White Rock has been on our bucket list for a long time. I came across the name in a book about the “wild places” of the greater Brisbane area. This book states that “White Rock has no signage to assist visitors negotiate the numerous tracks and people have become disorientated while seeking White Rock. It is suggested that visitors be accompanied by someone who knows the area.”
Not very inviting is it? However, this weekend we could no longer resist the call of White Rock. I am happy to report that the information in that guidebook is VERY outdated and that civilisation has reached White Rock.
The park is located 30km south-west of Brisbane. Access is via a gravel road at the end of School Road. Follow this road all the way to carpark at the end of Paperbark Flats picnic area. There are several picnic tables, toilets and an information station.
It is also the starting point of various trails rating from class 2 to class 4. These trails are not only for hikers, but are also used by horse riders and mountain bikers. We did not encounter any horse riders, but saw plenty of mountain bikers. It seems to be particularly popular with young families.
The easiest trail is the 300m Six Mile Creek Boardwalk. The boardwalk gently snakes through a blue gum forest to provide access to the Bluff Lookout Circuit.
A short, steep ascend along a rough pathway provides access to the top of Bluff Lookout. We spent a while here soaking up the serenity of the Australian bush before setting off to explore further.
A short distance along the path there is a turn off to Little White Rock Track. It is a beautiful walk along the base of a rocky ridge. Apparently this part of the forest houses a local koala population, but unfortunately we did not see any. You can take a detour via the Little White Rock Lookout Circuit to get another view over the forest from the top of Little White Rock.
But our main objective was to get to White Rock itself so we pushed on along the clearly marked trail. It is an easy walk along a sandy road with only the last bit being very steep. Council has put in a lot of work making it safer for hikers by building steps. Though I have to admit that I was huffing and puffing like the crazy when I finally reached the top.
It is a very popular hike and therefore can be a bit crowded at White Rock itself. We veered off to the left first to explore a cave that caught our eyes in a rocky outcrop. Upon returning most hikers have left already and we had this majestical place to ourselves.
The beautiful colours of the sandstone and the size of the rock definitely make all the effort in getting there worth it. You can scale the rock itself from the back via a rough pathway or you can walk around the base of it. The second option definitely makes for more dramatic photos.
I would recommend that you take some water on this walk and even a few snacks or lunch to enjoy at the rock. When you take a moment to surrender to the silence, you can almost feel the presence of ancient times. For the Aborigines this is an important women’s area for the local Ugarapul people.
During World War II the area was used by the Americans as a command post to oversee training operations. Evidence of these activities still remain in the form of sandstone gun pits and ammunition cartridges.
The bush was alive with the sounds of various bird species. Birds common to this area include the Peregrine Falcon, Grey Goshawk, Powerful Owl, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Black-chinned Honeyeater and Spotted Quail-Thrush.
For the fit and adventurous there is another trail to conquer: the Yuddamun Trail. This 19km return trail is suitable for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. It is classified as a class 4 with some steep inclines and rough surfaces.