Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wanders Around Mt Whitfield.

Mount Whitfield Conservation Park preserves an area of eucalpytus and rain forest in the midst of suburban Cairns. There are a couple of very popular loop walks – creatively named Blue Arrow and Red Arrow Circuit that loop around through the forest to various look-outs. Both are very popular with locals and tourists, although the 1.5 km return Red Arrow Circuit, which only gains 100 metres of elevation is the most popular. The Blue Arrow Circuit is about 7 km total and goes to the top of Mount Lumley (325 m ASL). Neither track actually goes to the top of Mount Whitfield and the dense rainforest makes bushwacking to the 364 metre summit very unappealing.

This little area of walking trails is only about 15 minutes by bicycle from our house-sit in Freshwater, so I've been wandering around the area early in the morning before it gets hot. The first time Doug and I went, we rode to Quarry Street and hiked up a service road that joins the Red Arrow Circuit near one of the look-outs. We continued on the Blue Arrow Circuit to the look-out on Mount Lumley where we met an older lady who had walked straight up from Stratford.

The second time I went, I started off Stratford Parade on an old road that led up past some apartments. This road soon branched, the left fork ended within a hundred metres, while the right fork continued up and branched again. The left fork ended (again) while the right branch took me (with various junctions) by two old quarries, one with a bug infested pool of water at the base, the other dry, and, finally, after following many branches out to some houses near Behan Street.

The same day, I biked a little further east down the road and found another old road running up a ridge-line and following power lines. I hiked up for about 200 metres until I could see the look-out on Mount Lumley another 100 metres above me, and found a track junction with a trail leading down a spur ridge to the east. I took this trail down and ended up at the back of a little park (Duplock) in Aeroglen.

A few days later, I cycled back to Duplock Park and walked up to the look-out on Mount Lumley in half an hour. Of all the tracks in Mount Whitfield, I think this is the best. It's a nice direct route to the top and doesn't seem too busy.

This morning, I went out exploring again as I had seen a little shelter shed part way up the east side of Mount Whitfield with stairs leading up. The area looked vaguely as if it had been developed for hang-gliding although I couldn't think who would jump off at that low elevation. I took the steps up and wandered about a bit past some old shelter sheds and, sure enough, the area seems to be a defunct location for a company called Flying Leap that must at some point have run some kind of weird tour from the area. The demise of the company is likely not surprising. To extend a short walk, I wandered back along a service road to join the main service road off Quarry Street and back along the cycle path to my bike.

Now you might wonder why I am spending so much time wandering around in such a little area. Well, it's close to where I am living, the track from Duplock Park to the lookout on Mount Lumley is a great early morning eye-opener walk, and, it gives me a bit of exercise in a short time while my Mum is visiting from Sydney. Walking up to the look-out from Duplock Park will probably become a fairly regular early morning activity for me. There are certainly worse ways to start the day. 

 Mount Whitfield From Glacier Rock

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