Mt Bartle Frere isQueensland's highest mountain and is well worth the effort of climbing it. Being located well within the tropics expect hot steamy weather. This is one the wettest areas of Australia with rainfall being measured in metres. Indeed, the mountain is often shrouded in mist and clear days are the exception.
There are very few tracks on the mountain. The most popular walk is to start at the Josephine Falls car park and climb to the top returning the same way. This can be done in one long day or better still camp either half way up at a creek or near the top. There is a side track to a low ridge called Broken Nose - this often provides views when the summit is under cloud. A through track also exists from the summit west to Lamins Hill - using this cuts out backtracking but does introduce a long car shuffle.
The mountain is located 50 km south of Cairns and towers above the Bruce Highway. Surrounded by flat fields of sugar cane the mountain dominates the area. This is the wettest region of Australia and you can normally expect tropical showers and drizzle for most of the year. Fine days are fairly rare.
Buses run several times a day along the highway from Cairns south towards Brisbane. This still leaves an 8km walk along gravel roads to the car park at the start of the walk.
The detailed topographic maps do not show any of the walking tracks. The NATMAP 1:50,000 Bartle Frere is the best map available and should be supplemented by the sketch map provided by the ranger. Detailed track notes are available in Bushwalking In Australia by John and Monica Chapman.
The most common walk to the summit of Mt Bartle Frere is an up and back route. A track also exists from the summit descending west into the forests. It is possible to do a traverse of the mountain but this requires two cars and a lengthy car shuffle to place one car at each end of the walk.
|1||Josephine Falls to Upper Camp, 6km, sidetrip to summit|
|2||Return down same track to Josephine Falls, 6km|
To camp on the mountain, a bush camping permit is needed. Like all parks in Queensland, group size is limited to a maximum of 6 people and a maximum of 12 at any one camping area. Permits can be obtained in advance from the ranger. The charge is A$3.50 per person per night.