Girraween lies just east of the New England Highway between Ballandean, south of Stanthorpe in Queensland's Granite Belt, and Wallangarra on the New South Wales border. If you turn off the Highway on to Pyramids Road for the few kilometres to the National Park, you'll pass Girraween Environmental Lodge, where we have stayed before and where we returned last week – to realise our visitors' desire to see roos in the wild.
We'd been in Byron Bay for three days before heading off on the Bruxner Highway (Route 44) across northern New South Wales, via Lismore and Casino, to Tenterfield. Along the way, up on the Richmond Range, we saw Mt Warning from a new angle, and crossed the Clarence River on what is reputed to be the longest single-span wooden bridge in the southern hemisphere, at Tabulam. Beyond here, the Bruxner Highway traverses increasingly remote country, winding up through native forest (with Bell Miners tinking) and pretty deserted rural districts with names such as Sandy Hill and Black Swamp.
We observed lots of Crimson Rosellas and King-Parrots, and spotted an (Australasian) Darter, as well as the usual suspects such as Kookaburras, Masked Lapwings, Magpies and Honeyeaters. And on our walk I think I caught a fleeting glimpse of a Long-nosed Bandicoot.
The quickest route to Girraween from Brisbane is down the Cunningham Highway (Route 15) off the Ipswich Motorway west of the city. Join the New England Highway north of Warwick and head south for Stanthorpe (see Great Granite, October 2010). Alternatively, you can take Route 93 at the top of the Cunningham Highway, then Route 90 to Boonah and the Falls Drive (off the Boonah-Rathdowney Road) as far as Killarney Road (see Off road: Mt Superbus and the source of the Condamine, May 2012). Heading south, Killarney Road joins Mount Lindesay Highway (Route 13) at Legume: south of Liston take Amosfield Road to Stanthorpe. This latter route includes an unsealed section, but you won't need a 4x4 under normal weather conditions.
Whenever I've been to Girraween, I've revelled in the natural sounds and the silence. There are few places down Australia's eastern seaboard where you can escape all forms of noise pollution. The landscape here has a remote feel, yet it's benign and soothing. There's something very pleasing about granite, gum and wattle. In spring the wildflowers are spectacular, and I imagine this place would provide a cool respite from summer in the city. Go and see for yourselves.