70km north of Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland lie the Glass House Mountains. They’re not made of glass and I saw no houses on them. They’re more ‘large hill’ than ‘mountain’ and I know this because I’m spectacularly unfit, yet I managed to haul my butt up one of them without dying. And I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened if they were truly mountains.
I’ve no idea where the name came from, but I can tell you there’s 13 hills, they’re made up of volcanic peaks and they’ve been around for squillions of years. Maybe they should’ve just called the area ’13 Really Old Volcanic Hills’.
Me and the better half chose to walk up Mount Beerburrum because it was only 280m above sea level and was a 1.4km Class 4 walking track, which, according a Queensland National Parks brochure means it’s 'suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Tracks may have short steep hill sections.' So that sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? 700 metres there....a bit steep in parts….that should be okay. Have a look around at the top and then come back down again. Easy, right?
Ummm… No. This was probably the most bastardy little walk I’ve ever been on. Most hill climbs have steep bits. This was just full on steep! Not so much a walk as a hunched over gravity defying crawl forward to death by heart explosion.
Fortunately there were ample places to stop for a look at other peaks (or to stave off that heart attack) but the part towards the very top in particular was a leg killer. I nearly packed it in less than 50 metres from the top but I gave myself a talking to and kept going. After enduring the walk, climbing the fire tower at the top took no effort at all and the view was fantastic, taking in Brisbane City, Moreton Bay, Caloundra and beyond.
After a lie down for half an hour and a replenishing sandwich, we began to make the journey down. It probably should’ve taken less than 30 minutes but I had to stop about 47,000 times because my decrepit knees protested so much. It felt like 5 hours later that I finally got back to the car. It’s only later that I found out that Mount Beerburrum is one of the steepest climbs of the Glass House Mountains! National Parks of Queensland rated a Grade 4 track as “Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be very steep.” If only I’d found that brochure first!