Located in Queensland, adjoining the Bald Rock National Park near Tenterfield, you will find Girraween National Park. Like its spectacular neighbour, Girraween is a naturalist’s paradise, offering visitors a vast array of rock formations to discover, walking and mountain bike tracks to explore, calming waterholes and creeks to relax beside, and an abundance of wildlife to meet.
The Park boasts nearly 30km of trails that wind through the eucalypt woodlands, granite outcrops, balancing boulders, clear running streams, wondrous waterholes and spectacular spring wildflowers. With over 750 plant species, 150 bird species, and more than 90 mammal, frog and reptile species calling Girraween home, you are guaranteed a close encounter with nature.
The Park’s most famous natural lookouts are The Pyramid and Castle Rock – two equally spectacular granite monoliths that provide sweeping views over the landscape that surrounds them. You can also challenge yourself to conquer the highest peak in the Park – Mount Norman!
Take your time to meander along Bald Rock Creek to the Granite Arch, which provides a natural frame for the most insta-worthy of photos. Walk among the many granite rock formations, rock pools and waterholes, and behold the beauty of the wildflowers in spring. Get off the beaten track and explore the Park’s forested back country on the thrilling mountain bike trails.
The park is home to birds in every colour of the rainbow, including the blue wren and rare turquoise parrots. Listen out for the songs of the lyrebirds, as they imitate the calls of their fellow bird friends, and keep your eyes peeled for a bearded dragon or jacky lizard sunning itself on one of the many granite rocks.
Girraween was an important place for the Traditional Owners, who lived, hunted, gathered and prospered in the area for thousands of generations. With the landscape almost unchanged, let your mind wander to what life would have been like in the area tens of thousands of years ago.
When one day in Girraween National Park is not enough, you can choose to camp out in this natural wonderland and doze off to the songs of the park at night time, and be awoken by a spectacular sunrise and the sound of nature coming to life. Camp under the stars at Bald Rock Creek or Castle Rock camp areas.
For day visitors, Bald Rock Creek offers a picnic area to rest and relax in between exploring, offering a stunning view of The Pyramid. Here you can sit down and rest your legs or take a dip in Bald Rock Creek. The Girraween Visitor Centre is located here, which is the perfect starting point to discover the features, walks and camping options within the park.
Mount Norman also offers a picnic area, which is the perfect base for exploring the southern trails or conquering the park’s highest peak – Mount Norman itself. Mount Norman Road also offers exciting 4WD opportunities for thrill-seekers and adventure chasers.
For more information on Girraween National Park, visit the QLD National Parks Website.
Bald Rock Creek Circuit
Distance: 2.2 km circuit
Walk among native wildflowers, explore rock pools, and witness the overpowering beauty of Girraween’s landscape on this creek-side meander. Cross Bald Rock Creek and follow it downstream. Discover rock pools hidden among tall eucalypts as you wind along the creek bank to the intersection with The Junction. Admire the intricate patterns carved into the rocks by the water’s flow and look for butterflies flitting about colourful bottlebrush trees. During spring, enjoy the wildflower display that attracts a vibrant array of birds.
Use stepping stones to cross the creek again and continue past the Bald Rock Creek camping area and the Girraween Visitor Centre to return to the day-use area. Add a 250m detour to your circuit to take in the majestic Granite Arch.
Distance: 5.2 km return
Hike through shady woodlands to witness a spectacular array of birdlife and panoramic views from one of the park’s signature peaks. Challenge yourself on this moderately difficult hike to one of Girraween’s granite peaks—Castle Rock. Ramble through shady eucalypt woodlands high on rocky ridges, and revel in stunning views from natural lookouts. Enjoy birdwatching amongst the black cypress, stringybark and orange gums perched high on the rocky ridges. Be sure to have your binoculars or camera ready!
At the final leg of this hike, tackle the steep climb over exposed granite rocks to Castle Rock and be rewarded by jaw-dropping 360-degree views across the park. Enjoy a well-earned packed lunch at the summit, surrounded by these breathtaking vistas.
Distance: 3.5 km circuit
If you are an adventurous family, walk or ride your way over slight inclines, open exposed areas and creek crossings on this shared trail. Explore Girraween’s remote back country, dominated by tall stands of white and red gum trees. Whether you walk or ride, this easy and well-defined track is perfect for the whole family.
