Australia has what sometimes feels like an abundance of national parks. Queensland has — arguably — the best of them. The Sunshine State is home to national parks that are so expansive that there are multiple entry points into them. Some of these entries take sometimes up to an hour or two to get from one point to the next.
Lamington National Park is a stretch of national park land along the Gold Coast. O’Reilly’s Treetop Resort is home to the beginning of multiple hiking trails that run down and around the mountain. Moonlight Crag has been on the list of places to go for a long time, and we finally went earlier this year. our days off together are some of my favourite days, and the days that we go on some kind of adventure are even better. You pack a bag, some sunscreen, bug spray, and aloe vera spray (at the beach in Australia especially this is always a good idea if you get sunburnt easily), and stop off at a petrol station to fill up the tank and get some food and water for the day, and then you’re off. There are seriously several notable spots on the trail to Moonlight Crag that are 150% worth stopping at to really appreciate.
Firstly, once you set off walking, you eventually come to a cliff section with guard rails at which you can have a full view of the waterfall that slips off the ledge into the rainforest below. It is really quite beautiful, and reminds me a little of Springbrook’s Purling Brook Falls — but only from afar, and from above. They are vastly different otherwise. Secondly, when you keep walking on about twenty minutes later you will come across a section that carries you over what appears to be a creek.
My partner wanted to go and check it out, so he veered off the right towards the edge of the mountain and then excitedly came back and told me that I had to see it for myself. Now, this is where I tell you that this is dangerous to do — we walked along the creek and suddenly we walked into exploding colour and light. We realised that we were standing at the edge of that waterfall. After having seen it from afar minutes before, this made me feel uneasy because it’s suddenly so clear that all it would take to carry you over the edge would be a little slip of the foot. Do not go off this path unless you are willing to be aware of that. And if you do, be so so careful.
That view is one of my absolute favourite views now. We eventually left the peak of the falls and immediately to the right of the falls is the gate of the pathway. After jumping it, we continued on walking. Another twenty-thirty minutes after that, we came across a viewpoint so insane that I literally broke out into a grin. I did think this must be Moonlight Crag, as we had walked what felt like a long (but very worth while) time. I initially thought, “hey, this doesn’t look like the photos but okay”. We stayed here for a little while, rehydrated, had a bite to eat, and then we continued along the path.
We started to go up a steep dirt path, and eventually came up to a wooden deck among the trees to our right. My partner and I began to walk it, and halfway out, we came across tables and chairs stacked on top of one another to the side of the deck. This was weird, and definitely a first, but we kept walking. And then we got to this view. I literally gasped and then jumped up and down like a crazy woman. We had this insanely beautiful view all to ourselves, and then the tables and chairs made sense.
We pulled a table and two chairs up, and stayed there for a while just enjoying the view and eating our lunch. Moonlight Crag is still to this day, one of my absolute favourite views. We later found out that you can have dinner there on the deck overlooking the valleys and mountains as the sun sets (stay. at. O’Reilly’s. Do it). We will absolutely do this one day. I count it as one of my favourite days because we got it all to ourselves, and we found out later that it is apparently an extremely popular spot. The walk from Moonlight Crag back up to the carpark is lovely — but steep — and you are frequently coming across tiny animals, with little pademelons scurrying around you and feeding in the area.
If you stay at O’Reilly’s Treetop Resort, you can visit it more than once, and I personally recommend this because I know how gorgeous the view from Moonlight Crag would be at sunset. I know that I am definitely going back. Moonlight Crag sits in my top five hikes in Queensland for a very good reason: while some hiking trails are lovely the entire way with one hidden gem that draws in the crowds, Moonlight Crag has incredible views the entire way and has no less than four magical spots that are crowd pleasers. Do yourself a favour and come to this place when you are in the area…you will not soon forget it.