White Rock Spring Mountain Trails
I sighed as I checked my phone. Another 45 minutes to kill until my doggy clients arrived at our arranged photo spot in Redback Plains. "Definitely enough time for a drive around the area", I thought to myself as I started the car and pulled out. Just down the road I noticed a sign "White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate" – well, that sounded promising. I turned into School Road and unsurprisingly soon passed Redbank Plains State School. Next came a new housing estate, then another. Further along, the road turned to gravel, went up a hill, around a corner and under the Centenary Highway.
Less than a kilometre later, a big sign proclaimed I’d arrived at White Rock Conservation Park.
A huge parking area dominated the area to the left. Investigations revealed this as a horse float parking area – a promising discovery. Usually in Queensland, if a park allows horses, dog walking is also permitted. I pushed on through a pair of gates and found another smaller carpark and some surprisingly modern and well-kept facilities. For a little dead-end destination, this place is seriously well set up! Checking the information board I mentally ticked off some important points. Dogs allowed – check. Long-ish walking loops – check. Lookout with a view – check. Interesting scenery – check. I immediately messaged my friend Sarah and filled her in. This would be our next bushwalking destination with our Great Danes.
Fast forward a few weeks. The sun had barely poked it way above the horizon as we pulled into the carpark. My girl Luna and her boyfriend and partner in crime, Hugo, shifted around in the back of Sarah’s Subaru, eager to get out and explore.
Even if you aren’t planning on going for a long hike through the park, the great facilities mark this as an ideal spot for a quiet and relaxed weekend picnic in the bushland with your canine companions.
The information booth shares a wealth of knowledge about the local fauna and flora, history of the area, climate and weather, along with the expected trail maps.
Camelbacks filled with water for ourselves and our pups, hiking route decided upon, we headed off to explore, selecting the Six Mile Creek Track.
This soon branched into a delightful little boardwalk winding through the blue gums, aptly named Six Mile Creek Boardwalk.
Before long we came to yet another offshoot track called Bluff Lookout Circuit. Suckers for a pretty view, we couldn’t resist and detoured to check it out. The trail wound upwards and before we knew it, we were on top of a rock formation, obviously "the Bluff". Coming down the other side offered us a different view of the rock formation – a big coloured sandstone monolith. If this was a taste of things to come, we were in for a treat!
The boardwalk soon joined back up with the main track, a 6.5km return hike called White Rock Multi-User Trail. Wide enough for a vehicle and with ample room for horses and mountain bikes as well, this track is an easy flat walk. Luna and Hugo were eager to get moving so we strode out and covered some ground, the dogs staying ahead to scout the way.
This majestic gum towered over the surrounding trees, almost goading me into taking a shot. I couldn’t resist! What a beauty.
The trail is mostly flat and makes it’s way through a mix of vegetation, though mostly open eucalypt forest.
After an hour or so of easy walking, we came to a set of stairs leading up the hill.
Hugo couldn’t resist a kiss for his girlfriend, despite her long panting tongue!
The climb wasn’t long, but it was steep. Heading left along the ridgeline, we admired the huge boulders, pocked with caves and edged with sheer cliffs. This is what we’d been looking forward to! After a short climb, easily manageable by the dogs, we emerged on top of the massive rocks the capped the ridgeline. The perfect place for a rest with an amazing view!
Luna and Hugo eagerly gulped the water we offered from our camelbacks. We actually hadn’t expected the day to get so hot so quickly. It was only just past 7am and already in excess of 25 degrees, with the temperature still climbing.
With no pressing urge to be anywhere in a hurry, it seemed like a good place to sit and relax and admire the view with a drink and a snack before moving on.
Our hot pups agreed!
Consulting the trail guide, we realised we’d actually bypassed the main feature of the park, White Rock. Remember the turn at the top of the stairs, where we headed left? Turns out we should have headed right instead. We decided not to backtrack and instead headed off in a north-westerly direction along the ridgeline, following a trail we assumed was the White Rock Ridge Hike. The trail guide mentioned this track can be a little hard to follow, though we had no trouble.
The view north from the ridgeline was surprisingly gorgeous, across the tops of the eucalypt trees.
Looking carefully, it was even possible to spot the Brisbane skyline in the far distance on the horizon!
Picking our way across the ridgeline, we loved the difference in landscape the area offered to the valley areas below.
The dogs were pressed into modelling duties, standing proud on the rocks while having a rest and catching the breeze.
If there’s one thing these two are good at, it’s staying still for photos. Secretly, I think they might just be lazy and quite happy to stand around looking gorgeous and attracting attention.
Rocky and uneven underfoot, this section made me wish I’d worn hiking boots instead of running shoes – the extra ankle support would have come in handy.
The path narrowed and headed back down again to meet up with the main track.
Sarah and I absolutely loved this hike. It was a good length of around 6.5km return, mostly flat but with some interesting rocky sections to keep us and the pups on our toes. There was only one really steep section between two boulders that dogs needed to scramble up, but they managed it easily with a bit of encouragement.
Next time I’d like to arrive even earlier to beat the heat and watch the sunrise from the ridge line. Hiking boots and more water are a definite must next time too, as we sacrificed our own water for the dogs and ended up a bit thirsty towards the end of the hike!
Charlotte Reeves is an on-location natural light pet photographer specialising in dogs, based in sunny Brisbane, Australia. For more information please visit Charlotte Reeves Photography.