Mount Barney QLD
Mt Barney. We were not prepared for that mountain at all! I had wanted to camp somewhere different and climb a mountain I’d never climbed before, which was all made possible when my parents offered to take the kids away for two nights.
As most parents know, this is a pretty rare occurrence and when something like this happens you’ve got to make sure you spend that time doing things you love - things that aren’t possible with kids. For many this may mean going out for dinner and drinks, having a sleep in and generally relaxing - but for me it means camping with no power and hiking a 1,354m high mountain.
We stayed at Mt Barney Lodge, which was such an amazing campground and we highly recommend it if you’re wanting to climb this mountain or stay in the area. We scored a beautiful spot with views of Mt Barney and after looking at this huge mountain decided we had to climb it. We had not actually planned to hike Mt Barney, from all reports I had read online it is a very intense climb and many people have been injured or lost on the mountain - not to mention you need to allow 8 - 12 hours to complete the climb. I had originally planned to hike nearby Mt Maroon but after seeing how beautiful the mountain was we felt we were up for the challenge, when would we have 8 - 12 hours kid free again!?
First tip is to start early! We started around 8:30am and I basically ran up that bloody mountain because I was petrified of getting stuck up there at night (which thankfully didn’t happen.) We ascended up South East Ridge which has some pretty amazing view points along the way - the first half of this route is through a gumtree rainforest, the other half is rock scrambling all the way to summit! The mountain also likes to trick you into thinking you’ve reached summit only to discover that you have a long way to go yet.
The views from the top are incredible, we were able to see Mt Maroon, Mt Ernest, Mt Lindesay and Maroon Dam. We had packed a light lunch and sat down to rest and soak it all in, but not for long! It was so tempting to have a big rest at the top - after all we had been hiking for a solid 3 hours and 15 minutes to reach the summit, but I really didn’t want to be hiking in the dark. We chose to go down the South summit route which is quite challenging to begin with as the track isn’t clearly marked and it’s very easy to get lost. After re-tracing our steps we came across some ribbons tied to branches and were able to climb down to the Rum Jungle.
Once you pass through the jungle it is easier to find markings showing you the way down, the descent from this route is a little easier as it’s not steep exposed rocks like South East route but a much more level path. The views aren’t as great, so make sure to appreciate those on your way up! The climb down took us another 3 hours so we completed the whole hike in about 6 hours.
I absolutely loved this hike, our only mistake was that we didn’t pack enough water. I had only come with one backpack as we were planning on hiking the much smaller Mt Maroon, so we could only carry 2 bottles of water. We are much better prepared now with a 3L Oztrail Hydration Pack, and I would recommend any one attempting to climb this mountain to invest in one of these as I ended up getting dehydrated and a bit sick after the climb!
Our last night there was spent cooking on our campfire after a hot shower to soothe our aching legs! The campgrounds are around $16 per person per night and include an amenities block, fire wood for sale, drinking water and some pretty spectacular views! I also loved the fact that they are aiming to be 100% plastic water bottle free which they’ve made easy to do with all of the drinking taps available around the property.
If you’re keen to give this mountain a go make sure you’re prepared with a sufficient amount of water, snacks, a head torch and preferably a hiking buddy - it can be very easy to get lost and two heads are better than one. Other than that make sure you’re fit enough for such a strenuous climb - it can be a little intense at times!