Conondale great walk

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Conondale great walk

Postby kneighbour » Mon 17 Jul, 2017 11:04 pm

I am thinking of doing the Conondale Great Walk next month (the middle of August). I will be solo and taking the full 4 days - maybe even 5 if I need to pace myself. I have seen a few posts around about this walk, but most are from years ago.

My first concern is getting in - I don't have a 4WD, but I might be able to get someone to give me a lift in. Otherwise I will simply hike the extra 6km (or so?) in if I have to.

My big concern is the timing. I understand that this time of year might not be the best time to go - it being the wet season and all. There seems to be a lot of leeches and ticks at this time of year.

The other issue is the reported mileage. The official mileage is 57, but one trekker accurately measured it and it is more like 75km. I don't mind either way - but it would be nice to get some accurate information on this for planning purposes.

I have done a lot of day walks over the past few years, and 3 or 4 overnighters. This would be my first multi-day hike. I live in Brisbane and have mainly hiked Mt Barney and the Lamington/Green Mountain area up until now.

I have looked at the Sunshine Coast Great Walk, but frankly it looks awful. Too much on main roads and you need a car shuttle (from what I can work out). The Gold Coast Great walk is similar in that parts of it are on main roads. I don't see the point of doing those sorts of walks. The Conondale is good in that it returns to the starting point, and it is all in bush.

If anyone has any comments on this walk, or can recommend another walk that is similar, I would be most appreciative.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby cams » Tue 18 Jul, 2017 10:28 am

You're right. The Conondale GW is more appealing than a lot of the others. Although, it still traverses a lot of fire trails which is a bit boring compared to walking tracks.

Isn't the wet/leech season summer?
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby kneighbour » Tue 18 Jul, 2017 10:43 am

cams wrote:Isn't the wet/leech season summer?
I don't know. It has been raining a fair bit lately, so I assumed that this is the 'wet season'. Not that Brisbane has an exact wet season, I guess. The important thing to know is if this is the time when there will be heaps of leeches. Not too keen on those.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby cams » Tue 18 Jul, 2017 11:05 am

Brisbane's wet season is typically summer with winter being pretty bone dry. I haven't been there this year, but if it has been raining alot over winter maybe this will bring the leeches out more than usual for this time of year, but the cooler temperature should hopefully still keep them in check. The foliage isn't as dense and moist as Lamington for the most part so I don't imagine them being a big problem. They weren't when we did it. A few here and there won't kill you. Take plenty of bug spray if you react badly to them.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby RonK » Tue 18 Jul, 2017 4:32 pm

The wet season in SEQ is from January through March.

Winter is definitely scrub tick season.

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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Gadgetgeek » Tue 18 Jul, 2017 9:03 pm

It will be warming up by then, but its been pretty chilly, and the last time I was up around mt allen it wasn't to bad for leeches, we found a couple, but nothing like some have reported, back when there was more frequent rain. I think its worth doing. The only hard part is that the starting parking lot has a pretty harsh crossing that does require high clearance, and it is also not a big area to park in. Unfortunately they don't really allow parking overnight on the charlie mooreland side unless you are camped. But you can be dropped off right before the trail-head with some careful driving in almost anything, I've seen all kinds of cars go through the first water crossings when the level was low.
I have not done the full walk, the group I walked with cut a day out. And I mostly work between the Charlie side and the boolomba creek area. We don't use the great walk as such yet, but I can tell you that summer falls is a very nice little spot well worth the walk.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Champion_Munch » Tue 18 Jul, 2017 9:40 pm

Leeches aren't much trouble in Winter. I was up at Lamington on Sunday after all the rain we had on Saturday night/Sunday morning, not a single leech!
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby kneighbour » Wed 19 Jul, 2017 8:57 am

All very encouraging comments!
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby phenomenomenom » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 5:08 pm

I did the Conondale Great Walk in July. It was a pleasant walk through a variety of different environments. We were there a few days after some heavy rain so the waterfalls were flowing beautifully. There were a few leeches in the damper areas, but they were very slow and easy to avoid.

