You want to go remote, but you don’t want barges, sea-sickness or salt water, World Heritage-listed Bartle Frere, of the Bellenden Ker Range in Wooroonooran National Park, is the place for you. Located 80 kilometres south of Cairns, Bartle Frere – technically a trail that incorporates four different campsites – is the state’s highest mountain.
The mountain’s summit serves up breathtaking views of both the Atherton Tablelands and the Great Barrier Reef. This reward doesn’t come easily however. Getting to Junction Camp can be done by conventional car in the dry season and 4WD in the wet season, but to get to the summit you’re looking at a minimum four hour hike up a very steep track. And that’s where the views are best.
The foothill to summit is entirely covered by rainforest, ranging from typical tropical rainforest in the lowlands to low cloud forest at the cooler summit, where temperatures are up to 10°C (18°F) lower than on the coast. The mountain also has its share of spectacular waterfalls.
There are no facilities at Bartle Frere, only a helicopter pad for emergencies. Bring a fuel stove because lighting fires is prohibited. However leeches are abundant so a ciggy lighter could come in handy.
Access: 4WD only in the wet season
Best time of year: Any time
Best bit: Great hiking trails and spectacular views