Rainforest Circuit at Main Range National Park
For a great bushwalk for kids of all ages, head west from Brisbane to Cunningham’s Gap. At the crest of Cunningham’s Gap is Main Range National Park, which hosts a maze of trails leading to the peaks that form the western boundary of the Scenic Rim. Amongst them is the Rainforest Circuit which is a short, simple track perfect for kids, complete with a lookout. It requires little effort, with maximum rewards.
About the Rainforest Circuit walk at Main Range National Park
The Rainforest Circuit is 1.6 kilometres long, although one route to the Fassifern Lookout is only roughly 600 meters. Aptly named, the Rainforest Circuit is a bitumen and dirt track that winds through dense lush rainforest with giant, old growth trees, strangler figs, palms, ferns and vines. Check out the root ball of fallen trees and take a closer look at the old tree stumps. Even with the banter coming from your bushwalking buddies the bird song can easily be heard.
There is a junction approximately 300 meters into the walk, where you can turn right up the stairs for the direct route to the lookout which is another 300 meters. Going straight ahead is a slightly gentler incline, however it’s another 700 meters to the lookout. You can choose your own adventure!
As you get closer to the ridge the rainforest opens to a drier Eucalypt forest. The view from the Fassifern Valley Lookout is stunning, you’ll see Lake Moogerah, and the fascinating volcanic peaks that make up the Scenic Rim. There is an information board to explain the volcanic history of the area and the lookout area is fenced. Take a seat and have a snack and water stop. Don’t forget your camera for a great momento!
On the way back down to the carpark, stop by the Allan Cunningham Monument. Allan Cunningham was the explorer and botanist who helped forge the trail through the gap back in 1828. While it’s great to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, kids will be kids. Our younger Brisbane Kids found this was a great spot to watch the trucks chug up the range in low gear, then finally hit the top and change up a gear. There was a lot of cheering.
What to know before you go
This is a great walk, however even in fine weather the track can be a bit slippery. It isn’t pram or wheelchair friendly, yet it is short enough and the incline is only slight. Smaller Brisbane Kids should be able to walk it, as our party of four under five managed it with ease. It is recommended to remind kids to stick to the path as the slope of the forest off to the side of the walkway is steep and slippery in sections.
We noticed toilets marked on the map as being in the carpark, however we couldn’t find them. There are public bathrooms on the Cunningham Highway at Aratula. The carpark is at the crest of Cunningham’s Gap. It can be a touch tricky parking in the carpark, it is small, however there is parking on the side of the road. Use this with caution.
While there is a small clearing with a chair at the lookout, there isn’t anywhere to spread out and have a picnic. There is no mobile phone reception at Cunningham’s Gap, so it would be wise to let others know where you are going and when you expect to return. Preparation is key and it would be wise to pack the following:
- Water bottles and adequate drinking water as there are no taps to refill
- Sturdy footwear
- Insect repellent
- A camera for those spectacular views
The Facts about the Rainforest Circuit and Main Range National Park
- 1.6km walking circuit
- Not wheelchair or pram friendly
- No toilet facilities
- No water
- Small carpark and parking available on the side of the highway
Where to find Main Range National Park
The Rainforest Circuit is part of Main Range National Park, and the carpark for this walk is located at the crest of Cunningham’s Gap on the Cunningham Highway at Tarome, approximately 90 minutes from Brisbane. Set your satellite navigation for Cunningham Highway, Tarome. On approach to the crest you’ll need to be in the right lane, and there is a right turning lane to access the national park.
Nature Play Opportunities
Animal Encounters: 6/10
There is an abundance of birdlife and insects to spot.
There are walks for everyone, and the Rainforest Circuit is perfect for kids. This is the starting point for bigger more adventurous walks throughout Main Range National Park.
No water involved
Not suited for wheelchairs nor prams, but not too challenging for little legs.
You can find out more about Main Range National Park on the National Parks website at https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/main-range/.