The first two creek crossings on the way in are manageable by most cars. We had a 4x4 and were glad of it for the last crossing. There were a few smaller cars parked before the final crossing. It's just a 100m walk from there to the track.

The length is definitely more than 57km. Nowhere near 75km though. Our GPS measured it somewhere over 60km. Day 3 (Tallowwood to Summer Falls) is significantly longer than the official route says. There's an extra 3-4km stuck in there somewhere.

The campsites were all in good condition although make sure to bring a good method of water filtration. Tallowwood water was especially lively.

While there's a fair bit of elevation, don't expect any mountain lookout views! The waterfalls a great, and the Mt Allen fire tower is a highlight, but the rest was quite dense rainforest/bush, which somewhat blocks any potential views. The bush itself was very interesting and varied.

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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby kneighbour » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 5:32 pm

Thanks for all the info. I have finally decided to do it, and am off this Monday to do it. I have borrowed my daughter's SUV (not 4WD) to get across the last creek. Should be ok.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Gadgetgeek » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 8:23 pm

yeah, its been super dry up here for a while, so the creeks should be pretty low.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby JimCam » Wed 22 Nov, 2017 11:11 pm

Hi all, did the Conondale Great Walk, started last Wednesday 15/11 just after lunch, the Tuscon made it through the creek crossing's fine, any small 2wd hatchback would have also with the lack of rain we'd been having. Day 1 hike was a good warm up for the 17km or so Day 2. I found the fire trails on day 2 to be nice relief after the dense rainforest on the walking trails. I admit I know noting bout various snake species but I treat them all as highly dangerous and did catch a nice looking 3 meter on one of the fire trails on Day 2 around 11am, completed the 17km or so by 2:30pm. Day 3 was a shorter 15km so I had a sleep in and left camp a little later (9:30am) There was a tonne of snakes, I reckon I saw about 5-6 in the first 5km, these were in various states of activity and some were extremely hard to spot on the narrow trails covered with vines, roots, branches and leaves. I think I covered 5kms between 9:30am and 2:30pm with the gaiters providing little confidence I would be fine by powering through! Needless to say the 9th and last snake I saw on Day 3 was at about 3:30 and I managed to get into Summer Falls Camp at 6:30 with 1 leech and 1 tick found and removed. Day 4, woke to rain at 5am which was a nice relief from Day 3. The hike to Mt Allen was a killer climb after having only previously done single day walks (inc the Border Track from Green Mtns to Binna Burra). Made it back to the car by midday. Needless to say I stopped in at Paddy Palin on the way home and picked up one of the Garmin InReach Explorer+ (justified the pricetag at about 3pm on Day 3 after not having any phone reception since Day 1. Was good training prep for the Overland Track coming up in late Jan/early Feb.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Lazy J » Thu 30 Nov, 2017 8:57 am

Sounds like you had an awesome hike!
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby canthardlywait » Wed 06 Dec, 2017 10:04 pm

JimCam wrote:Hi all, did the Conondale Great Walk, started last Wednesday 15/11 just after lunch, the Tuscon made it through the creek crossing's fine, any small 2wd hatchback would have also with the lack of rain we'd been having. Day 1 hike was a good warm up for the 17km or so Day 2. I found the fire trails on day 2 to be nice relief after the dense rainforest on the walking trails. I admit I know noting bout various snake species but I treat them all as highly dangerous and did catch a nice looking 3 meter on one of the fire trails on Day 2 around 11am, completed the 17km or so by 2:30pm. Day 3 was a shorter 15km so I had a sleep in and left camp a little later (9:30am) There was a tonne of snakes, I reckon I saw about 5-6 in the first 5km, these were in various states of activity and some were extremely hard to spot on the narrow trails covered with vines, roots, branches and leaves. I think I covered 5kms between 9:30am and 2:30pm with the gaiters providing little confidence I would be fine by powering through! Needless to say the 9th and last snake I saw on Day 3 was at about 3:30 and I managed to get into Summer Falls Camp at 6:30 with 1 leech and 1 tick found and removed. Day 4, woke to rain at 5am which was a nice relief from Day 3. The hike to Mt Allen was a killer climb after having only previously done single day walks (inc the Border Track from Green Mtns to Binna Burra). Made it back to the car by midday. Needless to say I stopped in at Paddy Palin on the way home and picked up one of the Garmin InReach Explorer+ (justified the pricetag at about 3pm on Day 3 after not having any phone reception since Day 1. Was good training prep for the Overland Track coming up in late Jan/early Feb.