In spring you’ll be surrounded by a spectacular display of wildflowers in full bloom, attracting many birds and animals. Make sure you are armed with binoculars when you set out! In the cooler months, listen for the fluid song of the superb lyrebird, one of nature’s most impressive mimics. Stop for a rest along Bald Rock Creek, and if you are quiet, you might see some of Girraween’s wildlife coming down to the water for a drink.
Dr Roberts Waterhole
Distance: 1.2 km return
Stroll along this gently-sloping track to gaze at reflections in the still, deep waters of Bald Rock Creek. Enjoy a relaxing stroll to a large waterhole and spot a colourful array of birdlife along the way. If you’re visiting this area in spring, you’ll be lucky enough to see vibrantly-coloured wildflowers in full bloom, including orchids, banksias, conesticks, geebung and crinkle bushes.
The waterhole is named in honour of a Stanthorpe medical practitioner whose tireless effort to protect the vulnerable wildlife of Girraween resulted in the establishment of the national park. Sit and gaze at the mirror image of the fringing landscape on the water’s surface. Perhaps you’ll glimpse Girraween’s unique Bell’s Turtle basking on the creek edge.
Distance: 1.6 km circuit
Marvel at Girraween’s natural stone archway created by massive balancing boulders, on this easy, short walk, perfect for the whole family. From the Bald Rock Creek day-use area, cross over Bald Rock Creek and amble through a forest of tall blackbutt and stringybarks. As you walk, listen to the different birdcalls echoing throughout the forest and look for lizards sunning themselves on granite boulders scattered about the forest floor.
Have your camera at the ready when you arrive at Girraween’s very own natural stone archway formed by balancing boulders. Swap opinions on how this giant granite sculpture came into being and why it hasn’t fallen down!
Distance: 11 km return from Visitor Centre; 4km return from Mount Norman day-use area
Challenge yourself on this trek deep into eucalypt forests, past massive granite outcrops and alongside colourful rock slabs towards Girraween’s highest peak. From the Girraween Visitor Centre, pass Castle Rock, then head deep into the park’s tall eucalypt forests. Encounter rocky ridges, moist gullies blanketed with bracken and gently-sloping open areas sprinkled with wildflowers in spring. Admire views of the Eye of the Needle on Mount Norman’s northern face before reaching the rocky slabs at the base of the Mount Norman monolith.
Alternatively, hike 4km from the Mount Norman day-use area through rock gardens and stands of graceful Wallangarra white gums on the mountain’s southern face. The track does not reach the 1,267m summit and the final approach is suitable for experienced rock climbers only.
Distance: 10.6 km return
Soak up spectacular views of Mount Norman as you walk or mountain bike ride through Girraween’s remote forests. Spend the day venturing through the park’s more remote areas on foot or on two wheels. Discover unspoilt forests of New England blackbutt and Wallangarra white gums on this shared trail that is mostly easy but with some intermediate sections. Be rewarded by great views of Mount Norman, and, in spring, feast your eyes on spectacular displays of wildflowers. Listen for superb lyrebirds, Girraween’s resident mimics, calling in winter. For mountain bikers who want a longer ride, combine the Peak Trail with the Creek Trail.
Distance: 5.2 km return
Enjoy an easy ramble along a creek dotted with rock pools, where springtime wildflowers and a spectacular range of birdlife abound. Explore along the banks of Bald Rock Creek, with its cool, dark waters fringed by flowering shrubs that attract honeyeaters and parrots. Rest and dip your toes into a rock pool while you spot superb fairy-wrens, red-browed firetails and thornbills searching the creek-bank thickets for insects.
Cool off with a refreshing dip at one of the many rock holes located near The Junction. During the dry season the creeks may not run, but the landscape and vibrant wildlife still make the walk worthwhile. In spring, the trail is scattered with spectacular displays of colourful wildflowers.
Distance: 3.6km return
Challenge yourself with a strenuous walk to the top of this massive granite dome for breathtaking views over the park. From Granite Arch, weave your way steadily uphill through eucalypt forests, past rocky outcrops and grassy flats to the base of the Pyramid. Illuminated in sunlight, the peak stands sentinel above Girraween’s majestic forests. Climb to the top for an exhilarating hike and superb views. You need to have a good level of fitness and stamina to climb the steep section of exposed rock near the summit.
