Mt Cougals Twin Peaks – A Gold Coast Hinterland Bush Walk
My companions on this bush walk were my ‘fit’ eighty four year old Father and my son Gene. Traveling from the Gold Coast, head for Currumbin then Currumbin Creek Road turn left at Tomewin Mountain Road. Follow Tomewin Mountain Road passed Arthur Freeman Lookout by the New South Wales tick gates to The Garden of Eden Road on your right. This is a one lane dirt track, continue to the end of the road and park your means in the small parking area away from the gate and the roadway. Climb over the locked timber gate, and closest turn left and follow the track up the hill, the doubled strand barbed wire fence is on your left and will keep in sight for most of your journey. The fence hugs the border between Queensland and New South Wales. Straight away you are climbing and there is thick undergrowth and loose rocks so take care. The ground was damp and slippery and given the ground it would be much the same throughout the year, we were glad its winter, seemingly you can get attacked by leeches in the warmer months given the lush vegetation. If you are accustomed to using a walking pole you will be using one here, instinctively you start looking for some kind of sustain to help you with the little by little climb.
A Cane Grass Forrest up Ahead
After climbing, the trail leveled off and we came across a rare sight, there stretched before us was wild cane grass growing in large clumps and forming a thick forest like structure for quite some distance; you could almost believe you were standing in the middle of a sugarcane field down on the coastal plains of Murwillumbah. Continuing along the ridge the area opens out to grasslands with spectacular 360 degree views of the Gold Coast Hinterland. Currumbin Valley is stretched out before you right down to the sea, Mount Warning melting into the blue haze and Condong Sugar Mill on the Tweed River bellowing out smoke in the cool morning air in the distance, certainly a sight to behold. Straight in front of you is the reason for our journey the twin peaks of Mt Cougal, waiting to be conquered however again by enthusiastic bush walkers. The formation of the twin peaks of Mount Cougal were named Ningeroongun and Barrajanda after two hunting dogs.
Watch out for Hazards
We stopped quite a bit, it is hard going when you are concentrating on your steps and making sure you place your feet on firm ground. The trail is littered with vines, fallen trees that have died or collapsed by termite infestation or maybe have been hit by lightning, we became used to climbing over them. In some locations they have taken the barbed wire fence down so you are crisscrossing over the barbed wire fencing lying across the trail so take care. However the fallen trees were handy to sit on with during our many breaks to munch on treats, we did stop a fair bit I think some of it was psychological this was a lot harder then we expected. There is no continuous ascent as you might think, just as you believe you are climbing the trail and getting closer to your destination it quickly descends. The rain forest canopy is very thick in some sections and when the wind drops there is total silence only the occasional twig or palm frond falling by the tree canopy or so we thought! Come to think about it we never truly saw any falling only heard movements by the trees and some of those sounds were low on the forest floor.
Stairway to Heaven
Nearing our final destination the twin peaks of Mount Cougal, the trail starts to thin notably the barbed wire fence is ever present to guide us on our course. We start to climb seriously now with little to hang onto other then the chicken wire on the lower part of the fence, it is tempting to grab onto but best left alone. The trail in front of us resembles a staircase, entwined with a maze of tree roots, like a scene from ‘Lord of the Rings’ however it’s very presents signal the prize of completion. Up to this point my father had successfully negotiated all the challenges, fallen trees, and changes in the ground without any drama. This section before us will require the most exertion and the look of horror on his confront signaled clearly that today we will not all be completing our journey. We continued to climb but now the trail ahead looks almost vertical like a ladder, a living root mosaic. Moving forward for all of us wasn’t an option. So close but however so far!
Decided to go it alone a big mistake!
So we decided I would keep climbing till I reached the rocky outcrop were the trail veered to the right. I quickly disappeared into the tree canopy and reached the rocky outcrop, but alas couldn’t go on without my companions. So I carefully headed back down the trail and this is where things took a nasty turn. I was within a metre of my companions and lost my footing grabbed the first thing within reach which was ‘our guide’ the barbed wire fence. That finished any hope of finishing our journey today.
Only for Experienced Bush Walkers
What an adventure this is a great hike into the Gold Coast hinterland and one we will be completing again soon a final observe this walk should only be attempted by experienced bush walkers.
See you at the summit.