HIKING THE ILLINBAH CIRCUIT | NOTHING WENT TO PLAN

The Illinbah Circuit is approx. 16.5km in length starting from the lower day-use area of the Binna Burra segment of Lamington National Park. The track begins on the ‘Illinbah Track’ which traverses approx. three kilometres down the side of the Coomera valley to the upper reaches of the Coomera River. The track then weaves down the Coomera Creek for several km crossing the crystal-clear waters of the creek a dozen times before reaching the Illinbah Bush Camp. After the camp it is a circa 9km hike up the side of the Beechmont Range which starts out as a gentle incline and gradually becomes steeper towards the top. The track itself offers a variety of spectacular trees (including the Giant Red Cedar), a stretch of Piccabeen Forest and Giant red cedar trees scattered throughout the endangered lowland subtropical rainforest.

After a couple of weeks of planning I set out on the Illinbah Circuit for what was to be my second overnight hike. Unfortunately, nothing went to plan, and I ended up hiking the full circuit in the one day. Although it is only 16km or so (which ended up being 22km), the track itself was overgrown after the first few creek crossings so it was a quite technical hike with lots of off-track walking and relying on my Garmin GPS66i. The head ranger for Lamington National Park did let me know that the track was overgrown and there were many fallen trees, so I made sure to pack a back-up GPS in addition to my gators to protect from the ‘lawyer’ vines and stinging plants.

I originally planned to shoot several aerial scenes of the various creek crossings, try to find some wildlife to photograph and take my time with a few coffee breaks along the creekside, before pulling into camp and shooting a couple of cooking videos by the creekside and next to the tent. However approx. 2 km from camp my camera slipped off the tripod bracket and fell into the creek and failed to switch back on. I also managed to wet my entire backpack, so all my sleeping gear was completely soaked and the 16kg pack was now (what felt like) 35kg.

After a long day navigating the Coomera River, my camera needed some urgent attention, my sleeping gear was soaked and a thunderstorm was rolling in, so I decided to hike out with the remaining 4 hours of daylight I had left. The hike was still enjoyable, and I managed to see a Platypus and get some time out amongst the amazing rainforest that Binna Burra has to offer. After dismantling my camera and leaving it in rice for a couple of days, it seems to be working fine now, so I am looking forward to filming my next adventure.

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Steven Joel

Steven Joel

I enjoy making silent/cinematic hiking Films. Based in Australia.