, with much-admired terrestrial orchids.

Eucalypt forests dominate the well-drained soils on Girraween National Park's slopes, gullies and valley floors. Twenty-five species of eucalypt have been identified, with some only found naturally in Girraween National Park. The graceful, slender-leaved Wallangarra white gum Eucalyptus scoparia is endemic to Girraween National Park, where it is restricted to Mount Norman and the high ridges to the south-west.

On the high ridges to the west and south-west of Mount Norman are the park's only stands of mallee ash Eucalyptus codonocarpa. Eucalypts more commonly observed along the walking tracks are New England blackbutt Eucalyptus andrewsii, round-leaved gum, orange gum, yellow box, apple box, Youman's stringybark and broad-leaved stingybark.

Often eucalypts share the forest canopy with black cypress pine, rough-barked apple, kurrajong, banksias and oleander wattles. The forest understorey may be lightly covered with geebungs, conesticks and wild cherry, or it may be more prominent and diverse with urn heath, queen of the bush, parsley bush and a variety of impressive pea flowers. Where the ground cover is dense, kangaroo grass and blady grass are common along with grass trees, drumstick heaths and bracken ferns.

Sheltered moist gullies are havens for ferns and more vulnerable and delicate plants. New England ash Eucalyptus campanulata and round-leaved gum Eucalyptus deanei may grow in these gullies with a shrub layer of lance beard heath, blueberry ash, wild fuchsia, large-leaved hop bush and tableland daisy bush. Epiphytic orchids and elkhorns cling to boulders and trees or lodge in rock crevices. Plants more frequently associated with rainforests including macrozamia, muttonwoods, sweet pittosporum and possumwood may be found in very moist and protected areas.

Animals

Girraween National Park's fascinating eucalypt forests, sedgelands and heathlands provide habitats for a variety of intriguing wildlife. Wildlife enthusiasts are captivated by the diversity of animal species found here.

Wildlife with wings

Flowering shrubs attract beetles, butterflies and other insects—food for many birds, reptiles and mammals. Throughout summer the double drummer cicada's high-pitched mating calls chorus through the eucalypt forests. Being short-lived, the dying cicadas become a hearty feast for a lucky furred, feathered or scaly resident.

The forests and heaths of Girraween National Park support permanent populations of over 150 bird species. Kookaburras, magpies and currawongs frequent the camping and day-use areas, as do superb fairy-wrens, eastern yellow robins, eastern spinebills, yellow-rumped thornbills, satin bowerbirds, red wattlebirds, crimson rosellas, wonga pigeons and common bronzewing pigeons.

Warblers, parrots, treecreepers, flycatchers and honeyeaters live among the eucalypts and flowering heaths and shrubs. Robins, thornbills, wrens and firetails seek shelter and hunt insects in the dense understorey, while birds of prey such as the little eagle, wedge-tailed eagle and the brown goshawk search for a meal in open grassy areas.

Superb lyrebirds prowl moist gullies, scratching through leaf litter for grubs and insects. Listen for these masters of mimicry on cool winter days as they incorporate different sounds from the bush as well as other birdcalls into their song.

The superb lyrebird and chestnut-rumped heathwren are at the northern extent of their usual range. These, and the southern emu-wren—at the westernmost extent of its range—are particularly interesting to the ornithologist. The beautiful colours of the rare turquoise parrot and attractive diamond firetail may be glimpsed along the walking tracks or roadsides.

Wildlife with fur

Mammals are best seen at dawn or dusk. Quietly shine a strong torch, preferably with a red filter, into the bush fringing the camping and day-use areas and you may glimpse a foraging possum, a grazing kangaroo, a probing echidna or a rummaging bandicoot. Remember never to shine torches directly into animals' eyes.

The common brushtail possum is the most frequently seen possum. This possum is not usually shy and may even venture to steal food from unwary campers. Please do not feed them. Sugar and feathertail gliders may occasionally be seen frolicking in bushland fringing the camping and day-use areas.

Greater gliders—the largest of all gliding possums—are similar to koalas in that they live almost exclusively on eucalypt leaves and therefore live high in eucalypt trees. Koalas and greater gliders are found in remote areas of Girraween National Park and are not often seen.

Larger mammals such as eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies and swamp wallabies frequent the camping and day-use areas, but during the hotter parts of the day they like to venture into the shade of the woodlands for an afternoon siesta.

At sunset, a mix of wallabies and kangaroos can be seen in the grassy paddocks feeding and fighting in among their mobs. Shy male wallaroos with their dark grey, woolly fur may be seen along the roadsides.

