The view from Baroon Lookout into the Obi Obi Creek valley.

The view from Baroon Lookout into the Obi Obi Creek valley.

The sun peers through the rainforest along section one of the Hinterland’s Great Walk – from Lake Baroon to Flaxton.

The view from Baroon Lookout into the Obi Obi Creek valley.

A small climber wraps itself around a young sapling, beginning a life-long relationship as both grow together toward the canopy above. Photos: Richard Bruinsma

The tell tale signs of woodcutting of a past era help to leave an eerie deterrent for future logging.

Brightly coloured fungi feed on rotting trees along the track.

A seat created by tree growing around a plank of hard word.

A small Golden Whistler comes to greet travellers on their arrival at the Great Walk carpark at Lake Baroon.

A water pool at a clearing not far from Lake Baroon.

A tree down across the track – one of the possible hazards on a longer, and perhaps a little more rugged – bush walks.

The very term Great Walk in itself is almost enough to wave away the idea completing that challenging hike aside and think instead about the hinterland’s fabulous coffee shops and quaint boutiques.

But there comes a time when these alternate but beautiful attractions in the Sunshine Coast hinterland should also be added to the bucket list and given true deserved consideration.

Thankfully, that considerable bucket list walk is broken up into those four sections. Each one is do-able in one day – most are between 10 and 15km, which, at average walking pace, means three to five hours of walking.

The Great Walk is 58km in total, stretching from Lake Baroon near Montville, through Flaxton, through Mapleton Falls National Park, and then onto Mapleton National Park as the final piece of this hikers’ dream puzzle.

Part one of the walk is 15km and begins at Lake Baroon, before conveniently including the popular Kondalilla Falls day walk and picnic area, and the finale onto Flaxton proper.

The section of the track from Lake Baroon to Kondalilla Falls is around 10km, and a convenient finishing point for those not wanting to complete the full walk.  Or, of course, a good start point for those wishing to head the opposite direction.

The walk is graded a Level 2 difficulty by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, which also suggests allocating between five and seven hours to complete the one-way journey.  However, as a male of moderate fitness, I was able to complete the walk comfortably, including various stops to take photo graphs, in an easy three hours.

The Lake Baroon to Kondallilla Falls walk is characterised by good pathways, good signage, mostly shielded from the sun by the rainforest canopy.

At times, the path can be a little muddy, mossy and slippery, and there are stretches or gradual inclines and declines that do get the heart moderately racing.  Of course, there is no need to rush, and, any time that the walk becomes a little strenuous is a good time to have a rest and grab a mouthful of water

The walk, as expected, has the wide variety of natural features like waterways and small waterfalls, birdlife, unusual plants, including fungi and lichen, but, in my observation, does include some of these huge buttressed rainforest trees that seem to have vanished from many other shorter common walks.

There are also those runners who complete the 10km track before turning back to do it all again for a solid 20km training session.

Much of the track has no mobile phone coverage so it’s a good idea to switch the phone to airplane mode for the walk, to avoid suffering a flat battery as the phone continues searching for the non-existent signal.

So, if you get the chance, consider giving the legs a good stretch and the heart a comfortable workout along one of the sections of the hinterland’s Great Walk.

And just in case you feel the urge to replace those depleted calories, the hinterland’s many fabulous coffee shops will always be there on your return.

Come On Up is an independent publication featuring the best kept secrets in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Locally published and produced by Hinterland Publishing House.

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