My adrenaline is still on overdrive after climbing down the southern hemisphere’s largest granite monolith!
When I’ve visited Stanthorpe, Queensland, I stopped at Girraween National Park, on the way to the border town, Wallangarra. It is full of granite domes, balancing rocks, and epic walks. I remember them being a bit scary, too!
Well, Bald Rock National Park adjoins Girraween. And we had quite the adventure here, that is NOT for the faint hearted.
After lunch and checking out the lovely Bald Rock Campground and local wildlife, we read the walk info.
“Grade 5! No way!” said I. Ever the diplomat, Heatley assures, “We’ll take the easy way up, to the Summit and see how we go.”
You could glimpse at Bald Rock on the way in, it is 6km from Mount Lindesay Road. At 750m long and 500m wide, the rock is 1277m above sea level, and 260m above the surrounds, looking over Girraween National Park.
So as to the two options:
Bungoona walk – “a medium difficulty gravel walking track that gradually climbs through granite boulders and tors to the summit of Bald Rock”.
The Rockface walk – “a hard walk, and as the name suggests, steeply climbs the rockface of Bald Rock. Follow white dots defining the best route to the summit to Bald Rock”.
So we take Bungoona. I knew it was easier – but I didn’t know how cool it would be. You walk under boulders, and through little caves formed by these inselbergs.
The balancing arches we passed through are known as the “Granite Titans”.
There are just so many of them!
And then we reach the base of the rock! With magnificent views.
This is where those scary white dots started! “It’s almost level,” I tell myself. “The drop off is way over there.” SO we climb across.
When we finally reached the sign I was so chuffed with myself. Until I realised, that this was where the Bungoona Walk ends, below is the rockface walk. Above is the summit walk.
So we follow the summit track. AND with adrenaline rising further – I look over and see the actual Bald Rock. Huge! It really is humbling. I mean, we are climbing THAT! (Thee photos do not do it justice.)
I follow more of those little, nasty white circles that take me higher and higher!
We happen on the balancing rocks, as the weather comes in. Again, in my terror, I recognise they are very cool in the fog. And ask Heatley to get close to them for a photo – because I’m not!
It is with a real thrill that we make it to the top! Heatley’s hand must be aching from my grip by now.
We don’t linger for too long, as there is only mist to see instead of the brilliant 360 degree views. On a positive note, we had the walk and rock, all to ourselves!
But he finds more dots to follow. They take us back to the balancing rocks, via another slopey, scary way.
We stop under some rocks to shelter from the pouring rain. Until the rocks start dripping on us, too! (We’ve no raincoats or jumpers!)
Then it is decision time. Already saturated, do we tackle the quicker rockface downhill, in the rain? Or the easier, but longer, Bungoona Walk.
Heatley ALWAYS takes the road not travelled. It is my mantra, too. BUT it doesn’t apply to Grade 5 national park walks! However, he rightly pointed out we would have to backtrack on a fair bit of rockface walking to get to the pleasant part of the walk.
So, hanging on tight and eyes down – I take small steps, jumping some of the larger rivulets and practically a stream, that the rock is now covered in, and walk down.
I don’t know what the angle of the rock is, but I know I did a bit of deep breathing, and possibly cursing – until dripping wet, we safely reach the bottom!
Yes, pretty impressive. Heatley’s hands wear the scars of my terror. This exhilarating walk is not for everyone, but I am so glad we conquered it together. He said, in parts it was like Uluru, without a chain!
It really is a natural wonder! We’ll be back to tackle the other walks, and stay in the beautiful campground.
There is a park entry fee.
And an important tip, when you reach the Y in the track, from the day use area, left is the easy walk – right will take you to the rockface!
I know if I can climb down, climbing up will be a cinch! And next time, we’ll bring raincoats.
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