D’Aguilar national park has a weird name. It is actually named after George Charles D’Aguilar who wrote Regulations and Punishments of the British Army. Sounds like a fun guy.
D’Aguilar is about an hour fifteen from Brisbane city and 2 hours fifteen from the Gold Coast.
Once you get out past the city limits and out into Samford it is a very pleasant drive and it feels nice to have the rat race in your rear view mirror.
We headed for the Mt Mee Section in the north and decided to camp at the Neurem Creek campground which is at the end of 6km of dirt road off Neurem Creek Road. It is ok for a two wheel drive but probably not brilliant after heavy rains.
The camp site is quite isolated given its position and we stayed on a Sunday night in complete solitude. The surrounding forest is teeming with Birdlife and the constant calls are a delight.
The issue is there no long hikes nearby – there is one short walk down to the creek which is quite nice but it only takes about 20 minutes. The big bonus in camping here is every site has its own fireplace with a removable grill so you can Barbie away till your hearts content and then lift of the grill and enjoy an open campfire.
Camping is cheap at $5.45 each per night but you need to book ahead.
To find some good treks you need to get back into your car and onto the main road again. Not far along the road is a great short rain forest walk – look for a sign that says Mill Rainforest walk.
For the fitness challenged this is perfect at a round trip of only 1km. There is a giant strangling fig that is a feature of this walk and lots of babbling creek crossings so well worth the little detour.
Once you are back on the main road there are a couple of lookouts and although nothing spectacular they are worth the short walks. These are well sign posted.
You can then head to the “Gantry” day use area which has picnic facilities including gas BBQ’s and picnic tables. What is a gantry? It is a huge shed with an old tin roof with a big rusty crane inside. What is it doing in the middle of a national park? It is the remnants of the old saw milling days and is an interesting piece of the past!
You can park here and set off on a long walk known as the Somerset Trail.
The Somerset trail is a great trail but honestly is like one of those movies that starts off really good but then drags on a little bit at the end. The trail could really be modified and shortened as the last hour or so is very repetitive through common bush.
The beginning and middle of the trail however are actually terrific. My favourite part is the trek through quite dense pine forest. The trees are a deep dark green and they are a nice contrast to the lighter eucalyptus forests that are more common in this area.
There is also a section that suffered from bushfires not long ago and there is lots of new regrowth and colour contrasts with some of the charred forest remains starting to disappear under bright green shoots.
About 3/4 of the way along you reach a ridge with a fantastic view of somerset dam. At this point you have great elevation and the view is worth the last steep section. Spend some time here on the flat rock on the escarpment for lunch.
The walk back to the carpark from here is a little bland and stretched the walk out to a 4 hour total round trip. Take plenty of water!
If 4 hours is too long there is a short trail that starts at the Gantry called the Piccabeen walk and it is a short pleasant 1km return stroll.
D’Aguillar is a big park so I will cover some more of it in my next post.
Happy camping and trekking!