Any leaches JimCam? I did this a couple of years ago about the same time of year and it was leach city!
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Gadgetgeek » Thu 07 Dec, 2017 6:18 pm

Its been unusually dry up here for quite some time, and we only now have gotten consistent rain. I work not far from there and we've only just started seeing leeches again. Now that we've had rain nearly every week for a bit, I suspect that they will be really starting to take off again. My understanding from our grounds guy is that the last few years have been drier than usual on the range.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby JimCam » Wed 03 Jan, 2018 9:45 pm

Hey Canthardlywait,

Only saw 1 leech, it just happened to have made it's way under my sock and by the time I got to camp it was a ripe 'ol size and dropped off pretty easily, overall the track was pretty dry and hadn't rained for a bit over a week, I was pretty lucky as far as leeches were concerned.

In the right conditions, any of the decent rainforest walks can turn out a leech infestation, a good bit of rain brings out those persistent little suckers!!!
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Champion_Munch » Fri 30 Mar, 2018 9:48 pm

Anyone done the side trip to mt Langley on 2nd day?
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Gunner55 » Sat 21 Sep, 2019 1:20 pm

I did this a couple of years ago in October and enjoyed it thoroughly. At that time the resident possum at Tallowood was relentless and tenacious. Needed to put all food inside gear inside tent and gear inside vestibule and even then had to kick at the thing through tent fabric. Not sure if hanging the pack from a tree would help considering the possums' climbing ability - but this strategy evidently works for keeping goannas at bay and they also climb...
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Pink Cap » Sat 25 Jul, 2020 10:07 am

Just to add my 2 cents worth, I've done this walk this week and I measured it at 57.5 kms from the start at the picnic shelter, including all the short detours to waterfalls and walker campsites. The possum at Tallowwood is still there. The firetower at Mt Allen is officially closed but someone had left the padlock open so it would have been possible to walk up. It's a very nice walk. I parked just outside the 4WD sign which adds 1.3 km each way.
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Re: Conondale great walk

Postby Equivocator » Mon 27 Jul, 2020 9:37 am

Our wet season is typically Summer. The extra km from where you can 'park' (it's not a large space) before the creek crossing aren't too bad. Though you're better off going through the track behind Camp 1 rather than to the official start.
I prefer it Anti-Clockwise and fill up at Peters Falls (~2km before Tallowood Camp.) I believe the fire tower at Mt Allan is still closed (due to some of the supports being damaged) but it's a worthy side trip if open.

I clocked it as just under 60km on my GPS, with the few short side trails. I'd be questioning their GPS trail. If it was on their phone and how long they recorded while 'stopped' (with GPS bouncing around 5-10 meters... it adds up quickly!)

Ticks are definitely about though the trail is pretty clear of scrub so not in abundance. Leeches... probably also if it is wet, I've been lucky and not got any there. They would be about in the more rainforest bits. A lot is dry scrub though, where leeches are unlikely to be.

If you can do Barney, Conondale will be a cake walk over 4 days.

Of all the SE-QLD Great Walks I have done (Gold Coast, Conondale, Cooloola, Sunshine, Fraser) I would put Conondale as the best.
Cooloola/Fraser might win out if logistics was easier for Cooloola or Fraser had less people at every spot... See how the Scenic Rim one goes...

If you wanted to start put easier there's a good 2 day loop at Girraween. Pretty cold down there at the moment. There's also some really easy 2 day loops (Albert River, camping at Echo Point, for example) in Lamington National park. Or in/out camps in Barney NP.
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