top of page

Ships Stern Circuit

Scenic Rim

Lamington National Park (Binna Burra)


Distance (kms):

20.3 kms

Time (hrs):

Allow 8 hrs

Elevation gain (m):

695 m

Max. elevation (m):

912 m

Difficulty (Grade):

Hard (Grade 4)

Route type:





2WD Sufficient

Click to see full image.

A magnificent walk through varying flora, including classic Lamington rainforest and open eucalypt forest, with numerous spectacular lookouts and beautiful waterfalls.

This lightly trafficked walk starts from the lower carpark trailhead of the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park, at the end of Binna Burra Road.

The well-marked trail begins on the Lower Bellbird Circuit, passing the incredible Koolanbilba and Yangahla lookouts and a series of caves beside the track, before branching off and following signs for the Ships Stern Circuit.

Koolanbilba and Yangahla lookouts both have incredible views into the Numinbah Valley, including the prominent features of Kurraragin (Egg Rock) and Yowgurrabah (Turtle Rock), as well as to the Beechmont and Ships Stern Ranges.

Descend into the valley below, keeping an eye out for the interesting ripples and hollows in the cliffs, formed by years of wind and water erosion.

The short side-track to Lower Ballunjui Falls (1.2 kms return) is highly recommended, where views to the top of the 100+ metre high Ballunjui Falls are afforded.

The track continues along Nixon Creek, crossing it a number of times. You then ascend through Hidden Valley past Charraboomba Rock, with more amazing views into the valley (including Kurraragin), as well as back towards Ballunjui Falls.

Another rocky outcrop soon after offers great views back to Charraboomba Rock.

The walk then continues along the top of Ships Stern Range and into open eucalypt forest. At the northern tip of the range, Kooloonbano lookout offers breathtaking views of both Yowgurrabah (Turtle Rock) and Kurraragin (Egg Rock), as well as further to Hinze Dam.

The eastern lookouts, including Milleribah and Gorooburra lookouts, offer more panoramic views into the valley, as well as showcasing the scale of the cliffs on the Ships Stern Range.

As the track continues, the rainforest slowly returns, with a number of recommended side tracks, including Ballunjui Cascades, Upper Ballunjui Falls (including Guraigumai Rock), Booboora Falls, Nagarigoon Falls and Nagarigoon Clearing.

Return to Binna Burra along the Border Track, passing the junction with Daves Creek circuit (this circuit can be added to the walk, making it a total of almost 25 kms).

Note that the walk finishes at the upper car park trailhead at Binna Burra (near the café), meaning you will need to walk though the car park if you parked near the lower car park trailhead starting point.

Track: Graded and relatively well-signed, making it easy to follow. The descent and ascent into and out of the forest is via a number of gradual switchbacks and stairs.

Difficulty: The length of this track earns it a hard rating. The elevation profile however, is fairly forgiving, with the ascent being gradual and the numerous lookouts and waterfalls allowing plenty of breaks. The creek crossings are typically easy, however care should always be taken, as the rocks can be slippery.

Some parts of the walk are exposed to large cliffs and steep slopes, so care is advised. To reach the end of some of the rocky outcrops, such as Charraboomba Rock, some rock scrambling skills are required, and the area is very exposed to the cliff edge, so care is required.

Direction: While the track can be completed in either direction, it is recommended to do the track in a clockwise direction.

getting there

The walk is located in the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park, at the very end of Binna Burra Road in Binna Burra, 1.5 hours drive south of Brisbane.

The walk starts from the lower car park trailhead, across from the road that goes up to the Binna Burra Sky Lodges.

Parking is ample.

best time to go

The walk can be completed year-round, however there are a number of parts of the track that are quite exposed to the sun, so the walk is much more difficult in the warmer months.

Given the time required to complete the walk it is advised to start early.

Like all walks involving waterfalls, they are best done after recent rain, however, be sure to check the Queensland Parks website for updates regarding flooding and track closures, especially given the numerous creek crossings on this track.

Click title on the map above to view larger map
in new window [on the Garmin website]

Remember, whenever venturing into the outdoors, practice the Leave No Trace principles and be considerate of others. This means: dispose of your waste properly, don't remove things or move things from their natural position and respect all wildlife. Also be sure to plan ahead and adequately prepare for any adventure. 

I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which all activities listed on this website are found, as well as Elders past, present and emerging. I strive to not promote sites where requests have been made for people not to explore due to the cultural significance of the site to Indigenous peoples, or note how to respectfully visit a site. If I have a promoted a site with cultural significance, please send me a message and let me know.   

bottom of page