Exploring Tunbubudla, Glasshouse Mountains

The Glasshouse Mountains region is a superb area for hiking, cycling and climbing. So with a clear, crisp mid-winter day to spend, we took our bikes on the train to Beerburrum to enjoy a ride through the forest and to see if we could make it to the top of Mt Tunbubudla. Tunbubudla West to be precise. One of a pair also known as ‘The Twins’. They are part of the 11 hills of the Glasshouse Mountains and lie to the west of Beerburrum.

Heading along the track to 'The Twins'.
Heading along the track to ‘The Twins’.

On the way to Beerburrum I realised that having a fancy schmancy DSLR camera is of little use when you leave it behind on the kitchen table! So the photos you see were taken with my phone camera. Not as effective but on the bright side it was one less item to lug up the mountain.

As soon as we left the train we could smell the clean and invigorating country air. It’s a great pleasure to leave the city sometimes and enjoy some open spaces. The road heading west through the forest was a little boggy in parts. But KJ was on the new fat bike and was almost unstoppable, no matter how gooey the trail became. I did my best to keep up on my hybrid bike.

KJ blitzes the trail on the fat bike
KJ blitzes the trail on the fat bike

After a short ride through the pine plantation, we came to the national park area surrounding the Tunbubudlas. The trail here is not a forestry road, but merely a track which is very eroded in places. Not at all suitable for 4WDs but a plain old bicycle can go just about anywhere. If you’re prepared to get off and push it every now and again. But as we got closer to the base of T-West, we decide to leave the bikes and continue on foot.

Heading up the trail
Heading up the trail

The west twin is 293m high and the east is 312m. There may be a track heading up the east mountain but we didn’t see one. The climb is moderate at first, leading up to an area between the two peaks called ‘The Saddle’. From there the climb becomes very steep, and there is a lot of loose rock underfoot.

Climbing from 'The Saddle', the eastern twin in the background.
Climbing from ‘The Saddle’, the eastern twin in the background.

As we approached the top, we came across an almost vertical rock face that might be 20 metres high to the summit. It may be higher – I’m not so great at estimating distances, especially when craning my neck upwards.  To scale this last section would require actual rock climbing expertise and equipment. Neither of which we possess. So after unsuccessfully searching left and right for a track that went around this cliff, we were satisfied that this was as high as we could go.

The steep ascent on Tunbubudla West
The steep ascent on Tunbubudla West
The cliff face near the summit
The cliff face near the summit

There are excellent views from this not-quite-the-top vantage point, although there are lots of trees to peer through. It’s not like a lookout with 360 degree views. But we could see right across to Pumicestone Passage, and had good views of Mount Coonowrin (Crookneck) and the western side of Tibrogargan.

View of Tibrogargan from the west
View of Tibrogargan from the west
Mount Coonowrin
Mount Coonowrin

We cautiously made our way back down to the Saddle, enjoyed our packed lunch and regretted not bringing a thermos of tea.  Back to the bikes, back through the forestry to Beerburrum and back home on the train. In the words of Wallace and Gromit, a grand day out.

postscript – when checking some facts and figures on the Glasshouse Mountains, I stumbled across an extraordinary story from 1912, about three intrepid sisters who cycled from Brisbane to Mount Coonowrin (Crookneck), climbed the mountain in their ‘voluminous gym clothes’ and then cycled all the way back to Brisbane. The story and some photos can be seen here. Definitely worth a look.



4 thoughts on “Exploring Tunbubudla, Glasshouse Mountains

  1. Thanks for a great post about an area I love to visit. Thanks also for the link to the story of the three women. It’s amazing the things you can discover when you write a blog post!

    1. Hi Jane. It really is a special place isn’t it? It’s easy to see why it has spiritual significance for the indigenous peoples. And it must be Monarch butterfly season, as the pine forest was full of them. But they were behaving too butterfly-ish and wouldn’t sit still for a photo!

  2. Seems like a cool bicycle ride! I Love riding bike too. I am living in London though … (but it’s possible to find a way here and in other countries too) Loving your blog ! Great pics in other posts too! Will check more!

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