The spotted-tailed quoll is an agile climber but spends most of its time on the forest floor hunting small birds and mammals. Living in safe dens among the rocks, it will emerge mainly at night to hunt.

The elusive common wombat also lives underground in burrows under rocky outcrops or heavily ferned gullies. Girraween National Park's common wombats—the most northern population in Australia—are not very common and not often seen.

Follow trails of diggings and you may catch a glimpse of small ground-dwelling mammals such as bush rats, several types of antechinus, common dunnarts and brown bandicoots. Short-beaked echidnas also leave a trail of diggings.

Wildlife with scales

Girraween National Park's sunlit granite outcrops are the preferred habitat of many reptile species, including Cunningham's skink, White's skink, eastern water dragon, jacky lizard and nobbi dragon—species that are typical of this type of habitat.

You may catch a glimpse of either the fast-moving copper-tailed skink or the eastern water skink darting between the rocks. Geckos are more secretive and often remain hidden under sheets of exfoliated granite or leaf litter. Some, like the tree dtella or spotted velvet gecko, seek refuge up trees among leaves or under bark. At night the granite leaf-tailed gecko Saltuarius wyberba hunts for insects in dense leaf litter and debris.

The most commonly encountered snake is the shy red-bellied black snake, which may be seen basking in the sun on rocks and walking tracks. Eastern brown, bandy-bandy and yellow-faced whip snakes are less commonly seen. Snakes present little danger to people if left alone. Never approach snakes and never assume that the snake you see is non-venomous.

Wildlife in water

Known only from Bald Rock Creek, Bell's turtle Wollumbinia belli is Girraween's own unique reptile. More commonly found in the northern rivers of New South Wales, this short-necked turtle can be seen basking beside the creek or swimming in the deeper waterholes.

Other interesting aquatic life found in Bald Rock Creek waterholes includes Sutton’s spiny crayfish, river blackfish, eastern long-necked turtles and the Murray turtle.

Frogs are common in sedges and grasses growing on creek banks. The emerald-spotted treefrog—also known as Peron's tree frog—clings to branches overhanging trickling streams.

Burrowing frogs, such as the ornate burrowing frog, sit on the walking tracks or in gutters after rain. Eastern stony creek frogs are commonly seen and scarlet-sided pobblebonks can often be heard underneath rocks calling ‘bonk, bonk, bonk …'.

The vulnerable New England treefrog reaches its northern limit at Girraween.

The landscape

At an average elevation of 900m above sea level, Girraween National Park is on the northern extremity of the New England Tablelands. Girraween National Park's granite habitat is unique in Queensland.

Roughly 225 million years of powerful acts of nature have created the foundations for Girraween National Park's dramatic landscape.

Major earth movements rocked eastern Australia between 200 and 400 million years ago. The continent collided with an oceanic plate and ocean sediments were thrust from off-shore into the New England area. This ancient sediment is known as traprock or bedrock.

From the depths of the earth, hot molten rock called magma was forced upwards and invaded the traprock layer. Cooling slowly, the liquid magma solidified to form granite.

Over millions of years, nature's forces combined to erode the traprock, revealing the bare granite below. Today, water, wind, ice and plants continue to mould Girraween National Park's ever-changing landscape.

  • Request a species list to see what plants and animals have been recorded here.

Culture and history

Long before European settlement, Traditional Aboriginal custodians lived, hunted, gathered and prospered for countless generations in the Girraween National Park area. Although their legends and place names have been lost, camping places, rock markings, tools and marked trees remain in Girraween National Park as evidence of their life on the land.

Allan Cunningham first entered the Girraween area on the 26th June 1827, but the relatively inhospitable landscape made way for an early exit. In the 1840s Robert Ramsay Mackenzie was the first squatter to legally occupy land in the Girraween area. For decades he and others attempted logging, dairying and farming sheep, cattle, fruit and vegetables.

Dr Spencer Roberts (a medical practitioner in Stanthorpe) was a self-professed guardian of local populations of the superb lyrebird and the common wombat. Convinced that protecting the habitat of these two animals was vital for their long-term survival in Queensland, he put submission after submission to government for declaration of a national park.

Bald Rock Creek National Park was declared in 1930 with Castle Rock National Park declared in 1932. Totalling 1600ha, they were known unofficially and collectively as Wyberba National Park.

In 1966, Napier Gunn offered the government his block of 52.4ha and the two national parks were amalgamated to create today's Girraween National Park. Tom Ryan and Bill and Hock Goebel were employed as field staff and development of infrastructure began.

From 1977 to 1979 further acquisitions enlarged the park to 11,300ha. The last block acquired in 1980 enlarged Girraween National Park to its present 11,800ha.

Last updated: 07 September 2017
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