At the top, catch your breath sitting under Balancing Rock and prepare to be mesmerised by the expansive views spanning the forests and across to the Second Pyramid. Return along the same track or go for an adventure detouring onto the park’s other northern walking tracks.
The Sphinx and Turtle Rock
Distance: 7.4 km return
Hike along a ridgetop to an ancient granite pinnacle and a large balancing tor, both towering over the landscape.
Branch off Castle Rock and take an easy walk along the ridgetop to see these huge granite features. Marvel at The Sphinx – a granite pinnacle bearing a massive balancing topside tor—and ponder over how it stays perfectly balanced. Then discover the large granite monolith resembling a turtle’s back. Look for the interesting plants and animals that thrive around the base. Can you find the angle from which this granite formation looks like a turtle? Natural lookouts along the way offer superb views across the open woodlands of southern Girraween. You’ll need around 4hrs to complete the hike combining Castle Rock, The Sphinx and Turtle Rock.
Underground Creek Track
Distance: 2.8 km return
Discover spectacular springtime wildflowers, water-sculpted rocks and Girraween’s richly diverse landscapes in this popular walk. Leave Dr Roberts Waterhole and stroll through swamp communities, woodland and shrublands on the way to Underground Creek. Enjoy spectacular wildflowers and spot varied birdlife as you walk. Read the sign to find out more about the extraordinary geology and landforms that make Girraween unique.
Then encounter a creek that seemingly disappears beneath boulders that have fallen from cliffs above! Underground Creek is an ideal place to explore. Bring your camera and capture the smooth water-sculpted rocks and swirling eddies of Bald Rock Creek as it seemingly disappears underground to reappear again downstream.
Distance: 280 metres one way
Stroll beside the peaceful waters of Bald Rock Creek for magnificent views of The Pyramid and springtime wildflower displays. Starting from the Bald Rock Creek day-use area this round trip offers some superb birdwatching and wildlife-spotting opportunities. In spring enjoy colourful wildflower displays and during the warmer months, cool off in the permanent waterhole. Stop to take a break at the lookout, gaze at the reflections on the water’s surface, and soak up the impressive views across to The Pyramid.
Watch cormorants and wood ducks resting on boulders in the creek and look in the understorey for superb fairy-wrens, thornbills and bowerbirds. If you are lucky, you might catch glimpse of Girraween’s unique Bell’s Turtle basking beside the creek.
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. Bush camping is also available in remote sections of the park.
Camping permits are required and fees apply. Camp sites must be pre-booked, either online or via
Bald Rock Creek Camping Area
From your shady camp site, enjoy superb walking tracks, a spectacular range of birdlife and amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.
Nestled in shady eucalypt forest, settle back and watch eastern grey kangaroos and red-necked wallabies grazing nearby and listen to the melodious birdsong of currawongs, kookaburras and magpies.
Explore some of the walking tracks that start from the camping area—remember to take your binoculars! Spend a happy couple of hours on The Junction track or head off on the Bald Rock Creek circuit for an hour. Stroll to the Bald Rock Creek day-use area and Girraween Visitor Centre and the start of Girraween’s northern walking tracks.
In the evening relax around the BBQ under a starry night sky and listen for brushtail possums, echidnas and bandicoots.
Castle Rock Camping Area
Set up home in this ideally-located camping area, with scattered shady trees and views to Girraween’s signature peak.
You will be spoilt for choice at this large open camping area, which provides enough space for caravans, motorhomes, buses, camper-trailers and tents. It’s the perfect spot if you’re travelling with a large group.
Relax against the backdrop of views to The Pyramid and Castle Rock and let the forest symphony of birdsong help you to relax and unwind from a day on the road. Watch eastern grey kangaroos grazing on the grassed areas and listen to the abundant birdlife in the forest canopy. After relaxing under the shade of a eucalypt, it won’t take you long to feel immersed in nature.
For more information on Girraween National Park, visit the QLD National Parks Website.
Visit the National Parks page for more walking, hiking and cycling trails available in Tenterfield Shire.