Looking back from the Tops towards Calliope

Kroombit Tops in Central Queensland had been on our bucket list of locations to explore for a number of years & as it happened last June 2017 presented a window of opportunity. There are no facilities in Kroombit Tops National Park, so you need to go totally self sufficient. We travelled up the steep well formed gravel road from Calliope on Tableland Road through farmland. After the climb we were treated to magnificent views of the surrounding valleys & gorges below, dominated by sandstone cliffs up to one-hundred metres high. 

Kroombit Tops Plateau is nine-hundred metres in altitude & protected within the Kroombit Tops National Park. The plateau receives around 1800mm of rainfall a year, the location of which depends on a number of factors including elevation & aspect. There are more than eight-hundred & fifty plant species, three of which are only found on the plateau while many more are listed as rare or threatend.

In the wetter south-eastern sandstone country, blackbutt forests dominate, while subtropical rainforests grow around Three Moon & Munholme creeks. Piccabeen palms, brush box, coachwood & white beech, which are normally found further south in temperate rainforests, can be found here.

On the parks eastern slopes & broad valley floors, open Sydney blue gum forests, pink bloodwood and rough-barked apple trees flourish. Sydney blue gum is another southern species normally found along the coast from south-east Queensland to Batemans Bay in southern New South Wales. It was one of the main trees harvested at Kroombit Tops from 1969 to 1995.

Further west the vegetation changes to drier white mahogany, grey gum & ironbark woodlands. In rocky areas, a stunted form of brush box locally known as 'supplejack' grows. This thin whip-like variety of brush box is very different from the towering subtropical rainforest form.

Dry rainforest grows in fire-resistant gullies on the drier western slopes with hoop pines towering above the canopy. Some individuals can grow as tall as forty to fifty metres. In the far west, hoop pine forests merge with a dry bottle tree community.

The varied vegetation & topography of Kroombit Tops shelters diverse wildlife with 71 mammal species, 165 bird species, 70 reptile species, 30 amphibians & numerous insect & spider species. One frog, the Kroombit tinkerfrog is found nowhere else.

After stopping for morning tea just off the road away from the dust, although we had not seen another vehicle all morning, we drove into the Razorback camping area for a look. There are no trailers allowed on the trail past the camping area towards Biloela.

Continuing on Tableland Road we veered off onto the two-way section of the loop road to visit the crash site of ‘Beautiful Betsy’, a B24 Liberator bomber. The plane went missing on 26th February 1945 while flying between Fenton Airfield in the Northern Territory to Eagle Farm in Brisbane with the loss of eight lives. It wasn’t until forty-nine years later on 2nd August 1994 when park ranger, Mark Roe, was checking the results of a controlled burn-off when he saw something glinting in the sunlight it was eventually found.

We then headed down the steep one-way 4wd track to the Wall camping area. Next morning there was more 4wding as we drove towards Griffiths Creek camping area where we set up for a couple of days to wander in the bush on foot & observing the many species birds.

It was time to pack up once again & head south towards Cania, stopping at the Escarpment Lookout for views over the Boyne Valley & also to take the loop walk in the rainforest. The road then narrowed to a track as it drops off the tops with a few step descents. Carol was kept busy opening a number of farm gates as we travelled through properties. One double farm gate proved to be a problem for Carol as they both swung away. It was funny watching her swinging one gate up & running for the other, trying to catch both in the middle to latch the chain.

track to razorback razorback camping area Sydney Blue Gums
Sydney Blue Gums on Kroombit Creek
the two-way track to the bomber crash site
page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4