Hiking Gem on our Doorstep

For the few years that we've had the pleasure of calling Ipswich home, I've known about White Rock.

But I dismissed it, seeing the little brown ‘Tourist’ signs along the roadside, thinking it would just be a little park, out the back of suburbia in Redbank Plains, with maybe a picnic table and an information shelter and not much else. 

So when one Friday I spent my commute googling hikes that we could do on a Saturday morning and still make it back for an afternoon at home, I was surprised at how wrong it seemed I was about White Rock. People raved about it online, and I was shocked to find out that the land it resides on - Spring Mountain Conservation Estate - is over 2500 hectares, and allows hiking, horse-riding and mountain bike riding. I was sold. 

We set off in first light the next morning, keen to try and catch sunrise from a good vantage point in the park. On our drive, it became pretty clear pretty quickly that it was a bit of a foggy/cloudy morning, but we decided to head out nonetheless - and I'm so glad we did. 

Pulling into the car park, there were quite a few cars already, and people kitting up on bikes, or hiking boots and packs, or simply in activewear. We set off past the cars and into the start of the tracks, at first a dirt road that clearly sees vehicle traffic from time to time. There are so many tracks in the estate it would be easy to spend ages wandering around, but having done some research the day before I had a pretty good idea of which track was ‘ideal’ - a hike that supposedly wove along a high point before descending and coming face to face with white rock. When we did the walk in early 2017 the track wasn’t marked - simply an exit off a larger track, but I have it on good authority that it is now well-signed.

Perhaps one of my favourite details was the carvings over the rocks, especially because White Rock has been a popular picnic spot with white settlers for almost 150 years. I know it’s technically graffiti, but there is something so amazing about ‘Charlie from 1922’ having engraved his mark on the stone almost 100 years ago. You can just picture what they would have wore, the lunch they would have packed. 

I won’t say much more - a picture says a thousand words and all that - but I will say that it was well worth the visit, and was great fun. 

It’s worth noting that White Rock itself can be climbed, but the Traditional Owners request that visitors respect their cultural beliefs and resist the temptation to climb to the summit of White Rock. 

 
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For more information visit Aussie Bush Walkers - one of my favourite resources for hiking info!

Brisbane-based lover of travel, off-roading, camping and photography.