This spectacular mountain range lies between Jimna and Maleny, and features: deep gorges, thick subtropical rainforests, and many cold but refreshing boulder-strewn creeks, rock pools and waterfalls. A majority of the steep forested slopes of this range lie within the 2126 hectare Conondale National Park
as well as adjacent State Forests. These forests provide safe haven for a multitude of plants, birds and animals, which rely on this particular ecosystem to survive. Some species are so rare and unique to this part of the world - they are endangered of becoming extinct.
The mountains within the Conondale Range
provide the water source for the Mary River
to the north, and the Stanley
River and Lake Somerset
toward the south. Since this region receives very high rainfall - especially in the early months of the year, the rivers and creeks are constantly flowing.
This interesting 4WD trek takes in historic towns such as Woodford - one of the earliest settled areas of the shire, and Conondale - an old renowned farming district located at the headwaters of the Mary River
. The Conondale Range
and the surrounding forests offer plenty of attractions and activities, and experienced bushwalkers and birdwatchers will be thoroughly rewarded.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
The forests in and around Conondale Range
, habitat hundreds of plant, bird and animal species - with many depending on this unique ecosystem for survival. In some cases - it is the last stand, and thus being given a vulnerable or endangered status. The Gastric-brooding frog for example has already become extinct - with the last specimen found in the Conondale Range
in 1979. The Fleay’s Barred frog, another indigenous animal in the Conondale region is highly endangered.
The various tracks through the Conondale Range
and surrounds are formed with gravel, dirt or clay. The drive is relatively easy to moderate, depending on prior weather. As you drive through the forest, the eucalypts you will see are grey
gum, Queensland grey
ironbark and forest red gum. You should also encounter: bunya pines, flooded gums, giant strangler figs, staghorns and plenty of fungi and ferns. Fauna that you may encounter are: skinks, sugar gliders, pouched frog and the platypus frog, freshwater cray, black-breasted quail, possums, bats, bandicoots, pademelons and even platypus.
Four tribal groups indigenous to the region named Gubbi Gubbi, Wakka Wakka, Jinibara and Kabi Kabi had lived a traditional lifestyle for thousands of years, until the arrival of European settlers, which changed the Aboriginal lifestyle forever. In 1942, Governor Gipps declared a large reserve to protect bunya pines which was a significant food source for Aboriginal people. It was therefore illegal to clear or settle on land where bunya pines grew. This lasted until 1860, when the new Queensland
Parliament withdrew the reserve status and settlement began in the early 1890s, with forests being cleared for dairy farms and fodder crops. Townships soon sprouted and grew in conjunction with gold fossicking and timber harvesting.
Today, the Upper Mary Valley sustains timber plantations, which continue to provide quality timber resources, whilst old growth native forests are now recognised for their high conservation and recreational values. The Queensland
Government also recognises the strong cultural links the descendants of the traditional owners have with the region, and also the rare and endangered species that need careful management practises in place to sustain this for generations to come.